Piasecki HRP-1 “Flying Banana” 1948
A helicoper, such as this, has a peel… OK, so much for whirly bird humor.
Helicopter models are not as exciting to build as a fighter or bomber but they have a certain attraction especially colorful helos that are used in search and rescue. The Piasecki Company was an early proponent of twin rotor aircraft and produced a fabric covered fuselage capable of 140 mile range at the crusing speed of 64 knots. The US Navy, US Air Force and the US Coast Guard were all Piasecki customers in the early days of helicopters. The Coast Guard purchased three of these aircraft for evaluation with the option to buy another 13. Although the helos were considered a success, the Service considered them too “short ranged” at only 140 miles. One helo crashed in April 1951 when the engine failed and the other two were given to the Navy. Nick named by the CG crews, the “Flying Banana” was the only large twin rotor helicopter flown by the Coast Guard, the Service utilizing Sikorsky aircraft almost exclusively. Still, the “Flying Banana” was a revolutionary aircraft, it was the first equipped with a rescue winch and flotaion bags attached to the fixed landing gear for water rescues.
The model of the HRP-1 is resin cast and 1:72 in scale. I only used the fuselage tossing the kit supplied landing gear and rotor assembly in the trash. A 1:72 twin rotor chinook was looted for the rotor assembly, seats, and wheels. I fashioned the landing gear from brass tubing and wire. The windows were filled in with krystal clear liquid and the “bird” was spray painted with Tamiya paints. I made the USCG decals on my computer and the star and bar insignia came out of the scrap box. And like all my Coast Guard aircraft models, the Piasecki is on display at the Coast Guard Heritage Museum on Cape Cod.
7 additional images. Click to enlarge.