In April 1944, 2nd Lt. Carter Harman became the first American pilot to fly a US military helicopter into a combat zone to rescue wounded. He would not be the last and by 1952 the US Army was looking for a new design for medical evacuation (medevac). Bell Helicopter’s design was chosen to fulfill this role and eventually evolved into the now famous UH-1 Iroquois though it was universally and affectionately referred to by its nickname, “Huey”.
Increasing involvement in the Vietnam War saw the Huey become a workhorse for the military. The Huey’s distinctive “thump” as it moved through the air became famous for announcing its approach, a fact often not appreciated by its crews. Huey crews earned a legendary reputation for disregarding enemy fire in order to accomplish missions which often involved saving fellow troops.
This Huey bears the markings of the 335th Assault Helicopter Company “The Cowboys”. Though equipped with self-sealing fuel tanks, the only section of the aircraft that was usually armored were the pilot seats often leaving crews to improvise their own methods of increasing crew protection by using such items as helmets and flak jackets. Notable for its frequent appearances in films, today the Huey is considered one of the most recognizable aircraft in history.
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First Produced: 1956
Number Built: More than 16,000
Armament: Variable: 2 × 7.62 mm M60 machine gun, or 2 x 7.62 mm
GAU-17/A machine gun
Empty Weight: 5,215 lbs.
Gross Weight: 9,500 lbs.Powerplant: Lycoming T53-L-13 turbine engine
Thrust: 1400 shp (shaft horse power)
Cruise Speed: 125 mph
Maximum Speed: 143 mph
Range: 315 miles
February 1972 – Converted from UH-1D to UH-1H at Army Aeronautical Depot Maintenance Center (ARADMAC), Corpus Christi, Texas.
June 1989 – United States Forest Service, Raleigh, NC with c/r N81785
January 1997 – To USDA Forest Service Fepp, Clayton, NC.
June 2008 – Civil registration, N81785, cancelled
2013 – Acquired by Yanks Air Museum