In 1952, the US Army required a new helicopter to serve as medical evacuation (MEDEVAC), instrument trainer and general utility aircraft. The “Huey” got its name from its original model designation, the HU-1. The helicopter was re-designated as the Utility Helicopter UH-1 in 1962, and has evolved through 13 models, ranging from A thru V. The “Charlie” model was specifically developed in 1960 as a gunship, and was widely referred to as the “Huey Hog” in US Army service.
The UH-1C went into production in 1966, with a total of 766 made. It was fitted with a more powerful engine to provide the power needed to lift the weapons systems in use at the time. Fuel capacity and gross weight were increased from previous models, providing for a total load capacity of a nominal 4,673 lbs. The “C” also introduced a dual hydraulic control system for redundancy in battle and an improved inlet filter system for the dusty conditions found in Southeast Asia.
This aircraft is under volunteer restoration with the help of the 68th Assault Helicopter Company which served in Vietnam 1965-1971. She is built from parts from several different birds which was often the case for recovered and or damaged aircraft. After consulting with members of the 68th AHC it was decided that this display model would bear the Bureau Number, Buro or tail number of 66-00654. Although this aircraft was struck by enemy fire and repaired several times, its final mission left it destroyed beyond repair.
"03/08/1968 while performing armed escort duties in South Vietnam 66-00654 was struck by an RPG round on the right side causing significant damage to the tail rotor. The aircraft made a forced landing with no injuries to the crew whereupon it was destroyed."
66-00654 bears the nose art for this unit, number and markings and is slowly being transformed into the display gunship that she was with the help and advice of many great members of the 68th AHC association.