It was built in 1957 by Vertol, with the money for the project coming from a U.S. Army contract. From the start the program was guided by the Army’s desire to explore the tilt-wing VTOL principle within the shortest possible time and at minimum cost. The cockpit controls, which consisted of stick, rudder pedals, and collective pitch lever, were typical of those found in helicopters.
An “Up-Down” switch to position the wing is provided on top of the stick. The only engine controls were a speed selector and a power lever. These were mounted on the left hand side of the cockpit just forward of the collective pitch lever. During the earlier phases of development, full scale propeller tests were performed in the 40 foot by 80 foot wind tunnel at NASA’s Ames Research Center, Moffet Field, California. Prior to the first hover flight on 13 August 1957. After a series of tiedown tests, taxi tests and hover flights it was decided that although there were some minor problem areas, no modifications were needed before full flights which commenced on 7 January 1958. The first in-flight conversion from hover to normal flight was on 15 July 1958. By the time testing of the VZ-2 ended in 1965 it had completed 450 flights, including 34 full transitions. Thankfully at the end of the program the VZ-2 wasn’t scrapped. Instead it was preserved by the National Air and Space Museum where it is currently in storage.