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Unusual Vietnam Hueys

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  • Member since
    August 2004
  • From: Maryland
Posted by Chief Snake on Monday, August 13, 2007 9:01 AM

Ray, the trunnion is the connecting point for the bearings that link the control tubes to the swashplate. The swashplate is the intermediate point for converting the pilots' input to the overhead rotor system. The B/D/H used the same design swashplate, the C/M had a different design for dynamic conversion reasons. If you look at the joints and the swashplate you tell which type of aircraft it's on no matter what else is missing from the picture. The C/M swashplate  also had a heavier link in the back because of control force changes made for the C/M series in conjunction with the 540 rotor head. The bearing connection points also were different as Mel pointed out.

 

Chief Snake 

  • Member since
    January 2007
  • From: Auburn, Alabama
Posted by rotorwash on Monday, August 13, 2007 11:44 AM

Chief,

Your post:

"That has to be 533 being fitted with the toilet bowl and heat guard for anti-Strela measures. The cammo pattern is unique to 553 with smaller leaf looking splotches. As the other photo shows the first flights and engagements must have occured prior to the fitment of those pieces."

    The photos I posted last show a bird WITH FM antennas on the nose. By your own advice it would have to be 554 unless the FM antennas were removed later. The posts for the FM antenna are clearly visable in the TOW bird firing.  You stated earlier:

"The two NUH-1B combat aircraft can be differentiated most easily by the FM antennas you would see on the nose. 553 did not have them, 554 DID have them"

 I know this is true NOW because I saw both aircraft at the Museum.  Either 553 had FM antennas on the nose at some piont or the cammo patterns changed over time or both.  If you compare these two pics, you'll notice that the cammo pattern is different yet they are both the same bird I believe, you say 553:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket[

[img]http://Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Further more, this bird must be 553 based on your pont that "On the left pilot door of 553, there is a playboy bunny shape painted in black very clearly discernable."  You'll note that it is tan not black, but I assume it is the bunny head you meant.  This bird has at the very least a modification of the cammo pattern seen above:

[img]http://Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket" border="0" />

If that's the case, what about this bird which has a totally different pattern than any of those above. Based on emblem on the nose and the FM antennas, this bird is 554, right?:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket[img]http://Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Here is another pic of a bird that must eb 554 if the antennas are indicative, but it has a totally different cammo scheme to the one above and no nose art:

[img]http://Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket" border="0" />

Then there is this pic that shows what you identified earlier as 553, but notice the FM antenna post just above the external sight on the left side. I agree with your identification, by the way.

[img]http://Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

finally, there is this pic of the TOW teams with their birds that shows that by May of 72 553 had no FM antenna and 554 did. Also, notice there is NO TOW emblem on the nose of either aircraft.

[img]http://Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

So to sum up based on photos.  BOTH 553 and 554 had FM antenna post on the nose at some point.  The cammo pattern "evolved" over time and by May of 72 554 had the TOW emblem removed from it's nose.  The only other possible explanation for these pics is that there were three aircraft and I am assured that that is not the case. 

  Ray
 

  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Aaaaah.... Alpha Apaches... A beautiful thing!
Posted by Cobrahistorian on Monday, August 13, 2007 12:10 PM

Oboy.... Smile [:)]

Ok, here goes.  BOTH aircraft did have the rough camo at some point. You're assuming that the camo had evolved by May 72.  The test team (1st Airborne TOW Team) arrived in-country on 27 April 72.  That pic was taken around 29 May 72 after they had several successes with the system.  It definitely evolved, but that picture of the team clearly shows 553 without and 554 with antennas.  You'd be able to see the antenna outboard of the pitot tube, and it clearly is not there.  554 was repainted with the smoother camo later on.  The "Whispering Death" patch on 554's nose came later as well.  The closeup of the bird with the Playboy Bunny on the door is 553. There are more pics in that sequence and there clearly are no antennas on the nose.   

The nose art came later.  To quote then-CPT Bentley Hill, commander of the 1st Combat Aerial TOW Team from the letter Chris mentioned previously: "The reason for the change in insignia was that my team did not want to be related to the TDY pilots from Fort Ord.  Thereafter we redesignated almost everything and came up with our own unique patches and designs on the nose of othe aircraft which indicated the 'Whispering Death'".

They repainted 554 at this point.  I'm not sure if they repainted 553 too, but my assumption is they didn't.  You can almost match splotch for splotch on the shot with the unpainted cowl and the shot we know to be 553 with the bunny on the door.

The bird previously identified as 553 with the kill marks on the door post is 554.  I don't think either Chris or I realized that 554 was painted with kill marks during the Test Team days.  That, along with the color pic without the toilet bowl exhaust confirms that it was.  I assumed it was 553 because of the kills.  Plus, that bird clearly has a black anti-glare panel.  As you can see in the 1st Airborne TOW Team (note that it is not referred to as the 1st Combat Aerial TOW Team) shot, 553 had a camo nose and 554's was black.  The later pics show that it kept the anti-glare panel even when repainted in the two-tone green scheme. My bad!

Jon

EDIT:  I also just noticed.  553 has a white VHF antenna. 554 has a green one. From what I've said about both aircraft, that matches up ALMOST perfectly.  The pic of 554 in flight where you can clearly see the FM antenna has a white blade antenna, not a green one. Now I'm confused!

"1-6 is in hot"
  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Aaaaah.... Alpha Apaches... A beautiful thing!
Posted by Cobrahistorian on Monday, August 13, 2007 2:14 PM

I just had a fascinating discovery while going through our archives.  This photo was taken in late 66 and published in National Guard magazine in Feb 67.  It is an artist impression of the TOW system in action.  Interestingly, BOTH tail numbers are represented, although incorrectly as 212553 and 212554.  This painting is probably the reason for the VHPA having the incorrect tail numbers in the Gold Book (they are listed as 62-13553 and 62-13554 respectively instead of 60-03553 and 60-03554).  What blows my mind is, we know that 554 wasn't modified with the XM-26 system until mid-1971 by her logbook.  So how did they get these tail numbers?!

"1-6 is in hot"
  • Member since
    January 2007
  • From: Auburn, Alabama
Posted by rotorwash on Monday, August 13, 2007 2:39 PM

Jon,

  You wrote:

   "Now I'm confused!"

Welcome to the club!!  Would one of you two who KNOWS this stuff PLEASE post each of the TOW pics and IDENTIFY the aircraft.  You guys are makin' my head spin.  so basically, you are saying any photo above where you canm see the nose is 554 and any photo where you can't is 553 (the last pic being the exception).  There are at least three significantly different cammo pattern represented by FM antenna bearing aircraft.  That's a lot of changes for one bird in such a short period of time.  Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket[img]http://Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket[img]http://Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket[

T hese three pics are all supposed to be 554, right?  They have totally different cammo patterns in each pic!  If all three of these are 554, that's pretty dang interesting don't you think?  by the way, for what it's worth, 554 has a WHITE VHF antenna currently:

[img]http://Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

   Ray
 

  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Aaaaah.... Alpha Apaches... A beautiful thing!
Posted by Cobrahistorian on Monday, August 13, 2007 3:03 PM

Ok, if I click on those pics one more time and it takes me to photobucket and erases my post i'm gonna friggin kill something.

Third attempt. 

Photo 1: NUH-1B 60-3554 after August 1972.  1st CATT

Photo 2: NUH-1B 60-3554 early May 1972. 1st Airborne TOW Team.  I'll hit my files tonight and identify exactly which mission it is on in that pic.

Photo 3: the stumper.  Looks like NUH-1B 60-3554 in mid-May 72.  Additional camo was added to the paint scheme as they gained combat experience. The only thing that is throwing me is the white blade antenna.  Doesn't make sense.  Perhaps a combat replacement for battle damage?  Later photos of 554 show a dark antenna though, so who knows.  The antenna that's on there now is inconsequential and is a completely different type from what they flew with in Vietnam.

When I get home, I will post the pics of 553 that I have that clearly show lack of FM antennas.

Jon

"1-6 is in hot"
  • Member since
    January 2007
  • From: Auburn, Alabama
Posted by rotorwash on Monday, August 13, 2007 5:18 PM

Jon so what about these two?  I know this one is 553 (white VHF antenna and bunny head on door and kill marks and cammo nose)Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

 Which one is this, then?  You will note a red rectangle with white marking in the chin bubble of the above bird.  I see that same pattern on the BW below. Did both Aircraft have this sticker or panel or whatever it is?  The reason I ask is that the pic below clearly shows at least one of the FM antenna posts, it's hard to tell about the VHF antenna color, lots of kill marks (more than the above pic even though anti strella is missing), and no cammo on nose. This one should be 554 then.  I guess it jsut depends on whether both ships had the stcker in the chin bubble.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Edit:  Scratch that chin bubble sticker idea.  I see it on BOTH 554 and 553.  no help there I guess.

Ray 

  • Member since
    August 2004
  • From: Maryland
Posted by Chief Snake on Monday, August 13, 2007 6:47 PM

The one constant in identifying one airframe from the other is the nose FM posts. Regardless of the other variations of paint, VHF blades, toilet bowls and kill tallies 553 had the nose posts removed, 554 still has them to this day. In the ebb and flow of  combat and for all we know the possible intent to deceive the enemy with visual differences, those nose posts were always in place on 554. Paint changes can easily fall into deceptive tactics. While this has yet entered into any talks or written data that has been shared with anyone, it surely has merit when considering the effect it would produce. The NVA certainly didn't have any idea that a TOW aerial delivery system was operational in US hands and the fact that their precious tanks all of sudden found themselves dead in the middle of the road surely caused them to start looking for "why". The appearance of the TOW helicopters had to make something click in their intel system and you can bet it didn't escape them that something new was present. Collecting data on features of a sighted airframe can lead to tallies of strength, unless deception on the part of the owners of such system is present. With all the differences now being bandied about the thought has come to me that unless you knew better, you could think you're looking at 4 or more different airframes. Intentional, only surmised at this point. Plausible, you bet!

Addition here- the 195th AHC was tasked to MACV-SOG and further opcon to 20th SOS in support of SOG ops across borders. For a substantial period of time, the 195th aircraft were painted in the USAF SEA scheme that the 20th SOS used on their aircraft. Because? Deception used to disrupt NVA intel gathering ability. Think the NVA knew how many who and from where very quickly? Nope. And the deception worked up until the day it stopped. They never could get a handle on exactly what came from where because some of those cammo helicopters were not in Vietnam, they flew out of Thailand. 

 

Chief Snake 

  • Member since
    January 2007
  • From: Auburn, Alabama
Posted by rotorwash on Monday, August 13, 2007 7:47 PM

chief,

  WHEN were the FM antenna posts removed from 553?  Is there a photo of her stateside that shows they were gone prior to going to VN?  I know that any TOW bird without the posts is 553, what I want to know is whether any VN TOW bird with them HAS to be 554.  

         Ray

  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Aaaaah.... Alpha Apaches... A beautiful thing!
Posted by Cobrahistorian on Monday, August 13, 2007 8:30 PM

No. One with FM antennae STATESIDE can be one of two birds, either 554 or 261.  553 had the antennas removed prior to the team going to Vietnam. THIS, however, is neither of them!  I finally found a picture of 261.  This picture was taken in 1964 and was published in National Guard Magazine in the October 1965 issue. 

If it is a camouflaged UH-1B IN Vietnam WITH FM antennae, it is 554. 

 

"1-6 is in hot"
  • Member since
    January 2007
  • From: Auburn, Alabama
Posted by rotorwash on Monday, August 13, 2007 8:56 PM

Jon,

  Good enough.  I didn't know whether there was a record of the antennas being removed or not.

ON another note, remember the photo that started this whole thing:

[img]http://Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

WELL, I made a little discovery of my own, Drumroll please:

[img]http://Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

This pic is from the Jerry Scutts HUEY/COBRA book.   You will notice that this IS a early Charlie (bell mouth, nose mounted FM antennas).  Here's the caption that accompanies the pic:

[img]http://Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I checked the USAF serial numbers site (thanks again for that one, Chief) and 64-14105 was in a batch of C model Hueys from the Bell Factory.  There is a list of birds converted to UH-1M as well, 105 was not among them. therefore, until otherwise proven, this is a UH-1C.  Notice we were all wrong about the sight although there is some kind of sensor or something on a pole sticking directly out of the windshield.  Also, i was wrong in assuming teh M5 mount was unique, you can clearly see all three braces.  I think this one at least is solved.  Except for the lack of a TOW sight. actually, if you look close, it almost looks lik the sight is IN the cockpit!  What do you guys think?

  Ray
 

  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Aaaaah.... Alpha Apaches... A beautiful thing!
Posted by Cobrahistorian on Monday, August 13, 2007 9:08 PM

Ray, you ROCK!

That's the fourth one!  I've been sitting here for the past hour feeling really frustrated because I have a color profile shot of 553 in country and you can plainly see that there are no FM antennas on it, but I can't post it here!  It is embedded in a .pdf file that is over 4500 pages long and 48mb in size!

That is really fantastic Ray!  The NUH-1s are as follows:

#1 64-18261, initial test bird.  The single tube launcher Huey shown on an earlier page is 261.

#2 60-03553 to Vietnam, now at USAAVNM 

#3 60-03554 to Vietnam, now at USAAVNM

#4 64-14105 Test bird with the Cheyenne program.

Just too cool.  (of course, now I've gotta build models of all four of em.....)

Jon

"1-6 is in hot"
  • Member since
    January 2007
  • From: Auburn, Alabama
Posted by rotorwash on Monday, August 13, 2007 9:15 PM

Jon,

  Glad I could be of service.  Just use the little camera icon in Acrobat to take a digital pic of the part you want.  it is copied to the clipboard.  open Photoshop and select NEW under FILE and say OK to the parameters.  Then CTL-V and your set.  Just save the pic as a JPEG.

    Ray

  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Aaaaah.... Alpha Apaches... A beautiful thing!
Posted by Cobrahistorian on Monday, August 13, 2007 9:28 PM

Ok, here it is!  Its a little tough to see, but you can see the pitot tube.  If it had FM's you wouldn't be able to see it!

I also just pulled up Archives photos 3566 and 3567 and zoomed in on the tail.  Messing with the contrast just a little bit, I was able to make out "53" on the left side of the tail.

Big Smile [:D]

Jon

"1-6 is in hot"
  • Member since
    January 2007
  • From: Auburn, Alabama
Posted by rotorwash on Monday, August 13, 2007 9:52 PM

Jon,

   Thanks, I actually have that pic, but not in color!  the one i have shows the whole aircraft and the 55 is visisble on the tail.  Here's a little montge I put together:

[img]http://Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


I  think there is NO doubt that 1 and 2 are the same bird.  As you say, the splotches match.  What initially threw me was pic 3. As you can see, i have outlined the anti-stella kit and it doesn't appear to have cammo.  Since it didn't have cammo, but the pattern looked like pic 2, i assumed they were the same bird.  However, the FM antenna in pic 3 precludes this being anything but 554.  On close inspection the VHF antenna doesn't look white in pic 3 either. I guess they both existed for a while with unpainted toilet bowls.  Any chance you have a pic of the RIGHT side of 553 or 554 when she was in this same type cammo?  Anyway, I love this stuff!

   Ray 

  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Aaaaah.... Alpha Apaches... A beautiful thing!
Posted by Cobrahistorian on Monday, August 13, 2007 10:24 PM

Ray,

Take a look at PN3566 and 3567.  They're black and white, but you should be able to make out something of the cowl camo on 553.  The shot of 554 firing the missile, I took that darker band on the cowling to be camo and the lighter shade that dominates most of it to be the lighter tan shade.  Not 100% sure on that, but that was my hunch.

Jon

"1-6 is in hot"
  • Member since
    January 2007
  • From: Auburn, Alabama
Posted by rotorwash on Monday, August 13, 2007 10:39 PM

Jon,

 Alas, I don't have 3566 or 3567. I missed that CD!  Here is a little better idea of what I see in the pictures.  I have intentionally reversed the photo of the toilet bowl and I am not saying these two are the same aircraft.  i just think the firing TOW bird has an unpainted cowling.  Maybe there is some cammo there and it is just light.  i won't belabor the point. I just thought it was interesting.:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket[/img]

  • Member since
    November 2013
Posted by intruder_bass on Monday, August 13, 2007 11:14 PM

  Holy Mother of Helicopters!, that would be an extrimly cool conversion for that TOW Huey! Do you have any other photos of this system? I hope its not classified anymore :-))

   Andy

  • Member since
    January 2007
  • From: Auburn, Alabama
Posted by rotorwash on Monday, August 13, 2007 11:20 PM

Andy,

  Have you looked at the last three pages of this thread?!  "Holy Mother of Helicopters"  I LIKE it!

    Ray
 

  • Member since
    November 2013
Posted by intruder_bass on Tuesday, August 14, 2007 12:34 AM

  Are you kidding? :-))

I've been glued to this thread since the very begining and I have to admit - this is the most interesting thread I have ever read! I cant describe my apritiation to you guys for bringing out all this information on Vietnam Hueys! Outstanding reference!

   One question to everybody

Do you mind if I translate all this into Russian for Dishmodels.ru so that all helo fans on the other side of the Globe be able to see and enjoy this???  Of course there will be a link to this original thred so that all the rights will be reserved.

  Andy

  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Aaaaah.... Alpha Apaches... A beautiful thing!
Posted by Cobrahistorian on Tuesday, August 14, 2007 5:54 AM

Andy,

Sure!  Just give credit where its due!  If you need pics of the XM-26 armament system, just let me know.  I shot a full walkaround of 553 at the Army Aviation Museum. 

Jon 

"1-6 is in hot"
  • Member since
    January 2007
  • From: Auburn, Alabama
Posted by rotorwash on Tuesday, August 14, 2007 6:33 AM

Andy,

  That sounds GREAT!  I'm all for sending the HUEY message global.  I know she has fans in Canada, England, Austalia, and other parts of Europe. Why not Russia?  To think besides being an INCREDIBLE builder, you ALSO speak Russian!Bow [bow]  Good luck and keep us posted! 

    Ray
 

  • Member since
    January 2007
  • From: Auburn, Alabama
Posted by rotorwash on Tuesday, August 14, 2007 6:42 AM

Jon,

  If I understood you correctly, this is 261 firing from the single TOW launcher?

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket" border="0" /> 

  • Member since
    November 2013
Posted by intruder_bass on Tuesday, August 14, 2007 6:58 AM

  Thank you very much gentlemen!

  Jon - I would love to see walkaround of 553!

Andy

  • Member since
    November 2013
Posted by intruder_bass on Tuesday, August 14, 2007 7:01 AM
 rotorwash wrote:

Andy,

 you ALSO speak Russian!Bow [bow] 

    Ray
 

Cool [8D]

Yeah...Thats a side effect of living in Russia for 23 years))))

 Andy

  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Aaaaah.... Alpha Apaches... A beautiful thing!
Posted by Cobrahistorian on Tuesday, August 14, 2007 7:05 AM

Ray,

Yes, that is 261 as far as I can tell.  Matches up pretty well with the pic I posted yesterday which we know is 261.  (and there's no camo!)

Jon

"1-6 is in hot"
  • Member since
    August 2004
  • From: Maryland
Posted by Chief Snake on Tuesday, August 14, 2007 9:05 AM

Ok, there are now four involved in TOW testing activities that have been tagged to the initial and Cheyenne program. What about #5, the NUH-1M? Only my guess but perhaps that airframe was used in evaluating the continued development that eventually became the AH-1 modification.

 

Chief Snake 

  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Aaaaah.... Alpha Apaches... A beautiful thing!
Posted by Cobrahistorian on Tuesday, August 14, 2007 9:08 AM

Chris,

Either that, or 105 was given a -13 engine at some point and became the NUH-1M?  From documentation, we know there were 5 XM26 systems made.  But were all actually fitted on aircraft?

Jon

"1-6 is in hot"
  • Member since
    January 2007
  • From: Auburn, Alabama
Posted by rotorwash on Tuesday, August 14, 2007 9:13 AM

Jon,

  I was hoping that 105 would be listed as one of the aircraft from it's lot that got the -13 upgrade, 101, 107, and 110 wer listed as recieving th UH-1M upgrade, but not 105.  Perhaps it is an error, but as I said, barring some evidence, I think it has to be assumed that she stayed a UH-1C. 

   Ray
 

  

  • Member since
    August 2004
  • From: Maryland
Posted by Chief Snake on Tuesday, August 14, 2007 12:39 PM

Well, the site could be in error about the NUH-1M as the serial is totally different between the now known C serial and the M in question. But I have to say that the accuracy of that imformation on the site is extremely good. If the #105 stayed a C until it was cycled out to be replaced by an M for continued testing toward the eventual AH-1 system then it fits the logic of using the best thing you can get when testing. The N designation obviously means involvement in a special test scenario since it has popped up on a different series airframe. But so far the bulk of the N designation was geared at the TOW development. The most modern designation progressed to M which is now associated with special operations oriented aircraft. Logical, but unproven.

And, I have found gaps in the site data which are largely the fact that no data was reported. The #105 could well have gone on to get a -13/M upgrade but the organizer of the site hasn't uncovered the confirmation of that. My experience with the C's is that the ones remaining in use the longest were all eventually Ms. Again, logic says that a retiring airframe doesn't need an upgrade and the highest upgraded airframes may have been all that were required to fill the force. One of my good friends was in the MDARNG Air Cavalry unit into the 80's and they were flying UH-1Ms. In the late 80's I got to FTIG and the PAARNG had both Oh-6's and UH-1Ms at that time. When I stopped my active TPU in 1996, both MD and PA had lost their OH-6 and UH-1M airframes and were flying AH-1F airframes. 

 

Chief Snake 

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