Aircraft Type Index

Military Helicopter Index



Sikorsky R-4B Hoverfly Military Helicopter

The Sikorsky R-4, or Hoverfly as it was known in RAF service (Gadfly within the RN), was not the first helicopter to fly but was the first true helicopter to go into production, it's first military combat operation was in May 1944 with the US Army (A liaison aircraft pilot and his three British soldier passengers in two consecutive trips in Burma during April 1944).  It was in this time frame that the new "rotary-aircraft" was labelled as an "Egg-Beater" long before the word Helicopter was applied to the type.

Sikorsky R-4B Hoverfly Military Helicopter


The R-4B had little payload capability, was slow with little range so was only really useful for observation and communication purposes. As a pioneering design it's service life was short by modern standards, Sikorsky soon designing the far improved, larger and more versatile Sikorsky H-5 as it's intended replacement.

Sikorsky R-4B Hoverfly Specifications:

  • Crew: Pilot only
  • Length: 33 ft 8 in (10.2 m)
  • Rotor diameter: 38 ft (11.5 m)
  • Height: 12 ft 5 in (3.8 m)
  • Loaded weight: 2,581 lb (1,170 kg)
  • Engine: Single 200 hp (149 kW) Warner R-550 piston engine
  • Maximum speed: 75 mph (120 km/h)
  • Cruise speed: 65 mph (105 km/h)
  • Service ceiling: 8,000 ft (2400 m)

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