Piasecki 16H-1

The 37 ft long privately developed Piasecki 16H-1 weighed 11,000 lb and had a wingspan of 20 ft. The five-seat Pathfinder was originally powered by a 550 hp Pratt & Whitney PT6B-2 turboshaft engine. The engine powered a 41 ft fully articulated three-bladed rotor and a 5.5 ft three-bladed ducted propeller in the tail (called a "ring-tail") to provide forward thrust and directional and anti-torque control with four vertical vanes in the duct. Gross weight was 2,611 lb and fuselage length was 25 ft. The 16H-1 made its first flight on 21 February 1962. Overall, the Pathfinder had the handling qualities of a conventional helicopter, but used its wings and pusher propeller to off-load the rotor and increase its maximum forward velocity to 148 kt. 185 flight hours were accumulated before May 1964, when Piasecki was contracted to test a high speed modification, the 16H-1A Pathfinder II. It was equipped with a 1,250 shp T58 turboshaft engine, a new drive system and propeller to handle the increased power. The rotor size was increased to 44 ft diameter, and the fuselage was stretched to accommodate eight seats. Flight testing resumed on 15 November 1965 and it accrued over 40 hours in the air by May 1966, reaching speeds of 195 kt. Later, it was redesignated the 16H-1C when the engine was upgraded to a 1,500 shp T58-GE-5.


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