What's Up?


Q: I see that you refer to the large firefighting helicopters that have been in Payson as Sikorsky Sky Cranes, but aren't they actually Erickson Air-Cranes?

A: The answer is that both names are used to identify the firefighting helicopters.

"Sikorsky is the name of the original helicopter manufacturer," Frank Swisher, Assistant Chief Pilot of Erickson Air-Crane said.

"There is an aircraft called the Cessna Sky Hawk 172," he said. "If Cessna sold the type certificate design of the Sky Hawk to Johnson Aircraft Company, then Johnson would take over all the aircraft maintenance, engineering data and manufacturing contracts - virtually everything related to that aircraft. Then they would probably rename it something like the Johnson Sky Eagle for example. But most people would still remember it as the Cessna Sky Hawk.

"That's what has happened with the Sikorsky Sky Crane. The company sold it in 1992 and all rights and responsibilities to Erickson, and Erickson has renamed it the Erickson Air-Crane -- although most pilots and people familiar with aircraft would normally refer to it as a Sikorsky Sky Crane. So it's not wrong to call it a Sikorsky. But the more up-to-date name is Erickson Air-Crane."

For more information, videos and photos of the Erickson Air-Crane, see www.erickson-aircrane.com.

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