Hey, Let’s Use a Helicopter as a Tugboat!

It’s possible that in 1958, the crew aboard the U.S. Coast Guard buoy tender Juniper were crouching, fearing the thin steel cable pulling them through the water at 15 mph might break, snap back, and, like a scythe, cut them in half. Yet it’s likely they were also gawking at what was providing their forward propulsion. On the other end of the cable, 300 feet ahead and 30 feet up, was a bright yellow Coast Guard helicopter, the bird in Project Tugbird. In November 1951, the Coast Guard began receiving the new Sikorsky HO4S helicopter. Equipped with a winch, a rescue basket, and a roomy passenger compartment, it was ideal for search and rescue. By early 1958, 30 were stationed at U.S. coastal cities. Along the way, someone thought it might be a good idea to use the helicopter for towing vessels—fishing, pleasure, and other types—out of harm’s way. Read the rest here 20:14

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.