Back Hillman 360

Hillman 360

Douglas Hillman was an enthusiastic amateur builder who carried out several helicopter experiments in the 1970s and built the Hillman Wankel-B, and then the two-seat Hillman Green Hornet and Turbo Hornet IIA. In 1979, Hillman joined Rudolph Enstrom to develop the Hillman 360. This streamlined three-seat light helicopter bore some resem- blance to Enstrom's earlier designs with a fully enclosed fibreglass and metal fuselage, tricycle undercarriage and a Lycoming HIO-360-C1A piston engine driving a two-blade rotor. The prototype was built at Stellar Air Park near Phoenix, Arizona, and flew on 15 October 1981. Unfortunately, Douglas Hillman died during the period of testing of the Model 360 and the design was abandoned.

Hillman 360

Technical data for Hillman 360

Engine: Avco-Lycoming H10-360-C1A rated at 155kW, main rotor diameter: 8.15m, length: 9.47m, take-off weight: 1000kg, max speed: 185km/h, range: 2500km

Peter S Ephraim, e-mail, 05.12.2017reply

Been too long since this tragic end to Doug and Ron to leave this note. My father, Pete Ephraim was a good friend of Doug's for decades. Having two science degrees from college, I'm surprised I don't hear about his contributions to all of Doug's aircraft. I grew up with Dad and Doug either at the Salt Flats with a hot car or bike working on a speed record. Or figure 8 racing an old Jag. Pete worked for Rotorway and helped Doug and Rudy develop the Wankel through the 360.
I did the fiberglass work for the 360 "plug" to form the body of the 360. I'll upload a picture of it in progress, and a picture of the completed 360 taken at Ernesto's Backstreet restaurant in Phoenix.
A little more history to this story that's long over due.
Thanks to all I haven't seen in years, I hope this note finds you well and happy.

BJ, 10.01.2011reply

Doug was a close personal friend of mine. I remember fondly the times we spent together, and Doug's life has been an inspiration to me over the years. His energy and enthusiasm were highly contagious and his love for life was truly amazing. I wondered if Kitty ever sold the plans and have often thought how great it would be to revive the project in Doug's memory.

Rich, e-mail, 09.06.2013reply

I have acquired a Hillman Hornet N8063D. Would like to restore to flying condition. Any drawings and information would be appreciated.

Timothy F. Heilig, e-mail, 24.06.2013reply

I collect photos and details of the old Classic Helicopters. I recently restored a single seat Helicom Commuter H-1B N814S

I have a yahoo Group for discussions about the Helicom Commuter helicopters and it's History. I just recently learned that Doug Hillman was the one that had bought out Helicom from Pop Emich. so now I am doing research to learn more about the Hillman Hornet.

any photos and Info you can send me would be great.

Thanks in advance.

Timothy F. Heilig

owner Helicom Commuter N814S.

look for Videos of My Commuter on Youtube if you would like to see it.

Joseph Garcia, e-mail, 01.01.2015reply

I along with my father, Larry Garcia contributed to the building of this very complex project. Doug Hillman was far ahead of his time. With the help of a team he had put together to develop this Helicopter. Created a far advanced air machine that was genius. With the creative mind of the engineer, and collaboration of the team I for one being only eighteen was proud to be a part of this history. Thanks for the exciting memory.

Timothy F. Heilig, e-mail, 21.01.2015reply

Well since the last time I posted on here looking for info I located and bought what was left of Hillman Hornet N8063D. going to try and restore it. going to be a big job and I don't have a lot of funds, but I do have skills. Any one that has info or pics, please contact me. hope to make it fly, but it may end up an expensive yard ornament. contact me at Commuter2b at gee mail dot com.

Jim Bryant, e-mail, 21.02.2009reply

I was a close friend of Doug Hillman, a man with an abundance of infectious enthusiasm and never seen without a can of Fresca in his hand. I was the illustrator who did all of Doug's presentation art and was reaponsible for the fuselage design and paint trim scheme of the Hillman 360.

Can anyone shed some light as to what happened to the prototype after Doug's death? I would also like to obtain some copies of the art I did during that period if anyone knows where they might be. I can be contacted via email ( or my cell phone: 623 570-5651.

Jim Bryant

unknown, e-mail, 12.11.2008reply

I own the hornet what is left of it after they used parts of it to bild the 360 how do I know of this my dad worked with and was close friends with doug I am looking to sell it.had it listed on ebay but no luck.the 360 was A beautifull machine as was the green hornet. interested contact me 602 614 6558 have to sell by saturday.

Jason, e-mail, 15.05.2008reply

Thanks for writing about what happened the day Ron & Doug died. I'm someone that hasn't been mentioned in this string; Ron's son, Jason.

I've wondered about the details of what happened, even had a few conflicting stories given to me. It's good to reconcile reality with reality.

I never had any idea that Doug was such good friends with Barry, that totally floored me when I read what Kelly said about Barry's letter. Arizona's been a pioneer in strict drunk driving legislation, it's crazy for me to fathom how Doug had an affect on that.

If anyone would like to get in touch with me, i'd absolutely welcome and love it. Kelly and I chat from time to time, but I would love to meet others. My email is


Chris Thompson, e-mail, 04.05.2008reply

Doug Hillman was a good and descent man. Kind and thoughtful as well as a great engineer. He thought that the "air car" was something that every man could participate in and enjoy. He loved to think of the helicopter as an everyday tool and mode of transportation and even incorporated one of the "Pocket Fisherman" shorty fishing poles into the the interior storage of his helicopter design so that a fellow could just "stop off" and throw a line in the water if he flew past a promising spot. I hope he is remembered in this way. I can see by these postings that he is still missed today.

Jim Hillman, e-mail, 16.04.2008reply

I believe there are plans for the various Hillman designs in existence that can be located. It would take some research on my part but I could probably come up with enough data to accomadate.
I was actually there when my dad, Doug Hillman and brother, Ron Hillman were killed. I have never written about my experience that day until now.
They were killed on July 21st, 1983 when a 21 year old female drunk driver veered off the two lane highway, located in Gilbert Arizona at aprox. 1pm in the afternoon and hit them. It was a hit & run and only after she had come to a fork in the road and drove into a corn field 5 miles away from the accident scene, did authorities catch up to her. Her blood alcohol was .24, which is needless to say enough to kill a horse and when she awoke from the steering wheel, she didn't know for sure. She shakenly uttered "I think I killed someone?" Well she was right but she didn't just kill someone, she killed a father of 13 and one of his sons, a beloved brother. She took away everything in 2 seconds. Doug Hillman was killed instantly and Ron Hillman (Who just turned 25 and the only one slated to take the business from my father), was carried up on the hood of the car for about a 1 /3 of a mile before falling off. Ron died upon arrival, ironically via an Evac Helicopter to St. Josephs Hospital in Phoenix. We were all walking along the side of the road next to my dad's truck & flat bed trailer (Carrying the Hillman Hornet on its way to one of the Oshgosh Airshow), when my dad asked me to hop up on the trailer and get cushions that were tied down to skids of the helicopter. I was 14 years old and remember it like it was yesterday. I immediately complied not knowing of course that my dad had just saved my life. As soon as I pulled myself up, I missed being hit by inches and she side swiped the flat bed trailer taking out the left quarter panel and left rear tire of the Chevy Dualie. When the dust cleared, my dad was lying face down in front of me & Ron was nowhere to be seen. The off duty police officer who was following her at the time stopped to assist and thought I was a victim myself due to the amount of blood I was wearing from my dad and my brother. Later the accident investigator estimated her rate of speed at 65 MPH when she hit them. They definitely did not know what hit them and did not suffer in any way. It was a sad day in deed but did help to put new laws into Legislation forever. I am now 38 years old and have 5 children thanks to my father.

Kelly L. Hillman, e-mail, 27.09.2007reply

I would like to clarify the very first paragraph above with regard to my father, Douglas Dale Hillman. While it is true that my father died during a time that the Hillman 360 was undergoing testing, his death was in no way related to the 360 helicopter.

My father and my older brother, Ron, were killed by a drunk driver in front of my brother's home. Yes, an absolute tragedy and as Barry Goldwater, U. S. Senator, spoke of this tragedy in a letter he wrote about my father he stated, " ... Doug was the last person in this world with all of his skill and his speed, ever to be caught on a highway with another man and the other man being drunk. I don't know what we are going to do about all of this. I think we have to make the penalty for drunk driving almost as bad as murder if we are going to put the fear of God in people ... He [Doug] was a fine, wonderful man and we are all going to miss him."

While I truly appreciate the effort that went into presenting information about the Hillman 360, it would mean a lot to me if the reason for my father's death was perfectly clear. Please feel to contact if you have questions or need additional information.

Kelly L.[Hillman] Opatz

Courtney Hillman, e-mail, 16.05.2007reply

My grandma sold these plans after my dad was killed!

bmeerfeld, e-mail, 11.02.2007reply

Does anyone sell plans for the Hillman Wankel-B, Hillman Green Hornet or the Turbo Hornet IIA.

bmeerfeld, e-mail, 11.02.2007reply

Does anyone sell plans for the Hillman Wankel-B, Hillman Green Hornet or the Turbo Hornet IIA.

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