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R-5 Sikorsky Helicopter

Stimulated by the success of the Sikorsky R-4, the U.S. Army Air Force developed a specification for a large observation helicopter, with greater useful load, endurance, speed, and service ceiling. In response, Sikorsky designed the S-51, what would become the two-seat R-5 helicopter. Sikorsky Aircraft built about 65 R-5s, of various versions, for the USAAF, Navy, and Coast Guard. The XR-5 prototype first flew 18 August 1943. In March 1944 the AAF ordered 26 YR-5As for service testing, and in February 1945 the first YR-5A was delivered. The first two examples tested by the Navy were designated HO2S-1, while the remainder of the Navy/Coast Guard R-5 derivations were designated the HO3S-1. The first HO3Ss were delivered to the Coast Guard in August of 1946.

Sikorsky XR-5 in flight
Sikorsky XR-5 in flight.

Today in WW II: 30 Jul 1940 President of Estonia, Konstantin Päts, is imprisoned by Soviet agents and deported to Russia.  More 
30 Jul 1944 Operation Bluecoat begins, an attack by British Second Army supporting breakout in Normandy, aimed to secure the Vire junction and high ground of Mont Pinçon [30 Jul-7 Aug].
30 Jul 1945 USS Indianapolis [CA-35] torpedoed by Japanese submarine, sinks in 12 minutes killing 300 immediately, leaving 900 men in shark-infested waters without lifeboats; only 316 rescued 4 days later.
Visit the Olive-Drab.com World War II Timeline for day-by-day events 1939-1945! See also WW2 Books.

R-5 Sikorsky Helicopter

Originally designated the R-5 (for Rotorcraft-5), the designation of this helicopter was changed in 1948 to reflect new terminology introduced for rotary-wing aircraft. It was changed to H-5 (for Helicopter-5), a precursor of the modern designations.

During its service life, the H-5 was used for rescue and mercy missions throughout the world. It gained its greatest fame, however, during the Korean War when it was called upon repeatedly to rescue United Nations’ pilots shot down behind enemy lines and to evacuate wounded personnel from frontline areas.

More than 300 H-5s were built by the time production was halted in 1951.

R-5 Sikorsky Specifications and Performance

Rotor diameter49 ft.
Length57 ft. 8 in.
Height13 ft.
Weight5,500 lbs. loaded
ArmamentNone
Engine450 hp Pratt & Whitney Wasp Jr.
Maximum speed107 mph at 1,500 ft.
Cruising speed85 mph at 1,500 ft.
Range275 miles at 1,500 ft.
Service ceiling14,800 ft.

Sikorsky R-5 helicopter
Navy HO3S-1 Sikorsky (R-5) from Squadron VMO-6 parked near tents at Inchon, 13 December 1950.

Coast Guard HO3S (Sikorsky R-5), 30 January 1951.  Emergency flotation bags are fitted around the landing gear struts and there is an externally-mounted fuel tank on the starboard side below the rotors
Coast Guard Sikorsky HO3S (Sikorsky R-5), 30 January 1951. Emergency flotation bags are fitted around the landing gear struts and there is an externally-mounted fuel tank on the starboard side below the rotors.

Sikorsky YH-5A at the National Museum of the United States Air Force.
Sikorsky YH-5A at the National Museum of the United States Air Force.

Sikorsky YH-5A
Sikorsky YH-5A.

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