Army Aviation Hall of Fame 1974 Induction
(Inducted to represent the pre-1942 period)
Igor I. Sikorsky's interest in rotary wing flight first manifested itself in 1909 when he produced two unsuccessful experimental helicopters in Russia. His visionary efforts were the foundation of the technology that was basic to modern helicopters worldwide. In constructing the VS-300 30 years later, Igor Sikorsky solved the problem of anti-torque control and developed a successful rotor head which incorporated features that enabled the pilot to control motion in all directions. These cyclic and collective pitch control features are utilized in virtually all helicopters today.
Sikorsky - designed H-19 and H-34 helicopters saw extensive Army service in a variety of missions. They provided the Army one of its earliest capabilities to exploit airmobility with utility and cargo helicopters. The H-19 was the first cargo helicopter in the Army inventory to see combat during the Korean War. The H-34 was the first helicopter approved for Army use as a presidential executive transport vehicle. It was followed in this role by the Sikorsky VCH-3.
Development of and use by the Army of Sikorsky CH-37 medium cargo and CH-54 heavy lift helicopters were further tributes to the engineering genius for which he was renowned. This aviation pioneer, who is the father of today's fleet, retired from active engineering work in 1957. He continued to express an interest in helicopter technology and gave direction to these efforts at the Sikorsky Aircraft Division until his death in 1972.