Thursday, January 21, 2016

Any Huey Pilots Out There?

I've flown in the Bell civilian version of the twin-engine "Huey" (a Bell 212, IIRC) numerous times, but never in a real UH-1.

My question is based on what you see in the movies, where the pilot jumps in, starts flipping switches, and gets airborne really quick,

BUT, since we all know Hollyweird tends to take great liberties with real-world things, I know it's probably not anywhere near realistic.

So, assuming your bird is sitting there in good flying weather, full of fuel and fluids, and is 100% preflight checked, and tagged as  "good to go" by a Crew Chief you really trust, and you have clearance for immediate take-off, just how fast could you get airborne?

This is a real, "somebody's life depends on it" scenario, where you roar up to your bird in a Jeep, jump in the bird, and start flipping switches even as you're buckling up and getting your helmet on.

When I was flying with the contractor pilots at Sea Launch, it was all extremely scripted and scheduled. They stroll out to the bird, climb in, buckle up, put their helmets on and plug-in, and run through their preflight checklist, and then start waking up the bird. They always had enough time that they'd sit on the pad, engines idling, and rotors turning, until they received clearance, and then they'd power up and lift off.

It probably took about 30 minutes from when they got in until they lifted off. Safety was tantamount with everything these guys did, and they were very good pilots, well experienced with off-shore operations, and landing on a moving, pitching, rolling platform.

So, assuming things are damn near perfect before you launch, how fast can you get airborne?


  1. Can't say how long it takes for a Huey but I've seen Careflight/Medevac helicopters go from deserted to
    fully crewed and airborne in less than 5 minutes.

  2. ask the WV Sons of the Second, they have a Huey pilot

  3. Get in, close door, Battery Switch, two Fuel Pump circuit breakers, Start Switch. 8 seconds. Crank and spool up to 62%. 20 seconds. Gen switch on. 2 seconds. One minute warm up (optional under combat conditions, but hard on the metallurgy - you go from ambient temp to 600 deg C, and see how you like it). 1 minute. Roll throttle to 100% Nr. 10 seconds. Seat belt on somewhere in there. Crew check in 4 seconds.

    44sec to 1m44s. Pull pitch, convert noise into lift, go save someone. Priceless.

    No need to wait for "modern" electronics to find themselves... that is what a map and a pre-brief are for. Pre-flight was done earlier in the morning, long before most of these 20 yr old types, these days, have ever gotten up.

    That's how you get freedom.

    1. Cool....that's the kind of answer I was looking for!

  4. Hi Dr. Jim,
    Thanks for the "Nostalgia!!" I was "Navy" (12/66-11/70) 'Flown in Navy Choppers and when I was working in Iran in '76 got to make a few hops in a Huey 214 (IIAF) version!! Man could that thing climb!! Short story, a few "practice jumps and the Grumman/Bell Helo 4th of July "Demo Jump!!" Hard to believe that will be 40 years ago this 04JULY!! Time sure flies when yer' havin' FUN!!

    1. Hi, skybill!

      I see you on a lot of other blogs.

      Thanks for stopping by!


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