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The Sikorsky S-60 helicopter, a prototype "flying crane", was derived from the S-56 in 1958. Proving to be underpowered, the development of the S-60 led to the larger, turbine-engined Sikorsky CH-54 Tarhe military transport helicopter, and its civil S-64 Skycrane variant, which were already on the drawing board by the time the sole example of the S-60 crashed on 3 April 1961.
Design and development
The fuselage of the S-60 was a simple "pod-and-boom" design with the engines mounted in side pods and long tail-dragger style landing gear that allowed it to straddle cargoes. The crew cabin was mounted in the nose, with aft-mounted controls for the co-pilot to use during loading and unloading operations. The S-60 had an automatic stabilization system to allow it to hover precisely, using inputs from a sidestick controller. Up to Script error: No such module "convert". of outsized cargo such as vehicles could be slung beneath the boom, while passengers and other cargo could be carried in a large interchangeable pod that attached to the fuselage.
The S-60 (registered N807) first flew on March 25, 1959. The helicopter accumulated 333 hours of flight in its two-year flight career, and was evaluated by the US Navy, with demonstrations also flown for the US Army. While effective in its designed role, the helicopter proved to be underpowered. Sikorsky was already working on an enlarged, turboshaft-powered successor, the Model S-64, which was ordered into production for the US Army as the Sikorsky CH-54 Tarhe.
Igor Sikorsky was fully involved in the development of the prototype S-60, from the initial design through flight testing. It was one of the last aircraft to have this distinction. The prototype crashed in April 1961.
The wreckage of the S-60 was transferred to the New England Air Museum in the 1970s, and is currently being restored by its new owners, the Connecticut Air and Space Center, in Stratford, Connecticut.
Data from The Complete Encyclopedia of World AircraftGeneral characteristics
- Crew: 3
- Capacity: 12,000 lb
- Length: 87 ft 11 in (26.8 m)
- Rotor diameter: 72 ft 1 in (22.0 m)
- Height: 17 ft in (m)
- Disc area: 4,080 ft2 (379 m2)
- Empty weight: lb (kg)
- Max. takeoff weight: 21,000 lb (9,500 kg)
- Powerplant: 2 × Pratt & Whitney R-2800-54 "Double Wasp" radial engines, 2,100 hp (1,600 kW) each
- Maximum speed: 131 mph (114 knots, 211 km/h)
- Range: 247 mi (215 nm, 400 km)
- Service ceiling: 8,000 ft (m)
- Related development
- Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
- Related lists
- "Occurrence #70643: Sikorsky S-60 crash: 3 April 1961." Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved: 14 June 2011.
- Donald 1997, p.?
- Harding 1997, p. 237.
- Warbird Information Exchange
- "S-60 Prototype SkyCrane." cascstratford.wordpress.com. Retrieved: 23 November 2010.
|40x40px||Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sikorsky S-60.|
- Greg Goebel's Vectorsite: Sikorsky Giant Helicopters: S-64, S-65 and S-80
- CH-54 Skycrane/Tarhe on Global Security.org
- HELIS.com Sikorsky S-60 Database