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Great Museum hope to come again soon. Restoration hanger a lot of fun. ...

Aidan Simmons

Magnificent collection of Warbirds. Impressive restoration projects. Nice atmosphere. Came to see the PoF museum which is next door but never knew that the Yanks...

A. Voet


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.