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From the Gallery
28 October 2009
Aircraft of the NCVHPA
OH-6 Cayuse (Loach)
The Hughes OH-6 Cayuse is a single-engine light helicopter with a four-bladed main rotor used for personnel transport, escort and attack missions, and observation.
The little helicopter became known as a Loach, a word created by pronunciation of the acronym of the program that spawned the aircraft, LOH (light observation helicopter). The helicopter quickly became noted for high performance and low noise due its four-bladed rotor and small size. The OH-6A would act as a scout to spot enemy positions, while only lightly armed with a fixed minigun. The most common configuration had an observer/gunner either in the left seat or in the rear seat. Most commonly, the Loach worked in conjunction with another OH-6 or an AH-1 Cobra gunship.
The AH-1 Cobra is an attack helicopter manufactured by Bell. It shares a common engine, transmission and rotor system with the older UH-1 Iroquois (nicknamed “Huey”). The AH-1 is also sometimes referred to as the “Huey Cobra” or “Snake“.
The AH-1 was once the backbone of the United States Army’s attack helicopter fleet. Bell built 1,116 AH-1Gs for the US Army between 1967 and 1973, and the Cobras chalked up over a million operational hours in Vietnam. The AH-1 Cobras were in use by the Army during the Tet offensive in 1968 and through the end of the Vietnam War. Huey Cobras provided fire support for ground forces, escorted transport helicopters and other roles. They also formed “hunter killer” teams by pairing with OH-6A scout helicopters. A team featured one OH-6 flying slow and low to find enemy forces. If the OH-6 drew fire, the Cobra could strike at the then revealed enemy.Bell UH-1 Iroquois
The Bell UH-1 Iroquois, commonly known as the “Huey”, is a multipurpose military helicopter, famous for its use in the Vietnam War. The UH-1 was developed from 1955 US Army trials with the Bell Model 204. The initial designation of HU-1 (helicopter utility) led to its nickname, Huey. The nickname became so popular that Bell started putting the Huey name on the anti-torque pedals. The aircraft was first used by the military in 1959 and went into tri-service production in 1962 as the UH-1. The last were produced in 1976 with more than 16,000 made in total, of which about 7,000 saw use during the Vietnam War. The UH-1 has long become a symbol of US involvement in Southeast Asia in general and Vietnam in particular, and as a result of that conflict, has become one of the world’s most recognized helicopters. In Vietnam primary missions included general support, air assault, cargo transport, aeromedical evacuation, search and rescue, electronic warfare, and later, ground attack. UH-1s also flew hunter-killer teams with observation helicopters, namely the Bell OH-58A Kiowa and the Hughes OH-6 Cayuse (Loach). The image of American troops disembarking from a Huey has become a fixture in depictions of the Vietnam War, and can be seen in practically every movie, video game and television show on the subject.
The North Carolina Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association currently displays two Hueys – a UH-1C “Charlie Model” gunship and a UH-1H “H Model” medical evacuation lift ship.
The UH-1C was specifically developed as a gunship version until the “interim” attack helicopter, the Bell AH-1G Huey Cobra was available and to correct the deficiencies of the UH-1B when it was used in the armed role. The UH-1C was widely referred to as the “Huey Hog” in US Army service. The “Charlie” model was fitted with the 1100 shp T53-L-9 or L-11 engine to provide the power needed to lift the weapons systems in use or under development at the time. It incorporated the new Bell 540 rotor system with 27 inch chord blades. The increased power lead Bell’s engineers to design a new tailboom for the “C” which incorporated a wider chord fin on a longer boom and larger synchronized elevators. The “C” also introduced a dual hydraulic control system for redundancy in battle and an improved inlet filter system for the dusty conditions found in southeast Asia. Fuel was increased to 242 US gallons and gross weight to 9500 lb, giving a nominal useful load of 4673 lb. Development on the “C” model had commenced in 1960, with production starting in June 1966. A total of 766 “C” models were completed, including five for the Royal Australian Navy. The balance went to the US Army. Many UH-1Cs were later re-engined with the 1400 shp Lycoming T53-L-13 powerplant. With this engine they were redesignated UH-1M.
The UH-1H was an improved UH-1D, with the Lycoming T53-L-13 engine of 1,400 shp installed, plus the pitot tube relocated from the nose to the roof, to reduce ground damage to it. “Hotel” models were created by upgrading “Deltas” with the more powerful engine. The first YUH-1H flew in 1966 with deliveries of production models starting in September 1967. The “Hotel” model Huey was produced in larger numbers than any other model, with 4,850 delivered to the US Army alone. The “Hotel” model was widely exported and was also built under license in Germany, Italy, Japan and Taiwan.
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