Thursday, March 3, 2011

Please help us buy an H-34!
Dear Helicopter pilots and fans,
I recently found out, through an email from a fellow Air America pilot H-34 Duane Keele, that some old, derelict H-34’s are available for a mere $1000.00 each! We want to buy one to put on display at our local VFW hall..
Having flown those things for more than 4000 hours in Viet Nam for the Marine Corps, in Laos with Air America, and several civilian jobs after that (Alaska, Saudi Arabia, California to name a few), I had to look into the possibility of buying one of these things. But, what to do with it? I live in a condo; I do not even have a garage, much less one big enough for a helicopter that has a minimum footprint of 36 X 13.5 feet (as per the NATOPS Manuel)!
I have convinced the Viet Nam Veterans, Post No. 890 and the Marine Corps League, Detachment 1110, of Sandpoint, Idaho (where I live) that we need one of these things to put on display at our local VFW hall. They have agreed to allow me to pursue this project, so long as I do all the work. I am willing to do this, but we need some financial help here.

(See pictures, attached)
The fellow who had the H-34’s in AZ, also has a few in Everett, WA. I was there last Wednesday (2/23/2011). I saw that he has one that is pretty much complete, even though it does not look like it in the pictures. He has the clamshell doors, rotor blades, cargo door, struts and wheels to add to this hulk. It will require some sprucing up to look a little better, but up on a pedestal, no one will be looking too closely at it, (I hope.) It certainly is not ever going to fly again; in fact, it has no engine. (He has one that is “nearly ready” to be in Restricted category, if anybody is interested, for a mere $35,000. I am sure it would take another 150k to get it into the air.)
So I am asking all of you who ever flew an H-34, or even if you never did, please send a donation to:
VVA Post 890,
c/o Bill Collier
402 Sandpoint Ave.
No. 224,
Sandpoint, Idaho, 83864.
This donation is also tax deductible if you make the check out to VVA post 890, and note on it “for H-34 project.”
For a donation, I will add your name to our honored “Dawg Drivers” hall of fame, and your name will be on a plaque forever commemorating your generosity. And if you are ever in Sandpoint, you can stop by and visit “your” dawg.
By the way, the $1,000 price is just for the basic hulk; with all the other bits, the price was $5000. Also, I am sure there will be other expenses getting it moved to No. Idaho, getting a pedestal designed and built, and getting the critter presentable to the eye.
So I see a need for a total of $10,000 here; I already have pledges for $1300. Please let me know by reply email if you are sending a donation, thanks.
Also, Please forward this request to anybody you know who has ever flown an H-34, anybody who has ever flown any helicopter, anybody who has ever flown in any helicopter, anybody who has any interest in helicopter aviation or veterans groups, or anyone who has ever heard of or thought of any thing to do with aviation, helicopters or veterans. Or perhaps just some generous friends….
Thank you so much just for taking the time to read all this.
I am getting it together to create a blog so everyone can follow along on this adventure.
Thanks again,
Captain Bill Collier
Viet Nam Veterans of America, Sandpoint, ID, board of directors.
Marine Corps League, former Adjutant/Paymaster,
Detachment #1110, Sandpoint, ID.
Former Captain, USMCR, H-34 pilot, Viet Nam
Former Captain, H-34 pilot, Air America, Laos
Former Captain, Uh1-E pilot, Orange County Fire Dept. (senior pilot) SoCal,
H-34 pilot (dawg driver) forever!
P.S. I do not know if I have a claim to fame here or not, but I believe I was the first person to start referring to the H-34D as the “Dawg.“ In U.S. Navy flight school, late 1966, I was flying H-34’s at Ellyson field near Pensacola, about to finish up training and get my shiny new Navy wings of Gold. As I walked to the hangar one day for a flight I ran into fellow student Edward Kufeldt. He asked me where I was going. “To fly myself a dog,” I replied. He asked why I called it a dog, seeming a bit put off that I would call our fine machine by such a derogatory name.
I assured him that I meant no defamation of the big Sikorsky, it just was that as a child of the baby-boomer generation, I had grown up in the after glow of World War 2. In that war, the phonetic pronunciation for the letter D was “dog“, not “delta” as we had been taught in our then-modern military. I was just using the WW2 archaic word for the letter D, “Dog.”
For those of you who are associated with the “Pop-a-Smoke” Marine Corps Helicopter pilots and Air Crew Association, I am the one who's wife Michele created the smiley face H-34 logo for the organization, long before the organization was ever formed.

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