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Sioux scout in detail

27 February 2013

Sioux scout in detail

27º 53′ 55″ N / 82º 45′ 09″ W

— photo by Joseph May

The N-registration shows this Sioux is registered as a Bell 47 but certainly looks like an H-13 of the U.S. Army — photo by Joseph May

The Sioux is one of the most recognized helicopters produced. Beginning as the Bell 47 — and subsequently incorporated by the military in 1947 — it is easily recognizable by the:

  • twin rotor blades
  • welded tail boom
  • bubble canopy
  • fuel tanks located above the canopy

Perhaps the Sioux is most famous as a medevac helicopter. Who doesn’t recall watching the TV when the twin panniers equipped H-13 Sioux brought casualties to the fictional 4077th M*A*S*H? These dust-offs were real enough during the Korean War, to be sure, also paving the way to modern-day civilian helicopter medical transport which has become vital in both urban as well as rural areas.

Powered by the horizontally opposed six-cylinder air-cooled Lycoming engine sitting at the backs of the three seat on the cockpit the H-13 was also used quite well as an observation helicopter. Its simplicity, for a helicopter, also helped in its success since maintenance access looks to be hardly easier.

The Sioux in these images is an accurate representation of an H-13 of the U.S. Army though it is registered as Bell H-37, there are hardly any differences between the two, and is on display at the Armed Forces Military Museum in Largo FL. Mounted on a semi trailer the advantage of using twin blades, as opposed to three or more, regarding storage and transport is readily apparent.

— photo by Joseph May

Easy to note the characteristic bubble canopy and fuel tanks of the H-13 Sioux from this angle of view — photo by Joseph May

— photo by Joseph May

The Bell H-13 Sioux at the Armed Forces Military Museum in Largo FL — photo by Joseph May

— photo by Joseph May

The Bell 47 had side-by-side-by side seating but H-13 helicopters often had side-by-side seating — photo by Joseph May

— photo by Joseph May

The rotor hub with two rotors and two counterbalance arms — photo by Joseph May

— photo by Joseph May

The left side of the horizontally opposed air-cooled engine made by Lycoming, note the massive belt-and-pulley drive on the left (forward) side — photo by Joseph May

— photo by Joseph May

A more complete view of the vertically mounted Lycoming engine which has six cylinders in two banks that are horizontally opposed — photo by Joseph May

— photo by Joseph May

The Sioux’s tail rotor and stabilizing surfaces, note that it is mounted on the right side but later U.S. helicopter designs mount the tail rotor on the left — photo by Joseph May

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 27 February 2013 09:16

    My aunt was a pilot in the 30’s and I was told she flew a Auto Gyro a precursor to the helicopter. My brother worked for Sikorsky and I give power point presentations about female aviators of the 30’s.
    I’m curious, are their well-known women helicopter pilots? Or did they slip through unknown like so many women pilots.
    Remember, there’s more than Amelia.

    • travelforaircraft permalink*
      8 March 2013 11:33

      An extraordinary family history :) You raise an excellent question — let us see what we can find, shall we? The 99s most definitely recall more than Amelia in regard to women in aviation’s history. These names pop into my mind when I read your comment: Pancho Barnes, Beryl Markham, Jean Batten and Amy Johnson.

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