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Mike Stobbs | profile | all galleries >> Helicopter Heaven tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Helicopter Heaven

Well we got the chance to capture these images last week, hope you all enjoy them as much as we have fun shooting them.
I found this field of HSS-1N Seabat's near a small town in east Saskatchewan and marked it to shoot.
The HSS-1N Seabat was built for the US Navy and delivered in the 1960's. With a crew of 3 and up to 18 passengers it could travel for a range of 280 miles at cruise speed of 98 mph and max speed of 123 mph. Powered by One 1,525 hp Wright R-1820-84 Cyclone radial engine it could lift a max full load weight of 14,000 lbs. The main rotor diameter was 56 feet and a length of 46 ft. 9 in. and a height of 14 ft 3 1/2". Service Ceiling was 9,500 ft. The total cost was around the $425.000 each.
Three of these aircraft were originally manufactured as SH-34J "Choctaw" by Sikorsky Aircraft in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and delivered to the U.S. Navy in the 1960's.
They are three of fourteen aircraft later transfered from Navy storage to the Air Force as HH-34J Search-And-Rescue ships.
These aircraft were operated by the 304th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, Air Force Reserve, located at Portland International Airport, Oregon.
These operated with the 304th for the majority of there Air Force Service.
They were assigned the Choctaw as an interim machine in which to transition from the fixed-wing environment of the Grumman HU-16 Albatross to the rotary-wing world of the Air Force's rescue version of the Bell HH-1 Huey.
The HH-34s retained the auto-hover equipment originally installed for their Navy anti-submarine warfare mission, making them very steady platforms for hoist deployment and recovery of personnel.
These aircraft were returned to MASDC (Military Aircraft Storage & Disposition Centre) tail # 148948 (c/n 58-1338D) February 14th 1974 and tail # 148942 (c/n 58-1326D) February 19th 1974. I can't read or find the other two tail numbers.
It is also interesting to note the olive green machine has the very early "Torque Tube" type landing struts. This early gear was too hard to control on landing and was later changed to a shock and strut system.
These aircraft finally made it to DPDO (Defense Property Disposal Office) were they were stripped of their parts and left to rot or be sold off as scrap.
The other aircraft in the gallery is a Piper PA-23-250 Aztec s/n 27 240 tail number CF-SLU, year 1960.
Registered to Kinniburgh Spray Service Ltd. Purple Springs AB. since 1971-06-11 registration was cancelled 2000-08-11.
This aircraft was draw-in up from the Stinnson Twin and this model was a 5 seater. The Aztec is an enlarged and more powerful development of the Piper Apache. Powered by two six cylinder 250hp 0-540 Lycoming piston engines this machine had a top speed of 212mph. Production of the Aztec ceased in 1982, with several versions being built even a military version, total production was 4,930 units, cost from $25,000 to 38,000 in 1960. Images in this gallery were shot with the 10.5mm fisheye and the 24-70mm f 2.8 I hope you enjoy the short history and images.
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