Airworthy historic helicopter joins Salzburg-based fleet
The Salzburg-based Flying Bulls — the Red Bull-backed collection of historic and other display aircraft — have acquired Europe’s sole airworthy example of the Sikorsky S-58 helicopter. The 1958-vintage, Wright 989C9HE2 piston-engined S-58C, now registered N869RB, arrived at its new home in Austria on 24 May.
Originally delivered to Chicago Helicopter Airways as N869 in May 1958, the machine remained in passenger service with its subsequent operator, Belgian national airline Sabena, which flew it as OO-SHP from 1963-67. It then served with the Belgian Air Force at Koksijde in VIP transport configuration, with serial B15/OT-ZKP, until 1975. Three years later the S-58 was sold to German company Meravo and ferried to its new home at Oedheim, in the state of Baden-Württemberg, registered D-HAUG. It was repainted during the 2000s in Heeresflieger (German Army Aviation) colours, representing the H-34G models used by that air arm, and was used latterly by Meravo for display, pleasure-flying and film-making. In 2013, D-HAUG visited the UK for film work painted as a Royal Navy commando support Wessex HU5, since at that time no airworthy examples of the Westland-built type were available. Since then it has worn the emblem of 848 Naval Air Squadron on its German colours.
The S-58 joins the Flying Bulls’ already extensive rotary-wing fleet, which also takes in the world’s only flying Bristol Sycamore, a Bell TAH-1F Cobra, a Bell 47 and several MBB Bo 105s, along with examples of the more modern AS350 Ecureuil and Eurocopter EC135.