Hans-Helmut Gerstenhauer, born on 28th May 1915 in Diepholz (Northern Germany), grew up in Frankfurt / Oder, got first glider experience and graduated in engineering.
After the beginning of World War II, he became pilot and had flown reconnaisance aircraft ( Henschel Hs 123).
After working as a test pilot at different aircraft manufacturers, he entered the company “Focke , Achgelis & Co. GmbH” in 1942. There he flew the unpowered autogyro Focke-Achgelis Fa 330 “Bachstelze” (=”Wagtail”) and later the helicopter Focke-Achgelis Fa 223 “Drache” (=”Dragon”).
After a precarious and perilous mission in the Gdansk area in March 1945 , at which he performed the first search and rescue mission with a helicopter ( rescue of a ditched Messerschmitt Bf 109 pilot), he transferred – after been captured by U.S. troops – the helicopter Fa 223-E V-14 with the designation DM + SR from the Bavarian airfield Ainring to the Beaulieu airfield in southern England.
Hans-Helmut Gerstenhauer has thus undoubtedly got most flying experience on a helicopter within the period until shortly after the end of World War II and got most experience in long-distance flying on a helicopter at that time.
Hans-Helmut Gerstenhauer died on 23rd October 2014.