The aircraft in ICITY are inspired by a number of real world and conceptual predecessors – everything from modern drones and LTAV’s, to the experimental helicopters and planes of the 1930’s. A powerful influence, in particular, is the Sikorsky Sky Crane, which fist took the skies in the early 1960’s, variants of which are still flying today.
As helicopters became more reliable and powerful during the 1950’s, manufacturers began development of “sky cranes”, powerful aircraft which could be used to move heavy equipment and awkward cargo, and also function as mobile cranes at dangerous construction sites. With experience gained from the production of the smaller S-60 prototype, Sikorsky began production of the CH-54 Tarhe (civilian variant S-64) in 1964 for use by the US Army.
The Ch-54 employed a “pod-and-boom” design that allowed it to straddle modular or asymmetrical cargo. The crew operated the aircraft from a bubble-like cabin mounted at the nose, where a co-pilot could also use an aft-facing control station to complete a variety of operations. Interchangeable cargo containers could be attached directly to the fuselage, although the sky crane was more often used to sling oversized cargo beneath its central boom. A powerful hoist mechanism could winch certain types of cargo up against the fuselage’s boom, to increase stability and reduce drag during forward flight, and which allowed the helicopter to remain airborne during loading and unloading.
Sikorsky CH-54 Tarhe // S-64
Payload: 20,000 lb (9,000 kg)
Length: 88 ft (27 m)
Height: 25 ft (8 m)
Main Rotor diameter: 72 ft (22 m)
Tail Rotor diameter: 16 ft (5 m)
Powerplant: (2x) Pratt & Whitney T73-P-700 (for the A model)
Maximum speed: 130 kn (150 mph, 240 km/h)
Cruise speed: 100 kn (105 mph, 170 km/h)
Range: 200 NM (230 mi, 370 km)
Service ceiling: 18,300 ft (5,600 m)
Data: Combat Air Museum