Updated: Feb 15
Short Strips and Tight Grips features three main helicopter which Max Hall flew. Our blog has already published one on the CH-21 Piasecki “Flying Banana”, however, this one will cover the Bell UH-1 Iroquois (Bell Model 204) or the "Huey".
Bell Textron or Bell Aircraft Corporation was founded in 1935 by Lawrence Dale Bell of New York. He began his company by developing fighter aircraft for the U.S. military which was, at that time, just beginning to explore the concept of air warfare. Two of the most successful fighters it created was the P-39 Aircobra and the P-63 King Cobra (fun fact, they were both used by the Soviet Air Force during World War 2!). Bell also developed the aircraft which Chuck Yeager flew when he broke the sound barrier in 1947.
But Bell later began developing some of the U.S. military’s top helicopters. One of which was the UH-1 Iroquois or “Huey”. This helicopter was approved by the U.S. Army in 1952 and took its first flight in 1956.
The Army decided to utilize it as a utility and Medevac helicopter. The “Huey” proved its worth during the Vietnam War.
Vietnam was fought in incredibly rough terrain which made it difficult for the helicopters of the time-CH-21 Piasecki and CH-34 Choctaw. The “Huey”, however, had the size and manueverability to navite the terrain and tough combat conditions.
They could deliver and extract troops quickly and efficiently as well as act as air defense for ground soldiers. They became indespinable on the battlefield.
During the Vietnam War over 7,000 Hueys were deployed and flew over 7.5 million flight hours. The vast majority were in service with the Army, flying MEDEVAC, command and control, air assault, and personnel and materiel transport missions. Hueys evacuated more than 90,000 patients from the battlefield, greatly increasing the survival rate of soldiers wounded in combat.
The UH-1 military helicopter has the legacy of being the longest-used and manufactured helicopter in the United States military and is still in use by a wide variety of civilian and foreign military operators.