MEMBERS IN THE NEWS
THE BELL 47 HELICOPTER ASSOCIATION
"THE VOICE OF THE BELL 47"
RETURN TO: Bell 47 Helicopter Association
ARTICLES (CLICK ON)
ALBERT LUKE - ILLINOIS AVIATION HALL OF FAME (NEW PICS & UPDATES)
"A WORKING PRESIDENT"
July and August are the busy months for agricultural pollination by helicopter. Not many pilots can handle the task that require helos working close to the ground to generate a pollen cloud in 100 degree humid climates that will greatly increase seed corn production.
Neal Toler is the leading rotorcraft pollinator in the mid-west and respected for getting into the fields and staying until the job is done. "Everything must be right for the helicopter to go into the field," states Toler. Toler uses a Bell Long Ranger for some fields. But recently, with the inadequacies of other helo manufacturers failing to meet the mission requirements, he has turned once again to the helo that can do the job with its massive rotor wash - the Bell 47. The problem is finding commercial pilots who are insurance and commercially qualified due to the retirement of the Viet Nam era pilot pool. So who do you call?
Bell 47 Helicopter Association three term President and star of The Whirlybirds Joey Rhodes is well known for putting on his Whirlybird khakis and white socks and getting into the field to help members due to the extreme shortage of commercial Bell 47 pilots. Rhodes is not the usual association administrator that rides a desk chair and bloviates bureaucratic dictates. If he is not handling an investigation on a scam or chop shop he is mediating numerous problems that members find themselves embroiled in with the FAA or other groups. "That is why I like to be out among the members, I need to stay in touch with the machine, otherwise we loose the focus to why the association was created. Most the time when Rhodes is seen he is not in a suit, but a pair of his signature trademark khakis. As Rhodes says, "Some people when they see Danny and I at personal appearances in our outfits think of them as costumes. To me - their Bell 47 work clothes!" www.newwhirlybirds.com
Rhodes is very fond of the rugged honed look having made his living extensively several decades ago in the 47 during its prime. Rhodes specialized in the G and J series for corporate and ag missions much like the TV series that he recreates with co-star Danny Rodriguez. Today, Joey is the leading Bell 47 broker in the world and author of the best selling aviation book - "How to Buy a Helicopter." www.joeyrhodes.com
When asked about working with Toler, Rhodes declares, "Besides being one of our long time B47HA trustees and officers, Neal is one of my best friends and I keep him in my limited inner circle of decision making. I choose to use him for a lot of pre-buys because he and I always maintain an atmosphere of objectivity with each other even in adverse issues and he always does what is best for the customer." Rhodes laughs and states that there have been some real funny times between he and Toler. "I remember Neal had a G2A1 and one day he asked me if I would like to fly it. I said ok. Once in the air, I immediately did a crop duster hammer head turn to his surprise. Needless to say, Neal from that point on took the duals out of his helo anytime we went anywhere and he never lets me forget it. I am still waiting for a crack at his kerosene (Long Ranger) burner," laughed Joey. Rhodes says there nothing like working in the 47. "They run like a mash cat," as Toler says.
Rhodes offers these helpful tips on pollination that he has gleaned from professional such as Toler. "Getting a good night's sleep is vital. Outlining the days work with the seed farm manager early in the morning is crucial before the helicopter is launched. Staging the helo for refueling with the ground crew is based on knowing what is the most reasonable amount of fuel to have available and refueling strategically. A pilot needs to be absolutely clear on what fields to blow and where. It can become very confusing and the time to sort things out are on the ground and not in the air. Distractions are what kill pilots every year and navigating in a helicopter can be dangerous especially when doing any ag work. It only takes a few seconds for you to get behind on your rotor rpm or exceed your manifold limits. When I go into a field by truck I am looking for landmarks and obstacles. Wires and guide wires are real killers. I had a friend who clothesline his helo on a guide wire and he suffered severely from paraquat poisoning as the load drenched him during the crash. A piece of tall machinery may be hid around the corner of a building. Once airborne, I do a high and low mandatory recon then I initiate my run. If the wind exceeds crosswind component I review and restate my course as to avoid a dangerous tailwind at slower speeds. Settling with power is like quicksand to a pollination pilot so the onset must be dealt with immediately. I must remember I am operating in the dead man's curve and I am constantly looking for and picking emergency escape routes and areas that a running landing can be made with success. When operating at speed I must recognize that the helo will pass through transitional lift while maintaining attitude. Quick stops are where the Bell 47 excel and other helicopters with throttle correlators and governors loose tail booms in this type of work. I can not emphasis enough the real strength of a Bell 47's agility is its throttle management. If the wind is to strong then you will need to run the field into the wind. This is where getting the helo back on target and path is essential to profitability. You are there to do a job and make money, however you are there to do it safely. But most important is having the ship in tip top shape, that is why I don't mind working with Toler who is in my opinion one of the best IA/APs in the USA."
A typical pollination mission is 100 acre per 1 hour of flying time. Rhodes finished the day's work of 232 acres in 1.7 hours.
Fellow pilot Toler shares this about the B47HA President at work, "He is awesome."
Rhodes' skills at handling a 47 are evident in the following pictures by the way he dances the 47 across the sky - and the ground in this pristine dual category J2A owned by B47HA member and pilot Phil Jones. Special thanks to Neal Toler and Sarah Jones for taking the pics which required them to be close to the action.
PRESIDENT RHODES ENCOURAGES MEMBERS TO PURCHASE FELLOW MEMBER'S BOB PETITE'S UPCOMING NEW BOOK WITH MEMBER JEFF EVANS - "THE BELL 47 HELICOPTER STORY." FOR MORE INFO YOU MAY VISIT http://www.helicopterheritagecanada.com
B47HA MEMBERS PLAY MAJOR PART IN ARTICLE WITH THE SMITHSONIAN AIR AND SPACE MAGAZINE - "ODE TO THE BUBBLE." SPECIAL THANKS TO MARK HUBER & THE SMITHSONIAN FOR THEIR SUPPORT OF THE 47.
Sunday,Oct 28,2012 turned out to be the best Wings,Wheels,& Rotors Expo/Airfair yet, in its over 10 year history.Located at the Joint Forces Training Base,Los Alamitos Army Air Station in Los Alamitos,Ca.B47HA's Vice Pres Danny Rodriguez responded and flew in his beautiful B47G helo for a static display area reserved for such aviation classics,as a P-51 Mustang,B-25 Bomber and a C-47.MANY dropped by to view and ask questions about the historic BELL 47G helicopter.Danny rec'd many inquiries about B47HA,and "The Whirlybirds".Many had their questions answered about ,"The Harley-Davidson of Helicopters".B47HA was Glad to respond and assist in raising much-needed funds for MWR for active,reserve, military personnel.It was also great to introduce a new generation to the iconic BELL 47 model helicopter. Photos courtesy of Mike Leland.
LOS ANGELES SHERIFF DEPT DEDICATION
B47HA was invited Oct 3, 2012 by the Los Angeles County Sheriff
Dept to attend the unveiling of its new Eurocopter AS332L1 Super Puma Rescue
Aircraft. B47HA Vice Pres Danny Rodriguez flew in with his B47G dressed up as an
mid-fifties Sheriff Search and Rescue helo. Also responding were our fellow B47HA
members Carol Simpson and Doug Kerr in their beautiful B47G2.They flew all the
way in from the San Francisco Bay area,Hayward,Ca. Their Bell 47G2 was the very
FIRST helicopter that L.A. County purchased for the Sheriff Dept. Many
people,including Sheriff Lee Baca attended this great event. The BELL 47G
Helicopter played very intregal part in developing their early rotary wing
search and rescue program,which started their AERO BUREAU. They continued to use
B47G models until the late 70's. A special thanks to SGT Morrie Zager,of their
AERO BUREAU and CAPT Duran for their interest and hospitality. We Congratulate
them and wish them great sucess!
President Rhodes stated, "Danny and I, in coordination with the
Los Angeles Sheriff Dept, have been planning this event for some time. I knew
Danny - would make us proud. Again, we are carrying out the mission to honor the
47 and the people who have made the 47 a success.
President Rhodes stated, "Danny and I, in coordination with the Los Angeles Sheriff Dept, have been planning this event for some time. I knew Danny - would make us proud. Again, we are carrying out the mission to honor the 47 and the people who have made the 47 a success.
H MODEL ARTICLE
REMEMBERING JOE PIKE
Joe Pike, a long-time helicopter pilot and Bell 47 aficionado, died November 7, 2009 when his vintage Piasecki HUP-1Retriever crashed in the California desert near Victorville. Pike and two other men were on their way to the annual Veteran’s Day Celebration at Flabob Airport near Riverside. The exact cause of the crash is unknown, but Pike did transmit a mayday call to the Victorville air traffic control tower before the helicopter hit a power line just south of the Adelanto airport where Pike has a hangar.
Pike served two years with the US Navy, including shipboard duty off the coast of Vietnam. He was a Machinist’s Mate and went on to become a master machinist, a skill that served him well as he rebuilt the Piasecki from a rusted-out hull and a salvaged engine. The restoration was a labor of love, and Pike’s two sons, Mark and Joe, both A&P mechanics, were commandeered into service on the project which took the better part of three years. Pike even enlisted his brother, Doug, when it came time to paint the craft in authentic Navy colors and markings. Pike’s Piasecki was flown to numerous air shows after its maiden flight in 2002, including the Piasecki Tribute at that year’s Vertical Challenge in San Carlos, CA.
Pike, who would have celebrated his 62nd birthday in January, had a colorful aviation career while still keeping his feet on the ground. He used the GI Bill to take helicopter flight lessons, and went on to become a CFI. He owned and operated Golden State Helicopters for many years and guided countless students to their helicopter certificates – always in a Bell 47. Pike considered the 47 to be the most reliable piston-engine helicopter and the best rotorcraft for instruction. Because the Bell 47 requires the pilot to be completely aware of all aspects of flight, Pike often said “If you can learn to fly a Bell 47, you can learn to fly anything.”
Pike worked as an A&P mechanic and machinist for many years at General Electric in Ontario, California, mostly on evening or night shifts in order to be able to continue training new students. He held type ratings in both piston and turbine rotorcraft, and flew everything from emergency airlift missions in a Bell 212 for Mercy Air to firefighting water drops in Sikorsky S-61 flying crane for Carson Helicopters.
Pike held true to the most traditional of values – duty, honor, country, family and friends. He was selfless with his knowledge and shameless of his passion – helicopters. And he always found the time to get someone else excited about helicopters – especially youngsters. Most EAA Young Eagles events would find him there with one of his three Bell 47’s to give some kid their first helicopter ride – and a chance to actually put a hand on the stick.
Pike’s Adelanto hangar is a working museum – an extension of Classic Rotors, a non-profit organization dedicated the preservation of historic helicopters and vintage rotorcraft. Pike’s sons will continue his legacy, including working to restore the aircraft presently in the hangar. Both men learned to fly in their dad’s Bell 47, and they’ve no intention of letting that heritage die. In Mark Pike’s words “we are going to continue what he passed down to us.” There’s little doubt there’s a Bell 47 in the future of Pike’s three grandchildren – and Joe will be there watching over them.
PS. Joe Pike was a fine man and a good friend to the Bell 47. May God bless his family at this time of sorrow. Special thanks to Ray and Bettye Hunt for the article. Sincerely, President Joey Rhodes and the B47HA Board.
CINCINNATI STATE AVIATION TECH CLASS RECEIVES VISIT FROM B47HA
By Jody Roach
Instructors Wright and Schmidt gathered their students to spend time with President Joey Rhodes and Maintenance Chief Neal Toler. Rhodes autographed and presented a 1957 Bell 47 J poster to the class for display. The school has two Bell 47s. "One actually runs!" explained fellow Bell 47 G2 owner and hangar neighbor James Faddis who introduced Rhodes and Toler. As Rhodes shares with one student named Ben (adjusting the sign pic), after the young man stated his desire to become an A&P or commercial helicopter pilot, "Don't be surprised if our paths cross again." Rhodes was referencing his remark to the many times at conventions and expos he has visited with past students he had spoke to over his 41 year aviation career and how many have shared with him their career successes. Rhodes stated, "B47HA's singular goal is to promote the 47 and it's legacy...to do that effectively with lasting results - we must include future generations."
Attention, “Whirlybirds” Fans and Enthusiasts !
Season’s Greetings Bell 47 Helicopter Association ! I’d like to bring to your attention a potential problem that has affected several of our members, including myself.
In early October of this year, I had heard , from one of our members, about a website that was offering the entire set of 111 episodes (seasons 1-3) of “The Whirlybirds”, for a very
reasonable price. I was a bit skeptical about this, as I was fairly certain there were only about 55 or 60 episodes in existence. The other 51 or 56 episodes (on original film masters) were most likely of such poor quality, due to insufficient long term storage that they were probably not recordable in any format.
Being the die hard optimist, I had hoped there were several sets of “Whirlybirds” master film reels that were produced during its production period and maybe one of those masters was recently discovered in someone’s estate, and the heir decided to place it on the open market.
I proceeded to my friendly internet search engine, typed in “Whirlybirds dvd”, and waited for the results. To my amazement, I found several websites, that offered dvd sets of the series. I started at the top of the list, and went to each website, until I found what I was looking for. It was on the fourth website, that I found, not only what I wanted, but the complete series, for a reduced price! Now this was worth looking into! Too bad I didn’t look into it far enough, before I took the plunge, and attempted to order the set shown below.
you can see, the website has a very professional appearance to it.
"Please note B47HA has choose not to show the pic of the sight due to possible violation of copyright infringement" (This is rather ironical since B47HA chooses to honor the accused website's copyright)
Someone has gone to a lot of trouble to set up this page, let alone the entire website. I did look at other areas of this website, and found each and every page to be meticulously laid out with good detail and information about the product. As you can see above, the site offers secure transactions, as well as a “Live Support” link.
Excited about the probability of owning the entire series, I proceeded to place my order, BEFORE, I checked out any of these secure options. You could say, I closed the barn door, after the horse got out, and you would be absolutely right!
The first red flag was the page that popped up after I placed my order, and that page consisted of an announcement that another email message, would be sent to me, confirming my order. I never got the first email, much less the second. NOT GOOD !!
The second red flag was from a customer service 1-800 number I found. I tried to call it. There was No answer, No recorded message, and No ring tone. BAD NEWS !!
The last red flag was when I went back to my friendly search engine, and typed in the website’s name. That’s when I found a link to a message board titled “DVD SCAM” !! The message board identified 5 websites that were linked to a scam group. I didn’t stop there. I went back to my search engine and opened each website that was selling Whirlybirds dvd’s. I found a total of 8 active websites, that were linked to this webscam group. They are identified as follows: www.tvaddicts.tv, www.dvddonkey.com, www.dvdcraze.tv, www.ultimatedvdshop.com, www.dvdworld.tv, www.dvdavenue.tv, www.allmyfavoriteshows.com, and www.dvdplanet.com.
There were two things I discovered from the message board and my research. It turns out that the happy customer identified in the site I attempted to place my order, was the same happy liar in many of the other websites. The one alarming thing I found in my research was that many, if not all of the now suspicious websites, were eerily similar in format and layout. I was now convinced I was the newest victim of these crooks.
The next thing I did was contact my credit card company and report the incident. They said I would have to wait until the end of the delivery time period, which was two weeks.
I had no intention of waiting two weeks. I went to my on-line bank web page, and searched for the transaction. When I found it, and requested an identification for the seller, it was identified as a SHOE STORE in California!
I found the Internet Crime Complaint Center website, which is a direct link to the FBI, and started filling out in great detail, my situation and all my research results.
The two week waiting period for my credit card company had finally come to an end. I never did receive my order. I disputed the transaction, and my credit card company refunded my purchase price of $79.18. I was lucky, though. Other victims have lost as much as $1500 to $3,000, for other dvd sets they ordered. In fact, one legitimate website, I found, that sells Whirlybirds dvd sets was also a victim of this same scam group. The webmaster of this site and I talked on the phone for over 45 minutes, as we shared our unfortunate experiences.
The story, however; doesn’t end there.
I had initially asked my credit card company if I should close out my account for security reasons (as these crooks had my card information). They said no, but would watch my account transactions closely. They certainly did, because about two weeks ago, I got a phone call from them, inquiring about recent suspicious transactions, that they had withheld payment on. It turned out that some transactions were legitimate, but others were definitely not! The crooks waited over a month, after my guard was down, to use my card number. Fortunately for me, my credit card company didn’t let theirs down. My account was immediately closed, and I now have a new account and card number.
I hope no else has become a victim of these crafty, sorry individuals.
I also hope and pray the victims, like myself, have not unknowingly funded some future terrorist plot, somewhere in the world.
Please be careful. The internet can be your best friend. It can also be your worst enemy.
B47HA Member # 11
Editorial: As many of you know, Danny Rodriguez and I are the New Whirlybirds. We were advised by legal counsel when we first started doing our tribute to 'The Whirlybirds" not to become involved in any Whirlybird's DVD episodes - because Viacom owns the rights of their copyright. Repeatedly we are asked, almost daily, if we have episodes for sale and we advise fans that the internet is taking advantage of folks. Thanks to Jeff's investigation you can see the offers are very luring and highly constructed to commit fraud and theft.
Jeff, like many others, love the show and it is damming that some scumbags choose to make a living off the reputation that Ken Tobey and Craig Hill strived so hard to instill in children which was - honesty.
Danny and I are committed to protect the Whirlybirds' legend and privacy. Our vision and guarded access to the show's principals, in conjunction with Bell Helicopters' support, has afforded us a venue to introduce a new generation to the real star of the show - the Bell 47. Our visits to hospitals, schools, museums, and airshows are priceless when we see the enjoyment old and new fans receive. The letters and e-mail we receive about our website confirms that many others share our vision.
If you wish to see our internet TV storyboard episodes, (Thanks to the magnificent artistry of Kerry Eisenhaur) that we own and copyright, they are free on YouTube to watch, Thanks Jeff for opening the eyes of others fans - so this vermin is denied there stealth. Joey Rhodes
“HYBRID CORN PRODUCERS SOLD ON THE BELL 47”
STORY & PICS JOEY RHODES
As the world grows, so does the need for food. With less farm ground and higher operational expenses to contend with agricultural professionals are working smart to supply our food needs. To accomplish this goal hybrid seed developers use many different methods to develop the best seed corn that will hopefully guarantee a better seed stock yield.
One of the many different methods used to develop better corn yields by hybrid corn manufacturers is “Aerial Pollination.” This method facilitates corn pollen being better dispersed rather than relying on unpredictable winds to complete the process. In fertile Central Illinois a major hybrid corn supplier repeatedly calls upon the whirlybird that puts the “U in Utility” to produce that consistent massive air movement needed – The Bell 47 Helicopter.
Having been in business since 1936, Trisler Seed Farms Inc. is one of the established leaders in hybrid corn seed production and sales with their extensive line of corn and soybean products. The company remains a family company and is headed by owner Julie Trisler Catlett who keeps the company focused on their products’ research and development by employing knowledgeable professionals. To reach the top of the ladder many diversified contacts are utilized which are vital to the company’s performance – one is the use of a seasoned aviator for their pollination needs.
Since 1996 Trislers have called upon Neal Toler of Kentucky Wing & Rotor to successfully pollinate their crops. Neal’s immaculate Bell 47 G2A1 is in top shape for the job. Fresh out of a major 1200 hour inspection and extensive maintenance program the ship stand ready to respond to the one hundred and nine corn fields ranging in size from eight to one hundred and twenty eight acres.
According to Scott Davis, Strategic Development Manager for Trislers, while touring fields with visiting Bell 47 Helicopter Association President Joey Rhodes, “The Helicopter is definitely productive when you consider what it delivers – Increased Profits from better yields.” Rhodes in turn is also very proud that Toler is one of the officers of B47HA that is bringing this innovative process to corn seed development.
Looking at a hybrid seed corn field you will see that there is a specific row pattern that is used. That is because pollen comes from one of the five rows to land on the corn silks of the four female plants rows that had been previously prepared for their roles by machines and humans that cut out undesirable plants and detassle the corn stalks. After this preparation is completed pollination usually must be done within a small 3 week window.
Flight Operations are usually commenced after the dew is off the plants. The seed farm’s company general manager T.J. Hale searches for fields where male plants are primed to release the most pollen. Variables which enhance this release are increased sunlight and temperature as the day progresses. After being contacted by Hale, Trisler’s office employee Dick Taylor assist Toler in field planning, ground safety procedures, and logistical needs. “The helicopter is an important part of our operation – and it gets the job done!” claims Taylor as he monitors the pilot’s progress.
Toler then leaves the office and thoroughly pre - flights the Bell 47 Helicopter and proceeds to the area and cautiously performs the necessary aerially safety checks for obstacles and hazards. The 47 then descends upon the field and cruises at a casual 15 mph, skimming the top of the plants generating a tremendous downwash from its 35 foot diameter main rotor metal blades while also utilizing the helicopter’s tail rotor thrust to provide additional coverage. This tremendous movement of air results in a vast movement and dispersal of pollen that lands on the receptive silks of the female plants. Seed development of the female plant is thereby expedited. As soon as Toler returns for fuel and oil he is quickly dispatched by radio to other fields to be “Blown.”
Rhodes states “This type of flying may sound simple, but requires keen situational awareness due to working so close to the ground.” Toler interjects “The corn rows can hypnotize a pilot in to becoming too relaxed and that is very dangerous when you add variables such a wind, temperature, fuel, and humidity. A pilot must be aware of the helicopter and his limitations, but no helicopter is better fitted for this mission than the Bell 47 – it is definitely a workhorse in the field.”
As the sun sets on the vast green Midwest corn fields and the evening twilight outline the Bell 47’s signature silhouette, Rhodes and Toler retire to a close by motor home realizing the satisfaction that The Bell 47 has once again delivered as a valuable team player for America’s Farms.
ALBERT LUKE - ILLINOIS AVIATION HALL OF FAME
B47HA is pleased to announce that Albert H. Luke will be inducted into the Illinois Aviation Hall of Fame on Wednesday, 23 May 07 at the Westin Chicago North Hotel, Wheeling IL. His son, Jahn Luke, will be accepting the award in behalf of his Dad during their annual Banquet Dinner.
There will be three inductees (which will include Luke) and one Spirit of Flight Award recipient during the hour presentation, or about 15 minutes for each inductee. A plaque signed by the Governor will be presented and a photo taken.
If you or anyone else from the Bell 47 Association in Illinois is interested in attending, please contact Mike R. Lane. He is the Executive Director for the Illinois Aviation Trades Association at (217) 528-5230. Banquet Dinner ticket is $50/person. If you decide to attend the conference, the dinner is included in the Full Registration for the Conference which is $135.
President Rhodes stated, "I am very happy for the Luke Family to receive this honor. The acknowledgement of this Bell 47 Pioneer is long overdo. We at B47HA wish to thank our member Jahn Luke for the contribution that his father, Albert, made to further the mission of the Bell 47."
Pictures of the Event
Albert H. Luke, Bell 47 Helicopter Pioneer
While at Lewis College, Lockport, Illinois (1947-1967)
SPECIAL THANKS TO MEMBER #147 JAHN A. LUKE FOR STORY AND PICS.
1. Background – In May 1946, the Bell Model 47 became the first commercial helicopter to receive certification from the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA). Superintendent of Lewis College, Albert H. Luke saw that the importance of helicopters and the need for his college to offer helicopter flight instruction as part of the school’s aeronautics and flight curriculum. Being a veteran fix-wing commercial pilot and flight instructor himself, Al Luke began to formulate plans that summer with Bishop Bernard J. Sheil, director of the college to set up a helicopter department. In order to do so, the college needed to purchase a Bell helicopter and Luke needed to get his helicopter rating. Luke contacted Bell Aircraft in Buffalo, New York later that year to begin the process and work the details of purchasing an aircraft as well as getting the necessary flight training. Following his training at Bell Aircraft in January 1947, Luke was able to bring home to Illinois one of the first production Bell helicopters, the Bell Model 47B (NC-102B) on February 28th, 1947. On March 1st, the aircraft was flown to Chicago for display at the Sports and Travel Show at the International Amphitheater. Luke gave a flight demonstration to the public at Lewis College later on March 15th. By May 15th, Luke issued certificates to his first three commercial helicopter pilot graduates from Lewis College. In addition to flight instruction, Luke and his helicopter department used the Bell 47B and later other Model 47s for commercial work in the Chicago area and other parts of the Midwest and South which is later discussed. During the 1950s, Luke served as a CAA Commercial Pilot Examiner and was elected a term as president of the Mid-Western Helicopter Association in 1956. He continued his role as helicopter department head, flight instructor, commercial helicopter pilot, and also as airport manager for Lewis-Lockport Airport until 1967, when he solely became airport manager following the discontinuation of helicopter operations at the college. He retired from Lewis College on January 1971 after a career of over thirty-eight years in aviation, in which about 20 years was spent flying Bell helicopters for Lewis College. Mr. Luke logged a total of 7916 hours, of which 3466 hours were in a helicopter. In addition to the Bell 47B, other Bell 47 helicopters owned by the college and piloted by Luke during that period included a Bell 47D-1 (N225B), Bell 47G (N953B), Bell 47G (N2802B), and Bell 47G-2 (N6749D). As a result, Lewis became the first college in the United States to have a helicopter department wherein a helicopter flight course was offered as a part of its regular curriculum. Al Luke also became the first commercial helicopter instructor pilot in Illinois and the Midwest.
2. Activities / Accomplishments – Al Luke was involved in a number of activities in which he applied the use of the Bell 47 helicopter. These activities included flight training, power line and pipe line patrol, geological and topographical surveys, agriculture work, mosquito abatement, local government and business publicity events, executive/celebrity transport, building/plant construction and maintenance and construction, photography work, police work, and some unusual exhibitions and assignments. He was also technical advisor and a guest speaker. Each of these activities and associated accomplishments is discussed below.
3. Flight Training – Al Luke instructed a number of pilots starting with the Bell 47B. The first class to graduate from Lewis College was in May 1947. There were three commercial pilots: Mr. Ham Reidy founder of Chicago Helicopter Airways (formerly Chicago Helicopter Air Service) and his associated Mr. Michael Meager, and Mr. Harry Miller who later became an executive for Bell Helicopter in Fort Worth, Texas. Mr. Meager had the distinction of having flown Nehru on a tour of India in a helicopter. Other people instructed by Luke included:
- Mr. J.A. Van Der Vliet, who with a background of 5,000 hours of fixed wing time, completed helicopter training in the early 1950s. He later worked for Lewis College doing power line patrol with Luke in Indiana. Van as he was called was honored by Rotor & Wing magazine’s as the “world’s most experienced helicopter pilot” in the late 1960’s.
- Miss Marilyn Himes of Washington, DC, who in June 1951, completed the course and became the first woman in the United States to be licensed as a helicopter instructor. She later married and became one of the original Whirly Girls in 1955.
- Mr. James Foster of Vancouver, British Columbia Canada, who in February 1952, took up helicopter training and completed the course later that year. He, at one time, had been a bull fighter in Mexico.
- Mr. Yukiaki Kawata completed his helicopter training at Lewis in September 1952. He was a Japanese prince and fixed wing pilot who later became one of Japan’s first commercial helicopter pilots. Not only flying helicopters for Japan, he also held a position of rank with the Civil Aeronautics Authority of Japan.
- Other students included Mr. Gordon Thompson from Canada who established the first helicopter operations in Canada and a fortune hunter from Florida who planned to use the helicopter to spot sunken galleons.
4. Power Line / Pipe Line Patrols – In May 1949, Luke performed his first pipe line patrol by helicopter which took him to Indiana. The following month he conducted a pipe line survey originating in Joliet, Illinois and finishing up in Houston Texas. In July-August 1949, Luke and Mr. Frank Krumwiede surveyed approximately 6,000 miles of power lines for the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). The function of the survey was to evaluate the use of the helicopter for trouble shooting purposes. The survey concluded that by using a helicopter, the cost of operation could be cut nearly in half and that trouble could be spotted more readily along the power lines. TVA employed a company which later operated nine helicopters in the 1950s to do the recommended service. In September-October 1953, The Public Service Company of Indiana also contract Lewis College to survey their high tension lines by helicopter. Here, Luke and the Director of the Helicopter Line Patrol covered 5,000 miles of wire in central and southern Indiana. The survey concluded that one helicopter could do the work of 20 men. As a result, Lewis contracted one helicopter and one pilot up through the mid 1960s. Other surveys and power line patrols flown by Luke included Madison and Milwaukee Electric Company in Wisconsin and Commonwealth Edison Company in Illinois.
5. Geological and Topographical Surveys – In 1951, the Arctic Institute of North America sponsored a survey in the St. Elias Mountains near Yakutat, Alaska. The function of the survey was to measure the movements of the Malaspina Glacier and determine the thickness of the ice caps. Al Luke and his Bell Model 47D-1 helicopter with skids were contracted to serve the survey group. The group consisted of twenty scientists from the United States and foreign countries. The geological survey lasted twelve weeks beginning in June and ending in August. Whereas there were no mishaps or accidents with the helicopter, three members of the expedition team did lose their lives in a supply plane accident. Luke made 177 successful landings on the ice caps. Luke was also involved in topographical surveys with the helicopter, which included some work in northern Minnesota to bring out iron ore from the Misabi range and to conduct some local work around the Chicago area.
6. Agriculture Work – During the 1950s and early 1960s, Al. Luke used the Bell 47D-1 helicopter for seeding and for the spraying and dusting of crops in Illinois and in a number of Midwestern states. In February 1953, the Sinclair Coal Company of Kansas City, Missouri, one of the world’s largest strip mine operators, employed Luke and the Lewis College helicopter to seed strip mining wasteland in northern Oklahoma, Missouri, and southern Kansas. This effort was done in order to convert a once desolate area into wildlife haven. The area covered with the helicopter was in excess of 1,000 acres. Other seeding by Al Luke was conducted in Cook County, Illinois and in Ohio. Other activities included dusting with DDT impregnated tobacco stems in Toledo, Ohio and spraying of arm worms in La Porte, Indiana.
7. Mosquito Abatement – In May 1957, the South Cook County Mosquito Abatement District used the services of Luke and his helicopter to spray ponds and shallow water areas throughout the southern area of Cook County in order to combat a large crop of mosquitoes. The venture proved to be very successful. The helicopter with its associated dusting devices did the job in only a few days, instead of using trucks which was figured to take several weeks. With the right weather conditions, Luke was able to spray swampland at the rate of 300 acres per hour.
8. Local Government and Business Publicity Events - In December 1947, Lewis College found a new use for the helicopter by transporting Santa Claus to public events. This new type of transportation for Santa was later adapted by other firms operating helicopters in the US. Lewis copters flown by Al Luke and Frank Krumwiede made landings on parking lots, rooftops, improvised heliports, and trucks. Some of the landings were in areas no larger than 15 feet square. Luke made over 60 landings with Santa from 1947 to 1962; ranging from nearby cities such as Blue Island, New Lenox, and Waukegan, to other Illinois cities such as Rockford, Kankakee, Effingham, and Champaign, and to more distant cities in neighboring states such as Milwaukee, Akron, and Indianapolis. Luke was also involved in promotions using the helicopter for stores such as the Jewell Tea Co and Kroger. A quiz show “Air Education for the Housewife” was promoted and executed at Jewel Tea stores openings within the Chicago area. Other promotions included dropping off the Easter Bunny near Joliet, dropping hundreds of Bears football game tickets along the Chicago lake shore, and dropping ping pong balls each stuffed with a gift certificate to a number of cities in Will County, Illinois (all in the same day).
9. Executive/Celebrity Transport and Rooftop/Stadium Landings - Starting in the late 1940’s, Al Luke made a number of helicopter landings transporting executives, officials, and celebrities, and also making landings for news media and to support promotional events in Illinois and elsewhere. These landings were made on rooftops, in stadiums, airports, and in parking lots. These landings (consisting of the first rooftop landings in Chicago, Joliet, Detroit, & Oklahoma) include the following:
- Northerly Island Airport in Illinois with Mrs. America, Maria Strohmeier (1948)
- Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois with Lockport Mayor, H. F. Raue (1949)
- Roberta Mason homestead in Chicago, Illinois with president of the Chicago Federation of Labor (1949)
- Hurpleshimer Department Store rooftop in Grand Rapids, Michigan with Santa (1949)
- Merchandise Mart rooftop in Chicago, Illinois with Frank J. Lewis (1950)
- Wisconsin multi-city campaign tour with Republican presidential candidate Harold E Stassen (1952)
- Will Rogers Hotel rooftop in Clairmore, Oklahoma (1953)
- Continental Bank Building rooftop in Chicago, Illinois with Frank J. Lewis (1954)
- Indianapolis 500 Motor Speedway with Latest Edition Newspapers (1954-1962)
- Fitzgerald Furniture Store rooftop in Joliet, Illinois (1955)
- Sherman Hotel rooftop in Chicago, Illinois with Arthur Godfrey (1956)
- Lewis Memorial Hospital rooftop in Chicago, Illinois with Georgie Jessel (1956)
- Beutel Building rooftop in Joliet, Illinois with President of Lewis College, Brother Paul French (1963)
10. Building/Plant Construction and Maintenance – Starting in the late 1940’s and as late as 1962, Al Luke and his Bell helicopter were called to help with add-on construction and maintenance projects in respect to buildings and plants in the Chicago area and later elsewhere. Although the early Bell helicopter used was not designed nor was large enough for major lifting, Luke and his helicopters did prove useful as discussed below.
- In March 1949, Luke and his helicopter were used to carry a “flying supervisor” who observed and directed the erection of the WFJL transmitter on top of the Lincoln Tower in Chicago, 600 feet above the street. The copter hovered in position while the tower was erected.
- In June 1953, the General Motors Plant in Waukegan used the helicopter to attach a 40 pound hook and 600 feet of rope to the top of a 230 foot smokestack at the plant. The hook and rope were used to elevate a bosun’s chair for the workmen to weatherproof the exterior of the plant’s chimney. It was estimated, at the time, that if steel scaffolding had been erected, the operation would have taken three weeks and would have cost GM $10,000. The helicopter took only a few minutes and actually cost less than $500.
- In October 1955, Luke used his Bell helicopter to deliver a pane of glass, 7 by 9 feet and weighing 300 pounds to the 21st floor of a building in Chicago. This glass was used to replace a broken window in a penthouse. The glass was too large for the building’s elevator to deliver. In using the helicopter, the cost of delivery was a fraction of what it would have been if a scaffold was employed to raise the glass along the outside of the building.
- In May 1963, Luke and his helicopter airlifted six 12-foot-high letters from the Nesper Sign and Neo Company plant to the penthouse atop of the 12-story Merchants National Bank (MNB) building located in downtown Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
11. Photography Work - Beginning in 1950 and up through the mid 1960’s, Al Luke and the Lewis helicopter were employed to support a number of aerial picture taking assignments. Some of the assignments included flying newspaper photographers such as for the Herald American to take pictures of flooded homes in the Chicago area and for the Indianapolis News to cover the Indianapolis 500. Luke also flew other photographers such as famed Margaret Bourke-White who took prizewinning aerial views for Fortune Magazine. There were other aerial shots taken of communities such as Aurora, Joliet, Detroit, and Gary, Indiana by other photographers in which some ended up in Life Magazine.
12. Unusual Exhibitions and Assignments - Below are a few of the unusual exhibitions and assignments which were conducted:
- In September 1948, Al Luke used the helicopter for the first time to suspend acrobat Marlyn Rich, later to be known as the “Helicopter Girl”, as she performed on her still rings in St Louis, Missouri. Miss Rich, Luke and his helicopter also performed near Wheeling, Illinois that same month and later in Cleveland, Ohio the following year.
- In February 1949, Al Luke participated in what is believed to be the first helicopter funeral on record. The low flying Bell 47B helicopter scattered a bushel of rose petals over the casket Pfc, Anthony L. Krotiak of Chicago, who receive the Congressional Medal of Honor after throwing himself on a Japanese grenade in World War II, saving his comrades and losing his own life.
- In April 1950, the Chicago Filtration Department employed Lewis College for Luke and his helicopter to take city water pollution test samples from Lake Michigan. By using the helicopter, 60 water samples were taken in 80 minutes. It would have taken up to fourteen hours with four men using a boat to obtain the same 60 water samples. Luke had floats installed for the second flight which proved to be fortunate. Because of high waves, the aircraft lost its tail rotor on takeoff. Luke got control of the aircraft, managed to get the copter down on the water again, and was later towed in by the Coast Guard.
- In May 1950, Al Luke once again uses the helicopter for an unusual exhibition in Milwaukee where Ramon Larue, one of the Joie Chitwood Auto Daredevils, successfully escapes from a police-inspected straight jacket while suspended by his feet from the helicopter in mid-air.
13. Police Work - On several instances in the 1950’s and as late as 1964, Al Luke aided state and local police in using the helicopter for search and rescue, aerial protection of a presidential candidate, finding missing persons or helping the police during times of floods or rescue work following a disaster. An example of this was an incident at a dam on the Kankakee River in Wilmington, Illinois where some boys were lost following a boating accident. Luke and the Joliet Chief of Police flew to the site and dragged a grappling hook down from the helicopter in search of the victims. Although they were not successful in finding the boys, it was a breakthrough attempt in employing a grappling hook from a helicopter instead of a boat.
14. Technical Consultant – Following his helicopter training at Bell Aircraft in early 1947, Al Luke became very familiar with the workings of the Bell Model 47 aircraft and shared his knowledge and experiences of its operation with others. He was also instrumental in promoting the use of the Bell Model 47 for commercial use. As a result, he was presented the Lawrence D. Bell Helicopter Pioneer Award in 1960 as an appreciation from Bell Helicopter Corporation for his contribution to the helicopter industry. Beginning in 1960, the Enstrom Helicopter Corporation asked him to offer his experience and knowledge of helicopters as a consultant in the development of their new F-28 model. Luke supported the Enstrom Corp as an advisor and test flew the aircraft while it was being prototyped. The aircraft later received FAA certification in 1965. Luke also had the privilege of being the technical consultant for Follett’s Beginning Science books 1966 first edition of “Airplanes” along with Science Education consultants Edward Victor, Ed. D. Professor of Science Education at Northwestern University and Curtis Melnick, Ed. D., District Superintendent of Chicago Public Schools.
15. Speaker - Al Luke, as an aviation pioneer, would be invited to talk to groups in the Chicago area about his past experiences, his thoughts on the future of aviation and the use of helicopters. An example is when he addressed the Chicago Bar Association in 1957 where he spoke on the subject “The Helicopter and its Place in Municipalities”. He was also an invited guest from time to time on Joliet’s local radio station, WJOL in the mid 1960’s.
FLYING THE BELL 47 IN SOUTH AFRICA
CRAIG WESSELS #358
Mix a passion for vintage Harley-Davidsons and 1960's American Muscle Cars with a strong urge to fly, throw in some commitment and, if you are that way inclined, you do your PPL(H) and suddenly the only thing on your mind is a Bell 47. Well that's what I reckon happened to me anyway.
I purchased ZS-HLW on the 23th April 2003, the same day my daughter was born. She is an ex military machine from the RAF, apparently used by the Army. Her model designation was a Sioux AH-1, and the registration was XT-201 (For info on ex RAF Bell 47's, check out www.ukserials.com - a long list). The photo of the Sioux in cammo drab was taken in 1972 (XT-503) at a RAF family day in the UK. This is apparently how she used to look before she was exported to South Africa in 1979, where she was dressed in civilian clothes and registered as ZS-HLW. She has a turbocharged Lycoming engine TVO-435-B1, her second one. The logbooks reflect that in May 1983 she was given her first job doing daily power line checks in the mountainous regions along the South African East Coast, working commercially for a further 3 years before being owned privately. Total time is 5052hrs, component times range from 67%-93% remaining, with the average being around 80% remaining.
From 1992-1996 (following a hard landing) she was stripped down and painstakingly rebuilt and restored to the condition she is currently in. Attention to every detail can be seen in the little things the anodized aluminum battery box, polished aluminum end-caps on the skids, chrome fire extinguisher with a custom made aluminum quick release bracket. Almost every single nut, bolt and screw has been plated (cad plus other). The grey leather seats and charcoal carpeting up front finish off the detail extremely well. Instrumentation has been kept mostly original and therefore to a minimum, keeping the hammerite coated console neat and clean. I do however, clip on a Garmin GPS III when I fly cross-country. And she sure got a loud paint job. A photo can't quite reproduce the orange, trust me, it must be the brightest Day-Glo orange I've seen. Apparently the then owner was ex air force (like many helicopter pilots here) and thought the South African Air Force (SAAF) training colours on the old Harvards were really cool, and gave the 47 her a similar paint job (The SAAF used the Harvards until 1994! - now they have a bunch of Pilatus PC 7 Mk II's for training, and the Harvards have been declared national monuments, spending their time flipping tourists). Interestingly, an acquaintance bought a few Alouette II's out from the French military and they are painted in a very similar design, only where the 47 is silver, the Alouette's were olive drab. If I may brag, when Bell representatives were out in South Africa shortly after her rebuild, they were of the opinion that she was one of, if not the best restoration they had ever seen of a Bell 47. They wanted to take her back with them, but the then owner would have none of it. Anyway, that's the story and I'm sticking to it!
I have managed to fly around 95 hours in her since May last year. My best trip to date has been a solo cross-country flight lasting 3 days, with a total flying time of 16 hrs 13min, averaging 61kts. South Africa is a wonderful country for any aviation enthusiast. We have a fascinating aviation history dating back to British rule in the 1900's. In 1911 the first airmail flight was made. The SADF fought alongside the USA and Allies in both World Wars. In addition, our No.2 Squadron (known as the "Flying Cheetahs") went off to Korea in August 1950, under the control of the 18th USAF fighter-bomber wing, to help fight off the advances of communism. They flew F-15D Mustangs and later the F-86F Sabre, clocking up 10 373 sorties and losing 74 aircraft. I often wonder how many of those 900 or so South African soldiers/aviators experienced a medivac first hand, lying wounded on the litter of a Bell 47 "Angel of Mercy". The SAAF still has the only flying Avro Shakelton in the world - hearing those 4 V12 Rolls Royce piston engines coming roaring overhead is quite something.
Because of its rich aviation history, we have a very active industry (albeit relatively small) with great airstrips and excellent maintenance personal all around the country. Due to our isolation and weak currency, we also have many old machines that ordinarily would have been scrapped long ago, but they are kept doing their jobs, safely in the air - a testament to our highly skilled ground crews.
But what really makes aviation so fantastic in South Africa is that we have an incredibly aviation friendly landscape with equally favorable year round weather. We have hosted the Gliding World Championships a number of times over the years, the World Rally Flying Championships and, on the 23rd March 2002, a French team at the International Airport of Cape Town (pilot Fred North) set up a new world helicopter height record by reaching a sensational altitude of 42.500 feet, in a AS 350B2 "ECUREUIL".
South Africa is a fairly uninhabited country relative to its size. It is also unbelievably beautiful and diverse. One can be skirting along the crests of turquoise waves on the coastline boarded by rainforests one minute and pull collective, cross majestic mountains and be in the dry bushveld with lions, rhino's and elephants the next. I can leave the city of Cape Town (SA's second largest city), where I live and work, and in one hour be totally alone (and in a 47 that's only 60nm away!) with a silent radio and no sight of humanity anywhere below. From the visibility only a 47 bubble can deliver, it's a pretty sight. I have attached some photo's, I hope you enjoy them as much as I did taking them. Some have other machines in them too. The one with the Harvards is my favorite because, although taken in 2004, if I make it black and white, it would be very difficult to date.
As a postscript I would just like to thank Mr. Rhodes and the B47HA for all they have done, do, and I'm sure will continue to do for the owners and pilots of these fantastic machines all around the world. And one last thing. Is it not possible, with a few modern improvements/materials perhaps, to put the 47 back into production? Come on Bell.
BELL PIONEER INDUCTED INTO HALL OF FAME
BY #2 PAUL FALTYN
Enclosed is a bio on Edward Unwin, and early Bell Pioneer that will be inducted into the Niagara Frontier Aviation and Space Hall of Fame. He will be inducted on May 7th.
Bell Aircraft/Helicopter Corporation - Edwin Unwin was born in Montour Falls, NY in July 1915. He came to Bell Aircraft in Buffalo in 1941 as an electrical inspector making 85 cents an hour after working at piper Aircraft in Lock haven, Pennsylvania.
In June 1942 he was assigned to help investigate an accident at Bell's Gardenville helicopter project facility. The accident involved Bell's chief test pilot, Bob Stanley, who was thrown through the rotor of the tethered Model 30 prototype. The ship was destroyed but Stanley suffered only a broken arm and hurt ego. Unwin recommended and got seat belts in the Model 30 helicopters, tethered or not , keeping pilots from repeating the Stanley accident.. After the investigation was complete Floyd Carlson asked Ed to stay at Gardenville to assist in the helicopter development.
Although primarily an inspector, he was heavily involved in improving the helicopter flight controls as well as being a mechanic and data collector under Arthur Young's (among others) direction. He would pursue the testing and the redesign of critical parts such as bell cranks, gears, linkages, control tubes, etc. thus quickly becoming recognized as a necessary and important member of the Gardenville project group. Mr. Unwin had the final say as to whether a flight would take place after being satisfied that all safety precautions had been taken and was well. He was well respected by all personnel due to his meticulous and innovative concern for safety and his rigid regard for quality and mechanical issues. When Gardenville shut down he worked on the Model 47 helicopter and frequently accompanied Floyd Carlson on trips to customer sites. New assignments took him to the oilfields of Louisiana where the helicopter was instrumental in oil exploration and Bell was on the doorstep of providing great numbers of helicopters to support this endeavor over the years since. He moved to the Texas operation in 1966 where he was assigned as a liaison engineer specializing in quality control for helicopter operations. Ed Unwin was known and respected by his peers and is honored here as a pioneer in helicopter quality control and for his dedication to safety.
B47HA MEMBER EARNS MASTER INSTRUCTOR RATING
Daniel Oot recently earned his Master Instructor designation. Dan is both a
fixed wing and rotorcraft flight instructor. He owns and operates Highland
Helicopters (www.HighlandHelicopters.com), a full service aviation
training facility located at Hancock Field (SYR) in Syracuse.
The National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI) takes pride in announcing a significant aviation accomplishment on the part of Daniel L Oot, the owner of Highland Helicopters (www.HighlandHelicopters.com) and a resident of Mattydale, NY. Recently, Dan was designated a Master CFI (Certificated Flight Instructor) by NAFI, his professional aviation education association.
To help put this achievement in its proper perspective, there are approximately 81,000 CFIs in the United States. Fewer than 400 of them have achieved that distinction thus far. The last eight national Flight Instructors of the Year were Master CFIs while Dan is one of only 12 New York State aviation educators who has earned this prestigious "Master" title.
The Master Instructor designation is a national accreditation recognized by the FAA that is earned by candidates through a rigorous process of continuing education and peer review. Much like a flight instructor's certificate, it must be renewed biennially. This process parallels the continuing education regimen used by other professionals to enhance their knowledge base while increasing their professionalism. Simply put, the Master Instructor designation is a means by which to identify those outstanding aviation educators, those "Teachers of Flight," who have demonstrated an ongoing commitment to excellence, professional growth, and service to the aviation community.
Earning this designation is tantamount to having the words summa cum laude emblazoned on an instructor's certificate. These Masters truly represent the crème de la crème of our industry! To publicly recognize these individuals and their noteworthy accomplishments, NAFI will be hosting its "Meet the Masters" breakfasts, to which Dan will be invited, during EAA's Air Venture in Oshkosh and Sun 'n Fun in Lakeland. Any support that can be provided will be appreciated.
NAFI is dedicated to providing support and recognition for America's aviation educators while helping them raise and maintain their level of professionalism. It is also committed to providing a safe and effective learning environment for student pilots. The Association was founded in 1967 and affiliated with EAA in May of 1995.
BELL 47 HELICOPTER REPAIR SCHOOL GRADUATES
SIUC CELEBRATES 30 YEARS OF BELL 47 REPAIR SCHOOL EXCELLENCE
Present from left to right in the picture are Guy House (Owner of House Helicopter), Michael Vautour (Bell Helicopter Product Support Engineer), Joey Rhodes (CEO of Bell 47 Helicopter Association), Neal Toler (SIU Instructor, Bell 47 Helicopter Association Officer & Trustee, and Owner of Kentucky Wing and Rotor Inc), Dan Oot (Owner of Highland Helicopters), Roberto Contrera (Student Pilot at Highland Helicopters), and Bruno Santin (Bell Helicopter Product Support Engineer). Cameraman and SIUC Instructor Bob Sanders not in pic.
Neal R. Toler SIUC / Allan Duckworth, Arapahoe Helicopters, Inc., Lone Tree, Colorado / Daniel Funk, Pinellas County Mosquito Control, St. Petersburg, Florida / Bruno Santin, Bell Helicopter Textron of Canada, Mirabel Quebec / Robert Sanders SIUC / Michael Vautour, Bell Helicopter Textron of Canada, Mirabel Quebec.
SIUC 2 WEEK BELL 47 HELICOPTER REPAIR SCHOOL WITH INSTRUCTOR NEAL TOLER ATTENDED A B47HA HOSTED DINNER FOR STUDENTS JAN 12TH IN CARBONDALE, IL. BHT'S MICHAEL VAUTOUR #484 AND BRUNO SANTIN #485 WERE INDUCTED INTO THE ASSOCIATION. MEMBERS NEAL TOLER, BOB SANDERS, GUY HOUSE, AND DAN OOT ENJOYED A PRESENTATION ON THE BELL 430 AND BELL 47 HELICOPTERS FROM JOEY.
(PIC 1 L-R DUCKWORTH, RHODES, & WOYTAZ)
(PIC 2 L-R DUCKWORTH, SANDERS, TOLER, & WOYTAZ)
(PIC 3 2002 FIRST MEETING OF B47HA WITH SIUC L-R BOB SANDER, BILL MILTON, LARRY STAPLES, & RHODES)
B47HA HOSTED A NICE DINNER FOR THE GRADUATES OF THE SOUTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY CERTIFIED BELL 47 REPAIR SCHOOL. B47HA SEC/TR/TRUST NEAL TOLER WAS THE INSTRUCTOR AND HIS TWO STUDENTS AND NEW B47HA MEMBERS WERE ALLAN DUCKWORTH AND KEVIN WOYTAZ. THE PROGRAM IS OVERSEEN BY PROF. ROBERT SANDERS. RECENTLY B47HA PRESENTED A PROGRAM FOR THE STUDENTS OF THE AV-TECH SCHOOL AND HAS INDICATED THE ASSOCIATIONS TOTAL SUPPORT FOR THIS GREAT HISTORICAL COURSE. THE EVENING CONCLUDE WITH A FILM FROM BHT HIGHLIGHTING THE 2001 BELL 47 FLY IN.
PRESIDENT RHODES SPOKE TO THE GATHERING AND EMPHASIZED THE IMPORTANCE OF WELL EDUCATED PERSONNEL TO SUPPORT THE 47. JOEY SHARED ABOUT THE GENEROSITY THAT HE WAS AFFORDED DURING THE 1970'S WHEN HE WOULD TAKE HIS 47s TO THE SCHOOL FOR STUDENTS TO VIEW. RHODES WAS NOTED BY SIUC AS A CONTRIBUTOR TO THEIR PROGRAMS. RHODES INDICATED HIS SUPPORT FOR THE SCHOOL AND IS CURRENTLY PROMOTING AN EFFORT TO SECURE A SCHOLARSHIP OF $2000 FOR THE SCHOOL SOAS TO ATTRACT MORE PARTICIPANTS. FINALLY RHODES PLEDGE THE FULL SUPPORT OF THE B47HA WEBSITE TO AID IN ADVERTISING ANY COURSES PER DIRECTION OF THE UNIVERSITY.
LOOKING FOR BELL 47 PARTICIPATION
We have an annual Viet Nam Veterans Reunion in Wichita (El Dorado), KS. Each year we try to bring in helicopters and other military equipment that was used in Viet Nam. We are expanding the Reunion to include all veterans of all wars.
Would you post a note to our fellow members, which might have a Bell 47 that was used for medivac, scout, gun ship, or any other military use. We have had Hueys, Chinooks, and Blackhawks, but never a Bell 47.
If any member(s) would like to attend, it will be held NE of Wichita on July 16,17 and 18th 2004. We would like the aircraft to be there on Saturday for fly-in and static display about 9-10 AM. Certainly if someone wanted to spend the weekend there, we can arrange accommodations. El Dorado (KEQA) airport is 5 minutes away from the reunion site.
This is a limited area so it can’t be an open invitation. Depending on what equipment the military sends, we should have room for 2-3 Bell 47s.
Please contact me for further information should you be interested.
Professional Insurance Management, Inc
Member # 82
DAVE JAMES ARTICLES
"CHERRY DUSTING IN THE FIFTIES"
PICTURED IS KAL KELLEY DUSTING CHERRIES DURING THE 1950s IN A BELL 47 G2.
ALSO HERE IS KAL IN HIS BELL 47H MODEL OF WHICH THERE ARE ONLY 3 FLYING
"STUDENTS HEAR ABOUT BELL 47"
IN THE PRESENCE OF CALIFORNIAN #364 MARK ROWLANDS' NEWLY ACQUIRED TWO VINTAGE BELL 47 G2 HELICOPTERS A NEW GENERATION OF ASPIRING A&PS WERE INTRODUCED TO A LEGEND.
B47HA OFFICERS JOEY RHODES AND NEAL TOLER PROVIDED AN INTERESTING PROGRAM FOLLOWED BY QUESTIONS FOR THE LINCOLN LAND COMMUNITY COLLEGE AV TECH DIVISION.
TWO POSTERS WERE AUTOGRAPHED AND AWARDED TO THE CLASS. RHODES SPOKE ABOUT THE HISTORY AND MISSIONS OF THE 47. TOLER, AN SIUC AV TECH BELL 47 INSTRUCTOR, ANSWERED TECHNICAL QUESTIONS AND MADE IT QUITE CLEAR THAT AN A&P MEANT MORE THAN A "GROCERY STORE!"
AS ONE PERSON STATED, "THIS IS THE FIRST TIME WE WERE AFFORDED AN OPPORTUNITY TO HEAR THE REAL STORY ABOUT A REAL HELICOPTER LEGEND. IT SHOULD BE BACK IN PRODUCTION!!!!"
Ostermans Aero AB in Sweden ( today Patria Ostermans) IS the first dealer and CSF
The first helicopters delivered to Sweden was from the first dozen Bell 47 manufactured by Bell. There is a significant history background with operations of the Bell 47 here in Sweden & Europe etc.
MOUNTAIN FLYING IN WEST VIRGINIA
Photos by Mark Hrutkay
ONE OF THE GREAT THINGS THAT I ENJOY IN MY WORK WITH B47HA IS WORKING ON PROJECTS THAT ALLOW ME TO TRAVEL AND MEET OUR MEMBERS. ONE OF MY CHIEF PROJECTS IS TO OBTAIN AN INSURANCE PROGRAM (HADI) FOR OUR MEMBERS THAT WILL MAKE OWNING AND OPERATING A BELL 47 MORE AFFORDABLE. TO ACCOMPLISH THIS GREAT TASK IS BY NO MEANS A JOB YOU DO AT YOUR DESK AND ON THE PHONE. IT TAKES WORKING WITH PEOPLE AND SEEING IF THEY HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO BECOME A PART OF THE HADI TEAM. ONE OF THE KEY ASPECTS OF HADI IS SETTING STANDARDS FOR FLIGHT INSTRUCTION THAT WILL IMPRESS OUR INSURANCE COMPANY OF OUR COMMITMENT TO SAFETY AND EXCELLENCE. FOR THE PAST TWO YEARS I HAVE HAD A CHANCE TO MEET MANY CFI’S. CFI’S WITH MILITARY TRAINING ARE A PLUS, BUT CFI’S WITH MILITARY AND MOUNTAIN EXPERIENCE ARE GEMS.
AS MANY OF YOU KNOW I HAVE BEEN WORKING WITH SOME MEMBERS IN THEIR OPERATIONS WHICH ONLY MAKES HAVING ALL MY PAPERS AND LOGS IN ORDER A NECESSITY. STAYING RECURRENT IS MANDATORY. IN ORDER TO WORK FOR ONE OPERATION I HAD THE WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE TO WORK WITH DOUG TIBBS AT NATION AIR INSURANCE AND TO RECEIVE MY COMMERCIAL PILOT INSURANCE APPROVAL FOR A PROSPECTIVE EMPLOYER. AFTER RECEIVING THE APPROVAL I WAS OFF TO RECEIVE MOUNTAIN FLYING TRAINING AND WORK ON THE HADI PROGRAM. MY TRAINING WAS TO BE COMPLETED AT LOGAN, WEST VIRGINIA WITH OUR HADI FLIGHT DIRECTOR JOE ALTIZER.
SINCE WE WERE OPERATING IN A VERY MOUNTAINOUS AREA WE SPENT QUITE SOME TIME DISCUSSING PERFORMANCE PLANNING. MY TRAINING WOULD FOCUS AROUND TWO SPECIFIC SECTIONS CONFINED AREA AND PINNACLE/RIDGELINE OPERATIONS. MARK HRUTKAY WAS VERY KIND TO DONATE HIS ASTAR FOR THE TRAINING SINCE HIS G3BI WAS UNDER ANNUAL INSPECTION AT THE TIME.
AFTER A PROPER ORIENTATION TO THE ASTAR ( MY PREVIOUS TURBINE TRAINING WAS IN A JET RANGER) WE WERE OFF. OUR FIRST FLIGHT HOWEVER WAS MORE SCENIC IN NATURE AND TO HELP ME APPRECIATE THE TERRAIN. (PLEASE NOTE ARE MANDATORY LUCKY DICE)
MARK, BEING AN AVID PHOTOGRAPHER, HAD PROMISED TO AERIALLY PHOTOGRAPH A LOCAL RACE. BEING MY WIFE’S RHONDA’S BIRTHDAY MARK WAS VERY KIND TO INVITE HER ALONG FOR THE MISSION. LIFTING OFF FROM A DELUXE DOLLY THE ASTAR QUICKLY FOUND THE WIND AND WAS OFF OVER THE EDGE OF THE RUNWAY WHICH RESIDES AT 1600 EL. AS THE RIDGES PASS BY I AM IMPRESSED WITH JOE’S COMMAND OF THE SHIP. MOVING UP ON THE SMALL VALLEYS WHERE DOCILE VILLAGES ETCH THERE WAY OUT OF THE WILDERNESS BELOW I START TO ASSUME A STRONG FEELING FOR THE CONSEQUENCES OF ANY MISTAKE OR FAILURE TO MAINTAIN STRICT SITUATIONAL AWARENESS. HAVING SHOT THE PICS WE ARE OFF TO SEE THE COUNTRY SIDE AND THEN ALL OF A SUDDEN Joe HAS SPOTTED SOME MARIJUANA FIELDS. MOVING IN FOR A CLOSER LOOK I AM WONDERING TO MYSELF DO I REALLY WANT TO DO THIS TRAINING. AFTER Joe's CURIOSITY IS SATISFIED WE ARE OFF OVER A HIGH RIDGELINE. ONCE WE ARE CLEAR HE TELLS ME TO TAKE THE CONTROLS. MY FIRST THOUGHTS ARE TO MANAGE THE INSTRUMENTATION AND KEEP THE SHIP IN TRIM. BUT Joe SIMPLY SAYS, “FLY THE SHIP.” AS I START TO FEEL THE POWER AVAILABLE AND ENJOY THE TRIP I BECOME MORE RELAXED. MAKING OUR WAY BACK TO THE AIRPORT VIA GPS (WHICH MARK HAS ONE FOR EVERYTHING) WE MAKE OUR APPROACH TO A FLAWLESS LANDING. Joe TELLS ME GET A GOOD NIGHTS SLEEP BECAUSE WE ARE STARTING EARLY.
MARK AFFORDS RHONDA AND I, A TOUR OF HIS LAW OFFICE MULTI STORY BUILDING AND WE ARE IMPRESSED WITH HIS OPERATIONS AND ELABORATE AVIATION ARTWORK AND ARTIFACTS. AFTER THE RIDE OF MY LIFE THROUGH THE MOUNTAINS TO MARKS SECLUDED HOME, RHONDA AND I SETTLE INTO MARK’S GUEST HOUSE FOR AN EVENING OF REST. THE NEXT MORNING WE AWAKE TO DEER IN THE YARD AND THE SOUNDS OF NATURE ABOUNDING. MARK IS PUNCTUAL TO PROVIDE US WITH A GREAT BREAKFAST AND TRIP TO THE AIRPORT WHERE Joe AWAITS.
AFTER SEVERAL HOURS OF GROUND SCHOOL IT IS TIME TO FLY. SOME OF THE AREAS THAT WE WENT INTO TO PRACTICE CAN BEST BE DESCRIBED AS UNFORGETTABLE.
KEEPING THIS ARTICLE AS BRIEF AND TO THE POINT AS POSSIBLE, I HAVE THESE FINAL THOUGHTS.
WHEN OPERATING IN CONFINED AREAS THE KEY POINT IS ALTITUDE OVER AIRSPEED. WHEN OPERATING WITH PINNACLES THE FOCUS IS AIRSPEED OVER ALTITUDE. FORGET THOSE AND YOU ARE DEAD!
HADI’S STRENGTH WILL BE IN INSTRUCTORS LIKE Joe WHO ARE WILLING TO PROVIDE OUR MEMBERSHIP WITH THE BEST TRAINING. THE CONFIDENCE THAT I GAINED AND THE GUIDELINES THAT WERE CONSTRUCTED FOR HADI WILL BE LONG TREASURED AS WILL MY MEMORIES OF MARK AND Joe's KINDNESS AND HOSPITALITY.
Joe ALTIZER #262 IS THE CHIEF PILOT FOR MARPAT AVIATION WHO IS ONE OF OUR GOLD CORPORATE SPONSORS.
"FROM OK TO LA"
BY NEAL TOLER
Claremore (OK) to Santa Monica (CA) in a Bell 47G2
Every now and then the planets line up and something special happens. Upon returning from a successful three day stint with the Bell 47 Association during HAI 2003 (Dallas, TX) I was contacted by a potential owner to perform a pre-purchase inspection on a Bell 47G2 near Claremore (OK). This particular Bell 47G2 was owned by a private individual, fresh out of 1200 overhaul/inspection and no expense spared with attention to detail. An A&P technician since 1988 and Bell 47G2A1 owner/operator since 1993 I’m more concerned with component internals (bearings, gears, etc.) since paint and interior are relatively inexpensive. The potential owner had flown the helicopter approximately one week prior and was pleased with performance and overall appearance, my responsibility was to confirm the helicopter was ‘as represented’ from an independent standpoint.
Upon initial inspection (walk around) I noticed two cotter pins that required trimming but nothing out of the ordinary. The hydraulic actuators were clean, engine oil (break in) appeared dark (with out a burnt odor), tail rotor gearbox chip detector had a slight ‘weep’ but no cause for concern, and all safety placards were readable and in place. What impressed me most was the private individual (seller) didn’t persist on following in my foot steps, the majority of my questions were answered with him going about his chores on the other side of the hangar. Other than assistance moving the helicopter in/out of the hangar and a few logbook inquires this particular pre-purchase was considerably more enjoyable than purchasing an automobile.
The only obvious ‘squawk’ I discovered was Mode C certification for the KT76A transponder. Since this helicopter (if purchased) was to be operated near Los Angeles airspace I made a point to inform both seller and potential owner (via phone) of this fact then I quietly stepped aside so both parties could finalize funds and documentation transfer proceedings. Bringing buyer and seller together is a job well done.
A week passes and I’m back, only this time to ferry the Bell 47G2 to the West Coast. The new owner entertained the idea of trailering (make sure it’s soft sprung) but decided the additional labor cost of preparing the helicopter (main rotor blade removal/ associated disassembly requirements) and ground transportation cost would far exceed the direct cost of flying the helicopter; I agreed 100%. Armed with sectional maps, a duffle bag, refreshments (Hawaiian Punch) and the confidence from knowing to approach this long cross county one step at a time I departed from Claremore (OK) around noon on Saturday. I wasn’t the only one flying that day, a beautiful American bald eagle was low level near a creek bed some 300’ below the helicopter, talk about breathtaking.
First fuel stop would be Shawnee (OK) (SNL). This would be a good opportunity to verify fuel consumption keeping in mind a Bell 47G2 fuel capacity is 43 gallons of 100LL. I also wanted to verify the fuel gauge was reflecting the correct fuel tank quantity since I was unfamiliar with this particular helicopter. I didn’t take very long to realize I’m glad I fly a Bell 47G2A1 with the boosted collective, this particular Bell 47G2 was ‘tight’ since fresh out of 1200 hour overhaul/inspection. Nonetheless everything appeared normal and I departed for Halliburton (OK) (DUC). After refueling at Halliburton I proceeded on to Kickapoo Downtown (Wichita Falls)(TX) (T47). After contacting Sheppard AFB (Wichita Falls) (SPS) I was cleared thru their airspace direct to Kickapoo and landed on the ramp. Left the helicopter running (collective, throttle, cyclic frictions on) and verified fuel quantity, decided to fly next leg to Monday (TX) (37F). Upon arrival at Monday I thought I’d taken a wrong turn and ended up on the “Gunsmoke” film set. Proceeded south to Arledge (TX) (F56) and “Gunsmoke” just got worse. FBO? There wasn’t. Boarded up windows? There were. Payphone? I’ll call for assistance. Nice young lady answered the phone, I explained the three W’s (who, where, what) and confessed I needed 100LL fuel at the airport. Out comes an officer named Mr. Clu Burnham who kindly provides transportation into the local “big blue headed monster” a.k.a. Wal-Mart. Anyone ever seen a movie about a West Texas Sheriff driving 90 mph on the county roads? About this same time Joey Rhodes (Bell 47 Association President) calls on my cellular phone with a weather report from Southern Illinois, glad I’m in west Texas because we have snow/ice in the homeland. Four (4) five gallon plastic gas containers later (which I kindly donated to the Stamford Police Department for their assistance) I’m enroute to Sweetwater (TX) (SWW). You know those original batteries they give you when purchasing a Garmin GPS? Well they only last about five hours so keep a couple sets of Energizer Bunny replacements in the helicopter; in darkness, thirty miles out of Sweetwater (I could see the rotating beacon) I alternated between flying the helicopter and illuminating the GPS screen via a push button. Landed safely (it’s pitch dark) and met Mr. John T. Howard (Avenger Air) who kindly provided hotel directions and a grey courtesy car (note: the gear selector is slightly off so R is actually D). Mr. Howard, his wife and the two FBO guard dogs (ankle biters) are very hospitable folks, I would encourage fellow pilots to utilize their FBO when in the area.
Up the next morning (Sunday) and promptly greeted with a gusty 20 knot southwest wind, it’s going be a challenging day. Arrived 2 hours later at Skywest Airport (private airpark) in Midland (TX), once again greeted with a lot of hospitality. Skywest doesn’t accept credit cards but they do accept checks (which I didn’t have) so versus staying to wash dishes I kindly sent them a check approximately ten days later. The southwest wind finally settled down so I wasn’t embarrassed about being passed by traffic on I-20 and proceeded on to Pecos (TX) (PEQ). Met a nice gentleman named Mr. Dennis Blanchard (Pecos Air Center) who provides quality service and fixes one mean burrito. There is an FBO guard dog but he was chained up and didn’t bark. Departed Pecos and followed I-20 to Culberson County (TX) (VHN), if you land here make it close to the pumps otherwise those ground handling wheels will be put to good use. After departing Culberson County I chose to continue following I-20 towards El Paso since the terrain is very rugged and the flight leg was approximately 150 air miles. Landing at West Texas Airport (El Paso) (T27) is an adventure (a lot of Sunday afternoon traffic) and an occasional renegade motorcyclist utilizing the runway as a drag strip. Mr. Phil Barrett is a superb gentleman who provided me with information concerning navigation around the El Paso airspace. When not figuring your 100LL fuel invoice I can personally state that Mr. Barrett is fast cat at chasing renegade motorcycles away with some lead shot. A note of interest; the density altitude indicator at T27 is a thermometer pointing to numbers painted on the side of the office. Thanks to Mr. Barrett I stayed south of El Paso, flew west towards the stacks and up along the river towards Deming (NM) (DMN). The attendant at Deming provided a NASCAR type fuel stop and I proceeded west along I-10 landing at Cochise County Airport (AZ) (P33) for the evening. The FBO manager is Mr. Jim Walden, he kindly provided me with transportation to the local hotel. Unfortunately his little pickup truck only goes one way so I got to ride in the back of a police car out to the airport the next morning. Anyhow, have Mr. Walden tell you the story about his original FBO dog dragging the other dog (now the second FBO dog) to the airport when only a puppy.
Up the next morning (Monday), cool temperature (not cold) so I wipe the Bell 47G2 airframe down and check all fluid levels. Decide to fly direct to Eloy (AZ) (E60) versus over to Tucson and up along I-10. Good decision, some high terrain but I went directly over Biosphere 2 and arrived in Eloy as planned. Once again be careful here, a lot of crop spraying planes, jump planes (appeared to be Shorts 360’s) and parachutes everywhere. Departed Eloy, flew over several dairy farms ,cattle ranches and a lot of John Deere farm equipment enroute to Buckeye (AZ) (BXK); made me think of home (the equipment not the odor). Buckeye has a very nice self service 100LL pump with little airport traffic. Onward to Blythe (CA) (BLH), definitely notice the warmer temperature here, met two gentlemen tired of the Idaho winter who just flew down south to get away from it all. Continued west along I-20 to Banning (CA) (BNG) via Palm Springs, this was the most challenging segment of the entire trip. Palm Springs is flat out windy, the Bell 47G2 was tossed around several times but performed flawlessly thru it all. At one point the Palm Springs controller stated my airspeed was 30 mph, I agreed. Although there is a sign posted at Banning be careful when landing there since the airport apron is uneven and your fuel tanks may not be completely full after service. Departed Banning in a very light rain and prepared for arrival in Santa Monica (CA) (SMO). The airport controllers at Ontario International (ONT), El Monte (EMT) and Brackett (POC) were very professional; after explaining I was a helicopter, unfamiliar with area and enroute to Santa Monica they spoon fed me every step of the way along the vast array of interstates. Arriving in Santa Monica (remain 900 AGL until over the runway for noise abatement) and seeing two fine gentleman awaiting my arrival was a very welcome sight. Upon exiting the helicopter I kissed the ground (asphalt tastes terrible) and watched the new owner admire a proven engineering marvel. The best feeling is delivering a helicopter, the most rewarding feeling is it’s a Bell 47.
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