Thursday, May 29, 2008


XH-40 (AKA XHU-1)



There's an article over at the Ares Homepage by Bill Sweetman about the 50th anniversary of the F-4 Phantom. Being a aviation type person it made me stop and think and then recall that an aircraft that I had flown (quite extensively) must be somewhere near that mark.

I have flown over two thousand hours all over the world in the Bell Helicopter UH-1 Iroquois also known as the Huey. It's been over ten years since I've flown one, but even today I can recall the start sequence, the before landing checks, the ticking of the igniter's when the trigger for engine start is pulled on a quiet morning at some field's all still there.

Remembering all of that and all that this aircraft has done and continues to do all over the world, makes me wonder why it never gets the credit it deserves. 16,000 UH-1s were built...when most people think of Vietnam this aircraft pops in there somewhere...literally. Maybe because it's a helicopter that it isn't a "sexy" as an F-4 or some other design. But I seem to recall the great celebration among the aviation world when the DC-3 reached certain plateaus in its life. I don't know just wondering.

The Huey will be 52 in October by the way.

Yep, I missed that anniversary too, somehow. I guess it slipped my mind...but I least I have somewhat of an excuse, I was in Iraq.

Here's a short history of the design

Bell model 204
The typical Bell main rotor design uses a notable feature in the form of two wide chord blades and, at right angles to them, the stabilizing bar with small weights at its tips (See Arthur Young in the Pioneers section )

XH-40 : ( later redesigned XHU-1 ) The Bell Model 204 first flown in October 1956 with one 700 hp turbine engine. The 3 prototypes built were the first turbine engine aircraft of the US Army. ( serial number 55-4459 )
YH-40 : ( later redesigned YHU-1 ) 6 test units with a fuselage 30 cm (1 feet) longer
HU-1 : ( with the normalization of 1962 became the UH-1 Iroquois ) 9 pre-productions units with one 770 hp T53-L-1A tested during 1959
HU-1A : ( later UH-1A ) 173 units produced up to March 1961. A crew of 2 plus 5 troops.
TH-1A : 14 UH-1A converted to dual control trainers
UH-1B : 1014 units built between 1961 and 1965 with a 960 hp T53-L-5 engine. 7 troops
UH-1C : 750 units with the same fuselage of the UH-1B but a larger engine (L11) and a newer rotor system that give them much greater manoeuvrability
UH-1E : 192 units built between 1964 and 1966. Was the UH-1B/C for the US Marines for assault support with salt-water corrosion protection and extra avionics. 8 troops.

TH-1E : 20 trainers of the UH-1E variant
UH-1F : ( also called UH-48 as missile site support helo ) The UH-1B variant for the USAF with a 1300 hp T58-GE-3 turbine engine. 119 units built from 1964 to 1967. 10 troops

The UH-1F had a General Electric engine rather than the Lycoming engine used on other models at the time. It was more powerful than the Lycoming engines until the Lycoming TH-53-L13 engine was introduced in mid 1967.
TH-1F : 26 UH-1F trainers
HH-1K : The UH-1E for the US Navy for SAR duties with a 1400 hp engine. 27 units in 1970
UH-1L : The UH-1E for the US Navy for multi-purpose duties with a 1100 hp engine. 10 units in 1968
TH-1L : 90 trainers for the US Navy
UH-1M : 3 UH-1C updated with a 1100 hp engine and 6 french AS.11 anti tank missiles for evaluation. They had a different rotor system and the tailboom had a sweeping vertical fin.
UH-1P : 20 UH-1F updated for psychological warfare
AB.204 : Model 204 built by Agusta in Italy
Fuji 204B-2 : Model 204 built in Japan

Bell model 205

YUH-1D : 7 prototypes ordered in July 1960 with a larger main rotor and a bigger fuselage for a 12 / 14 troops capacity
UH-1D : 2000 units with a 1100 hp turbine engine. First unit enter service in August 1963
UH-1H : The most important variant of the Huey was an updated version of the UH-1D with a 1400 hp T53-L-13 engine. 4900 units built for the US Army and 50 countries
EH-1H : UH-1Hs modified for electronic warfare in variations EH-1H Phase A and B and the UH-1X Model. Were replaced with the Sikorsky EH-60A
HH-1H : 30 UH-1Hs for the USAF for combat / SAR duties

The modification included moving the tail rotor to the right hand side of the tailboom. This modification was picked up by the US army and later UH-1H type aircraft were configured with the tail rotor on the left side.
UH-1V : 200 UH-1Hs modified for medevac duties in the 80s
AB.205 : Model 205 built by Agusta in Italy
Fuji 205 : Model 205 built in Japan

Bell model 212

UH-1N : After the successful of the Models 204 / 205, Bell joined Pratt & Whitney Canada for develop a twin engine derivate of the UH-1H to achieve a specification came from the Canadian Armed Forces. The result was the Model 212 Twin Two Twelve adopted by the USAF (79 units ) and the US Navy / Marines ( 221 units)

VH-1N : 8 units Marine One for the US president.

UH-1Y : Remanufactured UH-1N
AB.212 : Model 212 built by Agusta in Italy, including the AB.212 ASW naval helicopter

The Huey continues to soldier on and when the last Black Hawk is sent to the boneyard the crew will be picked by by a UH-1.



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