Rare view of a vintage Sikorski S-55 helicopter taking off. The S-55 made its first flight in 1949 and was built for the U.S. Army in the 1950s. It was also built under license by SNCA in France, Westland in the UK, and by China as late as the mid 1980s.
The helicopter was finally retired in the early 1980s, and some civilian versions (like the one above) still fly, although the type has disappeared from the catalogues of the world’s armies.
The photos above were taken in 1997 in Arizona. First I took the close-up, not believing that the beast could fly. Later on the day I have seen a pilot getting on board and turning on the engine. Gulp ! – It could fly !
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