Kaman HH-43 Huskie
|Primary users||United States Air Force
United States Marine Corps
United States Navy
The Kaman HH-43 Huskie was a helicopter with intermeshing rotors used by the United States Air Force, the United States Navy and the United States Marine Corps from the 1950s until the 1970s. It was primarily used for aircraft firefighting and rescue in the close vicinity of air bases, but was later used as a short range overland search and rescue aircraft during the Vietnam War.
Under the aircraft designation system used by the U.S. Navy pre-1962 , Navy and U.S. Marine Corps versions were originally designated as the HTK, HOK or HUK, for their use as training, observation or utility aircraft, respectively.
Design and development
In 1947 Anton Flettner, a German aviation engineer, was brought to New York in the United States as part of Operation Paperclip. He was the developer of Germany's Flettner Fl 282 "Kolibri" (Hummingbird), a helicopter employing the "synchropter" principle of intermeshing rotors, a unique design principle that dispenses with the need for a tail rotor. Flettner settled in the United States and became the chief designer of the Kaman company, where he started to design new helicopters, using the synchropter principle.
The Huskie had an unusual intermeshing contra-rotating twin-rotor arrangement with control effected by servo-flaps. The first prototype flew in 1947 and was adopted by the U.S. Navy with a piston engine. In 1954, in an experiment by Kaman and the U.S. Navy, one HTK-1 was modified and flew with its piston engine replaced by two turbine engines, becoming the world's first twin-turbine helicopter. The Air Force later adopted a version with one turboshaft engine: HH-43B and F versions.
This aircraft saw use in the Vietnam War with several detachments of the Pacific Air Rescue Center, the 33d, 36th, 37th, and 38th Air Rescue Squadrons, and the 40th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, where the aircraft was known by its call sign moniker "Pedro". During the war, the two-pilot HH-43 Huskie flew more rescue missions than all other aircraft combined, because of its unique hovering capability. The HH-43 was eventually replaced by newer aircraft in the early 1970s.
- two two-seat aircraft for evaluation
- three-seat production version for the United States Navy, later became TH-43E, 29 built
- one example for evaluation by the United States Coast Guard
- one example for static tests as a drone
- prototype of United States Marine Corps version, two built
- United States Marine Corps version powered by a 600 hp R-1340-48 Wasp radial piston engine; later became OH-43D, 81 built
- United States Navy version of the HOK-1 with R-1340-52 radial piston engine engine; later became UH-43C, 24 built
- USAF version of the HOK-1; later became the HH-43A, 18 built
- post-1962 designation of the H-43A
- H-43A powered by an 860 shp Lycoming T-53-L-1B turboshaft engine, three-seats and full rescue equipment; later became HH-43B, 200-built
- post-1962 designation of the H-43B
- post-1962 designation of the HUK-1
- post-1962 designation of the HOK-1
- post-1962 designation of the HTK-1
- HH-43B powered by an 825 shp T-53-L-11A turboshaft engine with reduced diameter rotors, 42 built and conversions from HH-43B
- One OH-43D converted to drone configuration
- HH-43 (no variant designated)
- Air Mobility Command Museum at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware has HH-43, AF Serial Number 62-4532, on display.
- The Helicopter Museum Bückeburg in Germany has an HH-43 on display.
- The Pakistan Air Force Museum in Karachi, Pakistan has an HH-43 Huskie on static display in the open.
- Museum of Aviation at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia has an HH-43A on display.
- The New England Air Museum has an HH-43A (AF Ser. No. 58-1837) airframe stored.
- Hill Aerospace Museum at Hill Air Force Base, Utah has an HH-43B on display.
- The Midland Air Museum in Coventry, England is carrying out a restoration on HH-43B, AF Ser. No. 62-4535. The aircraft is usually viewable on display; 24535 is one of only two examples on display in the UK.
- The National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio has HH-43B, AF Serial Number 60-0263, on display. It was assigned to rescue duty with Detachment 3, 42nd Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico prior to its retirement and flight to the museum in April 1973.
- The Olympic Flight Museum in Olympia, Washington has an airworthy HH-43B Huskie in USAF markings on display.
- The Military Firefighter Heritage Display on Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo, Texas has a restored HH-43B on display. The tail number displayed after restoration is 58-1481, but should probably be 58-1841 (its number before restoration, and a number corresponding to an HH-43B). This Huskie was a ground trainer (1959–1976) at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, so it retained the square-tail empennage that was removed from almost all other Huskies after repeated rotor strikes in heavy winds.
- The Royal Thai Air Force Museum, Bangkok, Thailand has an HH-43B on display in the open.
- HH-43B UB6166 is on display at the Defence Services Museum, Nayptitaw, Burma.
- Castle Air Museum at the former Castle Air Force Base in Atwater, California has an HH-43F, AF Serial Number 62-4513, on display.
- The New England Air Museum has an HH-43F (AF Ser. No. 60-289) restored and currently in storage.
- Kirtland Air Force Base has an HH-43, listed as an F-model, on display at the southeast corner of Doris Avenue and Aberdeen Drive (coord: 35.05446,-106.595158). This may be the same aircraft listed on other sites as being located at the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History, which has since moved off-base, but adjacent to, Kirtland Air Force Base.
- The Pima Air & Space Museum, adjacent to Davis–Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona, has an HH-43F, AF Ser. No. 62-4531 on display. This aircraft is on loan from the National Museum of the United States Air Force.
- The Flying Leathernecks Museum, MCAS Miramar, California displays Bureau Number (BuNo) 139990 in USMC markings. The aircraft is on loan from the National Naval Aviation Museum at MCAS Pensacola, Florida. It was previously on display at MCAS Tustin, California, but was moved to MCAS Miramar after MCAS Tustin was closed and NAS Miramar was transferred from control of the Navy to the Marine Corps.
- The Pima Air & Space Museum adjacent to Davis–Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona, displays a HOK-1/OH-43D, BuNo 139974, in USMC markings. This aircraft is also on loan from the National Naval Aviation Museum.
- The U.S. Army Aviation Museum at Fort Rucker, Alabama has a Marine Corps HOK-1/OH-43D, BuNo 138101, in storage. BuNo 138101 was formerly displayed indoors at the National Naval Aviation Museum at NAS Pensacola, Florida (circa 2000-2001) in a dark blue finish with USMC markings. It was repainted from its original USMC markings to pre-Vietnam U.S. Army colors when it was loaned to the Army by the National Naval Aviation Museum.
- The Carolinas Aviation Museum at Charlotte Douglas International Airport, has a HOK-1/OH-43D, BuNo 139990, in Marine Corps markings. The aircraft is currently under restoration.
- The New England Air Museum has a HOK-1/OH-43D airframe, BuNo 129801, stored.
- The Tillamook Air Museum has a HTK-1/TH-43E airframe, BuNo 129313, in Navy markings on display at Tillamook Airport (former Naval Air Station Tillamook) in Tillamook, Oregon.
In addition to museum displays, including the airworthy example at the Olympic Flight Museum, there are also a number of former USAF, USN and USMC Huskies in private hands, purchased for agricultural or general operations.
Data from National Museum of the United States Air Force 
- Crew: Four: two pilots, two rescue crew
- Length: 25 ft 0 in (7.6 m)
- Main rotor diameter: 2× 47 ft in (14.3 m)
- Height: 17 ft 2 in (5.18 m)
- Gross weight: 9,150 lb (4,150 kg)
- Powerplant: 1 × Lycoming T53 turboshaft, 860 hp (640 kW) each
- Maximum speed: 120 mph (190 km/h)
- Cruise speed: 105 mph (169 km/h)
- Range: 185 miles (298 km)
- Service ceiling: 25,000 ft (7,620 m)
- Related development
- Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
- Related lists
- Boyne, Walter J. (2011). How the Helicopter Changed Modern Warfare. Pelican Publishing. p. 45. ISBN 1-58980-700-6.
- "Twin Turborotor Helicopter." Popular Mechanics, August 1954, p. 139.
- "Vietnam Air Losses", Chris Hobson, Midland Publishing, Hinckley, LE10 3EY, UK, c2001, P. 258, ISBN 1-85780-115-6
- "FlightGlobal World Helicopter Market - Page 49". flightglobal.com. July 1968. Retrieved 2013-02-05.
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- "IIAF HISTORY". Copyright © 1999-2012 IIAF.net. Retrieved 26 January 2013.
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- "Decommissioned Aircraft PAKISTAN AIR FORCE". Retrieved 26 January 2013.
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- "HH-43 Huskie." Olympic Flight Museum Collection, Olympia, Washington. Retrieved: 17 January 2011.
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- Frawley, Gerard. The International Directory of Civil Aircraft, 2003-2004. Fyshwick, Canberra, Act, Australia: Aerospace Publications Pty Ltd., 2003, p. 155. ISBN 1-875671-58-7.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Kaman HH-43 Huskie.|
- HH-43 page at the National Museum of the United States Air Force
- HH-43 Huskie Reference at Cybermodeler.com
- HH-43 Page at GlobalSecurity.org