[To start with, yes, I know – it’s not Friday. The post below was composed and ready for Friday, but apparently I never clicked publish, and it took me until today to notice. Oops. Sorry.]
A few years back, I had the pleasure of attending a Rotorfest held by the American Helicopter Museum in West Chester, Pennsylvania. My father and I had both eagerly looked forward to the promise of an AH-64 Apache flight demonstration, and I was disappointed when we learned that had been canceled, and in its place the show was featuring a CH-53. How wrong I was to lament this change in plans. This enormous, 100 foot long aircraft put on such a show of power and agility that my father and I still shake our heads in amazement years later. I have had the pleasure of seeing a long list of amazing planes perform over the years, but the Sea Stallion’s show that day, pitched forward with its rotors just off the runway and picking up speed as if it were anything but the largest helicopter in the West – it was simply stunning.
So it is the memory of that flight demonstration that is foremost in my mind when I look at this week’s picture. Taken by Flickr photographer Rob Feeley, it shows a 1965 vintage Sikorsky Sea Stallion in German Army service. Designated the CH-53G in German service, the Sikorsky model S-65 is a design that dates back to a 1962 competition. Forty-six years later it remains a world-leading design, and in fact the Marines currently hope to order 227 CH-53K aircraft, the most modern variant that is under development today.
I cannot vouch for any Sea Stallions at this year’s Rotorfest, but it is coming up soon, on October 11 and 12. The web site for the American Helicopter Museum is here, and the location is here on a map.
If you like this, I encourage you to check out this summary of all of the aviation photography I have featured here.