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Sikorsky XH-39

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The Sikorsky XH-39 (manufacturer designation S-59), developed by Sikorsky Aircraft in 1954, was the U.S. Army’s first turbine-powered helicopter. It was fast and innovative, but ultimately rejected by the United States Army in favor of the Bell UH-1 Iroquois.

Design and development

The four-seat XH-39 was powered by one Continental CAE XT51-T-3 400 shp (298 kW) turboshaft engine, a license-built development of the Turbomeca Artouste. It was developed from a previous Sikorsky model, the H-18 (company model S-52), and had the same layout. It differed in using retractable tricycle landing gear, modified tail rotor, and four-blade main rotor.[1] In the end, the U.S. Army selected the Bell XH-40, precursor to the famed UH-1 Huey . Two YH-18As were modified into XH-39s one for flight testing the other for static test.

On August 26, 1954, the S-59 set a world helicopter speed record of 155.9 mph (251 km/h). The same year, it set a world helicopter altitude record of 24500 ft (7474 m).


Former YH-18A modified for static testing, not flown and later modified back to YH-18A standard.
Former YH-18A modified for flight testing.

Specifications (XH-39)

Data from U.S. Army Aircraft Since 1947 [2]

General characteristics

  • Crew: Four
  • Length: 41 ft 0 in (12.50 m)
  • Rotor diameter: 35 ft 0 in (10.67 m)
  • Height: 9 ft 7 in (2.92 m)
  • Disc area: 962 ft² (89.4 m²)
  • Empty weight: 2,105 lb (957 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 3,361 lb (1,528 kg)
  • Powerplant:Continental CAE XT51-T-3 turboshaft, 400 shp (298 kW)


See also

Related development

Comparable aircraft

Related lists

See also



  1. Polmar and Kennedy, p.288
  2. Harding 1990, p.233.


  • Harding, Stephen. U.S. Army Aircraft Since 1947. Shrewsbury, England: Airlife, 1990. ISBN 1-85310-102-8.
  • Polmar, Norman, and Kennedy, Floyd D., Jr. Military Helicopters of the World. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1981. ISBN 0-870321-383-0.

External links

Template:Sikorsky Aircraft Template:USAF helicopters

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Sikorsky XH-39".