Canadian Warplanes 7: Sikorsky R-4B Hoverfly helicopter

Sikorsky VS-316 (R-4B) Hoverfly Helicopter, RAF

(IWM Photo)

The Sikorsky R-4 is a two-seat helicopter that was designed by Igor Sikorsky with a single, three-bladed main rotor and powered by a radial engine. The R-4 was the world's first large-scale mass-produced helicopter and the first helicopter used by the United States Army Air Forces,[1] the United States Navy, the United States Coast Guard and the United Kingdom's Royal Air Force and Royal Navy. In U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard service, the helicopter was known as the Sikorsky HNS-1. In British service it was known as the Hoverfly. 52 were delivered to the RAF and the RN, and one was later transferred to the Royal Canadian Air Force. (Wikipedia)

(Cdr John C. Redfield Photo)

R-4 Hoverfly with the Fleet Air Arm, RN.

The Admiralty had seen demonstrations of the Sikorsky XR-4 and been impressed with its anti-submarine potential and its small size offered the chance of ship-board operation. This had been confirmed by trials aboard the mv Daghestan during Nov 1943. The first was accepted in Mar 1944 in the USA and a second batch was sent by sea to the UK aboard HMS Thane (D48) at the end of Dec 1944. Others were kept in the USA to provide training for RN pilots. 240 were ordered for the UK (including the RAF) but many were cancelled at the end of the Second World War, and only 24 served in the Fleet Air Arm.

(RuthAS Photo)

Royal Air Force Hoverfly I in use by Fairey Aviation in late 1945.

(RAF Photo)

RAF Sikorsky Hoverfly I.

(RAF Photo courtesy of the Shearwater Aviation Museum)

Sikorsky VS-316 (R-4B) Hoverfly Helicopter, RAF.