Monthly Archives: December 2013

Sikorsky HO3S-1

By Lieutenant Colonel Ronald J. Brown U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, Retired The Sikorsky HO3S-1 was the first helicopter assigned to the U.S. Marine Corps. The HO3S was the naval variant of Sikorky’s model S-51 commercial helicopter. Despite its observation designation, the HO3S was actually a utility aircraft used for a variety of roles. Among the 46 conceptual uses initially listed […]

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Pitcarin OP-1 Autogiro

By Lieutenant Colonel Ronald J. Brown U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, Retired The first rotary-winged aircraft used by naval aviation was not a helicopter. It was an autogiro, an airplane propelled by a normal front-mounted aircraft engine but kept aloft by rotating overhead wings, a phenomenon known as “autorotation.” Although rather ungainly looking due their stubby upturned wings, large tails, and drooping […]

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Early Naval Helicopters

By Lieutenant Colonel Ronald J. Brown U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, Retired The first U.S. Navy experience with rotary-wing aircraft was not a good one. The Pitcarin OP-1 autogiro, an airplane not a true helicopter, had been tested and found wanting during the era between the World Wars. It was not until Igor Sikorsky introduced his VS-316 model helicopter on 13 […]

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Who was the First Marine Helicopter Pilot?

By Lieutenant Colonel Ronald J. Brown U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, Retired Marine Corps Historical Center Photo Collection LtCol Armond H. DeLalio, recipient of the Navy Cross for heroism as a pilot with Marine Scout-Bomber Squadron 241 during the battle of Midway and a Marine Corps helicopter pioneer, was honored in 1965 when an elementary school at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, […]

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U.S. Naval Aviation Designations

By Lieutenant Colonel Ronald J. Brown U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, Retired During the Korean conflict, the Navy Bureau of Aeronautics used designation systems that conveyed a lot of information about its squadrons and aircraft in a concise manner. Squadron Designations: The Bureau recognized three aircraft squadron types: lighter than air (Z); heavier than air (V); and helicopter (H). In addition, […]

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Sikorsky HRS-1

By Lieutenant Colonel Ronald J. Brown U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, Retired   The HRS transport helicopter was the military version of the Sikorsky S-55 commercial aircraft. It featured the familiar Sikorsky design signatures, a single overhead main rotor and a small anti-torque rotor on the tail boom. Although many of its components were simply enlarged versions of similar ones found […]

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Bell HTL

By Lieutenant Colonel Ronald J. Brown U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, Retired Thanks to the opening credits of the long-running television series “M*A*S*H,” a helicopter delivering wounded men to a field hospital remains one of the most enduring images of the Korean conflict. The aircraft featured on that show was a Bell Model-47, the same type flown by the Marines under […]

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Sikorsky HO5S

By Lieutenant Colonel Ronald J. Brown U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, Retired   The HO5S helicopter, developed from Sikorsky’s S-52 design begun in 1948, was the purpose-built replacement observation helicopter for the HO3S. The S-52 was first conceived as a compact two place machine, but it eventually incorporated recommendations from the fighting front under the designation S-52-2. The HO5S was more compact […]

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