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Reports of Hubert's retirement...

…are usually, as Sam Clemens said after reading his own obituary, “greatly exaggerated.”

Over the past couple of years, I must’ve seen three or four articles each year reporting the Final Retirement of the UH-1H, usually worded to give a casual reader the impression that the unit doing the obligatory Photo-Op Flyby was the last unit flying the last Huey in the Army. After several months, another article from another unit reporting the Final Retirement of the UH-1H, again worded to give the impression that the unit doing the obligatory Photo-Op Flyby was the last unit etc., etc., etc., followed several months later by yet another article from yet another unit etc., etc., etc…

Kudos to the Hohenfels PAO – he got it right because he was *specific*.

When the Army fielded the UH-60 in ‘79, it projected the gradual retirement of the Huey (two ‘Hawks would replace three Hueys*) to be complete by -- *heh* -- 1994.

We all know how that worked out -- us old Hubert drivers have been snarking for decades that, when the last Black Hawk flew to the boneyard at Davis-Monthan, there’d be a Huey waiting to ferry the crew to the snack bar.

I drove past Fort Belvoir yesterday.

There was a Huey on left downwind for Runway 32 at Davison AAF…

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*because the UH-60 is capable of carrying more passengers than the UH-1H, don'tcha know.

Theoretically.

With the restrictions DA put on the 'Hawk in the '90s, you can only load ten troops in it -- the same number a Huey normally carries.

Theoretically.

A loooooong time ago, I groaned my way out of one LZ -- in a Huey with a new, freshly-tweaked engine -- with 22 people on board...

28 Comments

At the Readington Air Show a few years ago, a Huey cranked up to do its flyby. It was masked by many other planes so you couldn't see it on the ground. A small bunch of spectators turned to the noise. You immediately knew who they were. The sound was felt in your stomach.

We were part of a chase crew for a Forbes balloon and the Vets looked at each other and then turned back to the noise. Not too many smiles but a lot of hugs of wives, kids and grandkids. And it was just the noise. Nobody ever forgets the noise.
 
Of course, when you get 'high hot' (like, say, a big chunk of Afghanistan in the summer) they both become glorified VIP transports...IIRC, the summer time max load for the -60s in most of RC-East (where the mean elevation is over 5000') is like 5 pax, and slingloads are right out.

Which is why all the two starts fight over the -47s.

When they've mothballed the last of the Hueys and the 'hawks, it'll be Chinooks lifting 'em around D-M.
 
Fishmugger is right, 44 years later and I haven't forgotten that wonderful/scary noise
 
A Huey still makes me smile, having had many a ride.

But I'm old enough ('cuz I was an Army Brat) to remember Choctaws and the Flying Banana, too.
 
Bet you remember the Bell Bubble and Hiller the Killer, too.
 
How about Roton?  Now THAT was surely invented by someone with a sick sense of humor...
 
Bill - saw 'em in the air, but never got to ride in one.

Oh - wait, not true.  Rode in a Bubble at the Missouri state fair - back in the 70's!
 
"Saw 'em in the air" nuthin' -- I learned to fly in the Hiller (including one of the few in-country-fabricated gunship mods the transport folks created during the Korean War), and the Bubble was the only helicopter at Ft. Dix us Cat B aviators (training unit commanders, mostly) were allowed to fly so we could maintain proficiency in stick-wiggling.

Of course, my very mostest-favorite rotary beast was the Loach. The Hiller looked ungainly, but it'd turn on a dime and give you seven cents change -- the Loach would tell you to keep the dime, and then add a nickel to the pot...
 
I know the USMC was still flying UH-1s (don't know the model) in Iraq in 2006.  I mostly saw them escorting CH-46s.  They had an M-2 sticking out of each door... Our compound was just across a canal from the original main LZ on Victory and we saw whatever rotary wing equipment that was around at the time.  The normal USMC formation for hauling pax around Iraq was 1 each CH-46, 1 each AH-1 Super Cobra and 1 each UH-1.  Of course the jar-heads, being the poor relations of the Navy don't throw anything away...
 
By Bill,  with 22 people on board

Yah, but they were Vietnamese so it doesn't count!!
Flew Scouts in OH-13S's in early '68.  Never been in a Hiller, but tried to sling load one once with an "H" model Huey.
 
We brought in one o' them Hueys from Belvoir to the Tank Farm last summer. When it came in, you instantly knew who the VN vets were. They were the ones who stopped in their tracks, whatever they were doing, and... waited. Frozen in place until the bird touched safely down. A beauty to behold, all around. 
 
That wan't from Song Ong Doc I was it?
 
Might have been. Three of us were relocating a village and the VC suddenly -- and quite strenuously -- objected. Quite strenuously, indeed.

Since my two buds weren't due back for ten minutes, it was either leave half of 'em to die or throw everybody on board and try to lumber outta Dodge.

I think I left 200 feet of skid marks dragging Hubert through the dirt before we got into translational lift...

 

A Vietnam Helicopter pilot is the reason I am alive today.  My sons and daughters Thank you whoever you were. 

 
 "There was a Huey on left downwind for Runway 32 at Davison AAF…"
Holograms are getting better these days, aren't they?

Cheers
 
If thats the same story I heard I hearby nominate you for the Big Brass Ones Award.
 
Just watched Olly North's War Stories on Fox.  Was about the DEA agents in Afganistan.  One of the helo's they were using was a Marine UH-1H, I believe, with the ASE equipment on it.  Great desert camo' paint.  Still working hard!!
 
 Two sounds I recognize without looking, the UH-1 and C-130.

There's an Ag spraying outfit near Haysville, NC still flying a Bell 47. They trailer it to the sites they are going to use it, but 'tis still perking away. The Hiller Killer and Bell Bubble were both gone when I got to Rucker. The TH-55 was the only trainer then. I hated the sound of the thing.
 
Couldn't have been the same story then, OFS.

I don't clank when I walk...
 
"when the last Black Hawk flew to the boneyard at Davis-Monthan, there’d be a Huey waiting to ferry the crew to the snack bar."

Spit coffee all over my kybd, MAC and CAT!!!

Was walking accros the ramp at DM to take a ride at O'Dark hundred in 81/82 and first saw a pair Blackhawks. It was dark, and so none of knew what they were, I mean why would anybody put WHEELS on a heilcopter????

Jerry
 
So if anyone sees Jerry licking a cat, it's not anything obscene.  He's just trying to get his caffeine back...
 
Greetings:

There's something about going off to work, skimming over the treetops with your legs out, cooling in the breeze that's unforgettable.  God's motorcycle.
 
So if anyone sees Jerry licking a cat, it's not anything obscene. He's just trying to get his caffeine back...
 
Spit coffee all over my kybd......
 
Well, at least you didn't get the Mac and cat this time...
 
There's something about going off to work, skimming over the treetops with your legs out, cooling in the breeze that's unforgettable.

Did that once when they shot my chin bubble out.

Unforgettable doesn't even begin to describe it...

 

Doing away with the sea-story embelishments; An Alpha Boat advsisor told of a Huey busting out of the mangrove across his bow near the mouth of the Ong Doc, altitude expressed as a fraction and loaded with VNs like the "A" Train at rush hour-there may or may not have been a pig involved......      ...  _._

 
Hah! We brought this one in shortly after another retirement was announced.  I guess Belvoir didn't get that memo, either.
 
By Bill,  with 22 people on board

Yah, but they were Vietnamese so it doesn't count!!
Not to mention the pig, 2 goats, ten ducks and a half dozen chickens. Oh and they had all just finished a huge lunch!