Piasecki H-21 'Flying Banana' 

by Bill Harr

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Silly Week 2008

 

To keep defense contractors busy during the 1950s the US government approved the sale of various weapons, including aircraft, tanks, etc. to foreign countries.  To ensure that the US maintained a technological edge in military development most contractors were required to sell scaled back export versions of their hardware. 

Piesecki was given approval to sell an export version of their H-21 helicopter, commonly called the 'FLYING BANANA'.  The H-21EXP proved quite popular among the Banana Republics of Central and South America.  Aside from use in military applications  it was frequently kept on call by many Central and South American dictators in the event a coupe d' etat made a quick getaway necessary. 

The H-21EXP is now a very rare aviation find.  The FLYING BANANA  pictured here was acquired by the Delaware Valley Historic Aviation Museum at Willow Grove JRB for static display.

Bill 

Photos and text by Bill Harr