Bell UH-1 Huey

 The Bell Helicopter Textron UH-1 "Iroquois" is a multipurpose military helicopter, famous for its use in the Vietnam War. The UH-1 was developed from 1955 US Army trials with the Bell Model 204. The initial designation of HU-1 (helicopter utility) led to its nickname," Huey". The official U.S. Army designation,” Iroquois”, (Army helicopters are traditionally given Native American names) was almost never used in practice.

It was the first turbine-powered U.S. helicopter to go into production and was first used by the military in 1959 and went into tri-service production in 1962 as the UH-1. The last were produced in 1976 with more than 16,000 made in total, of which about 7,000 saw use during the Vietnam War.

 The UH-1 had many model changes as requirements changed over the years. The USAF used the UH-1F for SAC Missile Support beginning in 1964.  Some of the “F” models were assigned to the 20th Helicopter Squadron “Green Hornets” for covert operations in Vietnam in 1967. These aircraft were later converted to the “P” model.  The TH-1F was delivered to the USAF for pilot training in 1967.  The last UH-1F was retired from the USAF in the early 1980s when it was replaced by the twin-engine UH-1N. The U.S. Air Force began taking deliveries of the first twin-engine UH-1N in 1970.  There was an HH-1N version produced for the USAF as a base rescue helicopter and for use by the 20th Special Operations Squadron for special operations.

The US Army phased out the UH-1 Huey with the introduction of the UH-60 Blackhawk, although the Army UH-1 Residual Fleet has around 700 UH-1s that were supposed to be retained until 2015. Army support for the craft was intended to end in 2004.

The US Marine Corps still relies on the UH-1N variant and is beginning to introduce the latest variant, the UH-1Y Venom.

The United States Air Force employs UH-1N’s for a dual role of Rescue and to fulfill its ICBM mission, providing a utility helicopter for transport between bases to missile launch sites in Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, and Colorado.

The UH-1 has been widely exported and remains in front-line service in a number of countries.

  Huey pictures:

General characteristics

·        Crew: 1-4

·        Capacity: 3,880 lb including 14 troops, or 6 stretchers, or equivalent cargo

·        Length: 57 ft 1 in with rotors (17.4 m)

·        Fuselage width: 8 ft 7 in (2.6 m))

·        Rotor diameter: 48 ft 0 in (14.6 m)

·        Height: 14 ft 5 in (4.4 m)

·        Empty weight: 5,215 lb (2,365 kg)

·        Loaded weight: 9,040 lb (4,100 kg)

·        Max takeoff weight: 9,500 lb (4,310 kg)

·        Fuel capacity: 1,400 lb (840 kg))

·        Powerplant: 1× Lycoming T53-L-13B turboshaft, 1,400 shp (1,045 kW)


·        Maximum speed: 135 mph (220 km/h)

·        Cruise speed: 125 mph (205 km/h)

·        Range: 315 mi (510 km)

·        Service ceiling 19,390 ft (Dependent on environmental factors such as weight, outside temp., etc) (5,910 m)

·        Rate of climb: 1,755 ft/min (8.9 m/s)


Variable, but may include a combination of:

·        2x 7.62 mm M60 machine gun, or 2x 7.62 mm GAU-17 machine gun

·        2x 7-round or 19-round 2.75 in (70 mm) rocket pods




Hueys have been used for a number of research programs.

 One of the YUH-1Bs was used as an aerodynamic test bed as the "Model 533" and modified to a number of configurations. The first series of modifications, flown in 1962, featured aerodynamic fairings, a new tail surface to offload the tail rotor, and a tilting rotor mast inside a large fairing structure. The Model 533 was then fitted with a swept wing, two Continental J69-T-29 turbojets 1,700 lbf thrust each, and a modified rotor blade with swept tips. This compound rotorcraft achieved a speed record of 236 MPH or 200 knots in level flight on 15 October 1964, and on 6 April 1965 topped that record with a speed of 402 KPH (250 MPH) in level flight.

The Model 533 was finally fitted with two wingtip-mounted Pratt & Whitney JT12A-3 turbojets with 3,300 lbf thrust each. In this configuration, it achieved speeds of over 480 KPH (300 MPH).


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Popular culture

The image of American troops disembarking from a Huey has become a fixture in depictions of the Vietnam War, and can be seen in practically every movie, video game, and television show on the subject, as well as more modern settings.


 In June 1963, Bell won a US Air Force contract for a helicopter to perform missile site support duties, resulting in the "UH-1F", a derivative of the UH-1B.  The first UH-1F flew on 20 February 1964, with service deliveries beginning in September 1964. A total of 146 were built.

27 "TH-1Fs" were built for instrument flying and hoist training. 20 UH-1Fs were converted to USAF "UH-1P" configuration.


Bell began deliveries of the UH-1N to the US Air Force in 1970, which obtained 79 and used them for special operations. The US Navy and Marine Corps were particularly interested in the type, since the twin-engine configuration provided greater flight safety for overwater operations, and obtained a total of 221 by 1978. The USAF adopted the UH-1N for the crash rescue role as the "HH-1N", with about 52 machines fitted out much like the HH-1H.