XH-20 Little Henry
Role Experimental ramjet-rotor powered helicopter
National origin United States
Manufacturer McDonnell Aircraft
First flight 29 August 1947
Primary user United States Air Force
Number built 2

The McDonnell XH-20 Little Henry was a 1940s American experimental lightweight helicopter designed and built by McDonnell Aircraft.[1]


The McDonnell Model 38 was a lightweight experimental helicopter sponsored by the United States Army Air Force to test the concept of using small ramjets at the tips of the rotor blades.[1] As a functional helicopter it was a simple open-frame steel-tube construction.[1] Allotted the military designation XH-20 the first of two first flew on the 29 August 1947.[1]

Although the XH-20 flew successfully the ramjets were noisy and burnt a large amount of fuel and plans to build a larger two-seat XH-29 were abandoned.


Data from: U.S.Military Aircraft Designations and Serials since 1909[2]

Model 38 XH-20 Little Henry
experimental lightweight helicopter, two built.
Model 79 XH-29 Big Henry
proposed two-seat ramjet-powered development, canceled.[3]


 United States

Aircraft on display

XH-20 at the NMUSAF


Data from [1]

General characteristics


See also

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era

Related lists


Media related to McDonnell XH-20 at Wikimedia Commons

  1. ^ a b c d e "XH-20 Little Henry Research Helicopter". Boeing. Archived from the original on 2009-12-17. Retrieved 2009-12-20.
  2. ^ Andrade, John (1979). U.S.Military Aircraft Designations and Serials since 1909. Midland Counties Publications. pp. 119–121. ISBN 0-904597-22-9.
  3. ^ "McDonnell Model Numbers" (PDF). McDonnell Douglas. July 1, 1974. Retrieved September 3, 2023.