Aviation Historian 16
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J.Stroud - An Englishman in New York
Looking somewhat inelegant with the flotation bags required for flight over water with a single-engined helicopter, Sikorsky S-55 N417A (c/n 55-433) awaits another flight at La Guardia. This machine was one of NYA’s later arrivals, not being delivered until May 1953. It later went to Canada, where it was re-registered CF-MYZ.
Without flotation bags but looking only slightly less ungainly, S-55 N406A undergoes a cockpit check at La Guardia. This example was one of NYA’s original batch of S-55s, delivered in late October 1952. The company was keen to promote its "Skybus” concept, hence the inclusion of the chevron logo beneath the cabin windows.
New York Airways’ newly-acquired Vertol 44B N10104 (c/n 538) prepares to depart La Guardia Airport for the West 30th Street heliport in downtown Manhattan on October 11, 1958.
Vertol 44B N10104 taxies out for another of its short hops between Manhattan and the New York City airports. Interestingly, the helicopter’s fuselage is adorned with the distinctive star logo of the Brussels Expo ’58 exhibition held that year in Belgium, during which Belgian national airline Sabena leased one of NYA’s Vertol 44s, N74057, to help with increased helicopter traffic to and from the exhibition site. Why N10104 also had the logo painted on its fuselage remains something of a mystery.
New York Airways’ decision to re-equip with the Vertol 44B in 1958 was in part influenced by the airline’s desire to get away from the somewhat agricultural feel of the S-55 and S-58 and offer its passengers an experience more in line with those they were used to on fixed-wing airliners. Note the clamshell rear door with inbuilt steps.
An NYA Vertol 44B beside the modest terminal at the twin-platform Wesf 30th Street heliport in 1958.
The standard one-way fare from La Guardia to the West 30th Street heliport in 1959 was $5, Idlewild to the heliport being $2 more. The first flight of the morning was the 0626hr flight from La Guardia to Wesf 30th Street and on to Newark, and the last flight of the night on a weekday arrived at Newark at 2318hr.
Lifting off from La Guardia, N10104 dips its nose as it makes the transition to forward flight. There was much talk about NYA acquiring Fairey Rotodynes in the early 1960s, but with average stage lengths of only 12 miles (19km) NYA justifiably felt that the Rotodyne would be too big and too fast to operate economically on its intra-city routes.
The Vertol 44s acquired by NYA and the Swedish Navy were fitted with a watertight lower fuselage and three rubberised-fabric floats mounted above the wheels as part of the undercarriage, to allow emergency alighting and take-off from water. Touchdown on the water could be made safely at forward speeds of up to 30 m.p.h. (48km/h), and the 44 could taxy through water at up to 10 m.p.h. (16km/h).
The view of the unmistakable New York skyline from the cabin of N10104 during John Stroud’s visit in 1958.
In August 1956 NYA received its first Sikorsky S-58, N876, seen here, the other three arriving between September 1956 and January 1957. The S-58 offered better economics then the S-55 but was still rather utilitarian.
A superb photograph of Los Angeles Airways’ Sikorsky S-51 N1398 (c/n 5103) on a mail service from Los Angeles International Airport, with a TWA Lockheed Constellation as a backdrop. The CAB granted LAA a temporary three-year certificate for local mail services in May 1947, extending it in 1951 to include passengers.
A superb photograph of Los Angeles Airways’ Sikorsky S-51 N1398 (c/n 5103) on a mail service from Los Angeles International Airport, with a TWA Lockheed Constellation as a backdrop. The CAB granted LAA a temporary three-year certificate for local mail services in May 1947, extending it in 1951 to include passengers.