The old Huey gunship is gone. Once the signature aircraft of the Vietnam War, the UH-1, Bravo, Charlie through November series helicopters are no longer used by the US armed forces. From San Diego:
For one vet, the Huey arouses strong memories:
The Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 469 (HMLA-469 ) and Marine Light Attack Training Squadron 303 (HMLA-T 303) honored the UH-1N Huey in a farewell ceremony at MCAS Camp Pendleton Friday afternoon.
The UH-1N "November" model huey is being replaced by the next generation, UH-1Y "Yankee" helicopter, which flies faster, lifts more and deploys more powerful weapons.
The initial HU-1, the "Iroquois" (Bell Model 204), was first delivered in 1961. The HU-1 became famous as the Huey and was the Army's initial and most successful turbo-shaft powered heliocopter. HU stands for "Helicopter, Utility" and it indeed was designed to perform a variety of tasks. In 1962 the armed forces adopted a uniform system for designating aircraft and the HU-1 became the UH-1.
"If smell is a memory nudge, sound is a sledgehammer and for a Vietnam veteran, none is more powerful than the distinctive rotor slap of a Bell UH-1 helicopter. Heard fading in from the distance, it was the war's constant soundtrack and only a Huey's unmistakable wop-wop-wop brings the memories flooding back.
[...] As a military aircraft, the UH-1 was unique for its wide use and its direct contact with virtually everyone in Vietnam. Sure, everyone knew about B-52s and F-4s, but we actually climbed into and flew around in Hueys. In my part of Vietnam, they were just as often called Slicks as Hueys. The origin of the term may be two-fold. Before the AH-1 Cobra appeared in 1967, UH-1s had been fitted with side-mounted guns—improvised gunships. Those without guns were "slick-sided" or just Slicks. The Marine origin of the term may refer to the UH-1's ability to fly without the internal seat frame arrangement, just a "slick deck." Either way, the UH-1 made its mark.
And so did the pilots who flew it. At Fort Bragg, I served under an E-7 who'd been badly wounded and yanked out of an LZ blasted in the jungle by a 500-pound bomb by a UH-1 shot full of holes. In telling this story, his eyes would glaze a little, but one thing he said about the pilots stuck with me: "Those sons of bitches were crazy." He meant that as a supreme compliment and nod of respect and nobody hearing the story would take it any other way."
The UH-1C was primarily developed as a weapons platform with a more powerful UH-1B turbo engine and redundant hydraulic systems. The UH-1C was eventually replaced by the Cobra during the Vietnam war but was still used extensively. The Cobra has since been replaced by the AH-1Z.
The UH-1N (Bell Model 212) was introduced in 1970 - it's primary advantage was that it was a two-engine chopper. This was a greatly desired safety feature, especially for the Navy and the Marines as these craft would have to traverse stretches of water.
The successors, the UH-1Y and AH-1Z (attack) series have rotors designed to withstand small arms fire, 25% greater lift capability and 50% greater range than the UH-1N. They are able to keep up with other air capable resources that they're supposed to be escorting such as Blackhawk (UH-60) choppers.
The legend lives on, but without the characteristic wop wop wop - the new birds have four rotors instead of two.