YouTube – Erickson Air Crane
Erickson Air Crane Specifications
Pratt & Whitney
2- 4,800 shp ea.
88 ft. 6 in.
25 ft. 5 in.
Erickson Air Crane
The Erickson Air Crane (S-64) is a modified helicopter once produced by Sikorsky that made its first flight in May 1962. Erickson obtained the manufacturing rights to the helicopter in 1992. Since then, Erickson has made over 1,350 improvements to the original helicopter design, enabling its use as a water bomber, in heavy lift construction, and logging. Erickson Air Crane helicopters are deployed world-wide.
The Erickson Air Crane is perhaps best known for its use as a water bomber. Its ram scoop can fill the 2,650 gallon tank of the helicopter in as little as 30 seconds with its snorkel taking as little as 45 seconds to fill the tank to capacity.
The helicopter holds the FAI turbine powered helicopter altitude record of 28,743 ft. (8,761 m) carrying a 2,000 KG payload. It also holds the time to climb record of 7 minutes and 54 seconds to 27,500 feet.
The US Army named the helicopter Tarhe, but most people call them air crane. Tarhe, the Crane, was chief of the Wyandotte Indians.
In 1958 engineering and development by Sikorsky began. On May 9, 1962 the turboshaft-powered Sikorsky helicopter first took to the air.
In January of 1969 Sikorsky was contracted to make several improvements to the helicopter by the US Army, primarily bringing total payload capacity to 25,000 lbs.
The US Army bought a total of 97 helicopters with deliveries taking place between 1964 and 1972.
The helicopter was used by the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. It served with the 1st Cavalry Division. While there, they retrieved some 380 downed aircraft.
The last Sikorsky helicopters were retired from military duty in 1993 by the 113th Aviation Unit of the U.S. Army National Guard based in Reno, NV.
Today Erickson Inc. is the manufacturer and primary operator of Erickson Air Crane helicopters. They have produced some 31 helicopters to date..
On Jan. 29, 2020, Erickson and Sikorsky Aerospace signed an agreement calling for Sikorsky incorporating their autonomous flight capabilities, called Matrix, into the Erickson Air Crane helicopter fleet. This is intended to enhance Air Crane pilot’s firefighting capabilities.
Hayden Olson, Vice President and general manager of Erickson said, “We need to be able to fight fires at night and in reduced visibility conditions. This technology is going to give our pilots that ability, so they can focus on the mission.” Erickson believes that Matrix can help optimize future firefighting missions.
The eventual goal of the Matrix system is the autonomous operation of the aircraft, at the flip of a switch, should a dangerous mission be involved.
On March 4, 2020, it was announced that the Federal Aviation Administration certificated the use of composite main rotor blades developed and designed by Erickson for for Erickson Air Crane helicopters. The blades currently in use are made from aluminum.
According to Erickson, the new composite main rotor blades will increase lift in virtually all condition, including hot and high, by over 3,000 lbs., lower manufacturing costs by 33 percent and lower maintenance costs by 75 percent.
RC Erickson Air Crane
That’s Joe and Beatriz Howard from East Coast Helicopter with their RC Erickson Air Crane helicopter. The RC Erickson Air Crane fuselage kit from Vario is made to fit Jet Cat SPH5 mechanics. Length is 84 in., width is 27 1/2 in. and rotor diameter is 85 in..
Darth’s Heli Bodies has a RC Erickson Air Crane fuselage that will fit 450 size mechanics.