The 1959 Heli-Camper. Conceived When Flying Was Cool

I am still broken-hearted about the RotorX fiasco. Sometimes I wistfully browse and fantasize the few helicopter kits still in production. Of these, the coolest and by far the most expensive is the Hummingbird. In the “About” section of their website is this little nugget I had never noticed before:

In 1959, Fred Clark, the father of Brad, founder of Orlando Helicopter Airways, Inc. began flying Sikorsky S-52’s for tours at Cape Kennedy. He also conducted agricultural spraying operations and power line patrols. In 1970, the Sikorsky S-55 Heli-Camper helicopter was introduced, fully carpeted and soundproofed, hot and cold water, refrigerator, two-burner stove, shower, wash basin, toilet, air conditioning, TV, AM/FM stereo radio and tape deck, pull out awning, tinted windows, bar and storage cabinets, dual flight controls, full night lighting and dual landing lights, inter-phone system, com/nav radio and emergency locator beacon, slept four people, and was FAA certified. It was marketed by Winnebago

Even Hayao Miyazaki, in his wildest dreams, would probably fail to conjure up such an impractical machine. That’s helicopters for ya.


That’s awesome. It reminds me of the Catalina Flying Yacht(s) of the 1950’s:


I had forgotten about that one (and the model!). The story at the end of a luxury Catalina and the wealthy family it carried attacked by beduins working for the Saudi army is one heck of a read.


Yeah that was a crazy read. I’d never heard that story before. Awful end to the trip, and the bird.


The wreckage is still visible using Google maps.



I like the Saudi official explanation on the sign:

“Lacking permits was stopped by the Saudi Guard…”. :rofl:


That sounds like every maintanenance techs dream.

“Nobody was hurt…”. Dude and his wife was shot!