What missions did the Sikorsky R4 helicopter have?

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  • .
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago
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    Search and Rescue Helicopter:

    The helicopter first demonstrated its superiority over conventional fixed-wing aircraft for search and rescue missions during World War II. A Sikorsky R-4 helicopter showed that it had a definite military role when was used in April 1944, in a dramatic rescue of three downed airmen in the steamy jungles of Burma. However, because the R-4 was so low-powered, and the heat and humidity reduced its performance even more, the pilot could evacuate only one airman at a time. The R-4 was also used in other missions, such as observation. In China during the final months of the war, Sikorsky R-6As provided search and rescue services. Later, in November 1945, an Army R-5 helicopter was used to rescue two men off a stranded oil barge in a storm. In spite of their limitations, military leaders soon realized that helicopters were ideal for searching for downed airmen and for sailors stranded at sea as well as for civilians, although bigger helicopters with greater internal capacity and more powerful engines were needed.

    The R-4 was first used in combat in May 1944. In a letter to a friend, Col. Philip G. Cochran, commanding officer of the 1st Air Commando Group, wrote "Today the 'egg-beater' went into action and the damn thing acted like it had good sense."

    Of these 30, one went to Burma and one to Alaska, while several others were assigned to the United States Navy, United States Coast Guard and British Royal Navy who named it the Gadfly. In Royal Air Force service it was called the Hoverfly. The R4 equipped the first British military unit to be equipped with helicopters, the Helicopter Training School, formed in January 1945 at RAF Andover.

    The R4 showed such promise that the AAF ordered 100 R-4Bs.

  • 1 decade ago

    Completed at the end of 1941 and powered by a l75 hp Warner R-500-3 radial engine driving a three-bladed main rotor, a three-bladed horizontal tail rotor, and a two-bladed anti-torque rotor, the XR-4 was first flown by Charles 'Les' Morris at Stratford on January 14, 1942. On that day, six flights were made, the longest of which lasted just over 7 min. Following some minor modifications, the designation was changed to VS-316A and the contract price increased from $40,000 to $50,000. Organized in early.1944 as part of 'Project 9' to provide air support for Brig Orde Wingate's Long Range Penetration Group operating behind enemy lines in Burma, the American 5138th Air Unit was redesignated the First Commando Force and was initially composed of a fighter section with P-5lAs, a bomber section with B-2SHs. a transport section with C-47As, a glider section with CG-4As and TG-5s, and a liaison section with L-1As, L-5Bs, and YR-4Bs. Until the Japanese surrender, the 1st ACO operated with conspicuous success from Hailakandi and Assandol in India and from forward bases in Burma'.

    The four Sikorsky YR-48s were airlifted to India aboard Curtiss C-46 Commandos, one being destroyed in the crash of a C-46 and a replacement being forwarded immediately. Soon after being reassembled at Hailakandi, two were destroyed in accidents while flown by a pilot who had already survived two crashes in fixed wing aircraft, leaving two for operational evaluation. One of these primitive helicopters, known as Eggbeaters' to the servicemen, was used by Lt Carter Harman to make a daring rescue deep behind enemy lines.Other noteworthy operations saw Coast Guard helicopters operating in the Arctic and Antarctica. In March 1946, during Operation Frostbite, a HNS-l deployed aboard the USS Midway for cold weather tests off the coast of Labrador and north of the Arctic Circle. During the 1946-47 Operation High Jump, another HNS-l operated from the icebreaker USS Northwind in support of Rear Admiral Richard E Byrd's expedition to Antarctica. Shortly thereafter, the last HNS-l were returned to the US Navy for disposal.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    The R-4 was first used in combat in May 1944. As for specific missions I'm not sure.

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