The Kaman HH-43 Huskie is a helicopter with intermeshing rotors used by the United States Air Force, the United States Navy and the United States Marine Corps from the 1950s until the 1970s. It was primarily used for aircraft firefighting and rescue in the close vicinity of air bases, but was later used as a short-range overland search and rescue aircraft during the Vietnam War.
Under the aircraft designation system used by the U.S. Navy pre-1962, Navy and U.S. Marine Corps versions were originally designated as the HTK, HOK or HUK, for their use as training, observation or utility aircraft, respectively.
Design and development
In 1947 Anton Flettner, a German aviation engineer, was brought to New York in the United States as part of Operation Paperclip. He was the developer of Germany's Flettner Fl 282 "Kolibri" (Hummingbird), a helicopter employing the "synchropter" principle of intermeshing rotors, a unique design principle that dispenses with the need for a tail rotor. Flettner settled in the US and became the chief designer of the Kaman company, where he designed new helicopters using the synchropter principle.
The Huskie had an unusual intermeshing contra-rotating twin-rotor arrangement with control effected by servo-flaps. The first prototype flew in 1947 and was adopted by the US Navy as the HTK-1 with a 240 hp (180 kW) Lycoming O-435-4 flat-six piston engine. In 1954, in an experiment by Kaman and the US Navy, one HTK-1 was modified and flew with its piston engine replaced by two turbine engines, becoming the world's first twin-turbine helicopter. A much more powerful 600 hp (450 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-1340 Wasp radial piston engine was used for the far heavier HOK-1, HUK-1, and H-43A versions for the Marines, Navy, and Air Force, respectively. The Air Force later adopted versions with a single turboshaft engine: the HH-43B and HH-43F.
This aircraft saw use in the Vietnam War with several detachments of the Pacific Air Rescue Center, the 33d, 36th, 37th, and 38th Air Rescue Squadrons, and the 40th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, where the aircraft was known by its call sign "Pedro". During the war, the two-pilot HH-43 Huskie flew more rescue missions than all other aircraft combined, because of its unique hovering capability. The HH-43 was eventually replaced by newer aircraft in the early 1970s.
In addition to those on static display and the airworthy example at the Olympic Flight Museum, many H-43s are still in use with private owners.
- United Kingdom
- United States
- 129801 – HOK-1/OH-43S in storage at the New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, Connecticut.
- 138101 – HOK-1/OH-43D in storage at the United States Army Aviation Museum at Fort Rucker near Daleville, Alabama. BuNo 138101 was formerly displayed indoors at the National Naval Aviation Museum at NAS Pensacola, Florida (circa 1986-2001) in a dark blue finish with USMC markings. It was repainted from its original USMC markings to pre-Vietnam U.S. Army colors when it was loaned to the Army by the National Naval Aviation Museum.
- 139974 – OH-43D on static display at the Pima Air & Space Museum, adjacent to Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, Arizona. This airframe is painted in USMC markings.
- 139982 – HOK-1/OH-43D in storage at the Carolinas Aviation Museum in Charlotte, North Carolina. This airframe is painted in Marine Corps markings.
- 139990 – HOK-1/OH-43D in storage at the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum at MCAS Miramar in San Diego, California. This airframe is painted in USMC markings. It was previously on display at MCAS Tustin in Tustin, California; but was moved to MCAS Miramar after MCAS Tustin was closed and NAS Miramar was transferred from control of the Navy to the Marine Corps.
- 58-1837 – HH-43A in storage at the New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, Connecticut.
- 58-1841 – HH-43F on static display at the Military Firefighter Heritage Display at Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo, Texas. It is incorrectly painted with Air Force Serial Number 58-1481. This Huskie was a ground trainer (circa 1962–1976) at Sheppard Air Force Base, so it retained the square-tail empennage that was removed from almost all other Huskies after repeated rotor strikes in heavy winds. After being sold by the military, but before arriving at its current location, it was on display at the Pate Museum of Transportation in Cresson, Texas.
- 58-1853 – HH-43F on static display at the Museum of Aviation at Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins, Georgia.
- 59-1578 – HH-43F on static display at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This may be the same airframe listed on other sites as being located at the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History, which has since moved off-base, but adjacent to, Kirtland Air Force Base.
- 60-0263 – HH-43B on static display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton, Ohio.
- 62-4513 – HH-43F on static display at the Castle Air Museum at the former Castle AFB in Atwater, California.
- 62-4531 – HH-43F on static display at the Pima Air & Space Museum adjacent to Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, Arizona.
- 62-4532 – HH-43B on static display at the Air Mobility Command Museum at Dover AFB in Dover, Delaware.
- 62-4561 – HH-43B on static display at the Hill Aerospace Museum at Hill AFB in Roy, Utah.
- 64-17558 – HH-43F airworthy at the Olympic Flight Museum in Olympia, Washington. This airframe is painted in USAF markings.
Specifications (HH-43F / K-600-5)
Data from Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1965-66, National Museum of the United States Air Force : Kaman HH-43B Huskie
- Crew: 2 flight crew + 2 rescue crew
- Capacity: 3,970 lb (1,801 kg) maximum payload
- Length: 25 ft 2 in (7.67 m) fuselage
- Height: 15 ft 6.5 in (4.737 m) to tip of highest blade
- 12 ft 7 in (4 m) to top of rotor pylons
- Empty weight: 4,620 lb (2,096 kg)
- Gross weight: 6,500 lb (2,948 kg)
- Max takeoff weight: 9,150 lb (4,150 kg)
- Fuel capacity: 350 US gal (291 imp gal; 1,325 l)
- Powerplant: 1 × Lycoming T53-L-11A turboshaft engine, 825 shp (615 kW) (de-rated from 1,150 shp (858 kW))
- Main rotor diameter: 2 × 47 ft 0 in (14.33 m)
- Main rotor area: 3,470.34 sq ft (322.405 m2)
- Blade section: - root: NACA 23012; tip: NACA 23011
- Maximum speed: 120 mph (190 km/h, 100 kn)
- Cruise speed: 110 mph (180 km/h, 96 kn)
- Range: 504 mi (811 km, 438 nmi) at 5,000 ft (1,524 m) and 8,270 lb (3,751 kg) TOW
- Service ceiling: 23,000 ft (7,000 m)
- Hover ceiling IGE: 20,000 ft (6,096 m)
- Hover ceiling OGE: 16,000 ft (4,877 m)
- Rate of climb: 1,800 ft/min (9.1 m/s)