October 7, 2020 Chief Warrant Officer Colleen Picard takes OH-58A+ 71-20548 for a traditional final flight on August 16, 2013 to celebrate her retirement from the Massachusetts Army National Guard. Picard served in a number of roles, including aviation commander, and is the first female aviator to retire from the Massachusetts ARNG. We're learning more about her story and the stories of other former crew members as we restore this helicopter for exhibit. (CW5 David Picard/MAARNG)
April 13, 2020 The global pandemic struck near the beginning of what had promised to be a good year: our first two helicopter restorations were nearing completion and work on a third exhibit was also moving along swiftly. Today, however, we lost our secretary Chris Daly to COVID-19 during a trip to Florida. Chris was an army veteran, public servant and tireless volunteer. He will be greatly missed. Our work continues this year, but at a slower pace, with tasks being done by volunteers working singly, often from home.
September 26, 2019 The Conservancy has received a Bell OH-58A+ Kiowa helicopter formerly flown by the US Army. The Kiowa is a light observation helicopter conceived during the War in Vietnam and was retired from military service only recently. Plans are underway to restore our Kiowa for display in the spring of 2020.
Volunteers pose with lift operators from LaVenture Crane & Rigging after unloading the new helicopter last Friday. (Helicopter Conservancy photo)
August 31, 2018 Everyone is familiar with the colorful nose art of aircraft in wartime. Helicopters in Vietnam were no exception, sporting a riot of unsung combat masterpieces. After the war, the business of painting aircraft returned to its usual staid, peacetime uniformity—but not entirely.
A few maintenance crew Michelangelos quietly pursued their craft well into the late-1970s and subsequent decades, as we discovered on receipt of a UH-1H helicopter donated earlier this month. There was nothing about the bland, green exterior that hinted that this Huey held a secret, but inside the radio compartment lay a surprise: painted on the interior surface of the hatch was the hidden nose artwork you see here.
If the object of art is to give life shape, little imagination is needed to picture the events that inspired this hidden gem. But we can do little more than imagine, as—unfortunately—the historical documents of this Huey have not survived. Still, this nose art gives us an evocative glimpse into the past and puts a name to a helicopter that might otherwise have been anonymous. (Helicopter Conservancy photo)
July 10, 2018 Retired Wisconsin National Guard flight medics Brenda Falk and sister Margaret Hafemann-Falk visited with their father, Robert Falk, who served as a army helicopter crew chief during the War in Vietnam. Like their father 30 years earlier, Brenda and Margaret both flew missions in UH-1 Huey helicopters, including UH-1V 74-22524, which is currently undergoing restoration at our facility.
Retired Army National Guard flight medics Brenda Falk and Margaret Hafemann-Falk stand in front of their former helicopter along with their father Robert Falk (center) and volunteers. (Helicopter Conservancy photo)
December 26, 2017 A collection of photos, awards and personal effects belonging to the late Maj. Harry William Hagen Jr. was recently donated to the museum by his daughter, Jennifer Donahue, and her husband Brian. Hagen enlisted in the US Marine Corps during the Korean War before joining the Air Force to become a pilot. He flew a number of aircraft types before transitioning to helicopters during the War in Vietnam, flying the large Sikorsky HH-3E "Jolly Green Giant" in the 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, a unit famed for rescuing pilots downed in North Vietnam. During his tour with the 37th ARRS in 1968, Hagen was credited with the rescue of no fewer than 22 airmen and soldiers trapped behind enemy lines. For his repeated acts of heroism he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross on five occasions.
(Left) Hagen and his Sikorsky helicopter, photographed in 1968 when Hagen was an Air Force captain serving in Vietnam