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“Igor I. Sikorsky was wearing his famous fedora on September 14, 1939 while at the controls of the VS-300 helicopter, which hovered briefly and proved that the helicopter was indeed a practical aircraft. Wherever Igor Sikorsky went, whatever he did, his fedora seemed an extension of the man himself.
He wore it all through the development of several Flying Boats and on many flights of the VS-300 and other helicopters he developed. He was still wearing it on October 7, 1943, the last official flight of the VS-300, when it was presented to Henry Ford's Edison Institute Museum at Dearborn, Michigan.
During the Korean War which began in June of 1950, the helicopter proved itself as a lifesaving aircraft the inventor had envisioned. Thousands of lives were saved by this unique aircraft.
Around that time, word spread that if a pilot wore the Sikorsky fedora for just a few seconds, he could never be hurt while flying a helicopter. This special protection afforded by the Sikorsky fedora quickly became legend, probably born among a group of U.S. Marine Pilots.
As a result, Marine Corps helicopter pilots would find reasons to visit Igor Sikorsky. Finally one asked if he might wear the hat for a moment. After a few requests, Igor Sikorsky made certain that the fedora would be readily available to impart its legendary safety protection. Many pilots were to don the fedora.
After Sikorsky's death in 1972, the fedora disappeared. While exploring the family attic some ten years later, his grandson, Sergei Sikorsky, Jr., recognized it. Today, the source of the legend is preserved in Igor Sikorsky's office.
last update SEPTEMBER 22, 2012