Bell TH-1F Iroquois

This model is a version of 204

c/n 7309

Written off 2009

Helicopter Bell TH-1F Iroquois Serial 7309 Register 66-1233 N504AH VH-UHD used by US Air Force. Aircraft history


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usa 66-1233
US Air Force
US Kirtland AFB ( 1980 )
1980-1983, I was the crew chief with {1550 ATTW} 1550 O.M.S., 1551 ATTW at Kirtland AFB Albuquerque, NM. When I became crew chief she was a "hanger queen" with the most airframe hours of any rotory wing craft in our squadron. Some TLC returned her to the flight line where she became one of the most dependable F models in our unit. When I separated she had over 6600 hrs. I called her Daquiri. Charles Barrett
usa 66-1233
US Air Force
06may87 to AMARC/HF0155
1994 purchased out of Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, AZ by Ray Bluff Private Owner and converted to Civilian FAA Restricted Catagory by Western International Aviation in Tucson, AZ and reg N504AH. Used for external load operations in San Diego, CA area for two years then sole to second private owner in Oregon, USA.

notes Ray Bluff personal account :

I would like to point out that I also owned one of the listed UH-1P models that are
identified in the same summary report. I had purchased two Hueys through Western
International Aviation (they were the broker, I have no idea as to whom the
initial owner was that got them from the US Government) Problem is that I
never had it converted from Military to Civilian Category. Therefore, it
was never US Civilian converted or registered by me during the time that I
owned it.

As a point of interest, Western International Aviation was located just
outside of the Davis Monthan AFB "bone-yard" (Long-term storage area) in
Tucson, AZ. When I first arrived at their facility back in late 1993, I was
responding to an advertisement that was listing several surplus military
helicopters for sale as well as optional conversion (by Western
International) to Civilian, Restricted Category configuration. Rumor had it
that Western International Aviation was actually a front for the Central
Intelligence Agency (CIA) established for the purpose of bringing military
aircraft into US Civilian world for use by the CIA and foreign Governments
in international operations disguised as US Civil Operators.....kinda like
Air America....

The day I arrived at Western International, there were about a dozen or more
Air Force UH-1s sitting in Western International's storage yard. Basically,
I was one of the first interested buyers to arrive at their facility and had
"pick-of-the-litter". Nearly all of the helicopters were still encapsulated
in "white cocoon" materials and all had the original military engine and
airframe logbooks sealed inside the aircraft. All of the helicopters there
that day were Air Force TH1-F's, UH-1P's and another Air Force model that
currently escapes me. I know that they were all Air Force Models because
they all had the General Electric T58-3 1385HP Gas Turbine engines complete
with speed reducer gearboxes (SDG's).

The P Model that I owned was heavily armored and had seen action in
Southeast Asia as the bullet hole repairs in the fuselage and tailboom were
documented log book repairs performed by the Air Force overseas. The P
Model and was only purchased as a spare parts unit and was never used or
cannibalized by me in support of N504AH. Contrary to the P-Models seeing
actual combat action, the TH-F (N504AH) never left the States. Its primary
service record had it transporting Nike Missile crews back and forth between
underground silos in the Midwest United States during the cold war as well
as training service for the Air Force. This was all documented in the
aircraft logbooks.

Both aircraft were sold to the same (now third) Owner, Joseph Berto of
Oregon, USA at the same time by me in late 1994/early 1995. Unfortunately,
I do not currently have access to my original records and, as a result, I
cannot recall the Serial Number of the P model at this time. I will,
however, make a note and look for the records and update your site once I
return to Arizona and have access to my archive files.

With regards to N504AH, I personally flew that aircraft for two years
conducting external load operations in support of construction projects in
Southern California. I have photos and fond memories of that aircraft; it
was a "horse" that I never abused and served me well.

Finally, and with regards to the P Model, I have no idea what Mr. Berto did
with that aircraft. Last that I had heard, Mr. Berto was working as a pilot
for Erickson Air-Crane in Central Point Oregon, USA. You may try looking
him up there if you want to pursue the P Model's fate.

Best Regards,
Ray Bluff

private Oregon Apr95-Mar01
Caloundra Helicopter Centre
conv Garlick-Bell
Caloundra Helicopter Center from 21apr08
Helitak 280 w/o 23dec09 crash at Nangar National Park, New South Wales, Australia during firefighting operations. pilot seriously injured.

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