Happy Birthday, VFS!

XR-4 team at Dayton, 1942
The XR-4 and team at Wright Field (L-R):
Ed Walsh, Adolph Plenefisch, Igor Sikorsky, Orville Wright, Ralph Alex, Les Morris & Bob Labensky.
Igor I. Sikorsky Historical Archives, Inc.)
AHS logo, 1943
The original 1943 logo

On This Day in VTOL History: VFS Founded, Feb. 25, 1943

80 years ago, in 1943, the American helicopter industry was born. Testing had gone well with Sikorsky Aircraft’s sole XR-4 demonstrator at the US Army Air Force’s Wright Field near Dayton, Ohio.

Testing was declared complete on Jan. 5, 1943, and the Army soon ordered a second batch of 14 YR-4A helicopters, after the first 15 had been ordered a few months earlier.

Later in 1943, the Army issued the Allied world’s first production contract for a helicopter, requesting 100 of the finalized R-4B helicopter. Meanwhile, the Piasecki PV-2 first flew on April 11, 1943, while Bell Aircraft made the maiden flight of its Model 30 on June 26, 1943.

Against this background, a small group of engineers at Sikorsky began discussions in January 1943 about the need for an organization to bring the nascent helicopter community together, from industry, government and academia, around the Allied world.

After these initial organizational meetings, VFS was founded on Feb. 25, 1943. It was officially recognized by the State of Connecticut as "The American Helicopter Society, Incorporated" on June 25, 1943.

In our 80 years of working to advance the state of the art of vertical flight technology, we have created an incredible legacy of advocacy, publications and contributions to vertical flight. The name of the society has changed over the years, but our mission has remained constant: advancing vertical flight.

Learn more about the history of VFS at www.vtol.org/history.

Posted Feb. 25, 2023