AvStop Magazine Online


The Sikorsky-designed R-6A two-seat observation helicopter was a refined version of the R-4, the first Air Force helicopter to serve in a combat zone (May 1944). First flown in October 1943, the R-6A used the same rotor and transmission system as the R-4, but had a more powerful engine. The fuselage was completely redesigned to reduce air resistance and provide improved pilot visibility; therefore, the R-6A bore little resemblance to its boxy-looking predecessor. Sikorsky built the first six of the helicopters (one XR-6 and five XR-6As), but another 219 R-6As were produced in 1944 and 1945 by Nash-Kelvinator under a Sikorsky License. Although primarily an observation and liaison helicopter, many R-6As also were equipped with capsules on each side of the fuselage to carry litters for medical evacuation. Bomb racks also could be installed and, if necessary, the R-6A could be equipped with floats for operation from water.


Main rotor diamater: 38 ft.

Length: 38 ft. 3 in.

Height: 11 ft. 7 in.

Weight: 2,900 lbs. max.

Engine: One Franklin O-405-9 of 235 hp.

Armament: Structural provisions for 650 lbs. of bombs mounted externally

Serial number: 43-45379


Maximum speed: 96 mph.

Cruising speed: 69 mph.

Range: 305 miles

Service ceiling: 13,200 ft.