Bell UH-1 Huey


Forming the basis of one of the most successful series of helicopters ever built, the Bell 204, progenitor of the classic ‘Huey’ series of nine-seat utility helicopters immortalised in Vietnam newsreels and the film ‘Apocalypse Now’ first flew in October 1956 as the XH-40. Production HU-1A (UH-1A Iroquois from 1962) aircraft entered U.S. Army service in June 1959 as the US forces’ first turbine-powered helicopter.  It was designed to be air-portable in transports such as the Lockheed C-130 Hercules.  The new HU- (Helicopter Utility) designation gave rise to the universal nickname ‘Huey’.

The basic airframe was continuously developed and fitted with progressively more powerful engines.  With the need to increase payload and ‘hot-and-high’ performance, the larger, more powerful 205 variant first flew in August 1961, and carried 15 men including pilot, or six casualty litters and an attendant, plus pilot.

In 1968, Canada contracted for the development of the Model 212 twin-engined version as a derivative of the UH-1H with a Canadian coupled-turboshaft powerplant and this first flew in 1969. Many others were built for the civil market and military export versions were built in Canada from 1988.

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