The World’s Best Pickup Truck

A mainstay of air transportation, the Huey provided the soundtrack to the Vietnam War

(Lt. Col. S.F. Watson (U.S. Army) Collection/NASM)


(Lt. Col. S.F. Watson (U.S. Army) Collection/NASM)

Thomas Anderson, who flew 10 different aircraft (both fixed-wing and helicopter) during his career, was trained on the UH-1A in Hawaii. "The thing that I remember most about learning to fly the Huey was that it was a turbine engine rather than a reciprocal engine. When you're flying a piston-engine helicopter, you have a gauge that shows both the rotor rpm and the engine rpm, and the needles have to be in sync—one needle has to sit on top of the other one. You can immediately tell if you've had an engine failure when the engine rpm needle starts to drop down quickly. On the Huey you didn't have those needles because the engine was always running at a constant speed; you didn't have to keep the needles joined. When you flew an H-13, you had both hands and both feet busy all the time. There was no way of holding a map and looking at it unless you wanted to put the control stick between your knees and fly with your knees while you're looking at a map." When asked if he ever flew that way, Anderson replied, "Oh, absolutely."

Above: A Bell UH-1 (late D or H model) troop transport in Vietnam, circa late 1960s/early 1970s.


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