The First Chop­pers

Flight Journal - - AIRDROP - Tom Beard

Ex­cel­lent July/Au­gust is­sue! Bar­rett Till­man con­tin­ues to spin his­tory with skills bet­ter than fic­tion writ­ers. (Ed. note: He writes fic­tion too.) The year 1942 seems to be a ban­ner year in avi­a­tion his­tory and yet one im­por­tant el­e­ment was not men­tioned. This was the year of the first op­er­a­tional heli­copters.

The Army Air Corps be­gan with their op­er­a­tional ex­per­i­ments in 1942, fol­lowed by the Navy (Coast Guard) a year later. I am un­aware of any of­fi­cial recog­ni­tion by the Air Force/Army of their 75th year of this now-es­sen­tial air ma­chine. Next year will be the 75th an­niver­sary of the pur­chase by the Navy of their first he­li­copter.

I’m sure Sergei Siko­rsky has re­galed you over cof­fee with his per­sonal ac­counts (some of which you have also pub­lished) of the Coast Guard’s early at­tempts to make this now-crit­i­cal-to-avi­a­tion air­craft work.

Per­haps we should do a 75th helo an­niver­sary is­sue!—BD

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