by Tommy H. Thomason

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Early SH-3 Configuration by Jodie Peeler

Jodie Peeler provided the following information on the configuration of the early SH-3s; note that the Fleet Introduction Program for the SH-3, then designated HSS-2, was accomplished in late summer of 1961 and deliveries to fleet squadrons began to be accomplished immediately thereafter:

While rounding up some references for the Mercury recovery helicopters, I found this picture that's of particular interest to your Tailhook Topics Draft post,, about the Sea King.

It is a screen capture from a film taken aboard USS Intrepid on 24 May 1962; it is HS-3's HSS-2 BuNo 148964 landing aboard Intrepid with astronaut Scott Carpenter inside.

Four interesting things about this HSS-2:

-- Both air data probes over starboard side of cockpit;
-- No rotor cap;
-- No flotation bags on the sponsons; and
-- Take a look behind the transmission hump - there's no little doghouse back there.

In a quick look at my hard drive, here's what I've found, if reviewing the pictures of Gemini recovery helicopters (which were all members of fleet ASW squadrons) can be considered a decent cross-section:

-- By early 1965 some SH-3s had received the doghouse. The Gemini 3 recovery helo (BuNo 148984) had it in March 1965. The Gemini 4 recovery helo (BuNo 148999) didn't have it in June 1965. By the Gemini 5 recovery (August 1965, with BuNo 149005) it shows up and remains consistent. It appears those built without it got the mod whenever they could.

-- The air data probes consistently appear separated by early 1965

-- Flotation bags had come in by early 1965

-- Main rotor caps really don't show up a lot until about the end of 1965*

By December 1965/early 1966 the "standard" SH-3A/early SH-3D configuration has become the norm, with doghouse, separated probes, rotor caps and flotation bags.

The VH-3A/HSS-2Zs were delivered with the rotor caps, but without the doghouse. By June 1963 they had been fitted with the doghouse. Not sure when the air data probe configuration changed; probably sometime in 1964 or early 1965. I don't believe VH-3s have ever carried flotation bags, at least not while on white-top duty.

* In case you want to build your model in this early configuration, here is a photo of the uncapped rotor hub from the 16 January 1961 issue of Aviation Week, page 52.
Good luck with that...

No comments:

Post a Comment