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Sikorsky S-67

Sikorsky, who may rightly be considered one of the giants of the helicopter industry, has taken part in all the design competitions for combat helicopters held by the American armed forces. In 1964, it submitted the S-66 project to the US Army for the AAFSS specification, calling for an aircraft with a maximum speed of approximately 418km/h and ten minutes' hovering capability.

The S-66 looked very much like the Lockheed AH-56A Cheyenne (which won the contest), but had a Rotorprop tail rotor which could rotate its axis through 90° to act both as a conventional anti-torque rotor in horizontal flight and as a pusher propeller, thereby transforming the S-66 into a compound aircraft in cruising flight. When the AH-56A failed to live up to expectations, Sikorsky first offered an intermediate aircraft, consisting of an armed version of the S-61, then designed a simplified AAFSS using the maximum number of components from the S-61. The result was the S-67 Blackhawk which appeared in 1970.

The Blackhawk looked like a helicopter with conventional rotors (those of the S-61) and had the now typical lines and features of a combat helicopter: two stub wings with a 8.33m span and an all-moving tail plane. The main-wheels were retractable, while the tailwheel was not. One of the most interesting features of this aircraft was the presence of speed brakes on the wing trailing edges, which could be used both as airbrakes and to improve manoeuvrability. In addition the main rotor blade tips were modified and given a sweep-back of 20°, to reduce vibration, stall speed and noise.

The Blackhawk was put through a long series of tests from 1970 to 1974 but judged unsatisfactory. It nonetheless established an E-1 class world speed record on 14 December 1970 by flying at 348.971km/h over 3km, beating this on 19 December with a new record of 335.485km/h over a 15/25km circuit. In the final stages of testing, the S-67 was fitted with night vision systems, a TAT-140 turret with a 30mm cannon and an insulated and soundproof compartment for troop transport. The S-67 was also designed to carry an armament of 16 TOW antitank missiles, 2.75 in rockets or Sidewinder air-to-air missiles.

The Blackhawk demonstrated excellent manoeuvrability, weapon carrying capacity and versatility. At the end of the test cycle, the US Army asked for the aircraft to be modified by substituting a ducted fan for the tail unit, and in this configuration it reached a speed of 370km/h in a test dive in 1974.

G.Apostolo "The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Helicopters", 1984

Sikorsky S-67

Sikorsky designed and developed the Sikorsky S-67 Blackhawk highspeed attack helicopter as a private venture. This combined two 1119kW General Electric T58-GE-5 engines and five-bladed main and tail rotors with a slender gunship fuselage, short-span 8.33m fixed wings, a cruciform tail unit with an all-moving horizontal surface, and retractable tailwheel landing gear. Highly manoeuvrable, the S-67 established on 14 December 1970 a new world-class speed record over a 3km course of 348.971km/h. Its development was abandoned after an accident in 1974.

D.Donald "The Complete Encyclopedia of World Aircraft", 1997

Sikorsky S-67

Photo Gallery 

The Sikorsky S-67 demonstrates its weapon-carrying ability with two dummy AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, 16 dummy wire-guided TOW antitank missiles, and a belly-mounted 20-mm cannon. The Blackhawk was designed to carry up to 24 TOW missiles in the AAFSS role. Note the camouflage paint scheme.

Sikorsky S-67

Technical data for Sikorsky S-67

Crew: 2, engine: 2 x General Electric T58-GE-5 turboshaft, rated at 1119kW, main rotor diameter: 18.9m, length: 19.7m, height: 5.0m, wingspan: 8.33m, take-off weight: 9980kg, empty weight: 4955kg, max speed: 349km/h, cruising speed: 320km/h, rate of climb: 12.1m/s, range: 400km

Sikorsky S-67

George, e-mail, 01.03.2016reply

I was trained as an aircraft armament repairman on the Huey Cobra (35J20). If they would have used the space provided to carry troops to hold a bigger weapons cache then the Blackhawk would have been the better aircraft.
A big salute to the pilots of the Cobra. She was an awesome bird.

Ben, e-mail, 27.04.2015reply

I have always been suspicious of "do it all" machinery, because specialties often are best accomplished by specialist. Who desires a fighter plane that can also haul freight? Who wants a spaceship that can serve as a submarine? My personal view is that the AH-56 Cheyenne would have been a better Attack Helicopter. The Blackhawk here (S-67) might have made a better "Freighter"; but to what purpose? If a fighter plane finds itself in a "dog fight", he can drop external fuel tanks to improve his envelope for the pressing needs of the moment. Why put troops on board with their combat load, if you have to limit weapons load to haul the troops; If you expect trouble up ahead?

Zac Yates, e-mail, 03.11.2010reply

Long shot, does anyone know where I can obtain a DVD of a 1980s doco called "The Chopper"? I have no idea who produced it, exact year, or who the English-sounding narrator is. It includes interviews with Hanna Reitsch and Bart Kelley (coworker of Arthur Young at Bell), and other techs and pilots, as well as footage of the prototype NOTAR, Apache, Sikorsky ABC and the XV-15 as well as the S-67.

monte johnson, e-mail, 30.12.2010reply

Got to see this beautiful machine perform at a demo at Ft. Hood, Texas around 73-74 and it was superb. I was an AH-1G Cobra pilot in the cav. We all(pilots) thought it was great, but I recall that many Army brass thought it was way too big at the time. Turns out to be no bigger than the Apache I don't think. The demo was flown by (I think) a retired Marine LTC named Kurt Cannon, who was a Sikorsky test pilot, and included loops, rolls, split-S, and the like and was very impressive. I saw a short film some years later of the crash at Farnborough, and believe the pilot pulled a split-S with insufficient altitude during his demo, and hit the ground attempting the recovery. We lost a fine man and a fine machine on that day. I've always wondered what might have come about if it hadn't crashed.

Cooney, e-mail, 26.06.2011reply

The S-67 Blackhawk was certified to do loops, rolls and split S's. It was doing a Split S at the Farnbourgh Airshow when it crashed

Lanny, e-mail, 28.02.2012reply

I flew it! Just a demo flight,front seat, for 20 minutes or so. I was at HMX-1 ("Marine One", presidential squadron) 1969-1973. I had quite a bit of time flying UH-1E gunships (pre Cobra days)in VietNam. Sikorsky flew it to Quantico to show it off to the Marine Corps. I remember it was smooth and quiet unlike the Huey. Did a few simulated gun runs and had to be told not to add collective pulling out as the rotor did not tend to speed up as the Huey did. Got a patch for my flight jacket and a tie tack.

flatrat, 04.07.2010reply

I guess I should've said it looks like a skinny version of the Hind. Which turned out to be a very effective helicopter. At least until the mujahideen got lots of Stinger SAMs to play with.

flatrat, e-mail, 04.07.2010reply

Maybe it's just me but it looks like the Russians thought this was too good an idea to waste. It sure resembles the Mi-24 Hind to me. I think I read that this blackhawk would've had the ability to carry 8 troops and it could do rolls. Hmmm, just like the Hind.

activist, e-mail, 06.05.2010reply

It is only good if nuclear weapsons are not used. :)

SATAN, e-mail, 21.03.2014reply


arie stein, e-mail, 16.12.2008reply

Correction to previous comment - it was doing rolls - not loops. One of the few that could perform either feat to this day.

arie stein, e-mail, 16.12.2008reply

This aircraft was on its way to Israel where the IAF was going to use it as a prototype aircaft. It also had a small amount of room in its fuselage like the Hind for some troops. Unfortunately it crashed in the Farnborough Air Show while doing loops. Pilot error.

jeschmidt, e-mail, 20.08.2008reply

In 1971 (+), I was an MP at FT. Knox, KTY. As part of an armored and Mech. Inf. M-113s exercise, something similar to this helicopter flew in; we were told initially that it was not part of the problem.
But that change some minutes later and we were told to consider it hostile and to evade it. It had disappeared behind a tree line, but then popped up to altitude and attacked me like a fast shark. I promptly ran my PC into a tree-stump and knocked myself out!

I still think it was -is- the most handsome and versatile twirly-popper I have ever seen.

James, 12.07.2008reply

It also looks a lot like what the AH-X wanted to be when it grew up. Take the same basic design and add some sloping radar-deflecting surfaces and look what you have., 17.02.2008reply

A video featuring the S-67: http: / / /watch?v=iniXBYFLybs< /a>

Steve, e-mail, 22.05.2008reply

Another what if aircraft?
this looked and performed well and should have been properly developed

brn, e-mail, 26.07.2007reply


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