Back McCulloch MC-4

McCulloch MC-4

This attractive little aeroplane was the first tandem-rotor helicopter to be certificated by the U.S. Civil Aeronautics Administration for commercial use, and is also one of the smallest helicopters to be built with a tandem layout. Its development began in 1946 with the Helicopter Engineering and Research Corporation headed by D.K. Jovanovich and F. Kozloski, where a small 2-seat prototype (N9000H) was built with the designation JOV-3. This aircraft, powered by a 125hp Lycoming O-290, was flown successfully in 1948. It had 3-blade rotors of 5.64m diameter, a gross weight of 618kg, a maximum speed of 161km/h and a range of 221km.

Jovanovich and Kozloski transferred in 1949 to the newly-formed helicopter division of the McCulloch Motors Corporation, where an enlarged development of the JOV-3 was built as the MC-4 with 6.71m rotors and a 165hp Franklin 6V4-165-832 engine. This prototype (N4070K) flew for the first time on so March 1951, and soon afterwards McCulloch began the construction of a prototype MC-4C (N4071K) and three generally similar YH-30's (52-5837 to '39) for evaluation by the U.S. Army. These were slightly larger than the MC-4, having 200hp Franklins and egg-shaped tail fins mounted on outriggers below the rear rotor head. The YH-30's trials programme yielded no military orders, and no civilian customers were immediately forthcoming for the MC-4C, which was certificated by the CAA on 17 February 1953. Jovanovich persevered with the design, however, and after forming his own Jovair Corporation some years later produced N4071K in developed form as the prototype for a new 4-seat private or executive helicopter known as the Sedan 4E. The Franklin 6A-335 of 210hp was now installed and the fuselage offered comfortable accommodation and easy 4-door access to 3 passengers in addition to the pilot. A supercharged version, the Sedan 4ES, was offered with a 225hp Franklin 6AS-335. The Sedan 4E received type approval from the FAA in March 1963, and some two years later small-scale production of this version was begun; the current version, with a 235hp 6A-350 engine, is slightly heavier. In mid-1963 Jovair offered the stripped-fuselage Sedan 4A as an agricultural, training or utility cargo version, with provision for some 450kg of cargo or crop spraying equipment in place of the rear passenger compartment.

K.Munson "Helicopters And Other Rotorcraft Since 1907", 1968

McCulloch MC-4

The Model MC-4 tandem-rotor light helicopter was the first aircraft to be developed by McCulloch Motors' Aircraft Division, and made its first flight in March 1951. The Army acquired three examples of the slightly modified Model MC-4C in 1952 for engineering test and evaluation, designating the machines YH-30 and allocating them the serials 52-5837 through -5839.

The YH-30 was a craft of relatively simple construction, consisting of a steel tube framework to which was attached a light metal skin. The helicopter's single 200hp Franklin engine was mounted horizontally amidships and drove the two inter-meshing tandem rotors through a single horizontal drive shaft and two right-angled reduction units. Two small endplate rudders were fixed to the rear fuselage to provide additional lateral stability, and the aircraft was equipped with wheeled tricycle landing gear. The craft's two crew members enjoyed better than average visibility to the front and sides, though the view upward was blocked by the overhanging front rotor housing.

The Army's evaluation of the YH-30 showed the helicopter to be somewhat underpowered and its drive system to be overly complex. The type was therefore not procured in quantity, and the three evaluation machines were declared surplus in mid-1953 and disposed of.

S.Harding "U.S.Army Aircraft since 1947", 1990

McCulloch MC-4

Technical data for McCulloch MC-4

Crew: 2, engine: 1 x Franklin 6A4-200-C6 pistone engine, rated at 149kW, rotor diameter: 7.01m, fuselage length: 9.88m, height: 2.77m, take-off weight: 1043kg, empty weight: 726kg, max speed: 169km/h, cruising speed: 137km/h, ceiling: 3048m, range: 322km

McCulloch MC-4

McCulloch MC-4

M.Gruenenfelder, e-mail, 14.10.2021reply

Kehrsatz, 14. October 2021
Hello !
Is there anybody around, who knows abot the following persons:
- Reed West
- Don Hillberg
- Jim Trego
- Andrew Wallace
- Norm Smith
It is all about the McCulloch MC-4 or Jovair Tandem helicopter.
Thanks for any feedback. Matthew

Gregory W. Piasecki, e-mail, 04.08.2020reply

This is an attractive project. Who owns the type certificate for the McCulloghs?

Jeff, e-mail, 15.05.2017reply

This not a technical question, in fact it's kind of an off the wall question, but I recently watched a not-too-great cci-fi movie, Got, about science running amok...I think, anyway, it was made in the early '50's, and toward the beginning two men arrive in a two seat helicopter. Because of the angled front of the canopy, I kind of assumed it to be an early Piasecki, but in doing just a little on-line research find it more resembles the MC-4. Can you possibly shed some light on this for me, I'm quite taken with the design. Thank you.

david hillberg, e-mail, 15.04.2014reply

the MC4 is back with clasic rotors, the project due to lack of progress is back in storage, sadly many of the original parts locations are in advice here was never taken seriously,"when you find a TCed product like this IRAN it put it back in annual and let the public enjoy the jewel you found..Ego leave it at the door...

Don Hillberg, e-mail, 02.01.2013reply

Reed has moved the opperation to Chino Ca, Drop by & donate a little coin to see the magic of the Mc-4 and when in Chino gander at the museums full of flying machines.
Time & money is all it takes for anything flying.
The history you save could be your own!

Reed West, e-mail, 26.08.2010reply

Hello Im the one who is restoring an mc4, I need to speak to norm smith to talk over flying characteristics of this ship.You can reach me at 760-518-0146,760-751-8827

Matthew, e-mail, 07.10.2021 Reed West

Dear Reed,
what about your MC-4 rebuild project?
I am looking for any MC-4 or Jovair 4 E documentation.

Best regards


Mark, e-mail, 21.08.2020 Reed West

Still working on the MC4?


Don Hillberg, e-mail, 31.08.2010reply

Hay Reid, Its got two Rotors and no tail which way will it spin when you do an autorotation? (TRICK QUESTION!) Dear Yargla how do you say your name with out spitting into a sink? Its like brushing your teeth- yargling and spitting, Oh I forgot you French don't like to take baths or keep clean, Last time I went to Bell Helicopter school we could smell ya all across the rooms and through the walls. Stand closer to the soap,It wont bite you! and don't cut the cheese when you drink whine, Waaa Waaaa Go home and leave the real helicopter stuff with US......

John Alford, e-mail, 16.11.2010reply

I have a nice color photo of N4070K that was my Dad's that could be copied if desired, contact me, 818-884-6234.

Jim Trego, e-mail, 02.09.2011reply

Hi. The pictures are great. I was one of the engineers on the project. There were only 23 people on the project including engineers, welders, mechanics and a test pilot. A real fun project that didn't go anywhere because the Korean war ended and so did the market for helicopters.

Matthew, e-mail, 07.10.2021 Jim Trego

Hello Jim,
I plan, to rebuild a Jovair 4 E Sedan, so as we can fly it.
But I need some more manuals and documentation.

Please contact me.

Thanks and best regards



david hillberg, e-mail, 02.11.2011reply

Reed ,I wish you would bring her back to stock rather than modernizing her.
an IRAN ,a replacement AWC,fuel and she would have been done flying all ready.

Don Hillberg, e-mail, 23.12.2011reply

The project by Reid West continues, Any thoughts are noted and with hard work & time. It will fly,The engine is mounted and the rest of the parts are sitting on the bench ready to get into the game, The assembly inspection passes, and the UPS recever goes wide out the drive way for a long long drive, A hole in one piece was discovered and the rejected 5 iron was removed with a slam dunk in the local scrap yard. The goal is increased proformance,Tonights show was brought to you by the folks at LOWES hardware, Gota love em,except for care,Why? I don't care. See you next Bat Channel Next bat time!

Don Hillberg, e-mail, 23.02.2012reply

Reed has been talking to some of you old salts on the Mc4 and he is pleased with the comments on the handling & engineering ,Slightly longer blades new engine. We couldn't be happier, The project continues . Strong powerplant.APU,uninterupted ecu power, Air conditioning crash resistant fuelcell and all under weight targets!
This airframe will dazzle the people & airmen who feast their eyes on the bones & guts of a running baby chinook.
More comming Next bat time Next bat channle.

Andrew Wallace, e-mail, 16.02.2021 Don Hillberg

Hi Don. I would be very interested to hear more about the Reid West MC-4 project, whether its still going, flying??, I need a helicopter rebuild project to keep me sane around these fixed wings!!
Thanks and look forward to your reply.

Kind regards,
Andrew (


Stuart Fields, e-mail, 26.05.2010reply

looking for a photograph of an Mc-4 for use in a magazine article discussing the re-build /put back in the air? Being done in So. Cal.

Andrew Wallace, e-mail, 13.04.2010reply

ATTN : Norm and Clayton - Please email me re the MC-4. Just tried emailing Norm but it got bounced back. Thanks - Andrew -

Norm Smith, e-mail, 11.04.2010reply

Hello Clayton,
Apparently none of the links work - I couldn't get yours to work either. Try, only eliminate the spam.

Clayton, e-mail, 04.04.2010reply

Hi Norm,
A friend just got one of these. Could we contact you for your thoughts on it? Thanks. I tried email link and it would not work.

Norm Smith, e-mail, 17.03.2010reply

I flew the MC-4 1958 for Gish Jovanovich at Santa Monica CA. I don't have possession of any technical info, but if you have any questions I would be happy to try to answer them.

Matthew, e-mail, 07.10.2021 Norm Smith

Dear Norm,
I plan, to restore a Jovair 4 E Sedan to flying condition.
It would be very interesting, to chat with you about the flight
characteristics of this ship.

Thanks and best regards



Nesher, 09.03.2010reply

Yargla, and you are a stupid french.

Yargla, e-mail, 11.05.2009reply

The first helicopter with Down syndrome!

Do you have any comments ?

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