Bell TH-1L


Bell TH-1L

The Bell TH-1L is just one of over a dozen versions of the most famous helicopters in history - the Huey. Although officially titled the Iroquois, the Huey derives its popular nickname from its original designation of MU-1. First flown in October 1956, more Hueys have been produced than any other helicopter, with over 14,000 deliveries. The military's workhorse, the Huey is an all-purpose aircraft performing such diverse roles as troop and cargo transport, Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC), trainer, scout, gunship and search and rescue.

The particular aircraft displayed spent its entire flying life as a trainer at Pensacola, Florida, preparing Naval Aviators for helicopter careers. From 1970 to 1983, it amassed 6915.3 flight hours before transfer to the former Naval Air test Center, Patuxent River, and Rotary Wing Aircraft Test Directorate, for use in stationary vibration testing. The Naval Air Test Center was the predecessor to the Naval Air Warfare Center - Aircraft Division.

Its transfer marked the first time the Navy allowed Rotary Wing to conduct damaging tests on a completely mission-capable helicopter. This test, in which faults were seeded in the bearings and gears, sought to develop a new diagnostic method of troubleshooting. This new method would correlate known faults with specific vibration signatures so a problem could be diagnosed without the disassembly of a gearbox.

This aircraft exhibit is maintained by personnel of the Rotary Wing Aircraft Test Squadron at the Naval Air Warfare Center - Aircraft Division.

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