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1/72 ExtraTech, Vought Sikorsky VS-300

by Juergen Klinglhuber

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This is my VS-300 from the ExtraTech Kit.  ExtraTech is well known for aftermarket products, but also some great kits are available from this manufacturer. This kit is a tiny "treasure".  Not a single part of plastic in the box - only resin and photo-etched parts came along with a small building plan and 2 decals.  I'm used to work with photetched parts because I like detailing my A/C's, but this kind of kit was also new for me.  I had my troubles to be honest.  Some problems I was able to cover - some others are quite obvious: e.g. see output shaft for the tail rotor - at the end I had no change to do readjustments so there is a bend near the motors belt-drive.   

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It was September 14th in 1939, when a rather uncommon vehicle tied down with cables to the ground had his “first flight”. The VS-300 was a design from the Russian emigrant Mr. Igor Sikorsky and it is considered to be the first US helicopter of practical utility. Since the first flight the VS-300 was constantly modified. Started with a simple steel tube fuselage and tail boom the vehicle turned into an at least common looking helicopter:  covered fuselage, uncovered tail boom, wheel undercarriage, and a 75 horse power engine.  The VS-300 was also available with floats and a 90 Hp engine.  The real free (no cables) first flight took place in May 1940.  In his final version the helicopter had more than 102 flight-hours of extensive testing and experiments.  The positive outcome of the testing showed all the advantages of a helicopter with tail boom and tail rotor and finally led to the general implementation of this configuration in modern helicopter design. With end of proving phase the VS-300 was donated to the Henry Ford museum in Dearborn, Michigan, USA. This was in October 1943 and the VS-300 is still displayed in that museum.  Based on his experiments Mr. Sikorsky started the development of VS-316, better known as R-4 Hoverfly, which became the first US series-production helicopter.

Enjoy. Greetings

Juergen "Jott"

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Photos and text © by Juergen Klinglhuber

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