VVA CHAPTER 218 SANTA BARBARA
We Need Your Help!
Our Huey needs a new home!
Whomp, whomp, whomp . . . The distinctive sound of an incoming Huey is beloved to all who served in Vietnam. It meant food, mail, life-saving medevacs, ammo ~ and more! It meant everything to ground pounders who needed help.
Now we need your help ~ to find a new and permanent home to honor this ICON of service in Vietnam. Maybe you have a place for a 24/7 display; or maybe you can help with a long-term commitment; or with one of the several individual services we’ll need ~ from security to TLC.
If you can be of help, please reach out to Ed at (805) 770-0979.
Photo: Rick Carter
Frequently Asked Questions About the Huey:
1. How did the Huey get its name?
The Huey name came from its original designation as HU-1 ~ before it was re-designated the UH-1 in 1962. And in keeping with the tradition of using Native Tribe names for Army choppers ~ the Huey is officially named the Iroquois.
2. How many & when were they produced?
Bell Helicopters produced about 16,000 between 1956 and 1987 ~ of which more than 7,000 saw use and combat in Vietnam ~ in a variety of roles.
3. How many were lost in combat?
Best numbers available indicate that just over 3,300 were lost or destroyed in Vietnam.
4. How many passengers could the Huey carry?
In “slick” configuration (meaning devoid of door guns) ~ the Huey had two pilots’ seats, and could take an additional 13 passengers, depending on weather and other conditions.
5. What are its general characteristics?
All aluminum construction; crew of 1 to 4; just under 60’ long; rotor diameter 48’; maximum speed 127 mph; maximum range 318 miles; normal armament included 7.62mm machine guns and 2.75” (70mm) rocket pods ~ though they were routinely modified in the field to support specific operations.
6. What were some of its main missions?
There were many. According to Wikipedia, life-saving medical evacuation, gunship air assault, search and rescue, cargo transport, reconnaissance, psychological warfare and direct support of ground attack missions were its main uses.
7. What causes the whomp, whomp, whomp sound the Huey makes?
The two-blade design was done for easier transport and storage reasons ~ and is responsible for this distinctive characteristic.
8. When was this aircraft built?
It was built in 1966 by Bell Helicopter. Identification Number (Tail Number) is 66-00630.
9. How was 66-00630 configured?
Our Huey is a UH-1M model gun ship. It was originally combat equipped with two Ariel Rocket Pods, each carrying 7 rockets and M-60 machine guns. In the mid 70s, after service in Vietnam, it was sent to the 281st Aviation Battalion in the Illinois National Guard. The 218 has been the conservator of the “bird” since 1993.
10. Can 66-00630 still fly?
No. Our Huey has had its engine and transmission removed ~ as it’s mainly for display.
11. Why is Chapter 218 looking for a new home for its Huey?
Two reasons: First ~ as our members age out, we can no longer care for the physical well-being of the bird; and second ~ we can no longer trailer the bird in parades or to local events; so we need a more permanent place ~ where the Huey can be displayed 24/7 in a safe, but accessible environment.
12. What kind of a situation are we looking for?
A preferably well known and financially secure organization, municipality, or private sector company willing to display the bird and care for her security ~ as we have, since we acquired it in 1993.
13. Is real “ownership” involved?
No. Any company, municipality, or organization interested in taking charge of the Huey needs to know this is a “conservatorship” (not an “ownership”) situation ~ as the U.S. government will always “own” the Huey.
14. What are the main requirements of the conservatorship?
The bird must be located in a place where the public has access 24/7/365; but where the bird is physically “secure” on a cement pad, behind a fence, and possibly on an elevated support, secured by camera(s) and lights.
15. What security measures will be involved?
The more, the better ~ but minimally, adequate fencing in front of an elevated support, surrounded by a system of web camera(s), and motion-sensitive lighting.
16. Are any other security measures involved?
Yes. The conservator must provide a permanent plaque
~ confirming that any attempt to enter, deface,
or alter the bird in any way will be pursued not just as a local,
but as a Federal crime.
17. Does the 218th have any suggestions for successful display?
Yes. We suggest a second permanent plaque
~ thanking the entities that have provided support over the years
to date; those who played a significant part in the transition
to a new conservatorship; and those who have
promised future care of the bird.
18. Can the new conservator
count on any further help from Chapter 218?
Yes. Assuming placement somewhere in Santa Barbara County ~ volunteers from Chapter 218 will help to care for and preserve the bird for as long as we are able.
19. Does Chapter 218 prefer an organization type or display location?
No and yes. Our preferred organization type could be any entity that convinces us they’ll care for the bird into the future as we have in the past. Our preferred location for display is somewhere in Santa Barbara County.
20. What are the relative short-term costs involved?
Both short and long-term costs will depend on the proposed display location. Minimally, a new conservator should expect to spend $40,000 (or less, depending on donations) for a pad and pole, fencing all around, security camera(s) and lights, for one-time crane operations, and for one-time physical transportation. Specific estimates we’ve received for several transitional components will be shared with any serious conservators.
21. What are the relative long-term costs?
Minimally, a new conservator should expect to spend $1,500 a year (or less, depending on donations) for periodic technology replacement ~ and for basic maintenance of the bird and its display space. We have considered repainting ~ and the new conservator may consider it, too; however, many of us find the bird to be more authentic “as is” ~ looking as though it came out of combat; which it did.
22. Are straight monetary donations being accepted?
Yes. Depending on the amount of donations involved ~ and the current needs and the time involved before physical transition, some will be allocated for these current needs while the balance will be transferred to the new conservator at the time of physical transition. If you’d like to make a donation ~ please contact Ed at the number below.
23. What are the advantages of conservatorship of the Huey?
The UH-1 Huey is the best known and most recognized icon of our involvement in the Vietnam War. As such, it will be the center of interest, reverence, and honor for all those who served in or were affected by the Vietnam experience. This interest (and the increasing traffic that may accrue) could be of increasing value to the new conservator for many years to come. In terms of pride and satisfaction (immense values difficult to measure) ~ this patriotic opportunity may never come again.
24. Do you have suggestions or further questions involving this opportunity?
If you have suggestions for a successful placement ~ if you’re ready
for a personal tour ~ or if you have further questions about the bird
or its upkeep ~ call Ed ~ at (805) 770-0979.
Many thanks for your consideration!
Photo: Rick Carter
Photo: Rick Carter
Photo: Rick Carter