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Mike Maynard
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Piasecki HRP-1 "Flying Banana" 1948

February 9, 2015 · in Aviation · · 20 · 5.4K

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 "" 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.

Reader reactions:
13  Awesome 1 

7 additional images. Click to enlarge.

20 responses

  1. You did an outstanding job on the 'real' looks great - but where did you get that 'headline' model? Is it an actual kit or some photo shop wizardry or what?

    • I purchased the "banana" at a craft store, it's made from a soft plastic material, perhaps vinyl. The rotors are from an old Aurora Piasecki H-21 "Work Horse" helicopter kit. The landing gear is brass tubing with wheels and decals from the scrap box. I added the landing pad and wheel chocks to dress it up for a model contest. It didn't win the most humerous award, but a lot of folk got a good laugh from viewing. Thanks for the comment!

  2. The predecessor to my HUP-3. I love it !

  3. A great rendition of a most ungainly looking creature of flight 😉 Well done!

  4. Nicely done Mike, how those things flew I never know.

  5. That shows some real dedication, to turn a perfectly good machine into a tropical fruit. Stand is nice too.

  6. I love unusual subjects - and you really picked a doozey! Nicely done. I'm also curious about the headline shot...

  7. wow, man! Electric banana, gonna be the very next thing!

    Marvelous choice of subject! You can see how it got it's nickname!

  8. As usual - great work, Mr. Maynard.

  9. Thanks for all the nice comments. Mr. Hackett, If you remember the lyrics to "Mellow Yellow", you're either a Donavan fan or old like me...Tom C, the "rotor head" pilots at the CG Air Station I was based at told me helos don't want to fly, you have make them fly.

  10. Is it fast? will it peel out? Sorry I slipped on that one...
    They both look great, glad we could enjoy the fruits of your labor

  11. Mike: Both. He was a History Major, like yours truly, and made his money in another, unrelated field, ditto. Appraising tortured sheet metal in a tow yard ain't academic.

    Call me Bernie, Mr. makes me feel even older than I are.

    Love them first generation helicopters, and I had no idea there was one of these!

    Now, if somebody will do the first Sikorsky, V whatever, with the Igor Sikorsky (wearing a fedora) figure in the cockpit, and a good 1/48th S-55, I'll be happy as all get out.

    Yeah, unstable in all three axises, and if you lose the tail rotor or the jesus nut, you gots a problem.

  12. imagine if they had sent a squadron of those against "King Kong"...great fun

  13. Modelling the sense of humor, i really like this, great Banana, Mike

  14. Great post, Mike, and great modelling, too!

  15. Mike,
    Like the humor and a great job on the model.

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