Sikorsky HNS-1 / R-4B / Hoverfly Helicopter Color Photographs

The Sikorsky HNS-1 is generally considered to be the first successful helicopter to enter military service in series production. It was known as the HNS-1 by the USN, R-4B by the USAAF, and Hoverfly in British service. It flew for the first time on 14JAN42. (NASM Rudy Arnold collection)
This is BuNo 39040 flown by Coast Guard LT Stewart Graham in 1943. Graham made the first successful helicopter sortie from a ship on 16JAN44, taking off and returning to the British freighter SS Daghestan. Notable in this photograph is that the helicopter is fitted with landing skids instead of wheels.
The Coast Guard was interested in developing the HNS-1 as a rescue platform, but convinced the Navy department to fund the program as an anti-submarine aircraft. Here is BuNo 39040 again, demonstrating the rescue hoist for the press. The helicopters were dual-serialed, Navy BuNo 39040 was also listed as USAAF s/n 43-46525. The Coast Guard used the last two digits of the Bureau Number as the side number. (NASM Rudy Arnold collection)
The HSN-1 could also be fitted with inflatable pontoons for landing on the water, details of the pontoon installation are visible in this photograph. (NASM Rudy Arnold collection)
More details of the pontoon installation can be seen here on BuNo 39043 / s/n 43-46544. The helicopter has been fitted with a canvas-covered litter on the starboard side. (NASM Rudy Arnold collection)
The Navy and Coast Guard operated their HSN-1s on the East Coast, developing operational procedures for the SAR and ASW missions. The first successful helicopter combat rescue was performed in the China-Burma-India theater in APR44, extracting four survivors from the jungle after an aircraft crash. The R-4 was also deployed to the Pacific for liaison flights by the USAAF in May44.
The steamer Governor Cobb was converted by the Coast Guard to evaluate shipboard helicopter operations. She was fitted with a flight deck and armament and commissioned as USCGC Cobb (WPG-181) on 20JUL43. She landed her first helicopter on 15JUN44, but the poor condition of her engineering plant limited her effectiveness. She is seen here with HNS-1 (R-4) on the right and HO2S (R-5) helicopters.
With the official end of the war in Europe on 09MAY45 German forces were ordered to cease hostilities and surrender to the Allies. The Type IXC/40 submarine U-858 was operating off the U.S. coast and surrendered to the U.S. Navy on 14 May. Here is the U-858 with a prize crew off Cape Henlopen, Delaware with an HNS-1 and blimp overhead. Modelers note the amount of chipping on the conning tower of the submarine.

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