ASME-Landmark:Sikorsky VS-300 Helicopter


Igor I. Sikorsky's VS-300 was America's first practical helicopter. It was also the first successful helicopter in the world to pioneer the now-familiar single main rotor with torque-compensating tail rotor design. This has been the standard configuration used by most of the world's helicopter manufacturers ever since.

The development of the VS-300 established the concepts and principles that were utilized in the design of the VS-316 (Sikorsky R-4), the first production helicopter. This marked the beginning of the world's rotorcraft industry.

Construction of the Vought-Sikorsky-300 (VS-300) began in late March of 1939. This first configuration had a three-bladed main rotor, 28 feet in diameter, and was powered by a four cylinder, air-cooled, 75 hp Lycoming engine. Its fuselage was an open framework of welded steel tubing with controls and an open pilot's seat. The power transmission consisted of V-belts and bevel gears. The anti-torque tail rotor was single-bladed and 40 inches in radius. On September 14, 1939, Mr. Sikorsky piloted the first 10-second flight of the VS-300 from the property of the VoughtSikorsky plant in Stratford, Connecticut.

Sikorsky continued to refine the design, adding tail rotors, a 90 hp Franklin engine, and rubber pontoons that allowed the world's first helicopter water landings. The final version of the aircraft was made by September of 1943, achieving speeds of up to 80 mph.

On October 7, 1943, Igor Sikorsky presented the VS-300 to Henry Ford at the Edison Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. It had logged a total flight time of 102 hours, 34 minutes, and 51 seconds. See ASME website for more information