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CH-3 Jolly Green Giant Helicopter

In 1962 the Sikorsky CH-3 (civilian Model S-61) was introduced, developed for the U.S. Navy as the SH-3, a twin-engine, heavy lift helicopter. The USAF initially operated six Navy HSS-2 (SH-3A) versions of the S-61 in 1962, eventually designating them CH-3A/Bs. Successful operations led the USAF to order 75 CH-3Cs, featuring a new rear fuselage design with a ramp for vehicles and other cargo. The CH-3C was updated with more powerful engines in 1966, redesignated as CH-3E.

The HH-3E / HH-3F helicopter is a modified version of the CH-3E Sea King, developed for aircrew rescue missions deep into enemy-held territory during the Vietnam War where the helicopter was best known as the "Jolly Green Giant". The first non-stop trans-Atlantic flight by a helicopter was made by two Jolly Green Giants between 30 May and 1 June 1967, flying from New York City to the Paris air show. During that 4,270-mile (6,832-kilometer) flight, which took 30 hours and 46 minutes, each aircraft was aerially refueled nine times, another innovation.

Beginning in the late 1960s, the CH-3 and HH-3 models were superseded by the CH-53 / HH-53 Super Stallion helicopters which were also called the Super Jolly Green Giant. The CH-3/HH-3 remained in service into the 1990s and even flew 251 combat missions during Operation Desert Storm.

The CH-3 could carry 25 combat-equipped troops, 15 litter patients for MedEvac or 5,000 pounds of cargo. Its crew consisted of pilot, co-pilot, and flight engineer with a pararescue specialist and/or flight surgeon depending on mission.

Today in WW II: 29 Jul 1938 Japanese invasion of territory claimed by the USSR [Battle of Lake Khasan, 29 July-31 August].  

CH-3 Sea King / Jolly Green Giant Helicopter Specifications and Performance

Rotor diameter 62 ft.
Length 72 ft. 10 in.
Height 18 ft. 1 in.
Width 15 ft. 3 in.
Weight 22,050 max
Armament Two 7.62mm or .50 cal. mg
Engine Two 1,500 shp General Electric T58-GE-5 turboshaft
Maximum speed 177 mph
Cruising speed 154 mph
Range 779 mi. w/external tanks
Service ceiling 21,000 ft.

USAF CH-3E helicopter approaching landing zone in Vietnam jungle, Operation Pony Express, June 1968
USAF CH-3E helicopter approaching landing zone in Vietnam jungle, Operation Pony Express, June 1968.

U.S. Air Force CH-3 Sea King helicopter parked on the apron at Andrews AFB, MD, 1981
U.S. Air Force CH-3 Sea King helicopter parked on the apron at Andrews AFB, MD, 1981.

SH-3 Sea King of the Royal Air Force, during NATO exercise
SH-3 Sea King of the Royal Air Force, during NATO exercise.

HH-3E Jolly Green Giant
HH-3E Jolly Green Giant.

CH-3E Jolly Green Giant Helicopter
CH-3E Jolly Green Giant Helicopter.

CH-3E Jolly Green Giant Helicopter
CH-3E Jolly Green Giant Helicopter.

Thanks to r3dduk3 for proper id of several photos.