Sikorsky S-51 (H-5A) “Executive Transport”

Sikorsky S-51 (H-5A) “Executive Transport” at the New England Air Museum


Type:   Light utility helicopter
Crew:   1
First Flight:   
Capacity:   3 passengers
Length:   40' 10”
Height:   13'”
Rotor Diameter:   49'
Empty Weight:   3,790 lbs.
Gross Weight:   5,000 lbs.
Cruise Speed:   85 mph
Maximum Speed:   103 mph
Range:   300 mi.
Service Ceiling:   14,600'
Powerplant:   Pratt & Whitney R-985 Wasp Jr
Year:   1947
Serial No.:   9602 (RCAF)
Location:   Civil Hangar

First flown in 1946 and produced until 1951, the S-51 was Sikorsky's first commercial helicopter. It entered military service as the R-5 as the first practical military helicopter and was used for spotting and communications work. The R-5 designation, used under the U. S. Army Air Force, was changed in 1948 to H-5 under the new U. S. Air Force naming system. Models also served with the U.S. Navy, Coast Guard and even the U. S. Post Office Department. It distinguished itself in the Korean Conflict in search and rescue missions. Westland acquired a license to build the S-51 in Britain. While primarily planned for the civilian market, it was the first British-built helicopter to enter RAF service and was given the nickname “Dragonfly.”

This example was built in 1947 in Stratford, CT, and was originally used by the Royal Canadian Air Force. T.F.J. “Terry” Leversedge, Brigadier-General (ret.), now an aerospace consultant and author, has provided information that it was RCAF serial number 9602 (c/n 51-19) and “served in a variety of RCAF units as both as a search and rescue helicopter and as a basic helicopter training platform. It finished its military service at the Canadian Joint Air Training Centre (CJATC) in Rivers, Manitoba, Canada.” He states that it first “taken on strength” on April 11, 1947 and was “struck off military strength” on December 2, 1968. Subsequently, it was registered in this country as a civilian aircraft, N5219. It was completely restored by a volunteer group of Sikorsky retirees and is finished in the colors of a Sikorsky executive transport.

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