Sikorsky H-19 Chickasaw
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For other uses of "H19" see H19 (disambiguation).
|First flight||November 10, 1949|
The Sikorsky H-19 Chickasaw, (also known by its Sikorsky model number, S-55) was a multi-purpose helicopter used by the United States Army and United States Air Force. It was also license-built by Westland Aircraft as the Westland Whirlwind in the United Kingdom. United States Navy and United States Coast Guard models were designated HO4S, while those of the U.S. Marine Corps were designated HRS. In 1962, the U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Marine Corps versions were all redesignated as H-19s like their U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force counterparts.
Design and development
The H-19's first flight was on November 10, 1949 and it entered operations in 1950. Over 1,000 of the helicopters were manufactured by Sikorsky for the United States. An additional 550 were manufactured by licensees of the helicopter including Westland Aircraft, the Société nationale des constructions aéronautiques du sud-est (SNCASE) in France and Mitsubishi in Japan.
The H-19 Chickasaw holds the distinction of being the US Army's first true transport helicopter and, as such, played an important role in the initial formulation of Army doctrine regarding air mobility and the battlefield employment of troop-carrying helicopters. The H-19 underwent live service tests in the hands of the 6th Transportation Company, during the Korean War beginning in 1951 as an unarmed transport helicopter. Undergoing tests such as medical evacuation, tactical control and front-line cargo support, the helicopter succeeded admirably in surpassing the capabilities of the H-5 Dragonfly which had been used throughout the Korean conflict by the Army.
France made aggressive use of helicopters in Algeria, both as troop transports and gunships, Piasecki/Vertol H-21 and Sud-built Sikorski H-34 helicopters rapidly displaced fixed-wing aircraft for the transport of paras and quick-reaction commando teams. In Indochina, a small number of Hiller H-23s and Sikorsky H-19s were available for casualty evacuation. In 1956, the French Air Force experimented with arming the H-19, then being superseded in service by the more capable Piasecki H-21 and Sikorsky H-34 helicopters. The H-19 was originally fitted with a 20-mm cannon, two rocket launchers, plus a 20-mm cannon, two 12.7-mm machine guns, and a 7.5-mm light machine gun firing from the cabin windows, but this load proved far too heavy, and even lightly-armed H-19 gunships fitted with flexible machine guns for self-defense proved underpowered.
- Five early production S-55s for evaluation.
- USAF version of the YH-19 powered by a 600 hp, (472kW) R-1340-57 engine, redeisgnated UH-19A in 1962, 50 built.
- H-19As modified for Air-Sea Rescue, redesignated HH-19A in 1962.
- H-19A with a more powerful 700 hp, (522kW) R-1300-3 engine, redesignated UH-19B in 1962, 264 built.
- H-19Bs modified for Air-Sea Rescue, redesignated HH-19B in 1962.
- US Army version of the H-19A, redesignated UH-19C in 1962, 72 built.
- US Army version of the H-19B, redesignated UH-19D in 1962, 301 built.
- US Navy version of the H-19A, 10 built.
- Project for rescue version for the United States Coast Guard, not built.
- Re-engined US Navy & Canadian version with 700 hp, (522kW) Wright R-1300 engine, redesignated UH-19F (American variant) H04S-3 (Canadian variant) in 1962, 79 built.
- United States Coast Guard version of the HO4S-3, redesignated HH-19G in 1962, 30 built.
- United States Marine Corps version of the HO4S for eight troops, 60 built.
- HRS-1 with equipment changes, 101 built.
- HRS-2 with a 700 hp, (522kW) R-1300-3 engine, became CH-19E in 1962, 105 built and conversions from HRS-2.
- Project for HRS-3 with a 1,025 hp, (764kW) R-1820 radial engine, not built.
- H-19A redesignated in 1962.
- SH-19A redesignated in 1962.
- H-19B redesignated in 1962.
- SH-19B redesignated in 1962.
- HRS-3 redesignated in 1962.
- HO4S-3 redesignated in 1962.
- HO4S-3G redesignated in 1962
- Commercial version with 600 hp, (472kW) R-1340 engine.
- Commercial version with 800 hp, (596kW) R-1300-3 engine.
- S-55A with a 600 hp, (472kW) R-1340 engine.
- Modified aircraft with a 650 shp, (485kW) Garrett AiResearch TPE-331-3U-303 turboshaft and updated equipment.
- Commercial conversion. Ultra-quiet helicopter for sight-seeing flights over the Grand Canyon.
- OHA-S-55 Heli-Camper
- Commercial conversions carried out by Orlando Helicopters.
- OHA-S-55 Nite-Writer
- Commercial conversion. Aerial advertising helicopter, fitted with a 12.2-m x (40-ft x 8-ft) array of computer-controlled lights.
- OHA-S-55 Bearcat
- Commercial conversion. Agricultural helicopter.
- OHA-S-55 Heavy Lift
- Commercial conversion. Flying crane helicopter.
- QS-55 Aggressors
- Commercial conversion. S-55 helicopters converted into flying targets.
- OHA-AT-55 Defender
- Commercial conversion. Armed military helicopter.
- Whirlwind HAR21
- HRS-2 for Royal Navy, ten delivered.
- Whirlwind HAS22
- H04S-3 for Royal Navy, 15 delivered.
Later marks of Whirlwind were built under licence.
- Crew: 2 (pilot, copilot)
- Capacity: 12 troops or 8 litters
- Length: 62 ft 7 in (19.1 m)
- Rotor diameter: 53 ft (16.16 m)
- Height: 13 ft 4 in (4.07 m)
- Disc area: ft² (m²)
- Empty weight: 4,795 lb (2,177 kg)
- Loaded weight: 7,200 lb (3,266 kg)
- Max. takeoff weight: 7,900 lb (3,587 kg)
- Powerplant: 1 × Pratt & Whitney R-1340-57 radial engine, 600 hp (450 kW)
- Maximum speed: 101 mph (163 km/h)
- Range: 405 mi (652 km)
- Service ceiling: 10,500 ft (3,200 m)
- Rate of climb: 700 ft/min (213 m/min)
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
- Duke, R.A., Helicopter Operations in Algeria [Trans. French], Dept. of the Army (1959)
- France, Operations Research Group, Report of the Operations Research Mission on H-21 Helicopter Dept. of the Army (1957)
- Riley, David, French Helicopter Operations in Algeria, Marine Corps Gazette, February 1958, pp. 21-26.
- Shrader, Charles R., The First Helicopter War: Logistics and Mobility in Algeria, 1954-1962, Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers (1999)
- Spenser, Jay P., Whirlybirds: A History of the U.S. Helicopter Pioneers, Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press (1998)
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