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First helicopter cargo operations, the S 55 A H19 produced by the U.S. firm Sikorsky, made its first operational flight November 12, 1949. In 1952, he received his certificate of civil airworthiness.
The weight and bulk of engines while situated in the base of the wing prohibited the installation of a bunker on the single rotor helicopters. The engineer Igor Sikorsky had the idea to house the engine in front of the aircraft and tanks under the floor, throwing the passenger compartment above the engine. This provision thus freeing the site of a bunker centered.
The S 55 is as a rugged three-bladed articulated rotor flapping and drag, with a two-bladed tail rotor and a train quadricycle. His bunker allows the carrying of 6 to 8 passengers or six litters mounting for the treatment of injuries during transport.
Supplanted in the late 50s by the more powerful S 58, S 55, in its many versions, was built to 1280 copies. His license was acquired by France, Japan and Great Britain. The British firm Westland deliver to France 42 WAS 55 which will in school and GH2 (Algeria). (Source: www.museehelico-alat.com)