Sikorsky H-5G Dragonfly - Pima ASM, Tucson, AZ
Posted by: kb7ywl
N 32° 08.371 W 110° 52.114
12S E 512396 N 3555907
Quick Description: Sikorsky H-5G Dragonfly s/n 48-0548
Location: Arizona, United States
Date Posted: 3/24/2012 9:39:58 AM
Waymark Code: WME24X
The Sikorsky H-5, (aka R-5, S-51, HO3S-1, or Horse) (R-5 until 1948; company designation VS-327) is a helicopter built by Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, formerly used by the US Air Force (USAF), and its predecessor, the US Army Air Forces (USAAF), as well as the US Navy and US Coast Guard (with the designations HO2S and HO3S). It was also used by the US Post Office Department. In December 1946, an agreement was signed between the British company Westland Aircraft and Sikorsky to produce a British version of the H-5 or S-51, to be manufactured under license in Britain as the Westland-Sikorsky WS-51 Dragonfly. By the time production ceased in 1951, more than 300 examples of all types of the S-51/H-5 had been built.
The H-5, originally designated the R-5 by the military, was designed to provide a helicopter having greater useful load, endurance, speed, and service ceiling than the Sikorsky R-4. The R-5 differed from the R-4 in having increased rotor diameter and a new, longer fuselage for two persons in tandem. Larger than the R-4 or the later R-6, the R-5 was fitted with a more powerful Wasp Junior 450hp radial engine, and quickly proved itself the most successful of the three types. The first XR-5 of four ordered made its initial flight on 18 August 1943. In March 1944, the USAAF ordered 26 YR-5A's for service testing, and in February 1945, the first YR-5A was delivered. This order was followed by a production contract for 100, outfitted with racks for two litters (stretchers); only 34 were actually delivered.
Sikorsky soon developed a modified version of the YR-5A, the S-51, featuring a greater rotor diameter, carrying capacity, and gross weight, which first flew on 16 February 1946. With room for three passengers plus pilot, the S-51 was initially intended to appeal to civilian as well as military operators, and was the first helicopter to be sold to a commercial user. Eleven S-51s were ordered by the USAF and designated the R-5F, while ninety went to the Navy as the HO3S-1, commonly referred to as the 'Horse'.
In Britain, Westland Aircraft began production in 1946 of the Westland-Sikorsky S-51 Dragonfly for the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force, all of which were powered by a 500hp Alvis Leonides engine. This gave an improved top speed of 103mph and a service ceiling of 14,000ft. In total, 133 Westland-Sikorsky Dragonfly helicopters were built. A considerably modified version was also developed by Westland as the Westland Widgeon, but the type was never adopted for service.
The US Navy ordered four S-51s "off-the-shelf" from Sikorsky in late 1946 for use in the Antarctic and Operation Highjump, placing them into Navy inventory as the HO3S-1. Carried aboard the seaplane tender USS Pine Island, on Christmas Day 1946 an HO3S-1 of VX-3 piloted by LCdr Walter M Sessums became the first helicopter to fly in the Antarctic. Having proved its capabilities, the initial Navy HO3S-1 order was followed by subsequent purchases of an additional 42 aircraft in 1948. The Navy equipped several warship classes with HO3S-1 utility helos, including aircraft carriers, seaplane tenders, icebreakers, Des Moines class cruisers, and Iowa class battleships. By February 1948, the Marine Corps had equipped HMX-1, its first regular Marine Helicopter Transport Squadron, with six HO3S-1 aircraft. With a passenger load of only three lightly dressed persons, the HO3S-1s were primarily operated in the utility role by the Marines; for the transport role, an additional nine tandem-rotor Piasecki-built HRP-1 helicopters were later added to the squadron. Eventually, the US Navy would acquire a total of 88 HO3S-1 (S-51) helicopters.
Twenty-one Sikorsky YR-5A's were fitted with third seat, rescue hoist, auxiliary external fuel tank, and nose-wheel; the US Navy evaluated three, as the HO2S-1. Five more were converted as dual-control YR-5E's.
Thirty-nine additional specialized rescue helicopters were built, as the H-5G, in 1948, while sixteen were fitted with pontoons as the H-5H amphibian in 1949.
The R-5 had been designated under the USAAF system, a series starting with R-1 and proceeded up to about R-16. In 1947 with the start of the US Air Force, there was a new system, and many aircraft, but not all, were redesignated. The R-6 became the H-6. The US Army broke off with its own designation system in the 1950's, resulting in new designations for its helicopter projects (such as the HO-6). In 1962 under the new tri-service system, many Navy and Army aircraft were given the low numbers. Under the 1962 system, the low H numbers were given to new aircraft. For example, H-6 was given to the HO-6, which entered service as the Cayuse.
During its service life, the H-5/HO3S-1 was used for utility, rescue, and mercy missions throughout the world, including flights during Operation Highjump in the Antarctic. While the extra power of the H-5 made it significantly more useful than its R-4 and R-6 cousins, the H-5/HO3S-1 suffered, like most early small tandem-seat single-rotor machines, from center of gravity problems. As a matter of routine, the helicopter was equipped with two iron-bar weights – each in a canvas case – one of 25lb/11kg & one of 50lb/23kg. Flying with no passengers – both weights went forward alongside the pilot. With three passengers, both weights normally went into the baggage compartment. However, in conditions of high ambient temperatures, which reduced lift due to the lowered air density, all weights were jettisoned. If the weights could not be recovered later, pilots on future missions were forced to utilize rocks or other improvised weight next to the pilot after offloading three passengers, or else travel at a very slow 25kts/46kph/29mph.
The H-5/HO3S-1 gained its greatest fame, during the Korean War when it was called upon repeatedly to rescue UN pilots shot down behind enemy lines and to evacuate wounded personnel from front-line areas, before being replaced in most roles by the H-19 Chickasaw. In 1957, the last H-5 and HO3S-1 helicopters were retired from active US military service.
Type of Aircraft: (make/model): Sikorsky H-5G Dragonfly
Tail Number: (S/N): s/n 48-0548
Construction:: original aircraft
Location (park, airport, museum, etc.): Located at Pima Air & Space Museum, Tucson, AZ
inside / outside: outside
Pima Air & Space Museum
6000 E Valencia Rd
Tucson, Arizona 85756
Open 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM Daily
Last admittance at 4:00 PM
$12.50-Pima Co Residents
FREE---Children 6 & under
Photo of aircraft (required - will be interesting to see if the aircraft is ever repainted or progress if being restored)
Photo of serial number (required unless there is not one or it is a replica)
Photo(s) of any artwork on the aircraft (optional but interesting)
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