Sunday, April 29, 2012
Helo by Ranger Elite
Weapons Development in WWIII 1946 by Ranger Elite
U.S. Army Air Force Test Facility
Hunter Army Airfield
The air was beginning to get less humid, more crisp, the first tastes of fall in the air as Igor Sikorsky stood there and wrapped his light coat around him tightly. Before him was a rushed prototype of his S-55 helicopter, with its bulbous nose protruding below the high cockpit. It was a large aircraft for its type, the largest ever built to date, designed to accommodate and transport up to twelve fully armed and equipped soldiers, or six litters of wounded men and two combat medics. He wanted so badly for this to work, but he feared the worst: that his latest creation would crash and burn, meaning that future contracts would go to his nearest competitor and young upstart, Frank Piasecki. It would simply be his ruin and he could not have that.
Sikorsky greeted the test pilots as they came up to the helicopter, chatted with them momentarily, then moved a safe distance away as they climbed up to the cockpit. Then the starting whine of the engines, beginning to feed rotor shafts, increasingly spinning up the main rotor and stabilizing tail rotor...and as enough energy is developed by the rotors, the huge lumbering beast lifts off, at first slowly moving up, then picking up speed, then starting to maneuver, hovering, before moving forward, backward, side to side, with no apparent problem. The helicopter begins to gain altitude, start to move faster in forward flight, nimbly sprinting from one checkpoint to another. After 15 minutes of flight, the aircraft lands, to initiate the second phase of the test.
A squad of eight fully armed and equipped soldiers boarded the stairs of the helicopter, Sikorsky taking note that he would have to enlarge the passenger door and reinforce the boarding ladder for the heavily laden soldiers to be able to embark the aircraft comfortably. The helicopter began to rise again, this time more slowly, due to the increased weight, and began its first nearly fully-loaded passenger flight. This flight lasted another 15 minutes, before landing. Sikorsky looked pleased...
That was, until Sikorsky saw the twin-rotored monstrosity lumbering just over the horizon. It moved in a controlled slewing motion, its counter-rotating twin-axial rotors like nothing he had ever seen. This must be Frank Piasecki's creation and it was enough to take the wind out his sails. It looked to be twice the size of his prototype, with what appeared to look like three times the load capacity, utilizing a dual counter-rotating rotoring system, with one rotor being mounted on an engine pylon in the front, and the same size rotor mounted on a rear engine pylon situated above the forward rotor, with a long wide body slung underneath them. Sikorsky knew that he was going to lose for sure...
He saw Frank Piasecki walking up to him, no doubt to gloat, but walking parallel to him was none other than General Henry H. “Hap” Arnold himself, first shaking Piasecki's hand, then Sikorsky's. Perhaps, this was a good sign... “Well, gentlemen, we have some good news for both of you: we will be ordering helicopters from both of your companies. Mr. Sikorsky's S-55 helicopter suits our need for a medium-sized vertical personnel transport, whereas Mr. Piasecki's H-25 helicopter meets our requirements for a heavy-lift material transporter. We all win in this situation, gentlemen.” Then General Arnold turns and walks away, being hustled away by his paranoiac aides.
As Sikorsky turns to walk away himself, Piasecki quickly turns and catches up with him and grasps his hand and says “Mr. Sikorsky, it is a great honor to finally meet you. It was your inspiration that allowed me to pursue my dreams of becoming an aeronautical engineer and designing unique durable aircraft. Thank you for that, sir.” Sikorsky was dumb-founded and at a loss for words, though he quickly recovered, “you do me great honor, young man, and as once I considered you an adversary and rival, you shall be forever my greatest friend. Please join me for dinner tonight?”
And thus began one of the greatest friendships of the Third World War...