Huey Reaches 15,000 Flight Hours

A UH-1 Huey helicopter assigned to the 58th Special Operations Wing at Kirtland AFB, N.M., eclipsed 15,000 flight hours. It’s “only the second UH-1 to surpass that number of flying hours,” said Lt. Col. Curtis Wichers, 512th Rescue Squadron assistant director of operations. This 40-year-old airframe, tail number 69-6650, entered the Air Force’s inventory on March 19, 1971. The wing’s most senior UH-1 pilot, contractor Ken Witte, flew the helicopter on the milestone mission on May 25. A maintenance test pilot and retired Air Force pilot, Witte said he was impressed with how smooth the helicopter felt during the flight. Wichers said this airframe’s longevity is “a real tribute to the wing’s maintainers who have spent countless hours ensuring it was ready to perform its mission.” The Air Force intends to replace its venerable Hueys starting in 2015. (Kirtland report by Carl Grusnick)