The Hiller X-18 from 1959 was the first ever tilt-wing
aircraft to fly. Its design precedes all VTOL (Vertical
Take-Off and Landing) tilt-wing aircraft. And although
it never got past the prototype stage itself, the information
gathered throughout its short flying career contributed
to several other important VTOL research programs.
The X-18 first flew in 1959, piloted by George Bright
and Bruce Jones. Although the X-18's wings could be rotated
through 90 degrees to allow for vertical or horizontal
flight, they were never rotated past 35 degrees - except
during tethered ground tests.
In 1960, after just 20 flights, a propellor governor failed
mid flight. Thankfully the crew managed to land safely,
just. But after this lucky escape the X-18 was grounded.
Four years later it was scrapped.
Similar and related vehicles:
Moller M400 Skycar
Convair XFY-1 POGO
Lockheed XFV-1 Salmon
Canadair CL-84 Dynavert