UH-1B Huey


RAAF UH-1B A2-384 RAAF Museum,
Pt Cook Victoria 2007


by Rod Cairns

 

Introduction

Here are a series of pics taken at the RAAF Museum, Pt Cook Victoria, in 2007.

UH-1B (Bravo) A2-384 was the first Iroquois to be accepted into ADF service on 29 October 1962 and was the last 5SQN RAAF Bravo to fly a sortie on 05 October 1984 (according to the 5SQN Unit History Sheet). After a period of storage at RAAF Base Fairbairn, she was re-located to Pt Cook in 1985. She remains essentially intact however some fixtures on the aft cabin wall had been disturbed at the time of my visit, being piled on the floor for some reason.

You will note that the tail rotor bears the medium green and yellow colour scheme more readily associated with the camouflaged UH-1H (Hotel) airframes. Whilst the correct colours for the Bravo were black, red and white, the tail rotor assembly was completely interchangeable across the ADF fleet. It was not uncommon for the occasional "Hotel" tail rotor to be installed on a Bravo, depending on what was built up in the spares rack.

Another minor point of interest is the structural configuration of the cabin. UH-1As and early Bs had thin (in cross section) pillars separating the front and rear doors, with quilted soundproofing blankets attached as shown here on 384. Later in the production run, a design change beefed up the pillars into a boxier profile. The later 700 and 1000 series RAAF Bravos were so configured.

(See various notes to the images below at the end of the page.)

The Images

1. 2. 3.

4. 5. See notes 6. See notes
7. 8. 9.
10. 11. 12. See notes
13. 14 15.
16. 17. 18.
19. 20. 21.
22. 23. 24
25. 26. See notes 27.
28. See notes 29. 30. See notes
31. 32. 33. See notes
34. See notes 35. See notes 36. See notes
37. 38. 39.
40. 41. See notes 42. See notes
43. See notes 44. See notes 45. See notes
46. 47. 48.
49. See notes 50. 51.
52. See notes 53. See notes 54.

Notes to the images above:

5. The yellow fittings are for a Chadwick Helmuth "Strobex" blade tracking system, installed when test flying a new rotor head.

6. Some random Panduit straps to stop the stabiliser bar from flopping around. Obviously, they weren't there normally!

12. A rather elaborate insert repair on the pully cover, we normally just replaced them with a new one.

26. Wind deflector modification.

28. The two "cat's whiskers" antennae on the nose facilitated the FM Homing function of the AN/ARC-44 FM radio system. FM homing involved troops on the ground giving a "long count" on a specified radio frequency which would give a rough aural direction and distance indication to the pilots. Obviously, the enemy could also home in on such a signal so its tactical value was sometimes questionable. Later radio upgrades replaced the AN/ARC-44 with the improved and more reliable solid state AN/ARC-54 (as fitted to the UH-1H) which displayed direction and signal strength on Course Distance Indicators on the instrument panel. This in turn led to the removal of these antennae and their replacement with a single "coat hanger" antenna on the roof. The RAAF 300 and 700 series Bravos retained the AN/ARC-44 for their service lives. The 1000 series were upgraded to AN/ARC-54 configuration by 9SQN in SVN around the same time that the bell mouth intakes were replaced with barrier screens. One exception was A2-1024 which had been damaged in an accident around the time of the upgrade and was sent home before receiving the mod. For some reason, it was never carried out back here... Of note, A2-1019 currently on display in the AWM has been backdated to mount the cat's whiskers but they forgot to remove the towel rail on the roof!

30. Rescue hoist controls and electrical junction box. On later airframes with the beefier pillars, the junction box was encased within the structure.

33. Normally, there would be a thin wooden 3ply "false floor" screwed now over the corrugated skin of the cargo compartment floor aft of the pilot's seats. The intent was to protect the bonded floor panels from wear and tear, dents etc.

34. The seatbelts are incorrectly snapped onto the cargo restraint rings. They should be attached to those rusty points below the seat bar. A total of five persons could be seated along this bench. It was split in a three + two arrangement which could be unclipped from the floor and swung up against the wall to accommodate cargo.

35. Correct seatbelt attachment and a view of other rings that SHOULD have been used.

36. The dual fittings on the upper parts of the bulkhead are electrical outlets to plug in heated blankets for AME patients etc.

41. The olive coloured cushions are for the random folded up litter stowed under the seats, all of which are not normally carried.

42. A little calling card from 723SQN RAN, the zap love went both ways I can assure you!

43. The rescue hoist extension and retraction actuator has been temporarily disconnected from the boom arm to allow the boom to be moved by museum staff without applying electrical power. The black rubberised canvas strip hanging from the ceiling is the upper mounting point for a zip-in blackout curtain. This curtain, along with complimentary press studded panels on the cargo door windows, would have allowed full lighting in the back without compromising the pilots' night vision or tactical situation. I never saw one fitted in my years as a techo at 5SQN.

44. Not all airframes had "HUEY" embossed on the right pedal. Also noteworthy are the corrugated foot plates, they were normally just smooth.

45. There should be a rescue hoist control pendant attached to the end of that hanging coiled cable.

49. The long thin strip riveted to the floor is the lower blackout curtain mounting rail.

52. The lap belts and shoulder harness inertia reels on our Bravo seats attached directly to the seat frames, as shown here. On the later models such as the Hotel, they attached to fittings on the floor to provide additional restraint force in an accident.

53. The original "thin" and quilted pillar design is evident here.