May 17, 2020 The global pandemic struck near the beginning of what had promised to be a good year for us: our first two helicopter restorations were nearing completion and work on a third exhibit was also moving along swiftly. Though the work continues, it's now conducted at a much more measured pace, with volunteers working on smaller tasks at home until it's safe to work in groups again.
Fabric panels for helicopter seat cushions are laid out for assembly on a cutting table in a volunteer's home workshop.
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 adorning 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 after receiving UH-1H 71-20203 from the US Department of State 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 a shape, one needs little imagination to picture the events that inspired this creation. But we can do little more than imagine, as—unfortunately—the historical documents of this Huey have not survived.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 its past and puts a name to a helicopter that might otherwise have been anonymous.
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 with their father Robert Falk. From L to R: Treasurer Jim Ottman, Brenda Falk, Robert Falk, Margaret Hafemann-Falke and board member Kent Smith
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