Aircraft Type


The Sikorsky Aircraft Division of United Aircraft Corporation of Bridgeport, Connecticut first manufactured the Sikorsky S-55 helicopter in 1949 using components from its successful S-51 line.

In due course the S-55 model was evaluated as a litter carrier for evacuation of wounded US Army soldiers. These trials were completed in 1949-50 and the helicopters were used extensively during the Korean War. The subsequent impact of the S-55 from commercial and military perspectives was unforeseen at the time of its initial introduction. This unique design marked the dawn of a new era for a single-main-rotor lifting helicopter. Here was a helicopter that was reliable, versatile and adaptable to diverse requirements. The aircraft was used for passenger, air-mail or cargo transport, air rescue and military utility service.

A total of 1281 helicopters were built in the US. The Westland Aircraft Ltd. of the United Kingdom built 400 under license. 100 were also built by the SNCASE in France and another 44 by Mitsubishi in Japan. The RCAF used the S-55 in construction of the Mid Canada Radar Line. The RCN used it for search and rescue and for aircraft carrier plane guard duties.


The Museum’s S-55 helicopter CF-JTI, serial # 55822, was operated by Associated Airways in Canada’s North. It is fitted with a 550 hp Pratt & Whitney Wasp R-1340-S1H2 engine. Many military versions do not have the same power plant. Our museum traded a spare Norseman UC64, CF-ZMX to Buffalo Airways of Yellowknife for this S-55 in July 1990.


  • Known by the French as “Joyeux Elephant” and alternately in English speaking countries as the “Iron Chicken”.


  • Rotor diameter of 16.16 metres (53ft)
  • Height of 4.03 metres (13ft 2in)
  • Length of 12.73metres (41ft 8in)
  • Maximum speed of 180 km/h (75 mph)
  • Rate of climb of 910 ft/min