Saturday, December 21, 2019

Sikorsky SH-34

These pictures of this somewhat dilapidated Sikorsky SH-34 Sea Bat were taken at the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum. It's stored outside, which is unfortunate but I find missing parts and covers can make a more interesting display. My realization that the power came from a Wright radial engine mounted on an angle just below the crews feet with 1500 horsepower running up the drive shaft next to their elbows put the aircraft in a new perspective. 
I also immediately thought that this machine would be a perfect candidate for a turboshaft engine.  A little googling showed I was only about 60 years late with that idea. Westland helicopters built a turbine variant in 1958 as the Wessex.
This is the earlier H19 with same engine layout but with quad landing gear and high tail. Below; the Westland Wessex.

Production of the H-34 type ended in 1970 but the next year Sikorsky started doing conversions to a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT-6-3 Twin-Pac® Turbine engine.  This was a big step up in reliability and safety, though in my opinion, the longer nose didn't add to its looks. 

Twin-Pak Turbine powered H58-T 


VectorWarbirds said...

Only die hard Noodle Wingers could like the way these look:)

VectorWarbirds said...

And another thing, think about where that engine/rotor driveshaft was...

Mister G said...

But from what I've been reading, that arrangement never gave any problems. But the potential!
As for the looks, the French nicknamed the helicopter "éléphant joyeux" (joyful elephant). Seems apt!