S-61 (HSS-2) Part II
The Sikorsky model designation for the HSS-2 is the S-61. Since 1959, Sikorsky Aircraft has produced 794 aircraft based on the original S-61. At the end of twenty years production, Sikorsky produced the last S-61 in 1980. Sikorsky licensees in Great Britain, Japan, Canada, and Italy have produced an additional 679. It is estimated that S-61s have flown more than 24 million hours in military service and civil use.
Sikorsky Production by Type
Sikorsky developed a series of derivatives based on the S-61 (HSS- 2.) These models are summarized below.
First was the S-61L in 1961 designed with a longer fuselage without sponsons for commercial passenger transport. This was followed by the S61N in 1962, retaining the sponsons for overwater transport such as offshore oil rig service.
On the military side Sikorsky developed the S-61R in 1963 with a fuselage modified to accommodate a rear loading ramp. U.S. Air Force ordered these aircraft designated the CH-3C to support “Texas Tower” offshore radar sites. A later more powerful variant, the HH-3E known as the “Jolly Green Giant, saw wide and excellent service in search and rescue missions. The HH-3E featured in-flight refueling equipment permitting the first non-stop helicopter flight across the Atlantic Ocean, from New York to Paris, in 1967. U. S. Coast Guard purchased HH3F “Pelicans” with a nose radar antenna radome. S-61R derivatives have operated in the military services of Argentina, Italy and Tunisia.
Another HSS-2 derivative was the S-67 Blackhawk gunship. This was a Sikorsky developed aircraft with a streamlined fuselage, main rotor head and blade modifications for high speed, and speed brakes mounted on wing trailing edges to enhance maneuverability. Begun in 1969, first flight was in August of 1970. In 1974, with a ducted fan replacing the conventional tail rotor, the S67 reached a speed of 230 mph. The S67 did not enter production.
VH-3D Approaching the White House South Lawn
By far, the most familiar HSS-2 derivative is the Marine Helicopter Squadron One (HMX-1) Executive Flight Detachment VH-3D Marine One helicopter with its distinctive white top. (The white tops date from HMX-1’s S58’s first used in the Eisenhower administration. Without air conditioning, the original white tops were intended to deflect heat for a cooler interior.) The VH-3’s featured communication equipment, executive furnishings, and air conditioning tailored to the mission. An upgraded derivative, the VH-3D, continues this proud service today.
This aircraft transports the President of the United States, other members of the Executive Branch, and other VIP’s. Sikorsky delivered the first VH-3A’s in 1962.
President Kennedy boarding a VH-3D for the first time - May 8, 1962
Notable Accomplishments for Sikorsky S-61 Series
Apollo 17 Recovery with USS Ticonderoga in the Background
Short Fuselage – original design for HSS-2, SH-3A
HP – Horse Power
Note on US Naval Aircraft Designations.
The first S61 model carried the US Navy designation HSS-2. H for helicopter, first S for antisubmarine, second S for Sikorsky, and -2 denoting the second model in the series, since the HSS-2 was preceded by the S-58 HSS-1. In 1962 Navy modified their designation pattern so that the HSS-2 became the SH-3, with S for antisubmarine and H for helicopter.
Additional Information Sources
Information on mid-20th-century anti-submarine warfare was obtained from: The Third Battle: Innovation in the U.S. Navy's Silent Cold War Struggle with Soviet Submarines, March 2000, by Owen Cote Jr., Director, MIT Security Studies Program, to whom the author is most grateful.
Color photos were obtained from the extensive Wikipedia files for the Sikorsky SH-3 Sea King, Sikorsky S-61R, Sikorsky VH-3, and Sikorsky S61L, for which the author is most grateful.
Prepared by Jim Bohan & Tom Lawrence
FOR ADITIONAL Reading go to NEWS JULY 09 PRESIDENTIAL FLIGHT
lastpdate SEPTEMBER 11, 2012