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IN 1961 ALONE, AN H-43B SET AN


ALTITUDE WITHOUT PAYLOAD RECORD OF 32,840 FEET AND LATER THAT SAME YEAR SET TIME TO CLIMB RECORDS FOR 9,842 FEET IN 2 MINUTES AND 41.5 MSECONDS, 19,684 FEET IN 6 MINUTES AND 49.3 SECONDS AND 29,426 FEET IN 14 MINUTES AND 30.7 SECONDS


project grew out of Charles Kaman’s vision for an unmanned aerial vehicle anti-submarine warfare program and was some of the earliest work done in the unmanned aerial vehicle field. Although the Marine Corps and Navy were the first to use the H- 43, it would have its greatest success with the Air Force. In 1956, the Air Force was looking for a hel- icopter to fill its local base rescue mission. This was to be primarily a rescue and recovery aircraft and one requirement was the ability to transport a crew and equipment to fight an aircraft fire. Kaman sub- mitted a proposal for an H-43 variant and won the contract for the H-43A, later known as the Husky. Like its predecessors the H-43A was piston powered but that would change. On 11 December, 1951 a K- 225 equipped with a Boeing 502-2 gas turbine engine became the first helicopter to fly using gas turbine power. The Kaman engineers were able to apply this new development to the H-43 line and in the late 1950s the H-43B, powered by a 825 hp Lycoming T53-L-1A gas turbine engine, went into production. With this change, Kaman Aircraft became the first major helicopter manufacturer to switch production completely to turbine powered aircraft. In 1961, an H-43B became the first heli- copter to fly with composite rotor blades and the popularity of wooden rotor blades began to decline industry wide. Over 200 H-43B helicopters were built and several demonstrated their capabilities by establishing helicopter records for altitude, time to climb and distance traveled. In 1961 alone, an H- 43B set an Altitude Without Payload record of 32,840 feet and later that same year set time to climb records for 9,842 feet in 2 minutes and 41.5 seconds, 19,684 feet in 6 minutes and 49.3 seconds and 29,426 feet in 14 minutes and 30.7 seconds (Mutza, 1998). One final variant, the H-43F was produced and saw extensive action with the Air Force in an air rescue role during the Vietnam War. Although not known for its speed, the H-43 did


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