VINTAGE KITS ANNEX 5
What you WILL find. Models on this page, for the most part, are vintage (a relative term, particularly for helicopters) display models by the major display model companies such as Topping, Precise and Piazzai, or rare examples of kits or one-off models.
What you WILL find. Models on this page, for the most part, are vintage (a relative term, particularly for helicopters) display models by the major display model companies such as Topping, Precise and Piazzai, or rare examples of kits or one-off models.
The Bell "Huey" is one of the most recognizable helicopters in the world. This venerable machine began life as the XH-40 mock-up shown below, completed at Bell Helicopter in November, 1955. After well over fifty-years, the Huey, in all it's derivitives - one engine, two engines, two blades, four blades - is still going strong. The civilian Model 204B series began a long commercial career for the helicopter to parallel the military development.
Following the military success of the early UH-1 Iroquois (Huey) helicopters, having built over 400 by the end of 1962, Bell worked on a commercial version designated as the Model 204B. The 204B was F.A.A. certificated in early 1963. Contrary to some information, the commercial 204B was not a civilian version of the Army's UH-1B. The cabin of the "B" was retained and a larger, 48-foot rotor and transmission was used, similar to the Model 205A-1 and UH-1D, necessitating a longer tailboom. A 1,100 hp Lycoming T53-09A engine powered the civilian model. The 204B was a melding of the UH-1B and the then-new 205A-1/UH-1D, a 15-place version of the Huey using the larger rotor and the T53-L11 engine derated to 1,100 hp. By the end of 1964, Bell had many 204B's in service.
This large, 1:32 scale Topping model of the Bell 204B is finished in overall white, similar to the original prototype which was white with a red stripe. The model carries a Topping label on the bottom. It is estimated that this model stems from the 1962-1963 introductory period for the 204B; no "N" numbers are afixed which suggests that the models were used by Bell to decorate with a customer's scheme and registration number as a sales promotion. The model's configuration is essentially that of the Bell prototype, N73910. The magazine in the photos below is the December 1962 issue of Flight Magazine.
This excellent Topping model of the Bell 204B is over 40-years old, and it's been fifty-years since the Huey was developed - yet, updated versions of the configuration are still being worked on. The Marines have incorporated the majority of components from the latest AH-1Z attack helicopter on the UH-1Y. Major flight test programs on these configurations are underway at NAVAIR's Air Test and Evaluation Squadron Two One, HX-21, at NAS Patuxent River. A photo of the UH-1Y in the HX-21 maintenance hangar is shown below (6/05). Update: The H-1 Upgrades Program, which is replacing aging Marine Corps UH-1N and AH-1W aircraft with upgraded and 84 percent identical UH-1Y and AH-1Z aircraft, completed developmental testing Feb. 17, 2006. Currently, the program is undergoing Operational Evaluation as well as starting a third Low-Rate Initial Production lot although the program slipped its schedule. A recent contract was awarded Bell for production.
The price of the Topping 204B helicopter is $1250.00.
In 1962 the USAF asked Bell to develop a special version of the UH-1D using the General Electric T-58 turboshaft as a powerplant. This engine was capable of 1,250 hp rather than the UH-1D's Lycoming T53-L11 that was capable of 1,100 hp. Bell proposed a developed version of the Bell model 204 which had been used by the US Army as the UH-1B . Bell proposed to use the shorter cabin of the model 204B but with the longer tail boom and rotor-transmission of the model 205 (essentially the commercial 204B with a larger engine). As a result, the UH-1F was introduced in 1963 with a first flight on February 20, 1964. The USAF ordered 25 units that year and units were delivered in 1964.
As mentioned above, this Air Force version closely followed the design of the civilian Model 204B with the exception of the GE engine. Externally, the only really noticeable difference between the 204B and the UH-1F is the engine exhaust. While the 204B has a straight exhaust, the UH-1F has one that is oriented to the right side of the engine. Bell's UH-1F light utility helicopter was designed to move people and things among SAC's missile sites, however, the -1F was utilized in Viet Nam by 1968. A total of about 150 were built.
The first batch of U. S. Air Force UH-1F Huey's were delivered in a dark blue gloss fuselage with a gloss white cabin roof and high visibility markings (as in the photo above). Later units that were used in the United States were painted in light gray overall with black "United States Air Force" painted along the tail boom and a yellow band with black borders at the end of the boom with a "Danger" marking. A typical black serial was painted on the tail. Other UH-1Fs used the same colors but with the roof painted in gloss white. UH-1Fs used in Viet Nam were painted in a camouflage scheme.
The UH-1F photo above is interesting in that the color scheme not only matches the UH-1F model being offered, but the serial number, or tail number, of the ship, 313141 is basically the same as the model's, 13141. The publicity photo of the UH-1F is probably that of the first delivered which dates this model as being of early vintage, probably before deliveries began. That date would indicate that this model was also made by Topping, not a follow-on company such as Rolen or Precise who picked up Topping contracts when Topping ceased doing business around 1964.
This Topping model of the USAF UH-1F is priced at $1250.00.
A Topping Bell UH-1B complete with the original Topping packing box. This model is in "like new" condition as it only recently was removed from its box for the first time. Photos below show the box and details of the model made by Topping. It is essentially the same as the white version shown above but has minor detail changes such as the length of the tail skid and a brighter silver for the rotor head. A superior example of a Topping helicopter model, about 45 years old. This model of the UH-1B is available for $1300.00.
On 8 September, 1978, Bell announced its intention to develop a four-bladed variant of its twin-turbine Model 212 which had been developed from the Model 205 for the Canadians. Designated Model 412, this helicopter was the first four-blade rotor helicopter to be produced by Bell (multi-bladed aircraft already having been flown by Bell but only for research purposes). The new four-blade rotor improved the performance of the aircraft in many respects, first being the reduction of noise and vibration levels. The rotor head had elastomeric bearings that eliminated both mechanical hinges and viscous dampers. In mid-1984, the internal vibration level was further lowered by the introduction of a pendulum damper kit on production aircraft, but this was also available independently for retrofit to earlier machines.
Creation of the new Model was made on two newly built Model 212 airframes without costly redesign. Both aircraft served as development prototypes and for the certification program. The Model 412 retained the same powerplant as the Model 212, the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6-3B-1 Turbo Twin Pac delivering 1400hp for take-off and 1130hp for continuous operation. The first modified helicopter made its maiden flight in early August 1979, followed by the second machine in December of the same year. FAA type approval was given on 9 January, 1981, and IFR certification came on 13 February, 1981.
The Model 412SP was introduced in the late 1980s with production taking place in Canada; the SP (Special Performance) has increased fuel capacity, an increased maximum take-off weight and some upgraded interior options. SPs and later versions (HP - 1991, and the EP) now fly with many foreign military services including Norway.
The fuselage of the 412SP was constructed in Korea by Samsung Aerospace of Seoul, Korea, part of the giant Samsung Corporation. This outstanding model carries the marking of Samsung; records show that a 412SP, manufactured in 1989, was initially owned by the Samsung Corporation and was later returned to the United States and purchased by Petroleum Helicopters in 1997 and used for medical operations - the machine later crashed.
This model in a large 1:32 scale is similar in all respects to the earlier Bell models made by Topping and Precise. I would guess that this model was made by Precise. It has a full interior with controls and an instrument panel and glare shield. An outstanding model in excellent condition which can be owned for $1200.00.
Concurrent with work on improved versions of the Model 204, Bell Helicopters was developing a new series of "stretched" Hueys, with the company designation of "Model 205". Bell proposed the concept to the Army in 1960, leading to award of a contract in July 1960 for seven "YUH-1D" prototypes. The Model 205 first flew on 16 August 1961 and was introduced into service in August 1963 as the "UH-1D". It featured a Lycoming T53-L-11 turboshaft engine with 1,100 SHP; a 48 foot rotor; greater fuel capacity and provisions for auxiliary tanks; and a load capacity of 12 to 14 passengers, six litters and a medical attendant, or up to 4,000 pounds of cargo. It is easily distinguished from the Model 204 by the fact that the side doors have two windows, rather than one.
The Model 205 became the Army's primary combat transport and medevac helicopter in Vietnam. The smaller Model 204 variants were generally assigned to the gunship role. The Army bought a total of 2,008 UH-1Ds. The UH-1D led to the improved "UH-1H", which was generally similar, but was fitted with the more powerful T53-L-13 engine with 1,400 SHP, as well as avionics for night and bad-weather operation, and a Decca radio navigation system. The UH-1H began to roll off the manufacturing line in September 1967 and remained in production for 20 years. The US Army obtained a total of 3,573 UH-1Hs, and many remain in service, mostly with Army Reserve / National Guard units. They have been kept current with new avionics, improved composite rotor blades, countermeasures equipment such as chaff-flare dispensers and infrared jammers, and other updated gear.
On 4 Nov 1970, the USAF contracted for 30 HH-1H rescue ships for local base rescue to replace the aging HH-43 Huskie. Deliveries began in Oct 1971 and were completed in 1973. The HH-1H is basically the UH-1H with some modifications, equipped for Air Force operations. The modification included moving the tail rotor to the right hand side of the tailboom. Serial numbers of the thirty helicopters purchased run from 70-2457 to 70-2486. The HH-1H model being offered is marked as "02457", the very first of the production run.
The twin-engine Bell 212 version of the Huey, the UH-1N, also entered the Air Force inventory in 1970 to provide search and rescue capabilities. The missions expanded to include missile support, VIP support, and survival school support. HH-1H and UH-1Fs supporting the missile wings were eventually replaced by the UH-1N due to the greater safety and capability offered by the twin engine. Manufactured by Bell The twin-engined UH-1N is powered by a Pratt & Whitney Canada T-400-CP-400 Turbo "Twin Pac", consisting of two PT6 turboshaft engines coupled to a combining gearbox with a single output shaft, each flat-rated to 1,290 SHP. Some of the HH-1H ships were surplused to government agencies for fire and patrol operations and are currently operating.
The Bell HH-1H for the USAF was a very limited, early 1970's production and this Piazzai model in 1:50 scale falls into the same category; it represents one of the rarer versions of the famous Bell "Huey" line that has been captured in model form and is no longer available from the Italian maker, Piazzai. The model is in excellent condition and is priced at $495.00. Photos of the model being offered are shown below.
The Air Force rolled out the new TH-1H in November 2005; this updated version of the "H" will be used for pilot training and features a "glass cockpit." Twenty-five TH-1Hs are to be produced - the first one is undergoing testing and evaluation with production units expected in 2007. It was announced in January 2006 that U.S. Helicopter, a subsidiary of Bell Helicopter, won a contract to build nine TH-1H "Huey II" ships. There seems to be no limit to the number of variants of the original Model 204.
In further proof of that, consider that Bell is proposing a new version of the "Huey" for the hotly contested U.S. Army's Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) competition. The Army's contract decision for the LUH is expected in April 2006. Flash - The LUH competition was awarded to EADS for the EC-145 (based on the BK-117) on June 30, 2006; the Bell was considered to be too expensive. The new LUH will carry the designation of UH-72A.
In 1960, the Army conducted a design competition for a light observation helicopter (LOH) with turbine power; twelve companies entered the competition by early 1961 and the winning designs were named in May of 1961. Fairchild Hiller's Model 1100 and Bell's Model D-250 were picked as the winning designs. Army fly-off tests were conducted and the Fairchild 1100 (OH-5) was chosen as the better design by around late 1963. Meanwhile, however, the Hughes Tool Company went ahead and built a prototype of its Model 369 entry, designed by M.S. Harned, and N9696F made its first flight on February 27, 1963 - even though the Army had chosen the FH-1100, Hughes had been able to "convince" Army procurement brass that they should be given a shot at the contract with their lighter machine and subsequently the 369 was given the military designation OH-6 and Army trials commenced by November of 1963. In what must be labelled as one of the sleaziest procurement travesties in Army history, the Hughes Tool Company obviously "bought" into the LOH contract (a blatant and illegal move) by coming in with a production bid against the FH-1100 that was less than one-half of Fairchild Hiller's bid in May 1965. Hughes, at their Culver City plant, went on to build nearly 1500 of the OH-6As, all at a loss, and then tried to up their price to recover on subsequent contract bids but lost out to Bell who went on to build the OH-58A military version of their Jet Ranger (Fairchild refused to bid on the contract at this point after getting screwed over by Hughes and the Army).
Hughes converted a 369 into a civil version designated as the Model 500 and first flew this ship, N9000F, at the beginning of 1967. N9000F was exhibited and demonstrated at the 1967 Helicopter Association of America convention at Palm Springs. CollectAir photos of N9000F and an Army OH-6A, taken at Palm Springs, are shown below.
This nearly all-white N9000F at Palm Springs hasn't been converted fully to the civilian model as the rear door has the basic OH-6A window configuration. N9000F later underwent a full conversion and the color scheme changed which appeared in 1969 advertising with this copy:
Hughes Helicopters built thousands of the of the 369 series, for the military and for the commercial user. The 500 commercial series has been in constant production through various changes in ownership of the company and continues today. The MD900 Explorer expanded the commercial line as a larger twin turbine machine.
The chronological history of what was originally Hughes Helicopters and what has happened since 1984 is presented here to avoid any confusion with regard to company names. The familiar Hughes Helicopters was purchased by McDonnell Douglas in 1984 and the Hughes Helicopters name retained until the following year, when in 1985 the company was renamed McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Co. Then the name was again changed to McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Systems. Helicopter production became centered in Mesa, Arizona and all helicopter models were preceded by the designation of "MD," such as "MD500E." Boeing merged with McDonnell Douglas in 1996/97 and in 1997 sold all of the light commercial turbine helicopter business (the military AH-64 Apache was not part of that sale) to Netherlands-based MD Helicopters Inc, part of the RDM Holdings Inc., a Netherlands-based group. This sale occurred following the failure of a planned sale of the asssets to Textron- owned Bell. MD Helicopters Inc., or MDHI, experienced some financial problems (Boeing made a multi-million February 2005 investment which helped keep MDHI solvent) and, in 2005, completed a significant restructuring transaction. As part of the transaction, Patriarch Partners, LLC, a New York based financial firm with approximately $4.5 billion under management, acquired a controlling interest in MDHI.
The twin-engine MDX/MD Explorer lifted off for the first time on 18 December 1992 at Mesa, Arizona. This new technology helicopter received type certification on 21 December 1994 from the FAA which was only 23 months after first flight. This was one of the shortest certification periods ever recorded for a new helicopter and was also the first new design passenger and utility rotorcraft certified by the FAA in more than ten years.
The MD Explorer is the first commercial helicopter totally designed using computer-aided design techniques. The Explorer has been built largely from composite materials and is powered by twin Pratt & Whitney Canada 206E turboshafts and has a maximum gross weight of 6250 lbs. The helicopter incorporates a range of new technologies to improve safety and performance and reduce operating costs. These include the NOTAR yaw control system, composite, bearingless main rotor with five blades. Digital avionics including FADEC, diagnostics and an Integrated Instrument Display System. The liquid crystal Integrated Instrument Display System (IIDS) replaces traditional cockpit instruments by presenting aircraft operating information in a digital format and icon symbology on two six-inch screens. The system also records operating data for on-board health and usage monitoring, providing technicians with accurate information for performing maintenance functions.
A color brochure sheet for the MD Explorer may be viewed by Clicking Here.
The MD900 model being offered is in 1:25 scale and was made by the Italian firm of Piazzai; this model is in an all-white base as purchased by MDHI for promotional purposes. Individual operator color schemes and logos could be applied as necessary. A number of MD Explorers have been delivered in a basic all-white scheme, as shown in the pictures below.
Click on the photo below for some in-action video of a helicopter chase of an Audi RS4 in Belgium by G-11.
This is a large model, having a rotor diameter of 16-inches, and is a new model, just out of the box. The original Piazzai box comes with the model. The photos below survey the lines of the attractive Explorer model.
This superb Piazzai model, complete with a detailed cockpit, is available for Sorry Sold.
The Hughes 369E, or 500E, received a type certificate in 1982; this helicopter, with continuing upgrades, is still in production. The "E" featured a recontoured nose section giving it a somewhat raked look compared to the "D" and prior versions. The Hughes name disappeared in 1985 and the "E" then became the MD 500E. The MD 500E, 530F and 520N light helicopters are manufactured by MD Helicopters Inc of Mesa, Arizona.
This model, in 1:25 scale, was manufactured by Piazzai of Italy. The original model of the Hughes 500, made by Piazzai, did not have a stand. A later model, the 500D, also made by Piazzai, came with a stand featuring a swivel. This Hughes 500E model did not come with a stand and there is s small hole in the underside. Note that the markings on this model are for the Hughes 500E, indicating that it was manufactured prior to the 1985 change dictated by McDonnell Douglas at that time.
A 3-view and dimensions can be viewed by clicking here. Use the back arrow to return.
An exquisite model featuring interior details. This model is available for Sorry Sold.
See 500E sales literature offered below.
The Hughes 269C model received FAA Type Certification in 1970; the 300C (commercial designation) became popular as a public service helicopter with many police departments operating it as a 2-place machine. Many of the agencies received federal grants through the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA) in the 1970s.
The 300C helicopter model presented here is in a large 1:12 scale and represents the 300C as manufactured by Hughes Helicopters in the 1970s. Nearly 1200 were built prior to the sale of Hughes (by then McDonnell Douglas) 269 series to Schweizer in the 1983-1986 time frame. A photo of an operating 300C, which is close in configuration to the model, is shown below.
The origin of this 1:12 scale model is unknown. However, the fuel tanks carry the logos of two city police departments, Costa Mesa and Newport Beach. Both of these cities had two Hughes 300s for police use as early as 1972; these Los Angeles area cities were early users of the 300 for patrol duties.
The model was probably used for promotional purposes by Hughes, perhaps at a HAA convention or some law enforcement symposium. The model is quite accurately constructed, particularly in the cockpit and the engine area. There are, however, several issues. It is purely a guess, but it appears that the rotor hub and blades may have been damaged at one time and a reworked/repaired unit reinstalled. The rotor is just not the quality of the rest of the helicopter. For one thing, the rotor is fixed! The hub and rotor attachments are rather crude and the blades are not set at a perfect 120 degrees apart. There were numerous model makers in the L.A. area at the time - there is no identification on the model. Note that the vertical fin on this model is that used on the 300C; a smaller triangular fin is used on the 300CBi version, similar to the TH-55A Osage .
If you have knowledge of this model's origin or use, please contact CollectAir.
The photo below shows a new Schweizer 300C as it appears on the Sikorsky/Schweizer website.
European recognition models in 1:200 scale were made by Hansa-Schowanek in the late 1950s into the 1960s. Small aircraft were cast in metal and the larger aircraft were made of various composition material. The models were sold to the West German government and some were released for commercial sale. A more modern series of 1:200 recognition models, including USSR jets, also exists although I'm not certain who constructed the models - possibly Verkuyl or Hansa.
Four helicopter models are offered here from the Hansa series, all helicopters of the 1950s. Each helicopter is priced at Sorry All Sold. The four are pictured below.
Note that each model is mounted on a small stand which fits into a hole and that the skid gear types (Djinn and Bell) do not include the landing gear which would be too fragile in this diminutive size. Unusual models for your collection and ones that certainly don't take up much space to display.
This section will include various items associated with helicopters. As "rotary wing miscellanea" turn up, I'll include them below.
These silver color lapel pins depict the Hiller H-23 or UH-12E three-place helicopter. I have several so you can order more than one. Each pin is $3.95.
This is a flip style desk calendar, each page measuring 4 1/8" x 7 1/4". The Hughes 500D and 300C are primarily featured and the 500M-D and the YAH-64; it is in excellent condition with no markings. The personal sticker of the Hughes salesman for the Pacific Central Division is on the base. Price for this nifty calendar from the now defunct company is only Sorry Sold.
Sales promotional material for the Hughes 500E "Olympian" over 20-years old (1983). The twelve-page, all color brochure, shown below, measures 8 1/2" x 11", is in new condition, and priced at $10.00.
The following is a b&w, 8 1/2" x 11", 8-page 3-view, performance and estimated cost of opertion brochure and is priced at $5.00. This picture is part of the cover.
The following is a two-side, color handout taken from pictures in the brochure shown above for the Olympian. The back is a photo "3-view". $3.00
Undated, this 4-page brochure describes the Soloy Conversions, Ltd. "Turbine 47", a Bell 47G equipped with an Allison 250-C20B turbine engine. Brochure about 20-years old. $6.00
This 8" x 10" photo (not a litho) of the Harrier is priced at $20.00. The factory "Photographic Services" backstamp is also shown below.
A selection of four sales brochures from the Aerospatiale Helicopter Corp. for the AStar series, circa 1978. All at least 11" in height.
A 12-page, all-color brochure (picture from it shown below) for the AStar 350C; a reprint from Canadian Aviation, August 1978, for the 350C; a "Technical Data Summary", dated Jan. 1979, for the "Model AS 350D astar", 6-pages, including 3-view; and an instroduction brochure for the TwinStar AS.355 in color. All in as new condition. Price for set, $25.00.
A full 63mm, fully swivelling medallion celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Helicopter Association of America (now the HAI), 1948 to 1973. The reverse side reads, "HAA 1948-1973 Silver Past Golden Future". A handsome chrome base and I believe the medallion is made of pewter. This 1973 helicopter item is in "as new" condition and is priced at $51.50.
Approximately 8 1/2" x 11" color brochure which opens to three pages. Color paintings of 204B, 47G-4 and 47J-2A and a "Quick Review of the 1965 Bell Line" along with a chart of performance summary. Heavy paper in as-new condition, this 40-year old plus brochure is priced at sorry sold.
H-43 PILOT AND FIREFIGHTING TRAINING MANUAL - 1961
This "Student Study Guide", ATC SSG-102500C, was prepared at Stead AFB in March 1961. It is entitled, "Helicopter Engineering" and was published by the Air Training Command, Headquarters, 3635th Flying Training Wing (ADV)(ATC). The manual borrows from tech manuals and is divided into the following sections: Orientation and Familiarization with the Synchropter Design, Inspection and Servicing, Structure, T-53-L-1 Gas Turbine Engine Familiarization, Transmission and Systems, Rotor Systems, Flight Control Systems, Utility Systems, and Weight and Balance and Flight Planning.
103 pages of H-43 information; familiarize yourself with the H-43 in the same way that pilots did - study this guide. The azimuth control system, lower and at the hub, is diagrammed below; there will be a test later!
Become H-43 proficient for only SORRY SOLD. Condition is good with some evidence of classroom use.
A 38-page Flight Crew Manual for Aircraft Serial Nos. 63-9690, 64-14228, 65-12788, 65-12790, and 65-12796 for the Mid-Air Recovery System which recovers an object up to 2500 lbs. descending by parachute. Section 1-3: "The system employs an energy absorbing winch, appropriate fairing to lead the winch cable outside the aircraft, a loop attached to the end of the winch cable, and three hooks which are strategically located on the loop. Two poles are hydraulically extended below and aft of the aircraft so that they support the spread-out loop for engagement with the target parachute of the descending object..."
This T.O. 1H-3C/E (MARS)-1 is dated 15 May 1968 and incorporates changes (extra pages) in the back up through 15 March 1969. The price of this Tech Order for the CH-3 MARS is SORRY SOLD.
A color, 8 ½ x 11 inch, 12-page (including covers) proposal brochure for Sikorsky Aircraft's proposed S-70L. Undated but with charts terminating at 1975. Excellent condition and is priced at $27.00.
Built by an industrial team of LTV, Ryan and Hiller, the XC-142A was powered by four T-64 turboshaft engines built by General Electric and driving four 15.5-foot Hamilton Standard fiberglass propellers. Vought subcontracted the design and fabrication of the empennage, aft section, engine nacelles, and wing to Ryan. The overall transmission system and selected components were subcontracted to Hiller, which was also responsible for the flap and aileron fabrication. Hiller had previously built and flown the X-18, the first tilt-wing transport.
The XC-142A #2, made its first flight on September 29, 1964 and CAT I contractor testing proceeded on the five ships as they were completed. A short article from the Hiller Briefings company newsletter of October 1964 can be viewed by clicking here. Air Foce CAT II testing commenced in mid-1965. Hard landings and other ground accidents took a toll on the test ships; Ship #1 experienced a tail rotor overspeed resulting in an uncontrollable nose-down descent and fatal crash during a simulated jungle rescue mission. Incidents and funding problems reduced the program to three ships at the end of 1966 and only Ship #4 was operational when the program ended in 1967. The greatest national exposure the XC-142 received during its flight test program occurred when the #4 prototype participated in the 1967 Paris Air Show; the only surviving XC-142A, it is currently in the National Museum of the United States Air Force in the air show markings in the experimental hangar.
Preliminary carrier evaluation trials took place during one intensive day of flight operations aboard the USS Bennington (CVS 20) with Ship #5 from Edwards AFB. Ideal flight conditions of daylight, mild winds and calm seas were established for this event, which was conducted in the Pacific just offshore from San Diego. That day marked the first time in American naval aviation history that a transport-type airplane capable of flying more than 400 mph had taken off and landed from a vessel underway at sea (previously, a slower C-130 accomplished the same feat). Further sea trials were conducted on the USS Ogden and USS Yorktown, also in 1966. In 1967, Ship #4 landed aboard the USS Saratoga at Mayport, Florida enroute to the Paris Air Show.
During the XC-142A program, a total of 420 hours were flown in 488 flights. The five XC-142A's were flown by 39 different military and civilian pilots. The XC-142A was the largest and fastest VTOL transport airplane flying at that time. It achieved more than 400 miles per hour at cruise altitude during flight testing. The payload was carried in a cargo compartment that was 30 feet long, 7.5 feet wide and 7 feet high. Two pilots and one crewman/load master made up the flight crew. To accommodate adverse winds, the wing tilted upward more than 90 degrees which allowed the airplane to fly backward at 20 knots. By banking left or right, the airplane could fly sideways at 40 knots. The hydraulic control system was very intricate to accomodate the hovering, transition flight and forward flight and provide safety through redundancy.
In 1966, while operational tests were being performed, the Air Force requested Vought to submit a proposal for a production C-142B. A major improvement was proposed to eliminate the Navy carrier compatibility requirement. After reviewing the C-142B proposal, the tri-services management team could not develop a requirement for a V/STOL transport. XC-142A testing was terminated and one flying airplane, Ship #4, was turned over to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for research testing from May 1966 to May 1970.
Performance was not as good as had been hoped for, partly due to the USAF waiving its weight-improvement program, and partly due to the propellers not delivering the expected thrust. The program called for the building of five prototypes; but cross-shaft problems, along with operator errors, resulted in a number of hard landings causing damage. One of the limitations found in the plane was an instability between wing angles of 35 and 80 degrees, encountered at extremely low altitudes. There were also high side forces which resulted from yaw and weak propeller blade pitch angle controls. Another XC-142 complaint was the excessive vibration and noise in the cockpit, when coupled with an excessively high pilot workload, and which presented a considerable challenge in the cockpit. An amazing airplane, the XC-142A remained the only tilt-wing VTOL transport, even 40-years later. The tilt-rotor Bell V-22 promises to advance the VTOL transport concept, but it also has run into significant development problems including several fatal crashes but has been recently approved for production.
The XC-142A model being offered is the very first of the display models of the ship as it is painted exactly as the XC-142A mockup, not as the production versions pictured above. The overall silver scheme of the mockup was altered to a white upper surface over a silver lower on all of the production ships. This early pre-flight color scheme of the model would suggest that perhaps it was made in the early 1960s and maybe by Topping but more likely by Precise as were the later versions. Note that the mockup has no inlet scoops on the upper portion of the nacelle, yet the flying article has scoops on each nacelle. The model does not have the scoops, and the second "Production" version of the model (see Annex page) also does not have the scoops as the original mold was retained which obviously was based on the prototype configuration.
This fine XC-142A model, tail number 25921 (the first of the serial numbers which ran from 625921 to 625925), is in excellent and complete condition and exhibits a few signs of aging, not surprisingly considering its forty-odd years of survival. The silver paint has a few age blemishes, the wing tilting joint panels fit a little loosely and the right-hand Tri-Service decal on the fin has a small bit missing as pictured further below. Note that the overhead cockpit glazing is shown clear on this model - production XC-142As had this changed to opaque to cut heat in the Texas sun soon after Ship #1 rolled out in June, 1964. The wing tilts and the fuselage wing ramps (fairings) move realistically. The price of this early example of a XC-142A model is $895.00. See the production version offered on the Helicopter Annex page.
The vol. 16 No. 1 edition of the Ryan Aeronews, January 8, 1965, headlines the first hover flight of the XC-142A the week before. To see this headline and view the first vertical take-off and hover flight of ship #2, click on the photo below which is from the October 25, 1963 issue of the news.
Since the advent of powered aircraft, there have been countless attempts to design machines capable of vertical lift and forward flight. The helicopter comes to mind instantly as a machine that qualifies for this combined mode of flight - however, there are inherent aerodynamic and design considerations which inhibit the helicopter from achieving high speed forward flight.
Combinations of propulsion units, propellers, ducted fans, rotors, direct lift turbo jets etc. have flown to various degrees of success and a few have made it into production, such as the Harrier. The new JSF fighter will have direct lift capability. The XC-142 shown on this page used a tilt wing as have other designs. To get a good idea of the number of concepts, I refer you to the V/STOL Aircraft and Propulsion Concepts Wheel which shows 45 designs incorporating varying methods of lift and propulsion. The Curtiss-Wright X-19 (first flight in November 1963) is listed as a "Tilt Prop"because of the diameter of the four propellers (13 feet) used. In contrast, a modern version of a tilting, rotating lift system (a "Tilt Rotor") is the Boeing Bell MV-22, the Osprey, an offshoot of the Bell XV-15 experimental aircraft. The controversial MV-22 aircraft uses two 38-foot tilting rotors for vertical lift and forward flight propulsion and represents the future of Marine Corps tactical aviation. The V-22 contract was inked in 1983, so development hasn't exactly been rapid. After setbacks and redesigns, the current Osprey program is on track and production aircraft should be entering operational squadrons in about two years. I recently had the privilege to hear a lecture by Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Gross who is the Deputy MV-22 Program Manager; LtCol Gross participated in the flight test program of the MV-22 in the 1990s and he is a very enthusiastic advocate of this advanced troop transport for the Marine Corps. The photo below shows one of the seven MV-22s (5848) that were finishing up the Test and Evaluation Program at NAS Patuxent River with HX-21 (6/05). Now that the Osprey has completed the OpEval, the ships at Pax will be used to expand the flight operational envelope.
The Curtiss-Wright X-19 was a follow-on program to the CurtissVTOL projects of the VZ-7 and X-100. In 1958, Curtiss Wright started the four passenger VTOL commercial aircraft program without any government support. It was designed with a tilting propeller at each wing tip with a nacelle that could rotate in pointing vertical for take off & landing and pointing horizontal for cruise. The X-19 was designed and built specifically to test the efficacy of the "radial force lift" propeller design and the basic tilting quadrotor configuration. Two Lycoming T53-L-1 turboshaft engines powered it.
When the two prototypes were almost completed, Curtiss Wright decided to offer these two aircraft to the Air Force for VTOL technologies development of the Tri-Service military needs (same time frame as the XC-142 and others). Under the Air Force agreement, three prototypes would be built, designated X-19.
The 44 ft long aircraft was powered by two Lycoming T55-L-7 turboshaft engines producing 2,650 shp each. At the end of each tandem wing was a 13 ft three-bladed wide chord, high twist propeller. In order to eliminate gyroscopic and torque effects, propellers located diagonally rotated in the same direction. Roll, pitch and yaw were all controlled by differential propeller pitch. See the diagram below.
Empty weight as flown reached 10,000 lb, and gross weight over 12,000 lb. The first aircraft hovered on 20 November 1963, but suffered a hard landing. It was repaired, but problems with the control system and a series of mechanical problems plagued the program. On 25 August 1965 a part failure caused an asymmetric lift situation (aft-left rotor departed the aircraft) which forced the crew to validate the operation of their ejection seats - both pilots survived with minor injuries. When the program was canceled four months later, the first aircraft had made 50 flights, but for a total of only 3.85 hours.
The second aircraft was used as a ground run test vehicle but was never flown; stripped of its dynamic components, the second X-19 was used for a target at Aberdeen Proving Grounds. The Air Force Museum, as of February 2007, now has that X-19 and it has been reported that new tires have been installed and the aircraft is being assesed for missing items. So, someday perhaps, the X-19 will be on display at Wright Field. The Air Force still wanted to test the 2nd prototype. However, Curtiss Wright saw no future business in civil VTOL transport and ended the program. The demise of the X-19 saw the last of any Curtiss-Wright aircraft projects, making it the last of the breed.
This Topping X-19 model in 1:48 scale is from the early 1960s and represents No. 2917, the last Curtiss design to ever take to the air. Note that the model was contracted with Topping prior to flight; the model's paint scheme matches the C-W Model M-200 mockup with white over silver - the test ships were full silver. This model comes with the original Topping box. Add this unusual design and it's historic ending to your collection for $1300.00. Photos are of the model being offered.
And finally, an "enhanced" photo of the model in-flight.
The photo below shows the X-19 model as exhibited in the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center. Note the the curator wrongly set the aft rotors in relation to the forward rotors - this ship is in big trouble. A CollectAir photo taken in 2013.
A Navy design competition in 1956 for an all-weather, high performance helicopter with multi-mission capability was won by Kaman Aircraft Corporation. The first flight of the HU2K-1 was made on July 2, 1959. The contract called for four prototypes and an initial production batch of twelve HU2K-1s. This Kaman helicopter was a change for the company in that the intermeshing rotor system was abandoned for a more conventional single rotor and tail rotor configuration. However, the familiar control servo flap arrangement on the rotor blades was retained. The HU2K-1 designation was soon changed to UH-2A and named the Seasprite. First deliveries to the fleet were made at the end of 1962. The photo above shows one of the prototypes (147203) which matches the layout of this Topping model which is marked "HU2K-1". Best I can tell is that the first dozen delivered may have been in this configuration which is somewhat different than the UH-2A, primarily in the chord width of the vertical tail boom - the UH-2A has a noticeably smaller chord.
This Topping model of the prototype HU2K-1 is shown in the 1961 Topping Models catalog and it undoubtedly represents the prototype and possibly the early production version prior to fleet deliveries. The Kaman Seasprite went on to be built in several variants over the years including a widely used twin-engine version currently in the fleet.
This Topping HU2K-1 model is in 1:36 scale with a rotor diameter of 14.5 inches. The model is in great condition - notice below that the rotor servo flaps are intact and unbroken. Decals are generally 100% with the exception of the "A" in the right side "NAVY" which has had some repair; I personally prefer to repair than remove the entire decal and replace with new. The price of this Navy workhorse, now about 45 years old, is $525.00. A model of the twin-engine Kaman SH-2D Seasprite is presented on the Helicopter Annex page
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