Engaging a maneuvering aerial target with an early version of the TOW sighting system would have been interesting, too...
Of course, Iran ended up with so many 205/206/209/212/214s etc. that they now have a blossoming reverse-engineering industry (hence the appearance of the AVA-505, Panha 2061 and Panha 2-75 Shabaviz). Wonder if this means Ollie North deserves a special AHS award...?!!
Nick, thanks for the reply; now , just a bit more;did you experiment with different FIF rotation directions; ever have any `LTE` excursions; how many blades did it have; did you have a fixed fin, or fin -rudder; was it better at low-speed than conventional t/r etc.? We`ll understand if you have a `senior moment`( can`t remember`)! Also, if one looks at a Gazelle against the S-67, there`s a very close proportionality-you were`nt on holiday in the S of France in the early `70`s were you ?
sycamore asked (all answers concern Sikorsky total fan experience, including the Fantail S-76):
Q did you experiment with different FIF rotation directions;
A No, and it wouldn't matter, I think.
Q ever have any `LTE` excursions
A There is no such thing. Any antitorque device can be swamped to excessive main torque. Some antitorque devices have so little excess thrust that they are easily swamped, and these create the term LTE. The early Gazelles, and most B-206's share the fact that they are weak anti-torque systems. Later Gazelles have different airfoils to help them, I am told. Do not seek exotic aerodynamic explanations for what is basically a simple case of inadequate basic anti-torque margins.
Q how many blades did it have
A the S-76 has 8, the S-67 had 7. The number is not important, the solidity is, since that determines the max thrust.
Q did you have a fixed fin, or fin -rudder;
A Fixed, or at least only ground-settable.
Q was it better at low-speed than conventional t/r etc.
A All behave as designed. If you have too little thrust (blade area, angle and tip speed) you will have handling problems. The Fantail had thrust enough to spin on a dime at 100 knots forward speed, as did Comanche. The fan allowed this because it has no structural sensitivity to the angle of attack/sideslip. A tail rotor is strongly bent by sharp changes in disk inflow angle, the duct quells that in a fan.
Q We`ll understand if you have a `senior moment`( can`t remember`)!
A I'll get you for that!!! ;-)
Q Also, if one looks at a Gazelle against the S-67, there`s a very close proportionality -you were`nt on holiday in the S of France in the early `70`s were you ?
A There is a close similarity to the fan on my Grandmother's toilet wall, Eurocopter didn't steal the design from my Grandmother, did they?
Seriously, our research showed that the Fan has no serious flaws, but weighs more than a conventional tail rotor, uses more power, has more drag, is not as stable in forward flight, requires a landing gear/bumper and has more parts. It is however much quieter, is well protected, and it allows more wild maneuvering that conventional tail rotors do not.
Comanche chose the Fan because protection and maneuvering were more important than the negatives, and it served well.
The idea that the design of the fan somehow allows LTE is basically wrong, and has entered mythology.
Spaced, the fan didn't change its properties in forward flight, basically it went to close to zero thrust and let the fin do the antitorque work in cruise. The duct did not rotate.
Homer_Jay, the S-67 was destroyed in England in that crash I previously mentioned, so it was not in the Rucker museum. Comanche is, and it has a fan, of course.
Last edited by NickLappos; 23rd Oct 2004 at 19:57.
My Dad flew this helicopter when he was at Sikorsky (not sure exactly what time frame but he was there when it crashed in England) and I think he mentioned that it was one of the first helicopters to perform a split-s as well as other aerobatics. Any truth to this?
Kurt Cannon was the project pilot on the S-67, but circumstances prevented him from doing any substantial travel with it, hence I got to be the third S-67 pilot and travelled around the USA, Germany , the UK , Iran and Greece with Byron Graham. Also did most of the fenestron ( called fan-in-fin in those days at Sikorsky ) flying because Kurt went on vacation just when it started.
Anyhow, to answer a few questions that I've seen here:
1. Before going on the European Tour, we had installed an airconditioned interior with six troop seats along the fuselage wall. Completely soundproofed the area and it was therefore quite cool and reasonably quiet. 2. Really never ran up against the Apache as it was lost in the accident at Farnborough in 1974. Vh at design weight was 178 KIAS as 1-3000 ft so it was pretty quick, and in fact faster than any of the modern helo gunships. 3. While the interior was being installed, we also installed a 20 mm gun turret, the head up display from the F-111, a Litton inertial system, which drove a CDC map display (the map display from the A-7E), a Low Light Level Television system ( that projected on the head up display ). The inertial system computer also performed the computed aiming data for the gun, and this was projected on the head up display. 4. To clear up a small inaccuracy, the wing mounted speed brakes were manually controlled by a thumb switch on the collective stick. 5. When installed, the fenestron was transparent to the pilot, except for one flaw that we had noticed in flying a Gazelle prior to the initiation of our test program ( one of the younger DuPonts had his own Gazelle and allowed us to do a quickie evaluation ): it had a directional deadband around trim in forward flight. That is, it was quite happy to stay anywhere within about a 3 degree wide heading. Didn't wander about. You might notice some pictures of the fan in fin installation with a rudder and rudder trim installed and that is what this was all about. We talked about declutching the fan and flying rudder-only in forward flight, but the accident curtailed that development.
Happy to respond to further questions about this remarkable aircraft.
Morrie, Nick Lappos mentioned to me that you are Morrie Larsen Jr. and I was saddened to hear of your dad's passing. Your dad was one of the six test pilots who were assigned to the UTTAS program, which later was named the Blackhawk by the Army when it entered production. He did a substantial amount of flying on that development program. I don't recall him flying the S-67, but he may have. When I left the S-67 program to pay attention to the UTTAS more fully, Stu Craig took my place and was unfortunately aboard when it crashed during practice at Farnborough.
Hats off to the designers, engineers and all the pilots of the original Blackhawk S-67. Sexiest Heli ever designed!! At Rucker, in the learning center library, there was a 30 minute or so tape on the evolution and flight capabilities of the S-67. Nobody was allowed to copy it. It must have been the most viewed tape because the quality was very worn down. However JE's contribution is a snippet and gem of rare helicopter history footage.
Interesting to read Nick's notes on the S-67 accident at Farnborough in Sept 1974, as sadly I witnessed close hand the display leading up to the crash.
I'd just left the Royal Air Force and that year was my first at the old SBAC exhibition, displaying the humble Enstrom 280 Shark.
It was also the first year I had seen any aeros manoeuvres by a helicopter, when the MBB 105 pilot, Hoffman produced his full loop. Ex RAF Group Captain, Chuck Charles was OC the flying control committee and I chatted with him and the S-67 pilot at pilot briefing under the old control tower. I think it would have been Stuart, the co pilot. About 5' 10" and darkish hair, a well built guy too.
The wind on the accident day was down the 25 runway and blowing hard, (perhaps 35-40 knots) and with my limited display experience at the time, it seemed to me that following a rapid 180 degree quick stop turn at about 200 feet, the heli commenced a slowish roll downwind. The aircraft appeared to run out of full control airspeed as it rolled through the inverted - commenced a descent and struck the surface at about a 90 degree angle of bank. The machine burst into flames on impact.
It was the year that the Farnborough fire team had a new improved fire machine on task. I know I was surprised when the team pulled up close to the fire but from a downwind position. From where I stood it was apparent that the stream of foam being directed from the gun was not penetrating the strong wind sufficiently to reach the burning heli, especially around the cockpit area.
I have always felt that had the foam reached the cabin area, the crew may well have survived subject to impact injuries.
I have not raised any of this before, but was prompted to do so by the notes from Nick Lappos.
There was very good video coverage of the accident, which received thorough scrutiny after the fact. Byron Graham, our Chief Experimental Pilot, and who had made all of the initial S-67 flight tests with Kurt Cannon, who was the pilot in command of this flight, was at Farnborough, and in fact was sitiing in the cockpit of the H-53, which had just completed its practice and was in a hover on the field.
The S-67 demo was intended to finish up with a split-S into a series of two distinct rolls: the first one straight ahead and the second one a 3/4 roll, ending in a turn to come to a hover alongside the H-53.
Rolling the S-67 was easy. Build up some speed, pull the nose up, STOP THE PITCH RATE, and with the nose anywhere from +5 to +15 and the speed anywhere from 100-140, put the stick on the lateral stop and then back to center when the horizon came around. Stopping the pitch rate was important because if one didn't, the manuever became a barrel roll, ate up altitude, and looked sloppy.
It was clear from the video that the first roll was done perfectly, but it was also crystal clear that there was substantial positive pitch rate when the second roll was initiated. There simply wasn't sufficient altitude to accommodate the resultant barrel roll. Looking at the rotor just prior to impact, one could see a great deal of coning as the pilot applied what I am certain was full collective.
The front seat pilot died of impact injuries*. The rear pilot was rescued and was expected to survive, but passed away about a week later in hospital due to an embolism.
* Every accident has its lessons and years after-the-fact: " what-if's ". At the time when the S-67 was designed, one of the lessons of Vietnam, which was that a number of UH-1 pilots died because during the crash they submarined under the lap belt and were injured, sometimes fatally, by head contact with the cyclic, had not yet reached the helicopter manufacturing community. I always wondered if Stu Craig would have survived if he had had the next generation seat belt, which incorporated a crotch-strap. Particularly poignant for me as Stu and I shared an office.
Not sure if anyone had any association with him, but this was posted on the Intranet site today:
Sikorsky Remembers James R. “Dick” Wright - June 12, 1930 - December 05, 2007 One of the legacy history makers of the Sikorsky pilots’ office has passed. Dick Wright was chief pilot and responsible for the development of the BLACK HAWK aircraft.
Editor’s note: The article (below) was written for Vertiflight magazine and shared with Sikorsky Aircraft. It recounts the tremendous achievements of former Sikorsky test pilot James R. “Dick” Wright, who passed away on Dec. 5 after a long illness.
The American Helicopter Society notes the passing of one of the premier helicopter test pilots of the modern era. James R. “Dick” Wright of Stratford, Conn., and Melbourne Beach, Fla.., passed away on Dec. 5, 2007 after a long illness. Dick was instrumental in the development and fielding of the HH-3C, the CH-53A and the UH-60 helicopters, as well flying as the principle pilot in the development of helicopter mid-air refueling. After receiving his pilot’s wings at Pensacola Naval Air Station and serving as an H-19 and H-34 pilot in the United States Marine Corps, Dick joined Sikorsky Aircraft in 1957 as a production test pilot, flying various aircraft including the S-51 and S-55, as well as the HSS-1/CH-34. It is noteworthy that during this period, the H-34 was being produced at a rate of over 30 aircraft per month. In the early 1960’s Dick joined the Sikorsky Field Liaison Operational Pilot team and traveled around the globe to fly missions with Sikorsky operators. The purpose of these visits by the test pilot staff was to assess the operator’s standardization, safety and productivity and make recommendations for improvements. The success of this program in the increase in operational capabilities while reducing accidents was remarkable. Afterward, Dick was promoted to experimental test pilot. In that capacity, he became the project test pilot for the famous USAF “Jolly Green Giant” HH-3C rescue helicopter, which he took from its initial flights through structural demonstration and field introduction. Especially noteworthy was the requirement to establish a safe height velocity envelope for the amphibious aircraft while hovering over water, a test program that resulted in many landing excursions where the windshield passed beneath the waves on entry. He also flew the experimental flights to prove the concept of mid-air refueling, which was particularly hazardous work that called for excellent flight skills and judgment. For his pioneering contributions, Dick was awarded the United States Air Medal, the first to be given to a civilian. Flown by USAF rescue crews and using the mid-air refueling capability, the HH-3C was responsible for rescuing many downed pilots in North Vietnam. Dick then became the project test pilot for the CH-53A USMC aircraft, taking it through flight test development, flying the critical structural demonstration flight tests at Patuxent River Naval Air Station. History repeated itself as Dick had to again perform the hazardous hydrodynamic tests in the H-53, again resulting in alarming water entries. Dick went on to train and support the initial U.S. Marines, Navy and Air Force crews who would take the aircraft into combat in Vietnam. In June 1970, Dick also established several speed records for helicopters, including two in two days. In 1974, Dick was promoted to chief test pilot and director of Flight Operations at Sikorsky, a post he held for 14 years until his retirement in 1989. In October 1974, he made the first flight in of the YUH-60A BLACK HAWK helicopter, the Sikorsky prototype in the Utility Tactical Transport Aerial System (UTTAS) competition. His participation on the development team was essential to the rapid and safe development of the aircraft under great time and competitive pressures. After Sikorsky won the down-select in 1976, the company established a rate production of more than 120 units per year. Still in production, the BLACK HAWK has served the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force as the premier troop transport and rescue helicopter. Hundreds of the naval H-60 variant, the SEAHAWK®, serve the U.S. Navy as submarine hunters and for vertical replenishment and special operations missions. More than 3,000 H-60 variants are currently providing military and civilian services in 27 nations. The USMC VH-60 model of the BLACK HAWK carries the president of the United States. During his tenure as chief pilot and director of Flight Operations, Dick’s expertise and sound advice were sought by Sikorsky senior management, and he rose to the Sikorsky Executive Council, where his piloting and operational background were welcomed. In 1977, Dick oversaw the opening of the Sikorsky Development Flight Test Center in West Palm Beach, Fla. As adviser for development issues as well as selection of new products and product improvements, Dick presided over the development of six different production and research model aircraft, including the S-69 Advancing Blade Concept, S-72 the Rotor System Research Aircraft, the S-76® civil helicopter, the CH-53E three engine modification of the earlier CH-53A/D, the UH-60 and the Navy SH-60 family. Later in his term, advanced piloting concepts for the newest products were evaluated, resulting in construction of several research aircraft such as the SHADOW cockpit research aircraft and the FANTAIL anti-torque demonstrator. Additionally, a new motion-based simulator facility was opened, and a number of advanced programs were conducted such as the Advanced Rotor Technology Integration (ARTI) and Day Night Adverse Weather Pilotage System (DNAPS). These programs helped the Boeing-Sikorsky LHX Team win the down-selection that became the RAH-66 COMANCHE®. On his retirement, Dick left a legacy of excellence and high standards to his peers at Sikorsky, both in the cockpit and in the board room. Born on June 12, 1930, Dick grew up on Bliss Road in Newport, R.I. After graduating from De La Salle High School, Dick earned his undergraduate degree with honors from St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. Upon graduation, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps and became an officer and aviator during the Korean War. At that time he married Maureen Donnelly, who became his wife and best friend for the next 54 years. Dick was a devoted fan of the New York Giants and a good golfer with a much better than average short game. He was a loving father and grandfather. He is survived by his wife Maureen; his son Jay, Jay’s wife Sharyn and their children, Sean, Michael and Katelyn; his son Stephen, Stephen’s wife Patty and their children Nicole, Cory and Jeffrey; his son Paul, Paul’s wife Joyce and their children Courtney, Megan, Caroline and Stephen; his daughter Christine Rafferty, her husband Michael and their children, Michaela and Jack.
Dick Wright created the modern Sikorsky Test Pilot Office, where pilots sat on the first day that a design was being considered, and pilots signed off the blue prints for new designs, a trust unheard of in our industry. Here is Dick (who hired and trained me, his only major mistake!) with Igor Sikorsky in Igor's office in 1970, two marvelous helicopter test pilots:
Actually Brilliant Stuff, this forum has gone a long way to helping me understand the nature of the industry. Nick's post says it all about Sikorsky: the test pilots drive the design. That photo is definately one for the helicopter hall of fame...