The UH-19B is a U.S. Air Force version of the Sikorsky S-55, an aircraft used by all U.S. military services in the 1950s and 1960s. After the first helicopter flew in November 1949, the USAF ordered production 50 H-19As in 1951. The USAF later acquired 270 H-19Bs with increased engine power, and in 1962 designated it the UH-19.
Many H-19s were assigned to Air Rescue squadrons as SH-19s (later redesignated HH-19s). For rescue service, the SH-19 carried a 400-pound capacity hoist was mounted above the door, and it also could carry an external sling capable of holding 2,000 pounds. During the Korean War, SH-19s became the primary USAF rescue and medical evacuation helicopter. The UH-19B on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force is painted and marked as an H-19A known as Hopalong, one of two H-19s to make the first transatlantic helicopter flight, traveling druign the summer of 1952 from Westover Air Force Base, Mass., to Scotland in five stages.
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