Back Firth FH-1

Firth FH-1

Experimental helicopter built around the fuselage of an unusual fixed-wing aircraft, the 1948 Planet Satellite, with a light alloy semi-monocoque structure. It had a three-blade rigid rotor and tricycle landing gear. It was abandoned before flight testing due to financial and technical difficulties. The engine was a 146hp Gipsy Major.

G.Apostolo "The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Helicopters", 1984

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In 1951 Firth Helicopters Ltd - the firm, which has now ceased to operate, started to build a prototype helicopter using a rotor system based on American patents held by Landgraf.


This helicopter was built round the fuselage of the unorthodox 1948 aircraft Planet Satellite. The latter was small, of monocoque construction in an extremely light magnesium-zirconium alloy, and fitted at the end of its tail with a pusher airscrew driven by an engine through an extension shaft.

The FH-1 had two three-bladed, non-articulated type rotors, mounted on outriggers and based on Landgraf patents. There was a tricycle landing gear.

This helicopter was abandoned before it ever flew because of financial and technical difficulties, the latter mainly connected with the forepart, which proved excessively heavy.

Parker, e-mail, 21.11.2016reply

I have some pics of the Firth outside at Cranfield but what year,1955? They were taken by Ron Prizeman who eventually was behind the Tiger Moth to Jackaroo conversion

deaftom, e-mail, 18.04.2011reply

Neither the Planet Satellite nor the Firth FH-1 ever flew. Maybe the Firth firm should have considered how successful the Satellite was before appropriating its fuselage for their own project.

The Apostle Green, e-mail, 26.11.2011reply

EDIT: Sorry, typo: my email is solar_calendar (missed the "L" in "calendar")

The Apostle Green, e-mail, 26.11.2011reply

Does anyone have information as to the date of this helicopter? Apparently it was donated to the College of Aeronautics at Cranfield in 1955, but I've not been able to find contemporary references /images /etc. on the Web. I would think that if it were still extant, someone would surely have shared pix on a Flickr album or something. If it wasn't preserved, why would a university have permitted it to be destroyed (or accept it in the first place if they didn't want to keep it?)

Shah Alam, e-mail, 03.01.2014reply

BIMAN Bangladesh will buy the 2 air craft, closing on 20.01.14
Please oonfirm your inerer

Barry, 17.09.2012reply

"deaftom" check out the aeroplane section of this site and you will see that the Planet Satellite did fly all be it for a very short distance.

Amanda Landgraf, e-mail, 30.04.2010reply

Fred Landgraf is my great grandfather also. I dont have an actual model but I do have the book of Landgraf's and theres alot more in my book about him and our history. If you happen to read this email me. I would love to meet you.

azad, e-mail, 14.01.2009reply

I like fly

sergio, e-mail, 15.05.2007reply

hooo no lo habia visto

David Leatherman, e-mail, 15.05.2007reply

Fred Landgraf is my great grandpa (my grandme Lois Landgraf Scotts dad)
I would love to see if there was any models of this thing around??

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