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Lynn Taylor: How to Identify a Huey Helicopter

Lynn Taylor, UFO Field Investigator

How to Identify a Huey Helicopter

Bell UH-1 Huey

Technical data is for UH-1N.

Nation: USA Manufacturer: Bell Helicopter Co. Type: Utility Helicopter Year: 1960 Engine: 2 United Aircraft of Canada PT6 Turboshafts Rotor Diameter: 44 ft Fuselage Length: 45 ft 10 in Overall Length: 57 ft 3 in Height: 14 ft Empty Weight: 5,549 lb Max Takeoff Weight: 10,500 lb Max Speed: 126 mph Ceiling: 15,000 ft in horizontal flight, 12,900 in hover Range: 250 nautical miles Crew: 2 pilots, 1 flight engineer Load/Armament: 7 fully equipped troops or 3,000 lb (typically 1-2 M60 7.62mm machine guns carried for defence)

Officially the UH-1 series is the Iroquois. But its unofficial name, Huey, became so commonly used that the AH-1 attack version was officially named the Huey Cobra. The Huey story traces back some four decades. In 1955, with an interest in a utility helicopter designed around a turboshaft engine, the Army had the Air Force develop a new helicopter for its use. At that time the Army did not have its own aircraft development capability.

The design selected, Bell's Model 204, was to be powered by a new Lycoming T-53 engine of some 850 shaft horsepower and featured a typical Bell two-blade teetering rotor. In the original helicopter designation series, the first three aircraft received the XH-40 designation. First flight of the new design was in October 1956, development and production following. When the Army adopted its own two-letter designation system, the H-40 became the HU-1 (Helicopter Utility).


Lynn Taylor: Alien and UFO Reports

From this designation came Huey, the name by which it has remained known. The DOD standard designation system reversed this to UH-1, the first designation in the new DOD helicopter series. With larger engines and increased capacity, the UH was developed through successive models.

In 1962, after an evaluation of available types, the UH-1E version, generally similar to the Army's UH-1B, was ordered for the Marine Corps. These went into service in 1964 with VMO-1 being the first squadron to receive them. Subsequently, 209 UH-1E aircraft were delivered to the Marines by 1968. All, after the first 67, were equipped with an improved rotor system.

Like their Army counterparts, the Marine Hueys served all manner of combat roles, including that of armed gunships. For combat operations in Southeast Asia, a Navy Light Attack Helicopter squadron was also established using UH-1Bs acquired from the Army.

Other models followed for special Navy use: the HH-1Ks equipped for air station search and rescue duty, the TH-1Ls as advanced instrument trainers, and a few of the L models in standard utility configuration as UH-1Ls. The Air Force had meanwhile ordered a "Twin Pac" engine, improved utility version, the UH-1N, for general utility/transport duties. In 1971 deliveries of this latest model to the Navy and Marine Corps began. A total of 212 have been delivered, six in VH-1N executive transport configuration. These UH-1Ns are widely used in a transport, airborne battlefield command and control, troop insertion/extraction, fire support coordination, medical evacuation, search and rescue, armed escort/visual reconnaissance or utility roles throughout the Navy and Marine Corps.

Lynn Taylor, Association for Aerial Anomaly Research and Cataloging (AAARC)

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