Today in WW II: 8 Nov 1939 Hitler narrowly escapes a bomb planted in Munich at the site of his annual speech commemorating the failed 1923 Beer Hall putsch; 7 killed, 63 injured.  More 
8 Nov 1942 Operation Torch begins, 125,000 US-British troops land at Casablanca, Oran and Algiers.
8 Nov 1942 French Resistance in Algiers neutralizes the Vichy-supporting French Army command, preventing interference with Operation Torch.
8 Nov 1944 Operation Infatuate, the liberation of the Dutch Island of Walcheren, concludes with end to all German resistance.
Visit the Olive-Drab.com World War II Timeline for day-by-day events 1939-1945! See also WW2 Books.

R-6 Hoverfly II Sikorsky Helicopter

The Sikorsky-designed R-6A two-seat observation helicopter was a refined version of the Sikorsky R-4, the first U.S. Air Corps helicopter to serve in a combat zone (May 1944). The R-6A, first flown in October 1943, used the same rotor and transmission system as the R-4, but had a more powerful engine. The fuselage was completely redesigned to reduce air resistance and provide improved pilot visibility. As a result, the R-6A bore little resemblance to its boxy-looking R-4 predecessor.

Sikorsky built the first six of the helicopters (one XR-6 and five XR-6As), but another 219 R-6As were produced in 1944 and 1945 by Nash-Kelvinator under license from Sikorsky. The production version was designated as the R-6A.

Although primarily an observation and liaison helicopter, many R-6As also were equipped with capsules on each side of the fuselage to carry litters for medical evacuation. Bomb racks also could be installed and the R-6A could be equipped with floats for operation from water.

The Navy procured three of the experimental models, designated XR-6A, from the Army Air Force's acquisitions in late-1943 and were given the Navy designation of XHOS-1. One was sent to Floyd Bennett Field for evaluation by the Coast Guard. The Navy then acquired 36 R-6As (which were redesignated as HOS-1s) from the Army Air Force and the Coast Guard purchased 27 of these between January 1945 and January 1946. Of these, two were destroyed in crashes (no fatalities), and the rest were returned to the Navy by May 1949.

R-6 Sikorsky Specifications and Performance

Rotor diameter 38 ft.
Length 48 ft.
Height 10 ft. 5 in.
Weight 3,243 lbs. loaded
Armament None
Engine 235 hp Franklin 0-405-9
Maximum speed 96 mph
Cruising speed 90 mph
Range 245 miles
Service ceiling 10,200 ft.

U.S. Army Air Force R-6A parked on a road in China, 1945
U.S. Army Air Force R-6A parked on a road in China, 1945.

A Coast Guard HOS-1 (Sikorsky R-6A) at San Francisco in the late 1940s.  A retriever boom and pulley has been installed to assist with rescue
A Coast Guard HOS-1 (Sikorsky R-6A) at San Francisco in the late 1940s. A retriever boom and pulley has been installed to assist with rescue.

Sikorsky R-6A at the National Museum of the United States Air Force
Sikorsky R-6A at the National Museum of the United States Air Force.