The birth and development of aviation as seen by Igor Sikorsky: Recollections of a Pioneer

Sergei Sikorsky in flight

Come discover the evolution of aviation through the eyes of one of its pioneers! Igor Sikorsky was a brilliant engineer and visionary who developed some of the world’s most sophisticated airplanes and helicopters. His son Sergei Sikorsky will discuss the birth and development of aviation as seen through his father, in addition to examining recent developments in aviation technology.  

Sergei I. Sikorsky grew up in Connecticut, watching his father — aviation pioneer Igor Sikorsky — building the famous Sikorsky flying boats and "Clippers" for Pan American Airways and many other customers. His first flight was at the age of eight, seated on his father's lap in the copilot's seat of a Sikorsky S-38 amphibian.

Visitors to his childhood home included the Lindbergh family, Colonel Jimmie Doolittle, Roscoe Turner, Eddie Rickenbacker, and many other aviation personalities.

In 1942, he started to work at the Sikorsky factory as an apprentice and junior helicopter mechanic. From 1943 to 1946, he served as a helicopter mechanic in a U.S. Coast Guard squadron at Floyd Bennett Field, participating in the test and demonstration of the earliest helicopter rescue hoists, rescue baskets and litters, and he flew in early helicopter search and rescue missions near the end of World War II.

After the war, he studied at the University of Florence, Italy, then joined United Aircraft (now United Technologies) in 1951. His language skills in French, German, Italian, and Russian led to assignments in Europe and Asia, aiding the production of Sikorsky models in Japan and Germany, and the marketing of various civil and military helicopters — from Iceland to pre-revolutionary Iran.   

He returned to the Sikorsky Aircraft headquarters Connecticut in 1975 and retired as vice president for special projects in 1992 but remains an active consultant. 


This event is sponsored by the history faculty in Interdisciplinary Humanities and Communication in the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts at ASU’s Polytechnic campus.


Valerie Adams, Lecturer, Modern American and Diplomatic History
Student Union, Cooley Ballroom C, ASU Polytechnic campus
Student Union, Cooley Ballroom C, ASU Polytechnic campus
Polytechnic campus

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