Kaman HH-43 Huskie
|First flight||21 April 1953|
|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 US and became the chief designer of the Kaman company, where he designed 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 US Navy with a piston engine. In 1954, in an experiment by Kaman and the US 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 "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.
- company designation from HTK-1/TH-43E
- proposed civilian counterpart of HOK-1
- civilian counterpart of H-43B
- company designation of HOK-3 development
- 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
- proposed development powered by a Blackburn-Turbomeca Twin Turmo 600 turboshaft engine.
- United States Navy version of the HOK-1 with R-1340-52 radial piston 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
- 62-4547 – HH-43F on static display at the Hubschraubermuseum Bückeburg in Bückeburg, Lower Saxony.
- United Kingdom
- 62-4535 – HH-43B under restoration at the Midland Air Museum in Baginton, Warwickshire. This airframe is one of only two examples on display in the United Kingdom.
- United States
- Composite – HH-43F on static display at the New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, Connecticut. This airframe is painted as 60-0289, but was built up from parts of various HH-43s.
- 129313 – HTK-1/TH-43E on static display at the Tillamook Air Museum in Tillamook, Oregon. This airframe is painted in Navy markings.
- 129801 – HOK-1/OH-43S in storage at the New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, Connecticut.
- 138101 – HOK-1/OH-43D in storage at the United States Army Aviation Museum at Fort Rucker near Daleville, Alabama. BuNo 138101 was formerly displayed indoors at the National Naval Aviation Museum at NAS Pensacola, Florida (circa 1986-2001) 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.
- 139974 – OH-43D on static display at the Pima Air & Space Museum, adjacent to Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, Arizona. This airframe is painted in USMC markings.
- 139982 – HOK-1/OH-43D in storage at the Carolinas Aviation Museum in Charlotte, North Carolina. This airframe is painted in Marine Corps markings.
- 139990 – HOK-1/OH-43D in storage at the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum at MCAS Miramar in San Diego, California. This airframe is painted in USMC markings. It was previously on display at MCAS Tustin in 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.
- 58-1837 – HH-43A in storage at the New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, Connecticut.
- 58-1841 – HH-43F on static display at the Military Firefighter Heritage Display at Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo, Texas. It is incorrectly painted with Air Force Serial Number 58-1481. This Huskie was a ground trainer (circa 1962–1976) at Sheppard Air Force Base, so it retained the square-tail empennage that was removed from almost all other Huskies after repeated rotor strikes in heavy winds. After being sold by the military, but before arriving at its current location, it was on display at the Pate Museum of Transportation in Cresson, Texas.
- 58-1853 – HH-43F on static display at the Museum of Aviation at Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins, Georgia.
- 59-1578 – HH-43F on static display at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This may be the same airframe listed on other sites[who?] as being located at the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History, which has since moved off-base, but adjacent to, Kirtland Air Force Base.
- 60-0263 – HH-43B on static display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton, Ohio.
- 62-4513 – HH-43F on static display at the Castle Air Museum at the former Castle AFB in Atwater, California.
- 62-4531 – HH-43F on static display at the Pima Air & Space Museum adjacent to Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, Arizona.
- 62-4532 – HH-43B on static display at the Air Mobility Command Museum at Dover AFB in Dover, Delaware.
- 62-4561 – HH-43B on static display at the Hill Aerospace Museum at Hill AFB in Roy, Utah.
- 64-17558 – HH-43F airworthy at the Olympic Flight Museum in Olympia, Washington. This airframe is painted in USAF markings.
Specifications (HH-43F / K-600-5)
- Crew: 2 flight crew + 2 rescue crew
- Capacity: 3,970 lb (1,801 kg) maximum payload
- Length: 25 ft 2 in (7.67 m) fuselage
- Height: 15 ft 6.5 in (4.737 m) to tip of highest blade
- 12 ft 7 in (4 m) to top of rotor pylons
- Empty weight: 4,620 lb (2,096 kg)
- Gross weight: 6,500 lb (2,948 kg)
- Max takeoff weight: 9,150 lb (4,150 kg)
- Fuel capacity: 350 US gal (291 imp gal; 1,325 l)
- Powerplant: 1 × Lycoming T53-L-11A turboshaft engine, 825 shp (615 kW) (de-rated from 1,150 shp (858 kW))
- Main rotor diameter: 2× 47 ft 0 in (14.33 m)
- Main rotor area: 3,470.34 sq ft (322.405 m2)
- Blade section: - root: NACA 23012; tip: NACA 23011
- Maximum speed: 120 mph (190 km/h, 100 kn)
- Cruise speed: 110 mph (180 km/h, 96 kn)
- Range: 504 mi (811 km, 438 nmi) at 5,000 ft (1,524 m) and 8,270 lb (3,751 kg) TOW
- Service ceiling: 23,000 ft (7,000 m)
- Hover ceiling IGE: 20,000 ft (6,096 m)
- Hover ceiling OGE: 16,000 ft (4,877 m)
- Rate of climb: 1,800 ft/min (9.1 m/s)
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era
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