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Thread: Irreplaceable Aircraft: Piper Super Cub, Hughes 500

  1. #1

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    Irreplaceable Aircraft: Piper Super Cub, Hughes 500

    The Super Cub is arguably irreplaceable as are a certain number of other aircraft. Super Cub's (and Cubs) ability to do the things they do is almost unmatched, especially if you factor in the era that it was developed, many decades ago before the technology of/and availability of modern materials and manufacturing.
    Like Piper, Taylor, Jamoneau, a few gentlemen designed another aircraft that is as irreplaceable as the Super Cub; the Hughes 500. The link below references the development of the Hughes 500.
    More than a few veterans of Southeast Asia owe many thanks to the OH-6 (Hughes 500). Like the Cub, it is in a class by itself and continues to be an amazing unique aircraft.

    vertical-rewind-unconventional-origins
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    daedgerton's Avatar
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    I've only got a little time in a C model 500... but what a great machine!
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    NDRII's Avatar
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    Don’t get me wrong, I love my Cub!

    However, there is nothing, nothing that compares, in its environment in rotor wing, and the 500 is the Super Cub of rotor wing!!
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    Mot's Avatar
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    I worked on a Forest Service helitack crew in the early 1970s. We had this Hughes 500 for a couple fire seasons. It's a 1969 model and is the only one I remember with the short landing gear. I did some research on it and found it has been renumbered twice, and is currently registered in Arizona. We lived in a bunk house with the helicopter parked in the horse pasture next to it and prided ourselves on getting to fires and containing them fast. No GPS, no LORAN, just a 1/2 inch scale forest service map in the right front seater's lap. He would point which way for the pilot to head.

    The Ranger District was 375,000 acres and had lookouts then and a "Farmers" system of crank phones. When we heard the office ring...one long ring...we would listen in to see if it was the lookout reporting a fire. If it was a fire call, the pilot...a young Vietnam vet...would get his fire shirt on and start the helicopter. From the time the lookout spotted a smoke until we were on the fire averaged about 10 minutes. The pilot would shut down the helicopter, grab a shovel and start digging fire line with the rest of us.





    Last edited by Mot; 07-30-2020 at 05:47 PM.
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    JimParker256's Avatar
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    The way other guys lust after P-51 Mustangs...? Well, that's the way I feel about the Hughes 500 series. I love the way they look, I love the crashworthiness designed into them, and I love the sports car feel.

    I'm sure there was no "hanky-panky" involved when LBJ (from the Ft Worth, TX area) became president, and Ft Worth based Bell Helicopters somehow got the Army contract to not just use OH-58s, but to actually replace the OH-6s in the field. Don't get me wrong, the OH-58 Kiowa is a fine helicopter, but the OH-6 was a MUCH better Scout platform. And if I was going to be shot down, I'd sure rather be in an OH-6 than an OH-58! The Army kept a few for use by the Special Forces (Delta, I believe) and their Silver Eagles helicopter demonstration team (long since disbanded due to $$).

    Heck, the Israelis had Hughes upgrade them to add more powerful engines and anti-tank missiles, and used them as attack helicopters. This was about the time the AH-64 was being field-tested for the US Army. The Israeli's figured they could purchase 4 of the Hughes 500-MD variants for every AH-64. And since you have to reposition between every "shot," they could inflict a lot more damage with a dozen 500s than with four 64s...
    Jim Parker
    2007 Rans S-6ES
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    The 160th SOAR still uses A/MH-6s very very effectively. Amazing group of humans using a very capable machine, sometimes in pretty interesting ways.


    Sent from my iPhone using SuperCub.Org

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    Mot's Avatar
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    Historical video of the OH-6 "Loach" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJFj2vYqf7Y

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    Here is another video; Code Name: The Quiet One
    They called it a 500P

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzkrW27c4h8

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    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimParker256 View Post
    I'm sure there was no "hanky-panky" involved when LBJ (from the Ft Worth, TX area) became president, and Ft Worth based Bell Helicopters somehow got the Army contract to not just use OH-58s, but to actually replace the OH-6s in the field. Don't get me wrong, the OH-58 Kiowa is a fine helicopter, but the OH-6 was a MUCH better Scout platform. And if I was going to be shot down, I'd sure rather be in an OH-6 than an OH-58!
    I remember when the Army put out the request for these helicopters. There were three contenders. Hughes, Bell and Fairchild-Hiller. Hughes won. Then later I began hearing about the Jet Rangers being used in the Army extensively and wondering "What happened, I thought Hughes won the contract?". Jim's explanation makes sense. Sounds like LBJ.

    Many years later I had the opportunity to fly the Fairchild-Hiller FH-1100. It was a very nice easy to fly helicopter and not expensive. At least it was in civilian use.
    N1PA

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    SteveE's Avatar
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    There are some fun videos on you tube. Search New Zealand helicopter deer hunting, or Bill Black New Zealand. Fils from the 60s-70s. Using old Hillers and md 500s. These will make you a firm believer in ETL. Wow! Also search on the internet for the 4 part series called Deer Wars. It’s also from New Zealand. There is one of these videos on you tube being filmed from above showing a 500 netting a deer, limbs are exploding from the rotor hitting them. Crazy Watch Deer Wars first, it’ll give you a background of the timeline about the deer “reduction, harvesting, capture” sequence over time. Start here https://www.nzonscreen.com/title/deer-wars-2007#

    Those were the Wild West days of helicopter flying.

    As far as the 500 goes. That would be my dream ship. But my helicopter crop dusting buddy says if you want to go broke, buy a turbine engine. I’ll stick with my Hiller B for now.


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    Mot's Avatar
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    I looked through my old photos and found a couple more. The Hughes 500s we had under contract with Olympic Helicopters (based at Boeing Field in Seattle) All had N numbers in the format N90xxF. We had 43, 48, and 70. On this web site http://www.rotorspot.nl/historic/n-13.php you can find the original N numbers for what must be all the helicopters in the US. All that end in F are Hughes Model 396HS. I don't know what the significance of that is, if any.

    The Horses watching 48 take off with the 50 gallon Bucket.


    70 doing some work for the National Park Service up on Mount Rainier.




    43 at Shoe Lake in the Goat Rocks working on a small fire.


    43 Landing Near North Bend WA to let us off to work on a small fire started by a skyline cable logging operation. We landed on a log crib that the loggers had built for a Hughes 300 they used to shuttle chokers back down to the choker setters.


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