Gifts and collectibles for you and all the aviation fans on your gift list!

Thank you for a wonderful tour yesterday! You have created an amazing museum and we were so impressed with the employees genuineness. Looking forward to...

Cindy Dumas

Recently visited your museum with my wife (who had been married to an ex F-100 pilot) and my thirteen year old grandson. Your museum is...

Dr. Patrick Mullally

Restoration

Sikorsky VS-316A Hoverfly (R-4B)

The R-4, the world’s first production helicopter, set the standards for all subsequent helicopters.

The XR-4 was developed from the VS-300 helicopter invented by Igor Sikorsky, successful flight tests in 1942 resulted in the production of 133 new R-4’s.  

The first R-4 to see combat was in Burma in the spring of 1944.  A liaison plane crash landed behind enemy lines injuring its occupants.  An R-4 was used to rescue the men, flying them out one by one.  This was the first recorded helicopter rescue.  

The mission was so successful the R-4 flew eighteen more missions within a few days.  

The R-4, sometimes referred to as “The Egg Beater” was also the first helicopter to land on a ship at sea, the USS Bunker Hill, CV-17.  

By 1952 Army helicopters, had a collective unbeatable record 400,000 hours without a crash due to mechanical failure.


Service History

  • Delivered: August 23, 1944
  • Aug 1944 - 2139th AAF Base Unit (ATC) Freeman AAF, IN
  • Dec 1944 - 3502th AAF Base Unit Tech Training School, Chanute AAF, IL
  • May 1945 - 3706th AAF Base Unit (TTS, ATC), Sheppard AAF, TX
  • Stricken: May 1945
MFG: Sikorsky

First Produced: 1942

Powerplant: Warner R-550

Horsepower: 200 lbs

Service Ceiling: 8,000 ft

Cruise: 65 mph

Top Speed: 75 mph

Range: 130 miles

Empty Weight: 2,020 lbs

Gross Weight: 2,535 lbs

Rotor Diameter: 38’

Length: 33’7”

Height: 12’5”

Armament: None

Number Built: 133 total

This R-4B was obtained by Yanks in March of 1990, and awaits restoration.