- Delivered: August 23, 1944
- Aug 1944 – 2139thAAF Base Unit (ATC) Freeman AAF, IN
- Dec 1944 – 3502th AAF Base Unit Tech Training School, Chanute AAF, IL
- May 1945 – 3706th AAF Base Unit (TTS, ATC) ,Sheppard AAF, TX
- Stricken: May 1945
The R-4, the world’s first production helicopter, set the standards for all subsequent helicopters. The XR-4 was developed from the VS-300 helicopter invented by Igor Sikorsky, successful flight tests in 1942 resulted in the production of 133 new R-4’s.
The first R-4 to see combat was in Burma in the spring of 1944. A liaison plane crash landed behind enemy lines injuring its occupants. An R-4 was used to rescue the men, flying them out one by one. This was the first recorded helicopter rescue. The mission was so successful the R-4 flew eighteen more missions within a few days.
In 1943, the R-4, sometimes referred to as “The Egg Beater” was the first helicopter to land on a ship at sea, the USS Bunker Hill, CV-17. By 1952 Army helicopters, had a collective unbeatable record 400,000 hours without a crash due to mechanical failure.
This R-4B was obtained by Yanks in March of 1990, and awaits restoration.