Preserving military aircraft in an airworthy condition is no small undertaking. They were never designed to be easy to keep. They were designed to perform and, when there isn’t a long supply chain backing things up with big budgets, things can be a bit more tricky. One group that is keeping an old airframe alive to share its history is the Huey Vets group in Hayward. I first came across the helo when I was in Hayward and I saw it flying in he distance. It showed up in a post here when I got some shots of it.
I have since made a couple of visits to the group to see what they do. Their mission is to share the history of the EMU unit that was unique in providing emergency medical cover jointly between the US Army and the Australian Army. Not only do they keep the Huey flying but they have members with a history in the unit including one from Australia who makes frequent visits. They have many members of the organization and members are able to take flights in the aircraft. I went along to see one of the open house days. It was a hot day in Hayward and they had a number of flights lined up which gave me a chance to watch them in action from a variety of positions.
The Huey is an iconic airframe. The big two blade rotor beats the air into submission and you can hear it from a long way off as a result. Having the doors slid back to give access to the cabin and the gunner positions means you can see straight through the fuselage. It also means the occupants of the cabin get a good view of things outside. They transitioned from the hover outside the hangar along the taxiway before heading off for some local flying. Then they would return for a change or a break for lunch. Great fun to see them in action. Check the group out at their website, http://www.hueyvets.com.