Sikorsky S-55 (UH-19)
The S-55 is of all metal construction with a single piston engine easily accessible via two large clamshell doors in the nose. The engine is connected to the main transmission by a 45-degree drive shaft. This arrangement of power plant and drive train allows the placement of a large and unobstructed cabin directly below the main rotor blades. The S-55's two-man cockpit is placed above and slightly forward of the cabin with the seats placed on either side of the drive shaft that offers excellent visibility. The high-set tailboom carries a vertical tailplane and a two-bladed anti-torque rotor.
The S-55 fuselage is made of aluminum and magnesium. The fully articulated rotorhead has three aluminum blades. The fuel is contained in two crash resistant tanks situated beneath the cabin in the lower part of the fuselage.
The S-55 dates from 1949. Sikorsky manufactured a total of 1,281 S-55's in ten years of continuous production commencing in 1949. It was used by many military services including the RCAF (as the UH-19) on construction of the Mid-Canada Line and by the RCN (as the HO4S-3) on ‘plane guard’ duties with aircraft carriers.
The first transport helicopter to receive C.A.A. approval for commercial operation and enter scheduled passenger service, the S-55 carried seven passengers in commercial form and ten passengers as a military transport. The first S-55 in commercial use in the world went into service in British Columbia to build the Alcan project in Kitimat, where the building of power lines by helicopter was another first.
This example was assembled from spare parts donated by MF Helicopters, Larry Skidmore, Deltaire, Delta Rotorcraft, Roy Willis, and others under a Job Creation project called "Heluvacopter". It has been restored to static display condition, and painted to represent one of the 15 RCAF S-55's used on the Mid Canada Radar Line.
The transmission and rotor system on the S-55 is on display in the Hangar. Read about it at S-55 transmission.