The Sikorsky-designed R-6A two-seat observation helicopter was a refined version of the R-4, the first Air Force helicopter to serve in a combat zone. First flown in October 1943, the R-6A used the same rotor and transmission system as the R-4, but it had a more powerful 235-hp Franklin O-405-9 engine. With its fuselage completely redesigned to reduce air resistance and improve pilot visibility, the R-6A bore little resemblance to its boxy-looking predecessor. Sikorsky constructed the first six test helicopters (one XR-6 and five XR-6As), but Nash-Kelvinator built another 219 R-6As in 1944-1945 under a Sikorsky license.
Although primarily an observation and liaison helicopter, many R-6As could carry litters for medical evacuation in capsules on each side of the fuselage. Other special equipment included bomb racks for up to 650 pounds and floats for operation from water.
The helicopter on display was acquired by the museum in 1986.
Engine: One Franklin O-405-9 of 235 hp
Maximum speed: 96 mph
Cruising speed: 69 mph
Range: 305 miles
Ceiling: 13,200 ft.
Main rotor diameter: 38 ft.
Length: 38 ft. 3 in.
Height: 11 ft. 7 in.
Weight: 2,900 lbs. maximum
Serial number: 43-45379
Click here to return to the World War II Gallery