HH-34J "Choctaw"



Sikorsky HH-34J "Choctaw"

Crew:   Three
Engine:   One Wright R-1820-84 Cyclone radial; 1,525 horsepower
Main rotor diameter:   56 ft 0 in
Length:   46 ft 9 in
Height:   14 ft 3 1/2 in
Weight:   empty: 8,410 lbs; max: 14,000 lbs
Speed:   max: 123 mph; cruise: 98 mph
Range:   280 miles
Service Ceiling:   9,500 ft
Armament:   None
Cost:   $425,000

The use of HH-34Js by the Air Force was virtually unknown except by the members of the AFRES organizations the HH-34Js were assigned to. 

The HH-34J was originally manufactured as an SH-34J by Sikorsky Aircraft in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and delivered to the U.S. Navy in the 1960s. It was one of fourteen aircraft later transferred from Navy storage to the Air Force as HH-34J Search-And-Rescue ships. 

Three rescue squadrons in the Air Force Reserve (301st ARRS at Homestead AFB, Florida; 302nd ARRS at Luke AFB, Arizona; and 304th ARRS at Portland, Oregon) were assigned the Choctaw as an interim machine in which to transition from the fixed-wing environment of the Grumman HU-16 Albatross to the rotary-wing world of the Air Force's rescue version of the Bell HH-1 Huey. The HH-34s retained the auto-hover equipment originally installed for their Navy anti-submarine warfare mission, making them very steady platforms for hoist deployment and recovery of personnel.

ARS HH-34J on Portland, Oregon ramp.- Felix McLarney

304th ARS HH-34J hoist practice Columbia River Gorge – Felix McLarney

This HH-34J was operated by the 301st ARRS out of Homestead AFB in 1972. Now on display at Hill AFB Museum.  Compliments of Lou Anatrella.

304th ARS HH-34J tail # 710 fitted with “straight leg” main gear.

HH-34J’s on ramp at Portland Airport, Ore. – Felix Mc Larney

   For more info on the H-34 AF Reserve Rescue units, go to Rotorheadsrus and 304th ARS contributed by Msgt Felix McLarney, USAF, Retired, who was First Sgt of the 304th at the time they had the H-34's.