Sikorsky S-64 Skycrane
|S-64 Skycrane / Aircrane|
|Erickson S-64E over Wagga Wagga Airport|
|Manufacturer||Sikorsky Aircraft |
|First flight||9 May 1962|
|Primary user||Erickson Air-Crane|
|Number built||31 |
|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. It is currently produced as the S-64 Aircrane by Erickson Inc..
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. 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.
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 liter) fixed retardant tank to assist in the control of bush fires, and it has proved itself admirably in this role. The helicopter is capable of refilling 10,000 liters of water in 45 seconds from a water slide of only 18 inches or 46 cm thick.
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, Ontario, Canada.
- Twin-engined heavy-lift helicopter, 3 built. 1 rebuilt as S-64E .
- Six test and evaluation helicopters for the US Army.
- Civil version of CH-54A, 7 built.
- Upgraded & certified CH-54A helicopters, plus one new build aircraft. 17 aircraft in total.
- Upgraded & certified CH-54B helicopters. Powered by two Pratt & Whitney JFTD12-5A engines. 13 aircraft in total.
- Columbia Helicopters(No Longer in Use)
- Erickson Air-Crane
- Evergreen Helicopters, Inc.(Bought by Erickson Air-Crane)
- Helicopter Transport Services
- Los Angeles City Fire Department (contracted by Erickson Air-Crane)
- Los Angeles County Fire Department (contracted by Erickson Air-Crane)
- San Diego Gas and Electric (contracted by Erickson Air-Crane)
- Siller Helicopters
- National Aerial Firefighting Centre (contracted by Erickson Air-Crane)
- N189AC "Gypsy Lady" – crashed in Ojai, California on October 1, 2006. While operating for the USFS The Erickson S-64 snagged a dip tank and the helicopter rolled over and crashed.
- N198AC "Shirley Jean" – S-64F; sold to European Air-Crane c.2006 as I-SEAD; crashed in Italy on 2007-04-26. Aircraft was destroyed in a post-crash fire.
- N248AC "Aurora" – S-64E; named after Aurora State Airport, home to Columbia Helicopters, former owner of aircraft. Crashed on 26 August 2004 in Corsica, killing its Canadian pilot and French co-pilot. The aircrane was chartered by the interior ministry to fight fires on the French Mediterranean island of Corsica. It had been fighting a wildfire as it went down near the village of Ventiseri, trying to return to a nearby military base, due to technical problems associated with inflight breakup.
- N173AC "Christine" - S64E; ditched into a small dam within Melbourne's water catchment with no casualties during a firefighting operation in Gippsland, Victoria, Australia on 28 January 2019. The crew, consisting of 2 pilots and the flight engineer, were able to bail from the aircraft in 2-3m of water and swim to safety with no life-threatening injuries.
Data from The International Directory of Civil Aircraft
- Crew: 3 (pilot, co-pilot), plus one engineer or rear-facing observer
- Capacity: up to 5 total persons
- Payload: 20,000 lb (9,072 kg)
- Length: 70 ft 3 in (21.41 m (fuselage))
- Rotor diameter: 72 ft 0 in (21.95 m)
- Height: 18 ft 7 in (5.67 m)
- Disc area: 4070 ft² (378.1 m²)
- Empty weight: 19,234 lb (8,724 kg)
- Max. takeoff weight: 42,000 lb (19,050 kg)
- Powerplant: 2 × Pratt & Whitney JFTD12-4A (T73-P-1) turboshaft engines, 4,500 shp (3,555 kW) each
- Maximum speed: 109 knots (126 mph, 203 km/h)
- Cruise speed: 91 knots (105 mph, 169 km/h)
- Range: 200 nmi (230 mi, 370 km) max fuel and reserves
- Rate of climb: 1,330 ft/min (6.75 m/s)
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
- List of active United States military aircraft
- List of military aircraft of the United States
- List of rotorcraft
- List of surviving Sikorsky CH-54s
- "Sikorsky s-64 CH-54 in USA: Erickson". Helis.com. Archived from the original on 30 July 2017. Retrieved 30 July 2017.
- Jackson, Paul (1976). German Military Aviation 1956–1976. Midland Counties Publications. ISBN 0-904597-03-2.
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- "Corpo Forestale dello Stato Elicottero S 64 F". Archived from the original on 28 October 2012. Retrieved 26 January 2013.
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- "LAFD S-64". emergencyrigs.net. Archived from the original on 21 May 2014. Retrieved 26 January 2013.
- "L.A. County S-64". finance.yahoo.com. Archived from the original on 21 May 2014. Retrieved 17 March 2013.
- "Erickson Air-Crane buys Sun Bird aircraft from San Diego Gas & Electric". Helihub.com. Archived from the original on 9 October 2012. Retrieved 26 January 2013.
- "Siller Fleet". sillerhelicopters.com. Archived from the original on 28 September 2013. Retrieved 20 September 2013.
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- Helicopters area of dgualdo.it (report excerpts in Italian) Archived 28 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
- "NTSB report – NYC07WA152". Ntsb.gov. 26 April 2007. Archived from the original on 19 February 2009. Retrieved 2010-12-20.
- "NTSB report – WAS04WA012". Ntsb.gov. 26 August 2004. Archived from the original on 31 July 2010. Retrieved 2010-12-20.
- "NTSB probes Air-Crane crash – September 9, 2004". Archive.mailtribune.com. 9 September 2004. Archived from the original on 7 July 2012. Retrieved 2010-12-20.
- Frawley, Gerard: The International Directiory of Civil Aircraft, 2003–2004, page 195. Aerospace Publications Pty Ltd, 2003. ISBN 1-875671-58-7
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