The S-64F is a twin-engine heavy lift helicopter with a sky crane design. Originally produced by the Sikorsky helicopter company of America.
The S-64 started out life as an enlarged version of the S-60 flying crane prototype. It first took flight in 1962.Incredibly this was a mere 13 months after the project was greenlit. Two months later the first unit flew to Fort Benning in Georgia in order for the US Army to evaluate it. The army promptly bought six units. Four of which found their way to the Vietnam war.
The S-64 has two massively powerful engines rated at 4050 shaft horsepower. The specific units at work here are the Pratt & Whitney JFTD12A turboshaft engines. These engines transfer power to a six-blade main rotor.
The basic configuration of the S-64 doesn’t have a cabin and comes with a cargo capacity of 20 000 pounds at either a single hoist point or other configurations that can split the load over multiple load points.
Notably the S-64 is probably the first helicopter to have an sort of fly-by-wire system which were implemented the aft pilot’s station.
The S-64F is the civilian version of the CH-54 Tarhe. Therefore, the main specifications are more or less identical to that model of helicopter. The S-64 is manufactured by the Erickson air crane company. The company purchased the production rights from Sikorsky in 1992.
Although this model has been in production for more than half a century, since 1992 Erickson has made over 1350 changes to the helicopter. Keeping it modern and relevant.
Erickson is both making new S-64s and re-manufacturing existing ones. Interestingly Erickson has a tradition of individually naming their S-64s. With names such as “Elvis” and “The Incredible Hulk.”
The army version of the S-64, the CH-54 Tarhe, went out of service in 1995. So the civilian, modernized version is the only S-64 sky crane we can still see take flight.