Seibel S-4

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S-4/YH-24
Seibel s-4 1-1-.jpg
YH-24 in flight
Role light helicopter
Manufacturer Seibel Helicopter
Designer Charles Seibel
First flight January 1949
Primary user United States Army
Number built 2
Developed into Cessna CH-1

The Seibel S-4 was a two-bladed, single-engine helicopter built by Seibel Helicopter. Designed by Charles Seibel, the S-4 was evaluated by the United States Army under the designation YH-24 Sky Hawk, but would be rejected for service. The S-4B would serve as the basis for the design of the Cessna CH-1 Skyhook, the only helicopter Cessna ever produced.

Development[edit]

Charles Seibel began development on the S-4 after forming the Seibel Helicopter Company with funding from local Kansas oil investors. The S-4 was a continuation of his work on his previous design, the Seibel S-3, which he flew as a demonstrator for his design concepts; primarily a new design for a two-bladed rotor system and a simplified transmission. These features would also be incorporated into the S-4 design.

In January 1949, the S-4 lifted off the ground for the first time, piloted by Johnny Gibbs. In March 1950, certification tests were completed and on 23 April 1950, the S-4 received civil certification by the CAA. A larger engine, the Lycoming O-290B with 125 hp, would be installed in the aircraft, making it the S-4A.

Gov. Frank Carlson and Charles Seibel at the CAA Certification Ceremony

Based on feedback from the Army during the evaluation, Seibel, shortened the fuselage of the second YH-24 (51-5113) and widened the cockpit for a co-pilot's seat next to the pilot's seat. Seibel also replaced that aircraft's original wheeled, tricycle undercarriage with landing skids. This aircraft would become the S-4B.

Design[edit]

The S-4 frame was a welded steel-tube box frame, with two decks. A lower deck supported the control panel, pilot's seat, wheeled, tricycle landing gear, and a small passenger/cargo area accessible from the rear, and an upper deck carried the engine, the fuel and oil tanks, and supported the transmission and rotor assembly. A tapered, monocoque, alloy tail boom with a two-bladed antitorque tail rotor was attached at the rear of the upper deck.

Operational history[edit]

Both the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force showed interest in the S-4. In early 1951, the U.S. Army ordered two examples for operational and engineering evaluation in the observation, utility, and aeromedical evacuation roles. The Army designated the S-4 as the YH-24 Sky Hawk. The first Sky Hawk, serial number 51-5112, was delivered to Fort Bragg, North Carolina in April 1951; the second YH-24, serial number 51-5113, was delivered to Wright Field.

Despite the simplicity of the S-4, the Army determined that it did not provide a sufficient payload capability and the aircraft were dropped from the inventory and returned to Seibel in 1952.

Variants[edit]

S-4 
Original design, certified by the CAA in 1950.
S-4A 
Featured an upgraded, 125 hp Lycoming O-290B engine.
S-4B 
Modified airframe based on Army recommendations during YH-24 evaluation. Two-seat cockpit and skid landing gear.

Specifications (YH-24)[edit]

Orthographic projection of the Seibel S-4.

Data from U.S. Aircraft Since 1947[1]

General characteristics

Performance

References[edit]

  1. ^ Harding 1990, p.224
  2. ^ Bridgman 1951, p. 288c.
  • Bridgman, Leonard (1951). Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1951–52. London: Sampson Low, Marston & Company, Ltd. 
  • Harding, Stephen (1990). U.S. Army Aircraft Since 1947. Shrewsbury, UK: Airlife. ISBN 1-85310-102-8. 
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