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Then Commander Frank Erickson & Dr. Igor
Sikorsky in Sikorsky Helicopter HNS-1 C.G.
#39040, August 14, 1944.
(Photo courtesy of the Coast Guard
Aviation Association)
Air Station at Floyd Bennett Field in
Brooklyn, NY where he was assigned as
the Executive Officer. It was here that
Frank Erickson reunited with his friend
Commander William Kossler. Comman-
der Kossler had been one of Frank Erick-
son’s instructors at the Coast Guard
Academy and was also an aviator who
had been recently assigned as the Chief of
the Aviation Engineering Division at
Coast Guard Headquarters. Due to some
previous personal seaplane flying experi-
ence and the death of a close friend in a
seaplane accident Commander Kossler
shared Lieutenant Commander Erickson’s
enthusiasm and hope for the development key role in helping him pursue his vision copter had any usefulness and the Navy
of the helicopter as a more capable rescue for the helicopter over the next several was not interested in developing heli-
aircraft. Commander Kossler was one of years. Few people in prominent positions copters. Unfortunately for Lieutenant
Erickson’s few supporters and played a in the Coast Guard thought that the heli- Commander Erickson the Coast Guard
was part of the Navy during World War
II and needed the Navy’s permission to ac-
quire any helicopters. Due to some inter-
est in helicopters by the Army and the
British and some intense behind the scenes
work by Commander Kossler, the Com-
mandant of the Coast Guard, Admiral
Waesche, was able to convince the Chief
of Naval Operations to authorize the Coast
Guard to establish a helicopter test and
evaluation program. In June 1943 Lieu-
tenant Commander Erickson began heli-
copter flight training at the Sikorsky
factory and was later designated as the first
Coast Guard helicopter pilot (Beard, T.,
1996). By the end of 1943 he was pro-
moted to Commander and named the
Commanding Officer of Coast Guard Air
Station Brooklyn which became the
world’s first helicopter training base.
Commander Erickson began qualifying
Coast Guard, Navy, and British helicopter
pilots. This small group of newly quali-
fied pilots then trained more pilots and
helped develop helicopter procedures. The
Coast Guard had sold the Navy on the idea
of using the helicopter for anti-submarine
warfare missions. The Navy was inter-
ested in this mission due to mounting
losses in the Atlantic from German sub-
marine attacks. In reality, Commander Er-
ickson used the opportunity to further the
development of a rescue helicopter. The
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