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Above: Dr. Igor Sikorsky shakes hands with his son, Aviation Machinist’s Mate Third Class Sergei Sikorsky, United States Coast Guard in July of 1944 at Floyd Bennett Field, NY. Photos: Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard Historian’s Office


oped. How did he approach helicopter flying, especially early on when he was learning to fly? SS: My father approached the flight test work of the VS- 300 with the same prudence and step by step attitude that let him survive his first flights in fixed wing aircraft. He also taught himself to fly airplanes while designing fixed wing air- craft. Dad used to say that, “fixed wing aircraft may have been light and flimsy but that may have well saved a lot of pilots’ lives.”


RPM: The first issue of Rotorcraft Pioneers profiled Captain Frank Erickson of the Coast Guard. During the 1940s you served in the Coast Guard under Captain Erickson at Coast Guard Air Station Brooklyn. By all accounts Captain Erickson believed whole heartedly in the rescue helicopter and despite


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stiff opposition within the military to helicopters, pushed on with developing them. What was it like to work with someone who had such a great belief in the helicopter and how should helicopter history remember Frank Erickson? SS: It was very inspiring and of course I was a terrific fan of CDR Erickson because in many respects he was speaking just as Igor Sikorsky was speaking about the life saving poten- tial of the helicopter. At Floyd Bennett field I had the chance to continue the same type of work that I was dreaming about while at the Sikorsky Factory. As an ex-Coastie I would say Frank Erickson was the Coast Guard’s Billy Mitchell. Erickson was ostracized and put out to pasture by the fixed wing community due to his emphatic belief in the helicopter. There was a great deal of similarity between Mitchell and Erickson, both were very outspoken and generated a lot of


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