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Light Observation Helicopter

In the 1962-65 period the US Army held a three-way competition to select a Light Observation Helicopter to replace the H-13 Bell. The competitors were Bell with the OH-4, Hiller with the OH-5, and Hughes with the OH-6. The Bell entry was eliminated early in the evaluation process leaving just the OH-5 and 6 in the final selection process. Early in 1965 the Hughes OH-6 war declared the winner and awarded a contract for I best recall an initial 715 Cayuse helicopters.

Between 3 Dec and 9 Dec 1964, I got checked out on both helicopters. I still remember my OH-6 Instructor Pilot CWO Turner and my 7 Dec final flight and night check. The flight ended with several night-time full touchdown autorotations.

The Hiller OH-5

My OH-5 IP was Mr. Joe Givens who was also a US Marine Reserve pilot who had flown more than 100 fixed wing aircraft and helicopters. He taught me low level (50 ft) 180deg full touchdown autorotations. The Hiller was one of the first helicopter to have high inertia blades which was a significant advance over existing blade technology. The first few autos were challenging - learning to concurrently perform the mechanical handling procedure sequence, and to visually scan critical cockpit instrument data and landing site cue points. At throttle chop, contrary to normal practice you held collective into a zoom climb trading airspeed for altitude to about 100 ft while monitoring rotor RPM bleed-off, initiate a 180deg turn with the turn radius needed to hit the landing site, then bottom collective, settle at 60Ks, flare and land. Once you made the mental adjustment to the mental balancing the sequence of information intake and priority assessment, autorotations became routine.

Bud Hill

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  • 1 Air OP Flight Group photos.
    Assistance would be welcome in identifying personnel in these photographs: View Content.

    Compiled by BGen R.G. Heitshu.