Sikorsky

26.  In the United States, Russian-born engineer Igor Sikorsky and W. Lawrence LePage competed to produce the U.S. military's first helicopter. LePage received the patent rights to develop helicopters patterned after the Fw 61, and built the XR-1. Meanwhile, Sikorsky settled on a simpler, single rotor design, the VS-300, which turned out to be the first practical single lifting-rotor helicopter design and potentially the best-flying one since the Soviet TsAGI 1-EA, which had flown nearly a decade before. After experimenting with configurations to counteract the torque produced by the single main rotor, Sikorsky settled on a single, smaller rotor mounted on the tailboom.

Developed from the VS-300, Sikorsky's R-4 was the first large-scale mass-produced helicopter, with a production order for 100 aircraft. The R-4 was the only Allied helicopter to serve in World War II, when it was used primarily for rescue in Burma, Alaska, and other areas with harsh terrain. Total production reached 131 helicopters before the R-4 was replaced by other Sikorsky helicopters such as the R-5 and the R-6. In all, Sikorsky produced over 400 helicopters before the end of World War II.

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