The intermeshing rotors was an early attempt at producing a helicopter that had no
torque because of its massive rotating blades.
The cargo bay of the Kaman design was spacious and easily accessed.
Brian Reynolds is the owner of the last
Huskie that is flying in military colors. He
is the president and owner of Northwest
Helicopters, in Olympia, Washington.
Northwest is the premier restoration,
service, and maintenance facility for many
types of helicopters but is primarily known
for its UH-1 “Hueys.” Reynolds founded the
Olympic Flight Museum in 1998, in Olympia,
Washington, which provides a home
for an unusual collection of aircraft and
helicopters, including the Huskie.
Reynolds had always been intrigued
by the H- 43 when he was logging with
helicopters and had wanted one since
then. When the helicopter logging market
died, the prices came down while the
spare-parts supply had been consumed.
Fascinated by the Huskie, Reynolds took
it in as partial trade for one of his Hueys.
Kevin Lederhos, who restored the Huskie,
is now the director of development for
Northwest Helicopters and still applies his
expertise to the H- 43 on a regular basis.
The Huskie isn’t flown often because, among other things, the
wood rotor blades have a limited lifespan and are the only known set
in existence. If it even looks like a drop of rain might fall, she doesn’t
leave the building.
Because of the angled rotors, the Huskie must be approached
much like you would a rattlesnake: very carefully and watching where
you are walking.
Reynolds says, “Flying the H- 43 is a challenge, especially in the
wind. It’s like flying two helicopters in close formation. It is rough
and slow, shakes a lot, and doesn’t fly like any other helicopter. It’s
probably one of the few helicopters that a regular helicopter pilot
can’t just climb in and fly off; it has too many idiosyncrasies. It does
not like tailwinds at all; as a matter of fact, it’s a handful in any wind. It
has to be flown with large control inputs, including pedal. The closest
pilots I have seen get close to figuring it out on the first flights were
Chinook pilots. But even they need a couple flights to figure out how
to make it turn. Flying the H- 43 has to be planned out, for sure.”
Chances to see a Huskie are few and far between. Being able to
see one in flight is even rarer. Make a trip out to Olympia, Washington,
during Father’s Day weekend for the annual airshow and watch her
fly. She might not go on the list of the prettiest helicopter you’ve ever
seen, but it will be hard to walk away without a smile on your face.
Although the flight deck of the Huskie appears to be that of a “typical” helicopter, its flight characteristics are so
different that only pilots with specialized training can fly it easily.