Huey UH-1H

Bell Huey UH1H Tail Number: 72-21509 G-UH1H


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Latest News >Woodvale Rally

Woodvale Rally Saturday 4th August 2007 & Sunday 5th August 2007

(written by Crew Master Simon Johnson )

The Woodvale Rally turned out to be another busy show for us. Phil and Bradley flew 509 to RAF Woodvale whilst I drove with the Jeep and trailer crammed with all the gear that was needed for the weekend.

On arrival at Woodvale whilst waiting for 509 to lift from Blackpool , despite the rather strong wind I managed to get the main accommodation erected and secured with the guy ropes. I had also arranged with the aero modellers to give them a fifteen minute warning of 509's arrival.

Once down with the engine and rotors spooled down the ground wheels were attached and the rotors secured. The Huey was then jacked up on its wheels and towed with the Jeep to its allocated spot for the weekend. Before the wheels had even stopped turning we were being bombarded with questions by the
onlookers who had gathered as the Huey came in to land. It is very gratifying to think that so many are keen to find out about this very special aircraft. Once 509 was fenced in, the second tent was put up and the tea was put on to cook. After a hearty meal we finished off sorting out the gear in the tent and then relaxed before retiring.

The wind hadn't let up much through the night so Saturday dawned breezy and cloudy. Not deterred breakfast was started and the Huey readied for the days visitors. The 50's were set up and the equipment put on the seats. This year Tshirts, posters and window stickers were available to buy and as we were to find out they proved very popular. From the off there were people around the Huey asking all kinds of questions and for the following nine hours there was a steady stream of people talking to us. I set up the video camera to take a 'time lapse' video. This has proved very interesting, nine hours compressed into about a minute and a half.

After a very busy Saturday we were invited to a BBQ which was on the far side of the show ground so the jeep was extracted from behind the railings and we drove over to our host's caravan. It was the first time we had got a true picture of just how big the show was and the number of people staying on site.

On arrival those already there wanted a ride in the jeep so Bradley obliged and took them around the show to arrive back in time for the food to be served. A great evening was had before a night's sleep was beckoning after such a busy day.

Sunday dawned to be sunny with a clear blue sky; a cooked breakfast was to set us up for what promised to be a good day. The sun shone, temperatures rose and the crowds got bigger and bigger. For eight hours non-stop the Huey continued to draw the crowds. The big question that started most conversions both on Saturday and Sunday was how had we got 509 to the show, once told it hadn't come by road it didn't take long for the realisation to dawn that the Huey was going to fly out.

Come five o'clock Bradley started to strike the camp and Phil started with the pre flight checks. I continued to field the questions from those interested to know what Phil was doing. Once the checks were completed the ground wheels were attached and 509 jacked up. The Jeep was once again hitched to the front. All that was left to do was wait for the finale of the model aircrafts bombing display to finish. As soon as that happened the crowds were moved back by security so the Huey could be towed out to the runway to be prepared to fly. Looking back from the runway there was an impressive crowd who had stayed, some even returning from the day before, to see and hear her fly off.

At six thirty the Lycoming burst into life and the enormous rotor blades began thumping the air. With final checks made Phil lifted 509 into the beautiful summers evening for the short flight home, though not before making a couple of flypasts. Those left on the ground had finally got to see and hear what they had been looking forward to, in some cases all weekend - that iconic silhouette and the resounding whop whop whop of the blades. A great end to a very enjoyable weekend.

509, Phil and Bradley were home in no time at all. I on the other hand finished loading the Jeep and trailer before a drive of over an hour home. It was a very enjoyable drive in the warmish summer evening, or was it that I was still hot after having to start the Jeep with the starting handle, as the starter motor had started playing up! None the less a great weekend.

(Phil and Simon with members of the Police Air Support Group)