1937, two engineers, Laurence LePage and Haviland Platt, traveled to
Germany to view the Focke FA-61 tandem-rotor helicopter. There they
obtained an option to build the Focke helicopter in U.S., but
deteriorating conditions between two governments prevented the deal from
going through. After returning to the U.S., they formed Platt LePage
Aircraft Co. and started to develop their own tandem-rotor design, the
This new aircraft interested in the USAAF,
which advised Platt LaPage to enter a military helicopter competition. The
PL-1 was redesigned to meet military needs and was given the new rotary
wing category's first designation, XR-1.
The first flight of the XR-1 was made in
1941. Control system problems caused numerous delays. Modifications were
made and a second prototype, the XR-1A, was constructed. Its
performance proved to be far superior to the XR-1. However, in 1944, the
Sikorsky XR-4 was named the winner of the USAAF helicopter competition.
USAAF cancelled all contracts with Platt LePage, which resulted in the
company's closing. Platt LePage subsequently sold their twin rotor design
to McDonnell, resulting in the XHJD-1 Whirlaway.