Local company United Aero Group have donated a Sikorsky S-76A to the Connecticut Air & Space Center, a restoration museum that currently occupies buildings 6 and 53 at the former Stratford Army Engine Plant complex.
The company acquired the early ‘A” model aircraft and a sister ship from a Lider Air Taxi in Brazil and recently completed collection of a wide range of still airworthy parts from the helicopters. United Aero Group is donating a complete airframe, original avionics, wiring, and other components to the museum.
The large gift was orchestrated after United Aero Group’s founder, Jamie Gelder, was invited to tour the Air & Space Center with his team. The museum staff guided the group around the vast facility and noted some of the significant artifacts of aviation history on display or being restored. Amongst the treasures is the only surviving Sikorsky S-60 “Flying Crane,” the final aircraft designed by Igor Sikorsky, precursor to the S-64 “Flying Crane” flying today (now manufactured by Erickson). The museum staff explained plans to restore the aircraft to the highest level possible and Mr. Gelder suggested that once parts collection was complete for the S-76 aircraft, the company would be honored to donate an airframe toward the effort. The gift will make it possible to “reskin” and otherwise remanufacture Igor Sikorsky’s last aircraft using Sikorsky Aircraft parts, thereby sustaining the helicopter’s connection to its proud heritage.
The move was executed by H.W. Farren, the global leader in helicopter transport, which provides service for both Sikorsky and the US Army Special Forces Operations Command. Farren was the company that originally handled the intra-United States portion of the transport of the helicopter to United Aero Group.
United Aero Group is committed to supporting aviation and has pledged ongoing assistance to the museum
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