Copyright © A. Filippone (1997-2005). All Rights Reserved.

Sikorski S-55

S-55 at base S-55 at take off
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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 !

Technical Data

  • Rotor diameter 16.35 m
  • MTOW 3580 kg

Related Material

Selected References

  • Sikorsky, I. The Story of the Winged-S: An Autobiography, Dodd, Mead and Co., New York 1938 (reprinted 1958, 1967).

  • Lambermont P, Pirie A. Helicopter and Autogyros of the World Cassell, London, 1958

  • Gunston, B. Helicopters of the World, Crescent, New York, 1983.

  • Taylor, MJ. History of the Helicopter, Hamlyn Publishing, London, 1984
On the Web

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  • Igor Sikorsky and the invention of the helicopter

  • History of Helicopter Flight, from the Univ. of Maryland

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Copyright © A. Filippone (1997-2005). All Rights Reserved.