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    Vietnam-era helicopter restored by vets at Monmouth Executive Airport in Wall

    WALL TOWNSHIP - One year ago today, a group of Vietnam veterans got together and started renovations on a Huey helicopter inside a hangar at Monmouth Executive Airport in Wall.

    The Huey had served two tours in Vietnam and crashed twice. For 20 years, it sat in a field at Fort Dix.


    This spring, the chopper will be moved to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Holmdel, where it will stay on display outside.

    "When we bring the school children into the Vietnam Memorial for a tour, they'll be able to see what we actually flew in and get an idea of our history, what we did 40 years ago and how the war was fought," says organizer and Vietnam vet Ken Gurbisz.

    The veterans say the chopper's interior was a mess and had animals living in it. They had to remove several bird nests and get rid of more than 100 hornet nests. It has since been sanded, painted, and rewired.

  • #2
    Weston-super-Mare Helicopter Museum Anniversary Takes Off

    The Helicopter Museum is set to toast its quarter century throughout 2014 with a series of events.

    The museum, opened in 1989 by The Duke Of York now boasts the world’s largest collection of helicopters.

    A spokesman for the museum said: “To mark this milestone anniversary 
the museum will be opening a new 
exhibition based around its iconic Beatles helicopter and unveiling a new look entrance and aircraft mural later in the year."

    Pictured left to right: John Clews (Collections Officer), Cheryl Game (Catering Manager), Elfan Ap Rees (Museum Founder), Wendy Cowlin (Business Manager), Alan Norris (Museum Founder) and Shaly Dee (Assistant Manager)

    “Events on the calendar include a world of flight fun day in April, a world at war weekend in May and an open cockpit festival in the summer where visitors will be able to climb aboard some of the aircraft never before opened to the public, including the museum’s impressive Russian Gunship and Agusta 109."


    • #3
      Boeing Vertol detoured in Upper Chichester (or .. the benefits of route planning .. even after the blades stop turning!)

      UPPER CHICHESTER — A Boeing Vertol helicopter being trucked to the American Helicopter Museum in West Chester had to be detoured from its route due to its size Thursday afternoon.

      A Boeing Vertol helicopter sits at a truck stop on I-95, Lower Chichester, because of transportation problems enroute to the American helicopter museum

      The oversized truck being used to transport the Boeing-made helicopter through Upper Chichester did not allow for proper height clearances beneath overhead wires. Township police escorted the vehicle back to the Interstate 95, and the truck will remain overnight at the welcome center alongside the highway’s northbound lanes.

      Boeing donated the chopper to the museum and it was on its way there from an undetermined origin in the southeastern United States when its path was blocked at every turn by overhead obstacles. Police say a route is being worked out for the truck to eventually make it to the museum.

      No damage occurred to the helicopter, the truck or any other vehicles during the confusion Thursday.


      • #4
        Museum Of Flight Offers Military Helicopter Rides To The Public

        The Hixon Museum of Flight will offer the opportunity for the public to take rides in U.S. Army Huey and Cobra Helicopters, from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on April 19.

        The rides will take place at the Hixson airport (Dallas Bay Skypark), 1824 E. Crabtree Road, Hixson.

        Tickets can be purchased by calling the museum at 423 228-2359.

        The Museum of Flight provides tours and gives airplane rides in the vintage aircraft that are at the Hixson facility. The mission of the museum is to increase the public’s awareness of aviation through the flight of historic aircraft while supporting the local children’s hospital.


        • #5
          Museums at Night: Meet the Pilots, Past and Present

          On Thursday 15 May 2014 the Museum of Army Flying (MAF) Middle Wallop, is presenting a 'Meet the Pilots; Past and Present' event as part of the Museums at Night series of special events. BBC South will be streaming a live broadcast from the Museum at 6:30pm.


          • #6
            Pilots Re-Builds Bell 47 For Missoula Aviation Museum

            Missoula’s aviation museum has itself a whirlybird.

            Maybe you’ve seen Bell 47 helicopters like this, on “M*A*S*H” reruns, if nowhere else.

            Ron Gipe has been on the inside looking out of their bubble cockpits for more than four decades, logging 30,000-plus hours in them and counting.

            “The best of the best,” a fellow pilot called him.

            Helicopter pilots Mel Guerrera (left) and Ron Gipe, examine the inside of a Bell 47 G3B1, the newest addition to the Montana Museum of Mountain Flying

            Gipe spent five years in the early 1970s with Johnson Flying Service of Missoula, hauling fire crews, spraying weeds, building lookouts and tempting fate.

            On Thursday, he oversaw the transport of a Bell 47 G3B1 from his hangar in Lakeside to the Montana Museum of Mountain Flying at the Missoula airport. The copter, crowned by two 19-foot rotor blades, was maneuvered by hand into the museum hangar by volunteers.

            They tucked it next to the only other chopper, an Air Force Huey, on loan from Minuteman Aviation and the kind Gipe flew in Vietnam.

            The Bell 47 becomes the 13th aircraft in the flying museum, which was opened in 2002. The collection’s centerpiece is the giant DC-3 that flew smokejumpers to their deaths in the tragic Mann Gulch fire in 1949. Their remains were flown back to Missoula on a Bell 47.

            Pilot Ron Gipe poses for a portrait inside the 1966 Bell 47 helicopter he built and delivered to the Montana Museum of Mountain Flying earlier this week​

            The Bell 47 is an especially good get for Mel Guerrera, a museum volunteer who as chief helicopter pilot for Johnson Flying was responsible for hiring Gipe in 1970.

            “This is something that we had to have, and it just was not easy to come by until Ron volunteered to build us one,” Guerrera said.

            “This is a pretty historical helicopter,” Guerrera said. “To begin with, it was the first helicopter that was approved by the FAA for civilian use back in 1947.”​

            Gipe said he built the non-operational 1966 model from “lots of parts and pieces” he had lying around his hangar at Lakeside Helicopter, the business he’s operated for a third of a century. Like the other parts, the rotor blades are past their time limits. One came as a gift from a company in Stockton, California, that Gipe has been sending his helicopters to for years. A set of operational blades cost upward of $50,000 and a functional Bell 47, while rare these days, is worth half a million dollars.

            “This is a pretty historical helicopter,” Guerrera said. “To begin with, it was the first helicopter that was approved by the FAA for civilian use back in 1947.”

            It was the first used for crop spraying, the first to cross the Alps, the first to be used by all branches of the military. NASA used the Bell 47 to help simulate a lunar module for astronaut training.



            • #7
              Brazos Valley Veterans Dedicate Vietnam War Memorial

              A new war memorial erected by the Brazos Valley Veterans Memorial (BVVM) association was dedicated Saturday May 31st in a ceremony attended by a crowd estimated at 1,000. The gathering not only filled the bleachers, but in some areas stood four rows deep.

              Hosting the 70 minute program was the President of the BVVM Board of Directors, Randy House. The retired Lt. Gen. piloted Huey helicopters into hot landing zones, or “HOT LZ's” as they were known. That was the theme of the 2,000 pound memorial created by J. Payne Lara of Navasota.

              Fain McDougal, BVVM Vice President, dedicates the memorial

              The dedication took place 50 years after the end of the Vietnam War. BVVM Vice President Fain McDougal, who served two tours in Vietnam, recognized Lara as well as VFW Post 4692 Commander Johnny Velasquez, whose likeness Para used for one of the three soldiers in the memorial.

              Also recognized were three Texas A&M graduates who are still missing in action (MIA); Murry Wortham (Class of 1965), Neal Ward (Class of 1967), and Ron Forrester (Class of 1969).

              Huey helicopter prepares to land at Veterans Park during the memorial program

              Wortham’s daughter, who lives in College Station, attended the program. Forrester’s daughter, Karoni, lives in Austin and was among the speakers. She is the Texas state coordinator of the National League of POW/MIA Families

              The Huey helicopter parked across the drive from the Vietnam War memorial

              The featured speaker was Bob Hesselbein, a retired Air Force Lt. Col. who is President of the Vietnam Helicopter Pilot Association. It was during his remarks that a Huey flew over and received applause from the crowd. Hesselbein says of 11,000 helicopters flown in Vietnam, 7,000 were Huey’s that were designed and built in Texas. 5,000 helicopters were destroyed, 3,300 of them Huey’s. Hesselbein also says the American death toll in Vietnam included 5,000 pilots and crew members and more than 20,000 infantrymen associated with airborne duty.

              An estimated 1,000 guests attended the dedication

              The BVVM generated $150,000 for the Vietnam War memorial.

              Fundraising has started for the Civil War memorial, with the goal of dedicating it in April 2015, marking the 150th anniversary of the end of the war between the states.


              • #8
                Helicopter Museum Wins Queen's Award

                WESTON-SUPER-MARE’S Helicopter Museum has been awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

                The accolade is the highest award given to volunteer groups in the UK.

                Winners are chosen by a National Award Committee and The Cabinet Office who provide Her Majesty the Queen with a shortlist of recipients for her final approval.

                The museum, a registered charity, celebrates its 25th anniversary this year and has a loyal tem of volunteers who restore and conserve the historic aircraft in its collection.

                They also maintain the archives and library, provide tours and educational services to the public, man the on-site café and organise fundraising events to support the work of the charity.

                Helicopter Museum trustees chairman, Elfan Ap Rees, said: “This Royal recognition is a true testament to the loyal service of our volunteers and staff, a number of whom have been with us for more than 20 years.

                “Through hard work and determination they have overcome the numerous obstacles and challenges that all independent charities face and have grown the helicopter museum into what it is today, a professional, fully accredited museum that proudly hosts the world’s largest collection of helicopters and autogyros.”

                The museum was recently named the third most popular attraction in Weston super Mare by TripAdvisor and was awarded its 2014 Certificate of Excellence.


                • #9
                  New Resource for Huey Owners and Operators

                  Altitude Aviation has created a new online resource for Huey owners and operators. The informative site was created at the request of owners, operators and maintenance personnel who attended the Huey Forum during 2014 Helicopter Association International Convention in Anaheim, California.

                  The website allows UH-1 owners, operator’s and maintenance personnel to share information regarding UH-1 Maintenance and Industry. Users can submit maintenance issues that they have experienced for other operators to respond with like issues and their resolution of it, or to submit maintenance issues they currently may be having and receive replies for a possible resolution. Submissions can be anonymous or have contact information included upon request. The site also highlights UH-1 Vendors, UH-1s for sale, list operators across the country operating UH-1’s and recent FAA regulations.



                  • #10
                    Guardian contributor Charlie Green offers a nostalgic review of his best helicopter scenes in movies:



                    • #11
                      AgustaWestland Receive Award for Lynx Project

                      Yeovil based AgustaWestland helicopters have received an award for their developmental work on the Lynx project and the British Experimental Rotor Programe both of which contributed to the creation of the world’s fastest helicopter.

                      The Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ have awarded their 'Heritage Award' to the manufacturer for their achievement accomplished with a modified Westland Lynx, G-LYNX, which broke the world record when it reached 249.09mph flying a 9.3 mile course over the Somerset Levels in 1986.

                      ​G-LYNX which broke the world helicopter speed record in 1986

                      The award, which took place at the Helicopter Museum in Weston-super-Mare, was presented by the Institution’s chairman, John Wood.

                      Mr Wood said: “The G-LYNX helicopter is a remarkable example of British engineering and vision. It is testament to the cutting-edge modifications made to the helicopter, that the world speed record still stands 28 years later. This award is in recognition of all the people involved in making the 1986 record possible, but also to the AgustaWestland apprentices who restored the helicopter in 2011 and the Helicopter Museum who continue to maintain the craft in such excellent condition.”


                      • #12
                        Garland Dobson Joins Alaskan Aviation Legends

                        Garland Dobson was born Feb. 1, 1948, in northern Alabama to Thurston and Ilene Dobson. In 1964, Garland and his future wife Anna Marie stopped to admire the blue taxiway lights at Chuck Yeager Airport, in Charleston, W.V., and Garland told her that someday he, too, was going to become a pilot and fly. It wasn’t long before Garland did just that.

                        Garland and Anna Marie were married in 1966, and he learned to fly helicopters in the U.S. Army. In between tours of duty, Dobson earned his multi-engine rating in Anchorage at AeroTech from Dick and Ramona Ardaiz at Merrill Field. While in the Army, Garland began his first of two tours in Vietnam flying helicopter missions with the 282nd Assault Helicopter Company, the “Black Cats.”

                        Garland Dobson joins Alaska's Aviation Legends

                        In 1971, Maj. Steve Henault and two others had departed Whitehorse near midnight in a Beechcraft U-8D and crashed into Mt. Sanford. Garland was asked to find the wreckage and determine if there were survivors. He located the wreckage and attempted to land near the 15,000-foot summit. He was credited with finding the wreckage, and narrowly escaped being dropped via helicopter into the crash scene with a doctor. The following day, famed mountain guide Ray Genet and Pan Am pilot Rex Post, who had climbing experience, were flown in and dropped off, but found themselves stuck on the mountain for several days in bad weather. All three of the aircraft occupants had died in the crash. Post also died as a result of altitude sickness -- a fatality that could have been Dobson.

                        Later, after two tours in Vietnam, an honorable discharge, a Purple Heart and enlistment in the Alaska Air National Guard, Garland and his family - now made up of Anna Marie and their two children, Sabrina and Denny -headed for Alaska permanently. Six weeks later, the Alaska State Troopers called Garland and he entered the trooper academy in Sitka -- once again requiring a lengthy absence from the family.

                        In the course of his career with the State of Alaska, Garland would be stationed first in McGrath in 1973, followed by Talkeetna, Palmer, Willow and then Coldfoot in 1989. He finally retired from the troopers in the spring of 1993.

                        “Being the first Helo-1 (troopers’ primary response helicopter) pilot for the State of Alaska offered some benefits, such as operating out of your home, but there were downfalls, as the State expected the Helo-1 pilot to be on call 24/7,” said Dobson.

                        Garland flew everything in the inventory of the Alaska Department of Public Safety - he even started flying the Grumman Goose.

                        After Garland retired from the State of Alaska, he still wanted to continue working. Garland had met the third Helo-1 pilot, Mel Nading, when they were in the Army National Guard. Nading hired Garland to fly for Transalaska. It was an old and familiar routine - deployed for 58 days straight to support an archaeological site, the Mesa Site on the North Slope.

                        After Transalaska, Garland accepted employment as a pilot inspector for the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Aircraft Services. In 1999, Garland again changed jobs, this time to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a Mentor/Instructor Pilot, where he stayed until October 2013.

                        Garland and Anna Marie are now enjoying spending more time together traveling, riding their Harley-Davidson motorcycles all over the country, and visiting their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

                        Their adventures continue, and Garland is still living his dream of flight that began all those years ago, when he was just a boy who thought he could fly.

                        If you are in North America and would like to support the Aviation Legends programme, why not attend their Aviation Legends banquet on 7th November at the Marriott Hotel Anchorage.



                        • #13
                          Bell Helicopter Contribute to National Army Museum

                          Bell Helicopter have donated USD 1m towards the restoration of an iconic UH-1 'Huey' helicopter to be displayed at the National Army Museum currently being built at Fort Belvoir in Virginia.

                          "They UH-1 has played a vital role for many years not only in the US Army but among the defense forces of the world. It is one of aviation's legends" said Bell's Robert Hastings.

                          "The National Museum are grateful to Bell for this donation and for their past and continuing support of the US armed forces" said Gen. William Hartzog.

                          Robert Hastings, Bell Helicopter's senior vice president of communications & government affairs and chief of staff, presented a ceremonial check to retired Army Gen. William W. Hartzog, president of The Army Historical Foundation (AHF), to sponsor the display of the company's iconic Bell UH-1 Iroquois Utility Helicopter in the future National Museum of the United States Army



                          • #14
                            Bell H-13B On Display At South Carolina Military Museum

                            Military history buffs can now explore a rare Korean War artifact at the South Carolina Military Museum, thanks to years of painstaking restoration work by museum volunteers.

                            The US Army’s first production-model H-13B helicopter is on display in the vintage vehicles wing of the museum. Most people will recognize the distinctive, bubble-cockpit helicopter from the television series, M.A.S.H. Light-duty helicopters like this one were used during the Korean War as a utility and medevac chopper.

                            The Bell H-13B, later designated as the “Sioux,” was the first helicopter organic to Army Aviation. The military procured 65 units from Bell Aircraft Corporation after testing the civilian version (Bell Model 47). Production of the operational H-13Bs began in July 1948.

                            The South Carolina Army National Guard Aviation flew variations of the H-13 for nearly 20 years—from 1953 until the early 1970s—a period spanning the Korean and Vietnam wars, says SCMM Director Buddy Sturgis. Adding this artifact to the SCMM collection fills a gap in the overall service story of the S.C. Army National Guard.

                            When the SCMM acquired the aircraft from the South Dakota Army National Guard in 2012, it was a rusting hunk of metal and broken Plexiglass. Museum volunteer Ron Claypool, the restoration project manager, coordinated the efforts of volunteers from the S.C. Army National Guard's Army Aviation Support Facility and the Combined Services Maintenance Support Facility at McEntire Joint National Guard Base. Working together, they brought the helicopter back to life—a monumental task that took more than two years, as seen in these images of the restoration effort (below).

                            Years of neglect and weather damage had taken their toll on the U.S. Army’s first production-model H-13B helicopter

                            Loading the H-13B airframe onto a CH-47 in South Dakota for the trip to South Carolina and the Army Aviation Support Facility, McEntire Joint National Guard Base

                            Parts scattered and labeled on the floor after moving the aircraft to another work hangar. The deteriorating engine is in the foreground​

                            Buddy Sturgis, director of the South Carolina Military Museum, working on the rotor blade restoration. When the H-13B arrived the old blades were almost completely rotted

                            When the sheet metal skin was removed, the restoration team found they had to fabricate new cowling pieces for the engine compartment

                            Sgt. 1st Class Kenny Erdel, chief of the Prop and Rotor Shop, working on the rotor head. “This man can build or fix anything!” says project manager, Ron Claypool

                            Engine after reconstruction

                            Sgt. Robert Hill restores the tail boom

                            Spc. 4 Charles Edmond (right) and Sgt. Robert Smith (left) prepare the cockpit

                            Chief Warrant Officer 2 Don Dingledein (right) and Staff Sgt. Allen Acord (left) install the restored engine

                            The Bell H-13B ready for the big move to the SCMM. The bubble glass canopy was installed after the helicopter was placed on the museum floor

                            The Bell H-13B now on public display at the South Carolina Military Museum​


                            • #15
                              Former Royal Navy Pilot Returns to Blighty to Track Down Aircraft He Once Flew

                              Jerry Grayson, who lives in Melbourne but is originally from Arundel, Sussex, set himself the task of tracking down every aircraft he ever flew while serving with the Royal Navy performing rescue missions during the 1970’s. The 59-year-old, who now coordinates aerial stunts for films, was once the youngest pilot to join the navy, and was also responsible for saving 15 yachtsmen during the doomed Fastnet Yacht Race in 1979.

                              During his mission, Jerry discovered that most of the helicopters had been blown up in target practice, or turned into museum pieces.

                              One helicopter, a Wessex Mark I, was converted into a camping unit. The Mark I Wessex, XS 886, now resides between a gypsy caravan and an old Routemaster bus in Blackberry Wood campsite near Ditchling, Sussex. Jerry said: "It's bizarre that it's now being used to sleep in. If I'd fallen asleep in a Mark I 35 years ago, it would have cost me my life. It didn't feel like three decades ago that I'd last set foot inside. But when I looked at all the switches and dials I realised I can't remember how to start the thing."

                              Jerry’s interest in retracing his old aircraft was piqued when he found a website, created by a former pilot, which spoke out previous experiences. The pair got in touch and began swapping stories. And as he dug deeper into the history of the helicopters, he decided to make one last visit to each one to see what had happened to them.

                              His trip then took him from Melbourne to several parts of the UK, including London, Sussex, Doncaster, Cambridge, Ipswich, Yeovilton and Newport. He said: "The natural cycle of life is that a helicopter first serves its time in a front line role and then gets allocated to a second line role such as training or SAR. As most of these aircraft were built in the early 60's the only surprise was that out of the 31 Wessex helicopters I used for rescues, there are still 12 in existence."

                              Jerry joined the Fleet Air Arm in 1972 aged 17. It made him the youngest helicopter pilot to serve in the Royal Navy. By the age of 25 he had become the most decorated naval pilot in peacetime, and was awarded the Air Force Cross by the Queen for outstanding gallantry in search and rescue. As well as being a rescuer during Fastnet, Jerry has previously gone head-to-head with Russian submarines and was entrusted with carrying the key for a nuclear weapon aged just 19.

                              He now designs shoots and aerial stunts for films, including Black Hawk Down and is writing about his latest experience for his book 'Rescue Pilot: Cheating the Sea'.

                              Jerry Grayson once flew Wessex helicopters in the Royal Navy

                              Jerry flying a Wessex 1 from HMS Ark Royal

                              Jerry, seen above in a Wessex Mk 5, joined the Fleet Air Arm in 1972 aged 17, becoming the youngest helicopter pilot to serve in the Royal Navy

                              One of the Wessex helicopters Jerry flew, has been turned into a camping unit

                              Jerry with the Westland Whirlwind in which he learned to fly


                              • #16
                                Remembering Squadron Leader Jack Liversidge

                                Medals together with photographs and memorabilia belonging to a former helicopter pilot of the Queen's Flight are to be auctioned this month.

                                Squadron Leader Jack Liversidge served with the prestigious Queen's Flight in the 1950s and '60s.

                                The former draughtsman at a South Yorkshire steel works enjoyed a meteoric rise in the RAF to become a popular figure among the Royals, receiving invites from the Queen to visit Buckingham Palace and various gifts throughout his service.

                                Squadron Leader Jack Liversidge (left) at a Royal function

                                His medal group, which is now for sale, includes a Distinguished Flying Cross earned in 1958 for carrying out a challenging rescue with the Queen's Flight, 194 Squadron, in the Malaya Emergency.

                                The fascinating archive features a framed photograph of the Queen Mother leaving the helicopter with Sq Ldr Liversidge in sunglasses seated in the cockpit watching on.

                                A signed photograph of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip from 1968, a silver monogrammed cigarette case gifted by the Royal Family, an engraved chrome presentation Bristol Sycamore, presentation mugs and additional items are also included.

                                The cache of memorabilia also features a typed letter Lord Mountbatten sent to Liversidge thanking him for 'pleasant flights'. In the letter, dated July 26, 1963, he wrote: "I am writing to thank you very much for flying me to Henlow and on to Stansted Park yesterday. "They were both very pleasant flights and we were lucky to have such good weather."

                                The collection, which has been consigned for auction by his step-daughter, is tipped to sell for £7,000.

                                Sq Ldr Liversidge went to Rotherham Technical College and was a draughtsman at Baker & Bessemer's Kilnhurst steel works before he joined the RAF in WW2.

                                After the war, he rejoined the steelworks for four years before his second stint with the RAF during which he served with the Queen's Flight.

                                On the 7th December 1967 while flying Queen's Flight Westland Whirlwind XR487 en route from RAF Benson to Yeovil to attend a meeting related to the Flight's future Wessex aircraft, the aircraft's driveshaft failed due to fatigue, resulting in the the main rotor hub becoming detached. The aircraft crashed at Brightwalton, Berkshire, killing Sqn Ldr Liversidge, Flight Lieutenant R Fisher and their two passengers, Air Commodore J H L Blount DFC, the captain of the Queens’s Flight, and Squadron Leader M W Hermon, the Flight’s Engineering Officer.

                                Following this accident the Queen was never again permitted to fly in a single engine aircraft.

                                Sqn Ldr Liversidge's medals and memorabilia will be auctioned on 21st April 2018.



                                • #17
                                  Sea King HAR3 Receives CAA Registration

                                  Historic Helicopters have recently announced their receipt of civilian registration for their ex-RAF Westland Sea King HAR3 WA863 which formerly flew as XZ597.

                                  Historic Helicopters intend to return the aircraft to flight.