80 Years ago today: The Beginning of an Industry


Vought-Sikorsky VS-300

Today, 80 years ago, on September 14th, 1938, a little piece of helicopter history took off for the very first time. Okay, to be fair; it was attached to cables when it flew, and it wouldn’t fly free up until May 1940, but still: It flew.

We are talking about the Vought-Sikorsky VS-300, an American single-engine helicopter designed by Igor Sikorsky himself which became the first successful single lifting rotor helicopter in the United States and the first successful helicopter to use a single vertical-plane tail rotor configuration. And as the VS-300 was developed into the Sikorsky R-4, what became the world’s first production helicopter, it’s fair to say that the VS-300 played a significant role at the beginning of the world’s helicopter industry.


VS-300 with floats

Sikorsky also fitted utility floats to the VS-300 and performed a water landing and takeoff on 17 April 1941, making it the first practical amphibious helicopter. On 6 May 1941, Sikorsky set a new endurance record of one hour, 32 minutes and 26 seconds with the VS-300. In the following period until December 8, 1941, the helicopter underwent many technical changes. The final version of the VS-300 - powered by a 150 hp Franklin engine - flew a total of 102 hours, 35 minutes and 51 seconds and was one of the first helicopters capable of carrying cargo.

In 1943, the VS-300 was retired to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. It has been on display there ever since, except for a trip back to the Sikorsky Aircraft plant for restoration in 1985.

This little history lesson today, I dedicate to @RotorGuy. Thanks to him, I was eager to learn a little bit more about helicopters, and when I saw this anniversary today, I decided that it’s worth a thread.

Have a good day or night, and many happy landings!

Information Sources:

Image Sources:


So, @Marc a interesting/educative topic again; this is definitely an advancement in aviation. It’s amazing how far we have come (in terms of helicopters)


This is a very nice topic, I did not know about this. Great information!!

Thank you for the good feedback you two 😊

I’ve always been a little history fan. It’s interesting to see how things worked in the past, and how far technology developed in the last century. It’s unbelievable. I mean, up until 140 years ago the lightbulb wasn‘t even invented yet! We didn’t have color television up until the 50s and 60s. That was only 50 years ago! And if you told anyone about iPhones or iPads only 20 years ago, they’d have called you crazy.

Same in aviation. Think about it. This is how „planes“ used to look only 128 years ago!

Source: Wikipedia, September 14th, 2019

And then in 1903 came the Wright Brothers. That was only 116 years ago. The Boeing 707 didn’t fly up until 62 years ago.

The progress that humans made in the last 100 years is just flabbergasting. That’s why I love history.


And yet no tag… thanks for sharing Marc!


Wow I’m sorry I saw you tagged me didn’t get notified =(

Sikorsky Is the reason why we have helicopters, his little tail rotor design made a world of a difference (literally!)


Big mark in history. If it wasn’t for helicopters, I would have died at age 1.


Wow! Thats interesting!

Anyways, great topic @Marc! This really makes me appreciate on how far technology-based we have come!


As Sikorsky once said

If a man is in need of rescue, an airplane can come in and throw flowers on him, and that’s just about all. But a direct lift aircraft could come in and save his life


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