Portrush aircraft profile day 5 – Huey & Loach


Day 5 of our Portrush aircraft profile is the Helicopter Duo the Huey and Loach, who will display both days of Air Waves Portrush and on Sunday will close the show with the traditional Poppy drop.

THE HUEY

This was manufactured by the Bell Helicopter Company in 1972, and purchased by the US Army in the same year where it served in Vietnam until 1973. The move to the United Kingdom is the start of another adventure for this famous flying machine,” The Huey”.
In 2000 it was sent to Arizona for storage until 2003 when it was brought out and underwent a full restoration. It is now the only Huey flying in Europe that served in Vietnam.

The aircraft has been restored back to Vietnam combat livery as it would have appeared with the 129 Assault Helicopter Company. We are working to get a more complete history of the aircraft.

THE LOACH

Helicopter OH-6A 69-16011 was manufactured in 1969 and was number 470 off the production line of the Hughes Tool Company. The aircraft was shipped direct to Vietnam where it served in the 20th Transport Company.

The aircraft technical records show that at 250 hours from new on the 17th August 1970 whilst serving in this Unit, the helicopter was on a recon mission and came under fire at a flight level of 100 feet and 80 knots in South Vietnam and took 11 hits from small arms and automatic weapons. The majority of these hits were on the underside of the aircraft causing damage to the fuel system and some aircraft components. Luckily the armour plating proved effective protecting the flight crew and out of the three crew on board, only one was wounded in action.

After finishing service it changed hands before being put into storage.

Phil Connolly found the unit in storage in Seattle and having conducted the research with the aircraft records regarding the battle damage in 1970 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 69-10611 back to its original US Army livery which was quite an involved project and the interesting part of this was when the civilian paint scheme on the aircraft was removed it uncovered all the battle scars from its early life in Vietnam displaying a multitude of bullet holes and patches which had been put on the same at the Hughes Tool Company.

The work started on the OH-6 in the Summer of 2008 returning the aircraft to its original Vietnam livery. It now flies with the Huey after a full restoration.

Check back on Monday for another aircraft profile for Portrush!

Northern Ireland & Ireland Airshows's photo.
Northern Ireland & Ireland Airshows's photo.

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