Wonderful Flying Machines: A History of U.S. Coast Guard Helicopters

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Naval Institute Press, 1996 - History - 240 pages
The story of the helicopter and its creator, Igor Sikorsky, and chief promoter, a young Coast Guard lieutenant named Frank Erickson, closely parallels that of Wilbur and Orville Wright and their first flying machine. Like that famous brother team, these courageous visionaries risked their lives and careers on a dream. Dubbed "Igor's Nightmare" in the early days of its development, the helicopter brought derision and ridicule on its supporters. Few who saw the contraption, with it flailing rotors and staccato motion, could be convinced that it was the momentous achievement it would one day be considered. This book clearly demonstrates the problems encountered by the personalities involved and their strengths in developing the helicopter for Coast Guard use. It shows how Erickson and his friend and mentor, Coast Guard captain William Kossler, undaunted by their lack of support, fought with single-minded intensity to establish the helicopter as a vital rescue tool in the service. Kossler died while the project was still in its infancy. Erickson left the service in disgrace but lived to see his efforts succeed when the helicopter revolutionized search-and-rescue operations.

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