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UH-17 Atlas

The UH-17 Atlas in flight

The UH-17 Atlas was the first successful VTOL transport. Concepts for what would eventually become the UH-17 were first created in 1928 by the Serbian inventor, Nikola Tesla - the innovative design was the first VTOL aircraft ever designed, but the plans seemingly remained on the drawing board for another seven years. By 1935, President Roosevelt had founded the Works Progress Administration, which placed a demand for a nimble aircraft with a high payload. This request led to the pursuit of Tesla's VTOL concept, which became known as the UH-17 Atlas. While seen as capable, the Atlas gains a bad reputation after several of them flip during flight, and it is seen as difficult to fly. The crashes are blamed on poorly-loaded cargo, but an investigation later reveals that the aircraft were descending into their own rotor wash; this problem was fixed by May 1937, with a series of instrument system upgrades. After this, the UH-17's safety records improved immensely.

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