Motorhome Classic: 1525 Horsepower 1970’s Winnebago

I recently stumbled across a video of a rare 1970’s Winnebago camper. Only a few were built by Winnebago, then a few more were built up later and sold by a company in Florida. But there was a twist.

It was a flying motor home, the Heli-Home, based on a remanufactured Sikorsky S58 military helicopter. Complete with a 1525 HP Wright Cyclone radial engine. In the above picture, one can also see the mobile phone, perhaps being used here to call for help after getting the rotors tangled in a tree

It attracted publicity, including a cover feature in Popular Mechanics, but cost and let’s be honest, impracticality, prevented wide-spread popularity.

Though one feature may have been useful: it was FAA certified to run on automotive gasoline as well as aviation fuel. The sales literature mentions a smaller 800 HP version based on the Sikorsky S55, as well as an optional gas turbine configuration. This was probably a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT-6-3 Twin-Pac Turbine. The S58’s piston engine was the radial Wright R-1820-84 Cyclone with 9 cylinders, a single Stromberg carburetor and a displacement of 1823 cubic inches, or 30 liters. Perhaps the engines in the Heli-Home S58’s were built by Studebaker, which built many of these during the war. The Cyclone is the engine that in diesel form powered the M4A6 version of the World War II Sherman tank.

For more details, watch this very good YouTube video.