In 1967, two HH-3E helicopters made the first non-stop helicopter flight across the Atlantic Ocean from New York to the 27th Paris Air Show. Igor Sikorsky (right) and his son, Sergei, welcomed the U.S. Air Force crew. Images courtesy Sikorsky Archives.
PARIS, June 19, 2023 — Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company (NYSE: LMT), will celebrate its 100th anniversary during the Paris Air Show at Le Bourget this week emphasizing the deep and enduring relationship and the ongoing mission readiness and operational success shared by Sikorsky, its workforce in Poland and its commercial and defence customers across Europe.
Sikorsky’s history crosses paths with Paris Air Show: Fifty-six years ago, two Sikorsky HH-3E search and rescue helicopters — the first air-refuellable helicopters built — made the first non-stop helicopter flight across the Atlantic Ocean from New York, over London and finally to Le Bourget during the 27th Paris Air Show.
“Today Sikorsky helicopters around the world regularly make long-range flights in some of the toughest conditions,” said Paul Lemmo, Sikorsky President. “Those HH-3E flights in 1967 — with refueling supported by a Lockheed HC-130P Hercules tanker — were a testament to the ingenuity and innovation that began 100 years ago with our founder Igor Sikorsky. Innovation is central to our 21st Century Security mission of supporting our customers with systems to address their most difficult challenges.”
“I was there with my father to welcome the crew of the U.S. Air Force’s HH-3E, the original ‘Jolly Green Giant,’ when it arrived at Le Bourget,” said Sergei Sikorsky, one of Igor’s sons who lived in Germany supporting the country’s CH-53G heavy-lift helicopter program starting in 1972. “On the flightline at Le Bourget, we watched the first HH-3E perform a flawless refueling demo with a HC-130P Hercules tanker and then land 30 hours and 46 minutes after it left New York.”
The aircraft traveled 4,270 miles at about 131 mph before landing at 1:53 p.m. local time on June 1, 1967, at Le Bourget. The second HH-3E, which took a slightly altered path so it could clock the New York to London record, landed about 12 minutes later.