Baby born in helicopter, named for pilot

Airplanes have been around (and influencing names!*) since the early 1900s, but “the first useful helicopters did not appear until the early 1940s.”

In January of 1959, the wife of U.S. Army sergeant William S. Nolan went into labor with the couple’s second child. Nolan was stationed in Germany at the time, and the roads were too icy for driving, so they boarded an H-34 helicopter and braved “dangerous flying conditions” in an attempt to reach the U.S. Army hospital in Nuremberg in time for the birth.

The baby boy had other plans, though. He arrived about 10 minutes before landing in what an Army spokesman called “possibly the first helicopter delivery in history.” He weighed 6 1/2 pounds, had red hair, and was named Milton Billy after two of the helicopter’s crew members: pilot Milton Olsen and crew chief Billy Owen.


  • “Bavarian Storks Have Competition.” Lodi News-Sentinel 13 Jan. 1959: 10.
  • “GI’s Wife Gives Birth to Child in Army Helicopter.” Schenectady Gazette 13 Jan. 1959: 1.
  • Helicopter –

*See Airlene, Vilas, Maitland, Belvin, Lindbergh, etc.

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