I arrived home from HAL-3 on 20 October 1971 and flew HH-1K 157180 at NAS Jacksonville Air Operations SAR Detachment on 04 November and 8 December 1971. I left active duty 21 Dec. 1971. The Jax SAR Det also had HH-1K's 157178 and 157179.
My research at Bell Aircraft indicates that Bell made 27 HH-1K's, 8 UH-1L's and 45 or 90 TH-1L's. The HH-1K's were built as air station search and rescue (SAR) aircraft and went directly from the Bell factory to NAS Air Operations Departments throughout the Navy, primarily as replacements for SH-34J SAR and UH-34G/D model helicopters. Deliveries of the “Kilo” Huey's started in May 1970 and by November of that year three had been sent to Vietnam to serve with US Navy squadron HA(L)-3.
The 8 UH-1L's were ordered for HAL-3 and all went directly to HAL-3 to become Sealords aircraft. The first 4 arrived at HAL-3 in November 1969. As mentioned, the 27 HH-1K's were ordered as Air Station Search and Rescue (SAR) aircraft. The 45 TH-1L's were ordered primarily for the Training Command (TRAWING 5) in Pensacola. These 3 types of H-1 aircraft were all similar and similar to Marine UH-1E's. The Marines bought 192 UH-1E aircraft and 20 TH-1E's although I can only find bureau numbers for 158 total. Navy and Marine UH-1's had subtle differences from Army UH-1's to include all aluminum construction (no magnesium), the installation of rotor brakes, radar altimeters, roof mounted rescue hoist, Navy compatible avionics and minor electrical changes. All UH-1L, TH-1L and HH-1K aircraft also had the 540 rotor head, the large fuel tank, and the T-53L-13, 1400 shaft horse power engines.
Below are the 8 Navy UH-1L's, all were Sealords aircraft at HAL-3. A total of 3 UH-1L's were written off in 1970 and 1971. 157851 and 157857 were written off before I got to HAL-3 August 7, 1970 and 177853 after I left on August 4, 1971.
|157851 Written Off 01 Jun 1970|
|157852 (I flew Jun/Jul 71)|
|157853 (I flew May/June 1971) Written Off 23 Dec 1971|
|157854 (I flew Jun/Jul 1971), |
|157855 (I flew May/Jun /Jul 1971)|
|157856 (I flew Jul 1971)|
|157857 Written Off 05 May 1970|
|157858 (I flew Sep. 1970)|
As UH-1L's were written off as losses, the Navy replaced them with HH-1K's. Deliveries of the “Kilo” Huey started in May 1970 and by November of that year three had been sent to Vietnam to serve with US Navy squadron HA(L)-3.
HAL-3 Sealords had at least 4 HH-1K's as follows:
|157187 (I flew in May/Jul 1971) Written Off 18 Oct 1971||157200 (I flew in Jun/Jul 1971) Survived the war. Now may still be at Pacific Aviation Museum at Hanger 37, Ford Island, Pearl Harbor.
||157202 (I flew in Jun 1971) Survived the war and written off 19 Mar 1976)
||157203 Written Off 29 Nov 1970, Pilot ran out of gas in Gulf of Thailand between an LST and the coastline near Det 6 at Son On Doc.
About my 3rd day at HAL-3, August 10, 1971 or so, I heard a racket in my room in the barracks, opened the door and saw a helicopter blade sticking out of my barracks building. I ran towards the flight line to find and found a Sealords aircraft lying on it's side. There were no injuries but the aircraft was trashed. That was 157856 which was apparently rebuilt as my log book shows that I flew it in July 13, 1971. That could be a log book entry error.
In May of 1978 I was flying out of NAS Whiting Field on a Naval Reserve annual training (AT) at HT - 8. At night I was doing maintenance turns on HT - 18 aircraft. Some of the aircraft bureau numbers looked familiar and I discovered that several of the old HAL - 3 Sealords UH-1L's had survived the war and were soldering-on training Navy helicopter pilots at HT - 18. I'm now sorry I didn't copy down the bureau numbers of them.
HAL-4 and HAL-5 had a number of HH-1K's after the war and a number were destroyed to the point of being written off. Let me know if you need additional information about HAL-4 and HAL-5 HH-1K aircraft. I secured former HAL - 5 HH-1K Bureau number 157188 through AMARAC in Tuscon, Arizona for the National Naval Air Museum in Pensacola. I sent the HA(L) - 3 paint scheme to former HA(L) - 3 personnel Dennis Russell at HA(L) - 5 at Point Magu and he painted it in HA(L) -3 colors. It was then flown to the Bell plant in Arlington Texas and on to Pensacola. Captain Dick Catone rode on the entire fight from Point Magu to Pensacola as our HA(L)-3 representative. It was accepted by Museum Director Captain Bob Rasmussen from me at the Seawolf Association Reunion at the front (East) entrance to the museum on April 17, 1989.
HAL - 3 was authorized 33 gunships and 11 slicks but they rarely, if ever, had those numbers. The Army supplied HAL-3 with B, and later C model, gunships at a level equivalent to their own units. If Army units were operating with 75% of their authorized aircraft strength HAL-3 would have around 25 Army UH-1B/C aircraft which was a pretty common number for us. Towards the end of 1971 and the first couple of months of 1972, just prior to stand-down, I think HAL-3 may have actually had 33 UH-1B/C gunships. When HAL-3 would receive C model aircraft they would fly them 100 hours and then perform an engine change to I think a T53L -13 engine which converted the aircraft to a M or "Mike" model. This was a huge improvement. The C model had the newer 540 rotor system and larger fuel tank and, with the larger engine, the Mike model was vastly superior to the B Model. It was still limited to 9,500 pounds maximum gross weight and 95 knots with external stores, but it had great "Legs" and on-station time.