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Agusta-Bell 204B (I)UH-1
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226 / K Agusta-Bell 204B (I)UH-1 c/n 3032 - KON. MARINE VGSQ 7 - Leeuwarden AFB in Holland - 6 June 1976 Leeuwarden AFB (EHLW)

The Agusta-Bell 204B (I)UH-1 is an under licence built Bell 204B helicopter powered by a single 1.050 shp Bristol Siddeley / Rolls Royce Gnome H-1000 turboshaft engine. With this engine the helicopter had a cruising speed of 204 km / h and a range of 400 km. The Bell 204B (UH-1B Iroquois) is a 9-seats medium lift utility helicopter powered by a single 1.100 shp Lycoming T53-L-11 turboshaft engine. The single, two-blade rotor gives the helicopter a distinctive whomp-whomp sound that could be heard miles away. The Model 204 was developed by Bell Helicopter to meet a 1952 US Army requirement for a military helicopter suitable for front-line casualty evacuation. In November 1953, revised military requirements were submitted to the Department of the Army. Bell was with Model 204 one of twenty companies that submitted design proposals to meet the U.S. Army requirements in their bid for the contract. On 23 February 1955, after choosing the Model 204, the Army ordered Bell to build three airframes of the Model 204 for evaluation with the designation XH-40. Powered by a 700 shp Lycoming YT53-L-1 engine, the XH-40 first flew on 22 October 1956. Two more prototypes were built in 1957. Before the first XH-40 prototype had flown, the Army had ordered six YH-40 aircraft with 300 mm cabin stretch and other modifications for evaluation. The nine prototype / pre-production models were followed by the initial production model for the U.S. Army, the HU-1A with a 770 shp T53-L-1A. After September 1962, the designation for all models was changed to UH-1 under a unified Department of Defense (DOD) designation system. In 1962, the UH-1A model was succeeded by the more powerful UH-1B, with various external and rotor improvements. More than a thousand model UH-1B helicopters were built plus four prototypes designated YUH-1B. Manufacturing licences for the UH-1B were acquired by Agusta in Italy and Fuji Heavy Industries in Japan. Out of the Bell Model 204, or UH-1B, the Bell 205 was developed. The Model 205, or UH-1D divers primarily from the model 204 in having a longer cabin capable of accommodating twelve troops or six casualty stretchers. The prototype of the Model 205 flew first on 16 August 1961. Series production of the UH-1D commenced during 1963. Due to the Vietnam War the Bell UH-1 series Iroquois was mass-produced for the U.S. Army. The Bell UH-1D Iroquois, better known as the "Huey", began arriving in Vietnam in 1967. Ultimately more than 600 UH-1Ds were transferred to South Vietnam. More than 12,000 Model 205s were built by Bell and its licensees up to the early 1980s of which 344 UH-1Ds were built under license by Dornier in Germany.

In 1961, the Dutch Government decided to buy seven Agusta Bell 204B (I) UH-1 helicopters for the Korps Mariniers (Marine Corps) the elite part of the Royal Netherlands Navy. The helicopters should be used for air transport and support in Netherlands New Guinea. The first helicopter was handed over from the Italian Agusta factory on 8 June 1962. Two aircraft were shipped to Netherlands New Guinea, but after NNG came under UN control, these aircraft were returned unpacked to the Netherlands. In the Netherlands, the helicopters were assigned to VGSQ 7 at Naval Station Valkenburg. In addition to transport as the main task, the Agusta Bell 204B (I) UH-1 helicopters also performed OSRD tasks. The helicopters also had the task of training helicopter pilots and conducting amphibious exercises with the Marine Corps. The skids of the helicopters could be replaced by floats, but this option was hardly used; more use was made of the inflatable floats fasted to the skids. Two aircraft also rotated to VGSQ 1 at Hato in the Dutch Caribbian in the period April 1963 to the end of 1972. The loss of two aircraft was compensated by a new one received on 31 July 1969. In addition to two pilots, eight armed marines could be transported. The helis carried registrations 220-228. On 24 February 1978, the last of the seven remaining aircraft was withdrawn from use and in May 1978 all seven airframes were sold to Sky Controls Inc. in the USA. Because the helicopters were fitted with British engines, Sky Controls never flew with the helicopters. In the end, they ended up in Sweden, where some of them were given to a Swedish museum and others where used for instructional purposes.

Agusta-Bell 204B (I) UH-1 s/n 3032 was built by Agusta in Italy. On 18 March 1963, the helicopter entered service as '226' with the Royal Dutch Navy VGSQ 7 (Vliegtuig Squadron 7) at Naval Station Valkenburg. In 1974, VSQ 7 moved from Valkenburg to Naval Station de Kooy. On 23 December 1977, the Agusta-Bell 204B (I)UH-1 '226' was withdrawn from use and stored. In May 1978, the helicopter was sold to Sky Controls Inc., Sun Valley, California, USA. Many years later, the airframe went to Göteborg in Sweden where it was preserved in Aeroseum Göteborg, the aviation museum at Göteborg-Save.
In June 1976, Agusta-Bell 204B (I)UH-1 '226 / K' of the Marine Luchtvaart Dienst - Vliegtuig Squadron 7 was seen at Leeuwarden AFB in the Netherlands.

page last updated 08-12-2020
Copyright © Jack Wolbrink, Emmen, the Netherlands

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