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March 08, 2011

Sergei Sikorsky honored by helicopter industry

 Sergei Sikorsky Several years ago at a Heli-Expo trade show in Orlando, this reporter enjoyed a memorable long dinner with Sergei Sikorsky, the almost legendary son of helicopter pioneer and Sikorsky Aircraft founder Igor Sikorsky. It was an evening filled with tales, some perhaps true, told by Sikorsky and one of his longtime friends.

Sikorsky was honored Monday as an Honorary Lifetime Member of the Helicopter Association International at this year's Heli-Expo trade show in Orlando.

Sikorsky grew up watching his father build the famous Sikorsky flying boats and “Clippers” for Pan American Airways and other customers. His first flight, at age 8, was seated on his fathers’ lap in the copilots’ seat of a twin-engine S-38 amphibian. Later, with his father at the controls, the young Sergei flew in the first successful Sikorsky helicopter, the VS-300.

During World War II, Sergei served in a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter development squadron, and participated in the testing and demonstration of the earliest helicopter rescue hoists and flew in some of the first helicopter search and rescue missions. 

In 1951, he joined Sikorsky Aircraft (then known as United Aircraft) and held international marketing and manufacturing assignments for 41 years. He retired in 1992 as a vice president and remains active with the company as a consultant.

- Bob Cox

 

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