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Last Active Duty Huey Flights


Spathologist
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I have missed the sound of a Huey for many years, I used to live close to the route they flew from Lincoln to the Nebraska National Guard Training Area at Camp Ashland. I only rode in a Huey a few times when I was in the National Guard, but I loved it with the door open or off. I'm also ex Air Force and miss the sound of the F-4 Phantom. I guess if either one would fly over I would run out the door as I do if I hear a radial or Merlin engine.

 

One of the helicopter flight paths from Fort Eustis to Fort Lee is right over my house. A few years ago you could hear and feel the distinctive thud, thud, thud as the Hueys few over now with UH-60s it's much less noticable.

 

I grew up in SE Nebraska and remember B-52s and British Vulcan bombers flying over. Never caught sight of a Huey or F-4.

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A few years ago you could hear and feel the distinctive thud, thud, thud as the Hueys few over....

 

400I fpm decent and 70 knots would literally shake your teeth out, loved waking the countryside up.

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ehrentitle, you must have left before the 1970's. After the Vietnam War the National Guard in Lincoln got the 24th Med and a bunch of Hueys when they left for Desert Shield/Storm they flew over the downtown in Lincoln in a mass formation. Also in the 1970's the Air Guard traded their RF-84's for RF-4C's. When I was a kid saw B-47's and KC-97's, based here. The first time I saw a Vulcan fly over it surprised me to see the RAF in Nebraska.

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1. I was at Arlington Natl Cemetery this a.m. for a burial and saw a HUEY flying by, to the Pentagon helipad. Granted it was a VIP taxi type with glossy white and OG paint job, but I would expect that it is indeed ON ACTIVE DUTY.

 

2. I was in Alaska in early 1979 and was struck by the hi-viz paint jobs on ALL sorts of Army aircraft, including OV-1 Mohawks and AH-1 COBRAS -- !? There was also an M-151 jeep at Ladd AAF that was painted in the same style. Saw it more than once, buzzing around and wondered if it was in use as a FOLLOW ME vehicle, or a a duty ride that was painted up for a family day or parade and just kept its cute Earl Scheib special.

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A very versatile aircraft. I went through Rucker in 1985 -- the program then being TH-55 (primary), then UH-1 (aircraft qual and instruments), and then either utility track (UH-1) or scout track (OH-58A/C). I went scout track but I have fond memories of the UH-1. I don't recall it being difficult to fly or having any vices. While waiting for the AH-64 transition, I got to fly them again at the ADTA (aviation development and test activity) with water tanks installed to get them up to max gross weight. Not sure what they were testing (blades, I think) but an interesting experience to feel the left pedal hit the stop while coming out of ETL. Lots of former VN guys were still around then so I learned from guys who had lots of experience running high/hot/heavy.

 

The taxpayer certainly got their money's worth from the UH-1 fleet.

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The Huey has become an iconic helicopter. It has been 56 years since the first one flew (as the XH-40) and 52 years since the first military contract was warded, and when you consider the Marines still fly Super Hueys and the Huey-based Super Cobras, this will likely become one of those military aircraft with a lifespan of maybe 70 years or more (much like the B-52).

 

My most memorable Huey flight involved taking off from a Minuteman launch control site. The pilot that day happened to be my girlfriend's father and based on the many cocktail hours I'd enjoyed at his quarters, I was always a little concerned about flying with him. Anyway, I got to sit upfront and it was pouring down rain: no wind, just torrential rain coming straight down. We took off in that and the sensation was of riding in an elevator with no door, watching the walls of the shaft race by. It got the adrenaline going....

 

The normal Huey ride was one of sitting in the back, crammed shoulder-to-shoulder with a bunch of sweaty guys in cotton sateens. If you had a "window" seat you at least got to see the occasional huge herd of antelope that roamed eastern Montana, but if you had the middle seats, it was not a joy ride.

 

Sadly I never got to experience one of the legendary Huey flights when a pilot (often fresh from Vietnam or Thailand) got bored on the missile site shuttle service and decided to do a mock strafing run on the antelope.

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snake36bravo

I worked the OH-58D upgrade for six years and was there for the demise of the Comanche. Both in my AO. Not sure if anyone knows but the 15 Hueys picked up for conversion to Huey II without the Bell Huey II kits (Bell crapped a brick on that one) were all H model Hueys that had sat at Kissimmee Airport as surplus. They were completely torn down, fast finned, MFD/glass cockpit, engine upgrade and rebuilt on 60s airframes. Those went to the State Dept. The Air Force uses them as trainers.

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snake36bravo

I have the proposal for the UH-1H rebuilds to Huey II. A requirement was that they all be surplus 60s airframes.

 

Somewhat related as to why they are being phased out is this, from a report by RDECOM dated September 2009.

 

Crash is defined as an impact that causes damage to the airframe. The numbers can do the talking.

post-2582-1345652343.jpg

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I have the proposal for the UH-1H rebuilds to Huey II. A requirement was that they all be surplus 60s airframes.

 

Somewhat related as to why they are being phased out is this, from a report by RDECOM dated September 2009.

 

Crash is defined as an impact that causes damage to the airframe. The numbers can do the talking.

 

The table is actually misleading, when you consider the numbers of each airframe in service. Of course there would be more UH-1 incidents -- it's been in service decades longer than some of the others. The accidents:airframe damage ratio is pretty telling. The UH-1 is tied with the much newer UH-60 and well ahead of the others.

C-123 -- 2% of the incidents were 'crashes'

CH-47 -- 12%

UH-1 -- 30%

UH-60 -- 30%

AH-1 -- 35%

OH-58 -- 38%

AH-64 -- 40%

OH-6 -- 54%

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The other misleading factor is the ratio. What is the ratio of crashes against number of blade hours and number of aircraft as identified by FltPlt. Another thing is the type of environment, the Huey is a tactical aircraft with more trees in their line of flight compared to the C-23. The Huey was more likely to be sent into a mission that was more than likely to produce an accident than say a Chinook or other aircraft that don't play in the trees or terrain.

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The Huey was more likely to be sent into a mission that was more than likely to produce an accident than say a Chinook or other aircraft that don't play in the trees or terrain.

 

I would not be so sure about that with regards to the CH47. I flew UH1s and CH47s in the 101st back in the 80s, we were just as quick to get a 47 down and dirty in the trees as we were UH1s.

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snake36bravo

From the material malfunction and failure reports from 1974 to 1977 directly related to UH-1, model not specified but general airframe series. I understand the report is dated but I have others from the 80s/90s that are comparable as well as accident reports.

post-2582-1345666557.jpg

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snake36bravo
The table is actually misleading, when you consider the numbers of each airframe in service. Of course there would be more UH-1 incidents -- it's been in service decades longer than some of the others. The accidents:airframe damage ratio is pretty telling. The UH-1 is tied with the much newer UH-60 and well ahead of the others.

C-123 -- 2% of the incidents were 'crashes'

CH-47 -- 12%

UH-1 -- 30%

UH-60 -- 30%

AH-1 -- 35%

OH-58 -- 38%

AH-64 -- 40%

OH-6 -- 54%

 

I have to disagree since as early as the 90s the Huey was decreasing in numbers in favor of the Blackhawk. This includes the period they were grounded after the accident rate for Hueys began ballooning.

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snake36bravo

The Huey was my first love. Weird but true. I believe it was one of the most successful airframes in aviation history. For all the negative reports I can pull up one month listing the total amount of hours flown without incident as an example of it's capabilities.

 

I puckered just reading these. My dad always said, the more time you spend flying the more your pushing your chances. He also told me every pilot knows another pilot who didn't make it and there's no such thing as a routine flight.

post-2582-1345670591.jpg

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snake36bravo

Last one because I'm getting creeped out.

 

If a Huey landed for rides tomorrow, I'd beat everyone to a seat! I'd rather be flying. :thumbsup:

post-2582-1345670864.jpg

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Further breaking it down.

I'm probably reading this wrong but your chart in post #69 basically shows that there were 6 accidents out of 697 mechanically-caused incidents. That's less than 1%. I'd be curious how well other aircraft performed?

 

I never had a Huey give me any grief. To me, they're pilot friendly and pretty forgiving. Plus I like the fact that you had to pull some pitch to keep the rotor from overspeeding in an auto. Not so much with the AH-64A.

 

Dangerous profession and you're very correct. There is no such thing as a routine flight. Harry Reasoner had it right back in 1977 when he wrote,

"The thing is, helicopters are different from planes. An airplane by its nature wants to fly, and if not interfered with too strongly by unusual events or by a deliberately incompetent pilot, it will fly. A helicopter does not want to fly. It is maintained in the air by a variety of forces and controls working in opposition to each other, and if there is any disturbance in this delicate balance the helicopter stops flying; immediately and disastrously. There is no such thing as a gliding helicopter.

This is why being a helicopter pilot is so different from being an airplane pilot, and why in generality, airplane pilots are open, clear-eyed, buoyant extroverts and helicopter pilots are brooding introspective anticipators of trouble. They know if something bad has not happened it is about to."

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Variations on a theme:

 

"…learning to hover a helicopter is a lot like balancing a unicycle on a beach ball while juggling bowling pins"

 

“Flying a helicopter is kind of like balancing on a beach ball while patting your head and rubbing your belly…"

 

“...it’s like balancing a steel ball on a knife edge while riding a bicycle”

 

"Flying a helicopter is like balancing a marble on a beach ball, with the wind blowing…"

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