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Hughes OH-6A/H500: Prototype and Test Versions.

500 Fan

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Hello to all on Secret Projects. I am currently carrying out research for a proposed book on the OH-6/H500 series of helicopters, focusing on the prototype and test versions of this family of helicopters. There is a great depth of knowledge here on this forum and any assistance received for this book project would be gratefully received. First off, a query about a possible compound version of the OH-6A.

I came across this drawing in the January 1965 issue of "Flying Review International".



It mainly depicts a compound helicopter version of the Kaman Seasprite (which did fly). Visible in the background, however, is an interesting version of the Hughes OH-6A, complete with short wings and a ducted tail propeller. At first, I thought it was just a figment of the imagination of the artist. This helicopter is mentioned in Wayne Mutza's book "Loach" in relation to the Hughes OH-6C and it is described exactly as it appears in the drawing. The OH-6C dates from 1971 while the above drawing is obviously from many years earlier. It would appear then that this compound version of the OH-6A was something Hughes Helicopters did some research into, though it appears that it certainley didn't fly or even make it into full-scale mock-up form.

My query is, does anyone have any of the following;
1. Any further knowledge of this version of the OH-6A?
2. Any official line drawings emanating from Hughes Helicopters?
3. Any other drawings of this helicopter?
4. Any photos of any company scale models of this helicopter?

Thanks in advance to anyone who can help with this query.
500 Fan.
 

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Re: Hughes OH-6A: Compound Helicopter version.

OK. It looks like there is little or no additional information out there on the compound helicopter version of the OH-6A.

There are a number of prototype versions of the H-6 that I have had difficulty in learning much about. Another that is proving difficult to research is the Hughes OH-6B, sometimes referred to as the "Super-Cayuse". Apparently, as few as eight of these helicopters might have been built before the project was cancelled by the U.S. Army. If anyone has any information on the development of this version, or photos, I would really like to know more about this version.

Thanks.
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Orionblamblam

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Re: Hughes OH-6A: Compound Helicopter version.

500 Fan said:
Hello to all on Secret Projects.

4. Any photos of any company scale models of this helicopter?
I recall seeing a display model in Av Week of this design, from about that time. Can't be more specific than that, though.
 

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Re: Hughes OH-6A: Compound Helicopter version.

Orionblamblam said:
I recall seeing a display model in Av Week of this design, from about that time. Can't be more specific than that, though.
Thanks Orion. Does anyone know if Aviation Week have an on-line, searchable, archive similar to the Flight Global Archive (which, by the way, is incredibly useful, if you haven't tried it already)? Thanks.

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AeroFranz

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I am not aware of a searchable AvWeek database, although God knows it would be useful.

I have no knowledge of the compound OH-6, but the tail arrangement looks A LOT like a Piasecki H-16 Pathfinder, so there is a possibility it was a joint-venture. Otherwise that would have been a clear patent infringement.
 

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Or it could be art work. Not aware of any PiAC work with Hughes, although it might have been a PiAC proposal to Hughes.
 

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Thanks for the info on the Piasecki helicopter. It definitely looks like there is a lot in common between the two designs.

The next in my list of obscure versions of the H-6/H500 family that I have questions on are the McDonnell Douglas MD520L and MD530K. Both were modified versions of the MD500E and MD530F helicopters, respectively. Again, I haven't been able to find any drawings, diagrams or photos of these (it is possible only one was built in prototype form) so if anyone has any info, in pictures or writing, I would love to see it. Thanks.

Every little scrap of information contributes towards building an accurate history of these machines and I want to ensure the contents of my book is as accurate as is humanly possible. I have cleaned out ebay of almost all useful magazines, books and company documents relevant to my research and the Flight Global Archives has also been a valuable source of information. If anyone has any books, magazines or official press releases/photos from the period from approximately 1970 until 1985 and can scan, photocopy or even summarise their contents, I would be extremely grateful. As before, any assistance in this project will be gratefully received.

I have set up an email address for any info that anyone can forward in relation to my request. It is h500fan@yahoo.com. Thanks you.

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Mark Nankivil

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Hi 500 Fan -

You might want to look at the ARC Forum for OH-6 related info - some excellent photos of rare Little Birds there:

http://www.arcforums.com/forums/air/index.php?showtopic=200876

http://www.arcforums.com/forums/air/index.php?showtopic=189978

HTH! Mark
 

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The last two issues of the American Helicopter Society's Vertiflight Magazine has in depth articles on the development and use of the 500 series.
 

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Mark and Yasotay, thanks for the info.

Raymond Robb has helped me out with a lot of my research and also sent me copies of his two articles from Vertiflite.

Arc Air Forums is also a huge source of valuable information. The pilot responsible for all the AH-6C photos there has also given me a huge amount of help. I log on at Arc as "Loach Driver". I even have a build of a Hughes OH-6D AHIP prototype on-going there (although it's been running for over two years now!). I'm hopefully going to finish it soon. Thanks
 

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This H-16?? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piasecki_H-16


AeroFranz said:
I am not aware of a searchable AvWeek database, although God knows it would be useful.

I have no knowledge of the compound OH-6, but the tail arrangement looks A LOT like a Piasecki H-16 Pathfinder, so there is a possibility it was a joint-venture. Otherwise that would have been a clear patent infringement.
 

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I think it's the Piasecki 16H as opposed to the H-16 tandem-rotor transport helicopter.

http://www.piasecki.com/compound_16h1a.php

Thanks.
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frank

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Now that makes much more better sense!


500 Fan said:
I think it's the Piasecki 16H as opposed to the H-16 tandem-rotor transport helicopter.

http://www.piasecki.com/compound_16h1a.php

Thanks.
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500 Fan

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I came across this interesting photo today;

http://www.airliners.net/photo/Japan-(Army)/Kawasaki-OH-6J-(369HM)/1844664/L/&sid=29fc54ffaced962c4c0cd40e71498261

It looks like a standard OH-6J at first glance. If you look a little closer though, the rotor looks a little odd. After a tiny bit of research, I reckon this helicopter is a test ship used by the ADTW (who I guess are a test wing) to test-fly the composite rotor system for the Kawasaki OH-1 Ninja. It seems to have an air data boom fitted under the nose as well. Can anyone answer the following questions?

1. Who or what is "ADTW"?

2. Does anyone have any information on the OH-6J involved in testing in support of the OH-1 Ninja programme?

Thanks.
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Sundog

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500 Fan said:
1. Who or what is "ADTW"?
It's the Air Development and Test Wing of the JASDF based at Gifu Airbase.
 

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Sundown, thanks for the info. Trying to do research on Japanese subjects is often quite difficult.

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Does anyone have any information on an OH-6A upgrade that was proposed in the late 1960's and was given the designation "OH-6B"? I have no details whatsoever on this proposal. The first proposed OH-6A upgrade to fly in prototype form was the OH-6C, which flew in 1972 or 1973. So that would seem to confirm a "B"-version was on the drawing board at some stage in the late sixties.The OH-6B designation was later given to an Army National Guard-funded upgrade of the OH-6A in the late eighties.

Bringing things up to date, here is the latest development of note for the H-6/500 Series of helicopters;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2js3H0cU-dE&feature=player_embedded

Greg Ashe is the test pilot for this flight. He first started test-flying the H500 for Hughes in 1978. He flew the OH-6A in Viet Nam in 1968 as well. That means he is in his sixth decade of flying the H-6/500 at the sharp end! That's quite a record.
Thanks.

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Here is a model of one of the many H-6 prototypes flown by Hughes over the years.

http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,12827.0/highlight,hughes.html

Thanks.

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500 Fan said:
Hello to all on Secret Projects. I am currently carrying out research for a proposed book on the OH-6/H500 series of helicopters, focusing on the prototype and test versions of this family of helicopters. There is a great depth of knowledge here on this forum and any assistance received for this book project would be gratefully received. First off, a query about a possible compound version of the OH-6A.

I came across this drawing in the January 1965 issue of "Flying Review International".



It mainly depicts a compound helicopter version of the Kaman Seasprite (which did fly). Visible in the background, however, is an interesting version of the Hughes OH-6A, complete with short wings and a ducted tail propeller. At first, I thought it was just a figment of the imagination of the artist. This helicopter is mentioned in Wayne Mutza's book "Loach" in relation to the Hughes OH-6C and it is described exactly as it appears in the drawing. The OH-6C dates from 1971 while the above drawing is obviously from many years earlier. It would appear then that this compound version of the OH-6A was something Hughes Helicopters did some research into, though it appears that it certainley didn't fly or even make it into full-scale mock-up form.

My query is, does anyone have any of the following;
1. Any further knowledge of this version of the OH-6A?
2. Any official line drawings emanating from Hughes Helicopters?
3. Any other drawings of this helicopter?
4. Any photos of any company scale models of this helicopter?

Thanks in advance to anyone who can help with this query.
500 Fan.



Model:
http://stingraysrotorforum.activeboard.com/t39111599/hughes-helicopters/
 

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My research into this topic continues. Currently, I am looking at the test work that was undertaken around employing the OH-6/H500 as an Anti-Submarine Helicopter.

There was a U.S. Navy program called L.A.S.H. (Light Anti-Submarine Helicopter). It appears that this was a program whose aim was to replace the Gyrodyne QH-50 Drone Anti-Submarine Helicopter (D.A.S.H.) with a more capable manned alternative. Ultimately L.A.S.H. evolved into L.A.M.P.S. Hughes had offered an ASW version of the 500 for the LASH program and some limited testing took place, including sea trials with a U.S. Navy destroyer in 1969. In 1968, an Army YOH-6 was loaned to VX-1 for testing and it was outfitted with some additional equipment and also undertook sea trials with a FRAM destroyer.

My question is: Does anyone know where information might be available with regard to these trials? I would presume that test reports, however short, were written and are on record somewhere in the Navy archives. The two ships involved were the USS Hawkins and the USS O'Brien and VX-1 was also involved. Can an FOI application be forwarded somewhere or is there a Navy Historical Archive that anyone knows about? Thanks for any assistance anyone can offer.

500 Fan.
 
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