One of the mysteries of the Cold War is why the Americans in Vietnam ignored the pioneering tactics earlier employed successfully by the British in securing victory against Communist aggression. The author has followed the pioneering tactics in relation to exploiting the potential of VTOL aircraft in counter-insurgency actions – Very Highly Recommended
NAME: The First Helicopter Boys, The Early Days Of Helicopter Operations: The Malayan Emergency 1947-1960 FILE: R2975 AUTHOR: David Taylor PUBLISHER: Pen and Sword, Air World BINDING: hard back PAGES: 315 PRICE: £25.00 GENRE: Non Fiction SUBJECT: WWII, World War II, World War 2, Second World War, Cold War, technology, VTOL, helicopters, rotary wing aircraft Cierva, British rotary wing development, US rotary wing development, Sikorski, S-55, Westland Whirlwind, counter-insurgency, Communist expansion, subversion, troop transport
IMAGE: B2975.jpg BUYNOW: tinyurl.com/y3bble8l LINKS: DESCRIPTION: One of the mysteries of the Cold War is why the Americans in Vietnam ignored the pioneering tactics earlier employed successfully by the British in securing victory against Communist aggression. The author has followed the pioneering tactics in relation to exploiting the potential of VTOL aircraft in counter-insurgency actions – Very Highly Recommended The British were already well on the road to developing viable rotary wing VTOL aircraft before WWII and made the first use of this technology at the start of WWII. The Spanish engineer Cierva had provided the RAF with autogyros before WWII and they had been also tested by Fleet Air Arm pilots for the Royal Navy. Sadly, Cierva's death in a airliner crash retarded the development work, he had already started, on true helicopters, while the pressures and priorities of WWII meant that work was conducted very slowly during WWII. The US however was free to forge ahead and Sikorski produced the first viable helicopters, leading to the R4 that was supplied to Britain and used under the name 'Hoverfly' experimentally during WWII, including the first recorded medivac of a wounded Chindit from behind Japanese lines. The differences between the autogyro and the helicopter are often misunderstood because of the dominance of the helicopter in rotary wing operations. The autogyro flies always in autorotation of it rotary wing. This rotation is produced by driving the aircraft forward with an engine turning a propeller, pusher of tractor, in much the same way a fixed wing aircraft. The autogyro therefore takes off and lands much as a STOL, Short Take Off & Landing, 'bush' aircraft with a very short take off run and a near vertical landing, using unprepared or prepared airfields. If the pilot points into a head wind and starts the rotation of the blades with a power take-off, the autogyro is able to achieve close to true vertical take off or 'jump start'. In contrast, the helicopter applies power to the rotary wing and is able to take off vertically and then achieve forward flight by tilting the rotor disc. Climbing is achieved by increasing the angle of attack of the blades and increasing power. With a single rotor, a helicopter is twisted by centrifugal force around the axis of the rotor and direction is controlled by powering a small tail rotor. If the engine fails, the pilot has to attempt to bring the aircraft into autorotation and, at this stage, it becomes an autogyro. The effectiveness of the helicopter made it rapidly the dominant rotary wing technology. However, the autogyro is inherently safer. In fact it can be claimed as the safest aircraft every built. Unlike fixed wing and helicopter machines, the autogyro is not dependent on the engine. It is the only aircraft that can take off safely without warming the engine up. Being always in autorotation it will float down to the ground like a sycamore seed from any height. A helicopter requires sufficient height, in the event of engine failure, to keep the rotor turning fast enough to enter autorotation. Engine failure below this height is likely to result in catastrophic impact with the ground. Equally, with a fixed wing aircraft, height is required to begin safe gliding. If power fails during take off or landing a catastrophic impact with the ground is likely because the aircraft will stall and become uncontrollable. What the British realized very quickly in Malaya was that they had to protect the population from Communist insurgents, identify the location of insurgents and deliver adequate numbers of troops to bring them to battle and defeat. It was seen that helicopters and ground attack aircraft were essential to achieving this and the S-55 helicopter was ideal for the troop transport. They were used to move small groups of British and Commonwealth troops around before the enemy could vanish. If troops were injured, they could be lifted out by helicopter and delivered to a hospital for rapid treatment. Supplies and ammunition could be delivered exactly where they were needed. The author has told the tale of these pioneering operations very effectively with good illustration in support of the text. There are anecdotes and first hand accounts that make this an important aviation history. As the Malayan Emergency continued, the first British helicopters, Bristol Sycamores, were introduced and served successfully alongside the US designed Sikorsky S-55. The tactics developed provided the lessons adopted during the Korean War. The mystery is that the US military ignored the lessons during the Vietnam war and lost expensively, even though they used huge fleets of helicopters.