Whirlybirds at Fort Rucker

Roamy here.  I visited the Army Aviation Museum at Fort Rucker on Monday.  Helicopter pics today, fixed wing pics tomorrow.  Nice little museum – for those who aren’t military, you have to stop at the gate and show your driver’s license, car registration, and proof of insurance.  If you have a rental car, the rental agreement counts as registration and insurance.

I took notes while I was going through the museum, so if I’ve messed up an ID, please forgive this nOOb.

Hiller H-23 "Raven". To the right, OH-13 Sioux and OH-58 Kiowa

AH-1G Cobra

This was an interesting one.  It’s listed as an AH-64, but Mr. RFH kept muttering that it wasn’t right.  Looking through the exhibit listing, there’s a Hughes YAH-64A. 

Needs AC/DC's "Thunderstruck" playing in the background
CH-21 Shawnee (and RFH family)

While ordinarily I’d list this as the CH-37 Mojave, instead I’ll caption it the way Rocketboy suggested.

Nom nom nom

In the center of this display hall, a UH-1 (I think UH-1H; there’s also a UH-1B).

Iroquois? You mean Huey.

I thought this was interesting.  This is “Army One”, a Sikorsky VCH-34 Choctaw modified with nicer seats, curtains, and other amenities.  It was used to ferry President Eisenhower.

Fixed wing pics and some on the special displays, including the Army Aviation Hall of Fame, tomorrow.

5 thoughts on “Whirlybirds at Fort Rucker”

  1. A retired WO Pilot who goes to church with me flew Mojaves in Germany. Those were radial engines in those big sponsoons on each side. He said they had a 55 gallon drum of oil in the cabin with a feed line going to each engine to keep up the oil level.

    The Army took them out of service in the late 60s and his company loaded a VW microbus in one and the entire company started for Bremerhaven. The chopper carrying the VW lost and engine, so he and another chopper landed, the good chopper took the VW and the continued on. They had to pass the VW on a couple more times. They could fly empty on one engine, but even a Microbus was too much on one engine.

    Before turbines came out, Helos weren’t all that useful as the things couldn’t carry much, and the range was fairly short. Those big radials sucked gas and oil and were quite heavy.

    I spent some time in the Army Aviation museum while I was at Rucker for flight school. Both WOC companies were right across Novosel Street (it wasn’t Novosel Street when I was there. They changed the name when CW4 Mike Novosel, CMH, retired) from the museum. It was pretty low rent back then, using a a couple of old warehouses for the exhibits. Most of the fixed wing stuff was outside back then, corroding and falling apart.

  2. Quartermaster, I last visited the museum in ’92, and I thought it had changed quite a bit. Looks MUCH better now. There’s still some fixed wing outside, corroding, unfortunately.

  3. It’s a nice start but compared to what the Navy has in P-Cola, it’s pretty shabby. Could be a whole lot better considering the history of what Army aviators have done and are doing on a daily basis.

  4. It really is a shame the Army Aviation Museum has so little. The Comanche was there when I was stationed there. They had a fairly large Vietnam section, which was understandable in ’76. I remember Mike Novosel’s picture there and the blurb about him. He wasn’t stationed at Rucker at the time, and he was flying on a waiver for Glaucoma. He was shuttling the Golden Knights around at the time, iirc.

    They made a big deal of Novosel’s retirement in ’86, changing the name of Main Street to Novosel Street (that’s the main drag in front of the Museum). I think a lot of it was he was the last WW2 rated flyer to leave active duty (he was an AAF instructor and flew B-29s over Japan later). He held Command Pilot Wings from the AAF/AF and Master Aviator Wings from the Army. His picture is the only pic of an Army Aviator I remember from the Museum. They did have a pic of an Aussie Army pilot holding the fragments of a Russian 12.7 bullet that his body armor stopped. It must have been near the end of its flight or I imagine it would have pierced his body armor. Still, he would have died without it.

    I also remember a Windecker Eagle shoved in the back corner of one of the buildings. The Eagle was the first general aviation composite aircraft. It was not an economic success, however, and was a bit surprised the Army had bought one. They had a Navion as well, which had been sold as a AG aircraft and the Army had a number of them as Liason aircraft after the war. I think it was designated the L-17. Most of the fixed wing stuff was outside, however. It was depressing to see it out there corroding away. You can see the stuff outside on Google earth.

    I noticed on the same Google Earth image that my old barracks were gone, along with the old WOC museum. There were a bunch of headstones along the walkway to the entrance o the WOC museum. Some were serious as a number of WOCs were killed in training with the TH-55. If you read “Chickenhawk, Back In The World” you will learn why. They had used Hiller H-23s and Bells H-13s before the TH-55. The TH-55 was a piece of junk and would kill you if the IP was not alert. If you tucked the nose too much you ended up in a vicious cycle that would take about 1500 feet to recover from. Alas, most training took place at about 500 feet above ground. That’s been replaced with the Jet Ranger (TH-57) and much of the Military’s fling wing training is now done at Rucker. Lex’s Son will probably find himself there for some period in his training.

    I still look back at times wishing I had not the growth spurt when I was 15. Even now, the areas where the ligaments anchor at my right knee bother me. I probably should not have gone into the TNARNG and OCS, but hope, and dreams, die hard.

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