Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Another collection of H-34s!

I am in the Dallas area visiting my old buddy James B. Barr, LtCol. USMC Retired. We
flew together in Vietnam in squadrons HMM-161 and HMM-363 for 10 months. One day he had and engine failure and I was able to fly down and rescue him and his crew. He says we were under attack, taking heavy fire and could have been shot down after I rescued him. I have to disagree. I recall it being a quiet and routine

pick up. Too bad our memories do allow not us instant replay. I will post that story soon.

At the Lost in 50's old car chow last week-end, I was approcahed by a couple, Mr. and Mrs. Hampton. They told me of another helicopter company in Payse, Texas that operates H-34's. The Hamptons gave me the phone number of 5 State Helicopter Company.
I am in the Dallas area for the annual Air Amierica reuinion, so yesterday James and I drove over to Payse and paid a visit to 5 State. Here is what we found:

also known as California Helicopter International L.P.
President/CEO Brad Ladue runs a very clean operation and does rebuild work for other helicopter companies.

We were heartily and amicably greeted by Brad and given the VIP tour of their facility. They have three of the most beautiful S-58T models. (S-58s are the civilian version of the H-34, with the old 9 cylinder piston engine replaced by a twin-pac of small turbines. This not only gives the helicopter turbine reliability, but lightens the engine package by about 1,000 pounds, making the machine more capable of lifting heavier loads.) He showed us videos of himself taking steel beams up to the top of a huge football stadium. They also had three helicopter being rebuilt in an adjacent hangar, and Brad reports they have one each on station in Australia, Korea and California. Nine H-34s/S-58s in total. YEA!

I am very pleased to see these old machine continue to be in service.

Before we left, Brad presented us with baseball caps, lanyards and S-58T pins to put on our caps. We really enjoyed his hospitality and seeing the beautiful helicopter.

Here are James and I in front of the blue one.

As he was showing us through his spare parts hangar, Brad came to a big pile of neatly stacked H-34 tail rotor blades. he looked at one in the top of the pile and said, "This is a dash-14. We can't use is in civilian aircraft, would you like to have one?" We immediately responded with an enthusiastic, "YES!" So we now each have genuine, never-used H-34 tail rotor blade. Mine will be attached to H-34 Charlie very soon.
James plans to hang his on his wall somewhere for a conversation piece.

Brad also told me that he does repair work for the helicopter company that I found last fall (see previous post about "A Secret Nest of H-34s!) in north in Washington state that does the cherry drying. Brad also used to own the same H-34, N79AR that I found in Washington, the one that I flew in Alaska in 1983. He showed us a picture album of his using it. The Helicopter world is pretty small.

I will post about that adventure in Alaska some day.

I must announce that I have completed my epic adventure book about flying the H-34 in Vietnam. Twenty four years in the writing, it should be finished with the final production and layout soon. We are planning a release before the 1st of July. I will post. Watch for "The ADVENTURES OF A HELCIOPTER PILOT," Flying the H-34 in Vietnam for the United States Marine Corps. It will be on Amazon.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Charlie goes home after all the action

After the old car show, Wood once again towed Charlie back to her nest on GN road.

One again, a GREAT BIG THANK YOU to Northwest Auto Body Shop for the use of their storage lot. We made it a point to pass out their business cards to several people, and to give Northwest a hearty reccomendation as people visited the helicopter.

Here is Charlie at a stop light on her way back to storage. How many times will you see an H-34 at a stop light?

The next picture is Ev Wood posing by Charlie in the Northwest storage yard.

Lower picture is our favorite 90 year old World War II Veteran and Marine Corps League member Marilyn Hales. (Just left of center holding green balloon.)

People visit Charlie at the car show

Old Car show

Everett Wood did a remarkable job of backing Charlie into the exit driveway of US Bank in downtown Sandpoint. Then the public began to come and see the old helicopter.

As usual, the Lost in 50's parade started at the Sandpoint High School. Charlie was towed their by Towmeister Everett Wood, where we then transferred it over to Mike Kazar'a 1953 Jeep.

You can see all the old cars waiting for the parade to begin.

Charlie is center, above, red turtle back makes her stand out.

Girls in poodle skirts decorated on old truck.

Charlie follows the Marine Corps League "Staff Car" created and driven by Dick Williams, Adjutant and Paymaster of Det. #1110.  V V A member Mike Kazar driving the 1953 Korean-war vintage Jeep.  The "Roger" mentioned in the background is Roger King, who was most helpful in making one of Charlie's axel nuts in his shop early on.  We truly would not be in the parade if not for Roger's help.

CHARLIE leads the parade!

For the second year in a row, and marking her third year in the "Lost in 50's" Parade, Charlie got to lead the pack through our small town of Sandpoint, Idaho. here is a link to the lost in 50's week-end: For three days, Sandpoint is all about the music and times of the 1950s. Girls (some of the 50s) wear poodle skirts and jewelry of the era. Lounspeakers blare music of the 50s on the streets. Friday night is the parade of old cars, and Saturday is the car show. We figured three years ago that since Charlie is a 1957 model, she should qualify for the parade and show; the organizers of the event agreed. On the Thursday night of this week-end, impersonators recreate the music of Elvis, and Jerry Lee Lewis and, for the first time this year in replacement for Richie Valens, we had a very realistic copy of Johny cash. It was a rockin' good time in our refurbished Panida theater. Friday and Saurday nights the main pavillion at our award-winning fairground rocks out with the old time rock and roll. (see the link above for more details.) Here is a nice picture of Charlie just out of the gate from our high school at the start of the parade:

Tow vehicle, 1953 Willys Jeep, provided by Vietnam veteran Mike Kazar. Towmeister Everet Wood, past commandant of Marine Corps League Detachment #1110, handled the heavy lifting by towing Charlie out of her nest and to the functions, where Mike took over with his lighter Jeep. Here is an amusing, if not frightening short of Wood towing Charlie and nearly colliding with a school bus!