View Full Version : S-67 Blackhawk

helmet fire
19th Oct 2004, 01:24
Gents (and Nick in particular)

The AH-56 thread reminded me of a 70's prototype that looked fantastic - the S-67 Black Hawk. I am talking about that "Hind" style attack/transport helicopter that had wings with weapon hard points and could also transport 10 or more troops and was tandem seating.

When in Rucker, the Sikorsky rep had a video of the S67 low flying and conducting weapons firing trials. Any one fly it? Or know what it was like? Nick, is there still one tucked away in a Sikorsky museum?

What caused it's demise: complexity? Too many roles in the one wrapping? The Airshow accident in the Middle East (or was it Farnborough)? Beaten fairly by the Apache and YAH 23 Cobra in the post Cheyanne competition? Too expensive? To much high speed wing V rotor issues?

Here is a link to the best photos I could find (scroll past the model).


http://www.anigrand.com/AA2022s-67real1.jpg http://www.anigrand.com/AA2022s-67real3.jpg http://www.anigrand.com/AA2022s-67real2.jpg

19th Oct 2004, 02:33
The S-67 was a fine aircraft, built with company funds back in the late 60's to show what was possible. It had the rotor system lifted from an H-3, and good for about 22000 lbs GW, and it weighed about 10,000 lbs, so it could carry literally 4 tons of ordnance and 3+ hours of gas. It had speed brakes (set the speed at the start of a dive, and it would automatically hold the max speed during the dive!) Smooth as glass and very very fast. Held the world's speed record at about 219 mph for many years.

It was not built to any customer's request, so it was an uphill battle to try and sell it, back in pre-Apache days.

As the newest addition to Sikorsky's pilot's office, I flew it for a few hours as it was prepped for the Farnborough Air Show in 1974. Loops, rolls and split S maneuvers were taught to me then by Kurt Cannon. Those photos with it in desert camo were taken then (August 1974).
It crashed at Farnborough that year, in Sept. It dished out in a roll at low level, and settled into the ground where it came apart and burned, killing both crew. The pilot was Kurt Cannon, a very fine test pilot. The co-pilot was also a friend, Stu Craig.

It was hand-built with no hard tooling, so the cost to reconstruct it was high. With no firm sales, there was no impetus to do anything, so it faded from sight.

The design for tail cone and transition section were resurrected later in the Rotor Systems Research Aircraft for NASA. Some sharp eyes might see the similarity from photos.

19th Oct 2004, 05:19
Come on guys, give us a picture:ok:

Cyclic Hotline
19th Oct 2004, 05:29
Picures here (http://avia.russian.ee/vertigo/sik_s-67-r.html)

It was indeed a beautiful machine.

19th Oct 2004, 06:36
Pictures of the Blackhawk originally posted by Wunper in another thread.



19th Oct 2004, 17:38
Three more colour pictures here:






19th Oct 2004, 20:06
Hey Nick,

How did the Rotor head work, every blade seems to be at a different point and not evenly spaced, did it balance itself out no matter what happened to the position of the blades?

Peter R-B

Lu Zuckerman
19th Oct 2004, 20:36
To: Vfrpilotpb

What you are seeing is the effect of leading and lagging.

In one or more helicopter aerodynamics books the author offers the following and hopefully I get it right.

If you could stand above the helicopter and observe the rotor looking at the driven plane of rotation the blades will appear to be evenly spaced.

However if you could observe the rotor system centered on the driving axis (rotor mast) the blades will appear to be unevenly spaced. On a four blade fully articulated system the blades will be disposed like a peace sign.

In either case the system is in balance.

:E :E

helmet fire
20th Oct 2004, 00:50
Thanks guys,
A truly magnificent aircraft, and now that you have confessd to flying it Nick, I am truly jealous. by the size of the pilots, It does look like a very large aircraft, how many troops could it take (if any)?

Lu, I can hardly wait for Nick's response to your post. It's almost worth waiting up for.....:}

Hint: count the number of blades.....

Lu Zuckerman
20th Oct 2004, 01:04
To: helmet fire.

I can only assume that Nick read the two textbooks I alluded to and that he would have to agree. The statements may not be word for word but they get the meaning across.

I did note the Blackhawk has more than four blades but I would find it difficult to describe the relative positions of the blades and compare these positions to some known quantity such as a peace sign.

Looking down on a four bladed helicopter in flight the advancing blade would be ahead of the lateral axis and the retreating blade would also be ahead of the lateral axis the other blades would be aligned with the longitudinal axis forming a peace sign.

:E :E

20th Oct 2004, 05:00
Oh Well! Here goes:

Lu is right.

The actual place each blade is at at any millisecond is surely not where it "should" be for perfect visual symmetry. The balance of forces and moments is what counts, and the mass balance of the blade (due to its mass and position in space) is only one part of that equation.

Thanks for posting those pictures, guys. Brings back memories! I am in the front seat of that picture with the desert camo and all the rockets and stuff under the wings. That was Sept of 1974 (30 years ago!!)

The pilot in the head-on shot that Heliport posted has Kurt Cannon in the back seat, he was the S-67 project pilot. A former US Army Warrant Officer, he took some grief from all the Marine RLO's who populated the office when I first arrived. A great guy, and a great stick. The guy in the front seat was Byron Graham, the dean of Sikorsky test pilots, and one of my mentors. He was a Corsair plot in WWII and a civil engineer. What he forgot about helicopters could have built the industry. He could fly the box the helo comes in, I think.

In the pics that tacks put up, note the speed brakes that pop out automatically in a dive. The mountains in the other pic in that set are in Iran, back when the Shah was in charge.

I must add that the S-67 was built in a few months, and was designed by the master Sikorsky designer of that period, Aristide "Al" Albert, who passed away about 3 years ago. Al also designed the S-76, the ABC, and had a big hand in the Black Hawk. Not a bad set of helicopters to have spawned!

helmet fire
20th Oct 2004, 10:28
Ok, ok...I agree, Lu was right about the blade leading and lagging. But the question was about the blades being so unevenly spaced. The answer is in part lead lag, but I believe the photo that most drew vfrpilotpb was the black and white head on in which the culprit is much more camera shutter effect than lead lag (though lead lag is most certainly involved). And Lu's balance bit is sketchy. Lead and lag does not always keep the system perfectly in balance, and is the source of vibrations.

But none of this should detract from such a beautiful aircraft.

Could it take troops? Were there any interested parties looking to buy? The Shah eventually took Cobra (J or Ts werent they?)

20th Oct 2004, 15:43
Nick, in one of the references mentioned, it states that the Blackhawk had a ducted tail fitted; was that `ducted` as a pusher, or ducted as a `fenestron`..? Secondly, was there any roll assistance via differential airbrake/spoiler ? Syc.

Lu Zuckerman
20th Oct 2004, 16:18
To: helmet fire

Almost every AH-1J in Iran was left to die at the Isfahan training facility due to the lack of qualified pilots. They were done in by solar radiation and ingestion of sand.

:E :E

bb in ca
20th Oct 2004, 17:23
Hey guys,

I have a video thats 2.05MB but I need someone to host it.

Anybody interested?

bb in ca
[email protected]

20th Oct 2004, 23:31

Here is a picture of the fan-in-fin Blackhawk (the distinction between the older experimental Blackhawk and the newer production model was to use two words for the production Black Hawk, vice the "One word Blackhawk" back in the old days around the Sikorsky pilots office.


The drag brakes had no differential control effect, they were depoyed symmetrically. The Blackhawk needed no roll assistance, the roll rate was well over 100 degrees per second!

Ian Corrigible
21st Oct 2004, 00:47

Never knew you guys actually flew the fan-in-fin in the S-67. Thanks for teaching me something today! Was there any crossover into the fantail S-76 (Comanche demo), or was that a clean sheet project? Also, over in the Cheyenne thread you state that the AH-56's unswept wing incurred a 10% hover penalty. What was the figure for the Blackhawk?


'Course, not all of the Iranian Cobras rotted away. Seem to recall they claimed a 10:1 air-air record during the war with Iraq, claiming several dozen Hinds and Gazelles using TOW/M197, plus a handful of fast jets.


21st Oct 2004, 01:50

The vertical drag estimate is a rough one, based on the fact that the wing is a flat surface presented to the rotor downwash, thus creating some vertical load. For a normal helicopter, the fuselage usually creates about 4 to 5% download. For a tilt rotor, where the wing is large, and the downwash velocity is high, it is up to 12 to 15%. The H-56 had a wing sized somewhere smaller than a tilt rotor but much more than a simple fuselage, so I guessed 10%. That means the wing costs about 1000 lbs of payload relative to a helicopter.

The fan in fin Blackhawk flew in 1974, and the Fantail S-76 flew in 1991. We did study the old data to help lay the S-76 out, and it came in handy, especially the duct shaping, which is critical to the efficiency of the fan.

bb in ca
21st Oct 2004, 05:03
Hey guys,

Here is the link to the video.

Sikorsky S-67 Video (http://www.helicopterservice.com.au/photos/pprune/Sikorsky%20S-67.avi)

Everyone can thank John Eacott for hosting this. It's much appreciated.

Best Regards,
bb in ca

Lu Zuckerman
21st Oct 2004, 17:04
To: Ian Corrigible

'Course, not all of the Iranian Cobras rotted away. Seem to recall they claimed a 10:1 air-air record during the war with Iraq, claiming several dozen Hinds and Gazelles using TOW/M197, plus a handful of fast jets.

Based on my first hand experience I would assume if the figures are correct there were non-Iranian pilots at the controls. The Iranian pilots were trained to US Army standards. A US Army pilot would receive his wings after about 180 hours of training and then he would either be sent to an operational unit for further experience in the mission or possibly streamed into a training program on a specific aircraft.

The Iranian pilots most of which lacked high school graduation were subject to about two hundred hours of training. They would then receive two hundred hours of supervised solo and then be sent to an operational unit where they would receive another two hundred hours of instruction by a US Army pilot. Even at that point they lacked the skills of a freshly graduated US Army pilot.

It was for this reason that all of the AH-1Js were parked at the Isfahan airfield. I also based on conversations with Iranian fighter pilots feel that the Iranian helicopter pilots lacked the will to join in close combat. An Iranian Air Force F4 pilot lived in my apartment complex and he told me that in the war in Oman they would drop their bombs and fire their guns at 10,000 feet and return to Iran.

Iran also sent helicopters to Oman and in doing so they changed the tail numbers and did not log the operational time on them. When they returned to Iran the tail numbers were changed back and most were returned to the overhaul depot with bullet holes in them. All with no explanation to Bell Helicopter who was running the overhaul depot. When the Iranians saw the Bell personnel inspecting the bullet holes the Iranians cut the bullet holes out with a hole saw and in the process damaging the primary structure.

It was this mentality that led me to make my original statement about the AH-1Js rotting away in Isfahan.

:E :E

Ian Corrigible
21st Oct 2004, 17:33

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...?!!



21st Oct 2004, 22:21
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 ?

22nd Oct 2004, 07:15
A couple more for Nick.
How did the FIF rotate for fast forward flight?
Did the shroud rotate as well, or just the TR?

22nd Oct 2004, 10:02
I think the aircraft was at the Army Aviation Museum in Ft Rucker Alabama for a number of years. Didn't fly but was parked out the back.

23rd Oct 2004, 20:43
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.

12th Dec 2007, 18:54
Reviving this old thread.

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?

12th Dec 2007, 21:55
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.

John Dixson

12th Dec 2007, 22:15
Could you elaborate on Morrie Larsen's involvement?

12th Dec 2007, 23:21
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.

John Dixson

13th Dec 2007, 00:34
You have mail John...:)

13th Dec 2007, 10:39
Hats off to the designers, engineers and all the pilots of the original Blackhawk S-67. Sexiest Heli ever designed!!:ok:
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 :Dfootage.

13th Dec 2007, 13:20
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.

A particularly sad day I know.

Dennis Kenyon.

13th Dec 2007, 14:07
For DennisK:

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.

14th Dec 2007, 13:27
For John Dixson.

Thanks for the further info John,

Did your investigation take any notes of the subsequent rescue attempt and the fire vehicle's downwind location?

Your notes accord fairly accurately with my view of the manoeuvres.


Canuck Guy
14th Dec 2007, 14:08
A nice 8 minute video of the S-67 with lots of low passes, loops, rolls and weapons testing. :ok:


14th Dec 2007, 14:10
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.

John Dixson

14th Dec 2007, 16:10
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.

14th Dec 2007, 16:34
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:


Brilliant Stuff
16th Dec 2007, 07:22
People probably think this is a stupid question but how impossible would it be to build another S-67 today and pitch it against the current gunships on the market?

Also IMHO I think we should have a section on this forum of must read threads which teach you something about the industry where this thread would have to go right to the top. :ok::ok:

Thank you everyone for the history lesson.

16th Dec 2007, 11:39
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...

Shawn Coyle
16th Dec 2007, 14:16
Slightly off topic, but relevant to Sikorsky today -
At the recent Helicopter Safety Team meeting in Montreal, the only helicopter manufacturer that had any really senior management there was Sikorsky - the boss himself came to stress the importance that Sikorsky places on safety.
Impressed this writer!

28th Jan 2012, 22:45
This is a real gunship....shame we did not get to have these in the inventory...a real Horse!


29th Jan 2012, 21:46
Thanks for putting this up. I had a good read of this thread... I always knew it existed but awesome to see footage of it. Pitty some of the greatest projects end up cancelled. Hats off to all those who take risks and push the boundaries in this industry. Simon