Statement from Portrush on the Autogyro and Vietnam Pair, the Huey UH-1H and Loach OH-6A.
The popular Huey UH-1H and Loach OH-6A, billed as the “Vietnam Pair”, have been confirmed to attend Air Waves Portrush on both days of the seaside airshow (5th and 6th September). They will be joined by the nimble RotorSport autogyro, expertly piloted by Peter Davies.
Both of the helicopters have interesting histories (both served in Vietnam) in particular the Loach: Returning from Vietnam, it carried out National Guard duties including work with the Drug Enforcement Agency, before being auctioned off in 2004. It was then purchased by a helicopter dealer and put into storage for a number of years in Seattle.
Phil Connolly found the unit in Seattle and, having conducted the research with the aircraft records regarding the battle damage, he decided it would be the ideal fit into his helicopter activities and business in the UK. Phil’s decision at this time was to return OH-6A 69 to its original livery.
When the civilian paint scheme was removed it uncovered all the battle scars from its early life in Vietnam, displaying a multitude of bullet holes and patches. The work started in the summer of 2008, taking several months and involved stripping the aircraft back to bare metal, applying new paint, removing civilian interior and replacing with military interior and sourcing various ex-military components to be refitted to the machine to restore the authenticity.
Both of these fascinating helicopters will be on the ground at the tennis courts for public viewing for both days along with a Royal Navy “Jungly” Sea King and an AAC Gazelle helicopter.
Again, the Huey will perform the moving Poppy Drop ceremony on Sunday afternoon.
The Autogyro will put on a dynamic display, painting patterns in the sky with its smoke system and providing an excellent platform for aerial photography of our event.