Tag Archives: Iroquois

Keeping the Huey In the Air

B11I7726.jpgPreserving 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.

B11I8102.jpgI 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.

B11I7796.jpgThe 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.

Huey at Hayward

AU0E0932.jpgGiven the number of times that I have been specifically trying to catch something out in the wild, it is a little funny when I get completely lucky and come across something cool without ever trying. I was out walking along the shore in Hayward through the parkland that includes the marshes out there. The weather was not particularly nice but I was checking out the area as a place to walk on another occasion. While I was walking along, I heard the unmistakable sound of a Huey in the distance. I scanned the horizon for a sign of the helicopter and picked it up low and coming towards me. Could I be so lucky as to get it coming right by me?

No, as it got closer, it turned away. I was a bit disappointed but not too surprised. It dropped out of sight and I figured it had landed at Hayward airport. I went on with my walk and didn’t think much more about it. Before too long, it popped up again and a similar situation occurred. As I headed back to the car, the same thing happened again.   I was a bit closer at this point and got some shots but it was still some way off and the sky was a bit grey so still nothing worthwhile.

AU0E0888.jpgAs I got to the car, some rain started to fall so I figured I was heading home. As I drove away, the rain stopped again and I figured I was going to be coming right by the airport so I might look and see if I could see the Huey or not. When I got to the fence, the sound returned and right behind me was the ubiquitous shape on its downwind leg. It turned in to the field and ended up hovering a short distance from me. Not only that, but the sun came out! A dark background with sun on the foreground is always a great combination. They were flying a bunch off circuits so I stayed around for a while to catch a couple of them before the light went away and my desire for lunch started to take over.

The aircraft is a restored airframe run by a volunteer group to commemorate the emergency medical service provided in Vietnam. They are called EMU Inc. and are based around here. I hope to spend more time finding out about what they do so watch out for more in the future.

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