Sikorsky S-64 Skycrane

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S-64 Skycrane / Aircrane
N179AC-Elvis-739.jpg
Erickson S-64E, Elvis
Role Aerial crane
Manufacturer Sikorsky Aircraft
Erickson Air-Crane
Designer Igor Sikorsky
First flight 9 May 1962
Status Active
Primary user Erickson Air-Crane
Number built about 110[citation needed]
Developed from CH-54 Tarhe

The Sikorsky S-64 Skycrane is an American twin-engine heavy-lift helicopter. It is the civil version of the United States Army's CH-54 Tarhe. The S-64 Aircrane is the current production version, manufactured by the Erickson Air-Crane company.

Development[edit]

An Erickson Air-Crane S-64

Under Sikorsky[edit]

The Sikorsky S-64 was designed as an enlarged version of the prototype flying crane helicopter, the Sikorsky S-60. The S-64 had a six-blade main rotor and was powered by two 4,050 shaft horsepower (3,020 kW) Pratt & Whitney JFTD12A turboshaft engines. The prototype S-64 first flew on 9 May 1962 and was followed by two further examples for evaluation by the German armed forces.[1] The Germans did not place an order, but the United States Army placed an initial order for six S-64A helicopters (with the designation YCH-54A Tarhe). Seven S-64E variants were built by Sikorsky for the civil market.

Under Erickson[edit]

Originally a Sikorsky Aircraft product, the type certificate and manufacturing rights were purchased from them by Erickson Air-Crane in 1992.

Since that time, Erickson Air-Crane has become the manufacturer and world's largest operator of S-64 Aircranes and has made over 1,350 changes to the airframe, instrumentation, and payload capabilities of the helicopter. The Aircrane can be fitted with a 2,650-gallon (~10,000 litre) fixed retardant tank to assist in the control of bush fires, and it has proved itself admirably in this role.

S-64 Aircranes have been sold to the Italian and Korean Forest Services for fire suppression and emergency response duties. Those in the Erickson Air-Crane fleet are leased worldwide to organizations, companies, and Federal Government agencies for either short-term or longer term use in fire suppression, civil protection, heavy lift construction, and timber harvesting.

Erickson is manufacturing new S-64s, as well as remanufacturing existing CH-54s. Erickson gives each of its S-64s an individual name, the best-known being "Elvis", used in fighting fires in Australia alongside "The Incredible Hulk" and "Isabelle". Other operators, such as Siller Brothers, have followed with their Sikorsky S-64E, Andy's Pride. The Erickson S-64E nicknamed "Olga" was used to lift the top section of the CN Tower into place in Toronto, Canada.

Variants[edit]

Sikorsky Skycrane[edit]

S-64 dropping water on the Ahorn Fire in Montana, September 2007. USFS photo
Italian Forest Service S-64F on display at the 2005 HAI HeliExpo
Erickson S-64, refueling at McNary Field, Salem, Oregon
"Shania" (N720HT) dumping water at Mt Kuring-gai near Sydney in April 2007
Sikorsky-S-64 Drawing.svg
S-64E Erickson Air-Crane, Delilah (N194AC) at Ioannina airport, Greece
Sikorsky installing monopole in Langkawi, Malaysia
S-64
Twin-engined heavy-lift helicopter, 3 built.
S-64A
Six test and evaluation helicopters for the US Army.
S-64B 
Civil version of CH-54A, 7 built.

Erickson Aircrane[edit]

S-64E
Upgraded & certified CH-54A helicopters, plus one new build aircraft.
S-64F
Upgraded & certified CH-54B helicopters. Powered by two Pratt & Whitney JFTD12-5A engines.

Operators[edit]

 Italy
 Korea
 United States

Incidents[edit]

  • N189AC "Gypsy Lady" – crashed in Rose Valley, California late 2006.[14][15] Rebuilt and back in service.
  • N198AC "Shirley Jean" – S-64F; sold to European Air-Crane c.2006 as I-SEAD; crashed in Italy on 2007-04-26.[16] Aircraft was destroyed in a post-crash fire.[17]
  • N248AC "Aurora" – S-64E; named after Aurora State Airport. Home to Columbia Helicopters, former owner of aircraft.[5] Crashed on 26 August 2004 in Corsica, killing its Canadian pilot and French co-pilot. The Air-Crane was chartered by the interior ministry to fight fires on the French Mediterranean island of Corsica. It had been fighting a fire and it went down near the village of Ventiseri as it was trying to return to a nearby military base because of a technical problem due to inflight breakup.[18][19]

Specifications (S-64E)[edit]

Data from The International Directory of Civil Aircraft[20]

General characteristics

Performance

See also[edit]

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Related lists

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jackson, Paul (1976). German Military Aviation 1956–1976. Midland Counties Publications. ISBN 0-904597-03-2. 
  2. ^ "Corpo Forestale dello Stato Elicottero S 64 F". Retrieved 26 January 2013. 
  3. ^ "Korea Forest Service S-64". Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  4. ^ "KFS Sikorsky S-64E Skycrane". Demand media. Retrieved 26 January 2013. 
  5. ^ a b "Helispot photo". Helispot.com. Retrieved 2010-12-20. 
  6. ^ "the origins of Erickson Air-Crane". Erickson Air-Crane, Inc. 2013. Retrieved 26 January 2013. 
  7. ^ "Evergreen S-64 spec. sheet". evergreenaviation.com. Retrieved 26 January 2013. 
  8. ^ "HTS Fleet". htshelicopters.com. Retrieved 26 January 2013. 
  9. ^ "S-64 Aircranes for L.A.?". ainonline.com. Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  10. ^ "LAFD S-64". emergencyrigs.net. Retrieved 26 January 2013. 
  11. ^ "Erickson Air-Crane buys Sun Bird aircraft from San Diego Gas & Electric". Helihub.com. Retrieved 26 January 2013. 
  12. ^ "L.A. County S-64". lacofd.smugmug.com. Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  13. ^ "Siller Fleet". sillerhelicopters.com. Retrieved 20 September 2013. 
  14. ^ "NTSB report in pdf". Ntsb.gov. Retrieved 2010-12-20. [dead link]
  15. ^ Inciweb – Helitanker Accident At Rose Valley[dead link]
  16. ^ Helicopters area of dgualdo.it (report excerpts in Italian)[dead link]
  17. ^ "NTSB report – NYC07WA152". Ntsb.gov. 26 April 2007. Retrieved 2010-12-20. [dead link]
  18. ^ "NTSB report – WAS04WA012". Ntsb.gov. 26 August 2004. Retrieved 2010-12-20. [dead link]
  19. ^ "NTSB probes Air-Crane crash – September 9, 2004". Archive.mailtribune.com. 9 September 2004. Retrieved 2010-12-20. [dead link]
  20. ^ Frawley, Gerard: The International Directiory of Civil Aircraft, 2003–2004, page 195. Aerospace Publications Pty Ltd, 2003. ISBN 1-875671-58-7

External links[edit]

External images
Line drawing of Skycrane