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,...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Sikorsky HO5S

SiBy 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...