1940s helicopter ID

There’s a helicopter in the photo on this page:

I thought it might be a Bell H-12, but that one has an upraised tail rotor and the one in the photo doesn’t seem to. Pretty sure it’s a Bell, though.

Anyone have a positive ID?

Could it be a Sikorsky S-52?

I don’t think so. The profile looks like an early Bell.

I’m thinking it might be a Sikorsky H-5, given the long, straight boom tail, and the bulbous engine compartment below the main rotor. Given that the H-5 was introduced in 1945, it would have been contemporary to that photo (in 1947).


Hmm, you may be right. The picture isnt very good and I could not find another pic of that chopper with the Spruce Goose. There are only a few contenders, however.

I think your idea is better than mine.

But look at the glassed-in portions, they look a bit different.

A Sikorsky was my first thought. They were in use at the time. But the helicopter in the photo has ‘chin windows’ like Bells have and the overall shape looks more like a Bell. Also, the Sikorsky has a three-bladed main rotor and the helicopter in the photo has two blades.

This photo is a little more clear.

Gotta be a Bell 47B, right?

I think that’s it, if you look at all the variants. The windows match and same with two blades.

I think that’s it!

I should have thought of the Bell 47, but I had the lattice-structure tail boom and bulbous cockpit, and the later 47J Ranger in my head,

Thanks, Pork_Rind!

EDIT: The landing gear matches too.

I agree, the 47B looks right. The example of it in @Pork_Rind’s post was manufactured in '47, so the timeline seems to line up.

Side note - I saw the Hughes airplane in the museum in Evergreen, OR. It’s damn big, but not that big compared to some of the aircraft today. I suppose it looks big because it used small simple engines and lots of them, since it was designed to be easy to build with existing materials (particularly, it was plywood not metal).

It is bigger (winspan that is)than any other aircraft you have likely seen:

(wiki) The Hercules is the largest flying boat ever built, and it had the largest wingspan of any aircraft that had ever flown until the Scaled Composites Stratolaunch first flew on April 13, 2019.

I thought it was huge when I saw it. There’s other aircraft there that, for me, gave me a sense of scale.

It’s the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum, but it’s in McMinnville, Oregon, by the way.

It is big, but then I’ve also flown on an Airbus A380. I’ve also been under the Antonov flight path when it was taking off. The world is catching up to Howard Hughes, but still cutting our fingernails.

I assume the wide wingspan is because it was flying significantly slower than modern jet aircraft.

Thanks, it’s been almost 20 years since I was there, but “Evergreen” stuck in my mind. TLTG (Too Lazy to Google).

@Pork_Rind nailed it. Bravo!

The wiki on Bell 47 that @Johnny_L.A cites also has a closeup of a -47B in a museum taken from a very different perspective.

It’s interesting how long a life the -47 series had and how very different the models were. The -47D/G was certainly the definitive one in terms of number built.