Air Force introduces new helicopter for pilot training

US Air Force, October 28, 2005 - RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas by Capt. Gideon McClure, AETCNS -- The Air Force will rollout the TH-1H helicopter at the home of Pilot Instructor Training and Headquarters Air Education and Training Command on Nov. 5 in conjunction with the base's 75th Anniversary and 2005 Air Show.

The TH-1H, the latest version of the UH-1H Huey, has undergone an extensive refurbishment that includes upgraded components and a new avionics suite with a glass cockpit. Whereas the old helicopters were equipped with traditional round dial gauges for altitude, speed, etc., the glass cockpit takes the same information and displays the information digitally on a single monitor. Four of the original round dial gauges, however, remain in case there is a total failure of the new system.

According to Brig. Gen. Richard E. Perraut, Air Education and Training Command Plans and Programs director, "The TH-1H's advanced electronics provide expanded training opportunities and improved operational capabilities by upgrading the engine, transmission and rotor system. It has the latest multi-function displays allowing for future upgrades and providing new aircrews with a seamless transition from the T-6 to a follow-on rotary wing aircraft such as the CV-22, Combat Search and Rescue-X and Common Vertical Lift Support Platform helicopters."

The TH-1H is the newest of more than 15 variants of the original Huey first flown in 1956. By 2009 the Air Force is scheduled to have 24 TH-1H's in the inventory which will sustain Air Force helicopter pilot training until 2025.

"The first TH-1H is undergoing testing and evaluation. We are projected to receive our first production aircraft in April 2007 with small group tryouts to follow," General Perraut said. Small group tryouts will allow the instructors to develop and analyze the curriculum that will be used to train helicopter pilots on the new aircraft. "This is the first step to providing the platform and syllabus for the new students with the first class scheduled in the summer of 2007."

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