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Focus
News 8 Monday, May 19, 2014
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1
PRESIDENTIAL HELICOPTERS
HELIO
CHIEF
Plans are in place to replace the aging
fleet of helicopters that ferry the
president and other heads of state.
PETE SOUZA, THE WHITE HOUSE
resident Dwight D.
Eisenhower became
the first chief executive to fly in a helicopter
when he was flown from the
South Lawn of the White
House on July 13, 1957,
(top, right) en route to
Camp David.
P
The little Bell craft was too
cramped and too warm for
Eisenhower’s tastes,
however, so he ordered a
switch to a larger aircraft.
Unfortunately, it happened
to be one the Air Force
didn’t use. The Army and
Marine Corps were called
upon to ferry Eisenhower.
Length: 43 feet, 4 inches
Height: 9 feet, 4 inches
Rotor diameter: 37 feet
BELL
UH-13J
SIOUX
Maximum cruise speed: 105 mph
Passengers: 2
Maximum range: 300 miles
Length: 46 feet, 9 inches
Height: 15 feet, 11 inches
Rotor diameter: 56 feet
SIKORSKY
UH-34
Maximum cruise speed: 94 mph
Passengers: Up to 12
Maximum range: 209 miles
In service: 1958-61
1962
This arrangement lasted
until 1976, when President
Jimmy Carter eliminated the
Army presidential helicopter
detachment. Since then,
sole responsibility for
transporting the president
via helicopter rests with
Marine Helicopter Experimental Squadron HMX-1,
based in Quantico, Va.,
south of Washington, D.C.
Even the color scheme used
by today’s Marine One
dates back to the days of
Eisenhower: Helicopters
didn’t have air-conditioning
in those days. The white top
helped to reflect heat.
Four years later, however,
with the estimated cost
more than doubled to $13
billion and new design
requirements continuing to
roll in, the Pentagon killed
the project. Newly elected
President Barack Obama
called it “an example of the
procurement process gone
amok.”
Here’s a look at the types of helicopters that have
served presidential duty over the past 57 years:
1958
Not wanting to show
favoritism among the
services, Eisenhower — a
former Army general
himself — was careful to
alternate between them.
His helicopter was called
either “Army One” or
“Marine One” depending on
the crew flying him.
In 2005, El Segundo-based
Lockheed Martin won a
contract with the U.S. Navy
to replace the president’s
aging helicopter fleet with
28 new aircraft.
THE AIRCRAFT
1957
Length: 72 feet, 9 inches
Height: 16 feet, 10 inches
Rotor diameter: 62 feet
Maximum cruise speed: 140 mph
SIKORSKY
VH-3A
SEA KING
1978
SIKORSKY
VH-3D
SEA KING
Originally designed for
anti-submarine warfare, the
UH-34 served as the primary
assault helicopter for the
Marines in Vietnam. The
presidential model was
modified with a VIP passenger
cabin and improved navigation and instrumentation.
Passengers: Up to 16
Maximum range: 600 mph
In service: 1962-87
Eight Sea Kings were bought
by the Kennedy administration.
Two are on display in Southern
California: one at the Nixon
Presidential Library & Museum
in Yorba Linda and one at The
Ronald Reagan Presidential
Foundation & Library in Simi
Valley.
Length: 73 feet
Height: 17 feet
Rotor diameter: 62 feet
Maximum cruise speed: 136 mph
Passengers: Up to 15
Essentially a new-andimproved version of its
predecessor, the 11 VH-3D Sea
Kings currently in service
were originally scheduled to
be replaced this year.
Maximum range: 621 miles
In service: 1978-present
1987
SIKORSKY
VH-60N
WHITE HAWK
2020
SIKORSKY
“VH-XX”
REPLACEMENT
FLEET
Length: 64 feet, 11 inches
Height: 16 feet, 10 inches
Rotor diameter: 53 feet, 8 in.
Maximum cruise speed: 184 mph
Passengers: Up to 10
Maximum range: 506 miles
In service: 1987-present
This customized version of
Sikorsky’s famous Black Hawk
can be folded and loaded
onto a C-5 military transport
in less than two hours. There
are eight white-top White
Hawk aircraft in service.
They’re expected to last
through 2025.
Earlier this month, the Navy
launched a new attempt at
updating the helicopter fleet: It
awarded Sikorsky a $1.24 billion
contract for six new aircraft to
be delivered
d
by 2020. The
ultimate goal is to buy 21 new
ulti
helicopters by 2023.
heli
The cost-saving secret this
time, the Pentagon hopes:
Instead of starting from
scratch, the new aircraft will
be based upon Sikorsky’s
S-92, left, a model that’s been
in use since 2004.
ARTIST’S RENDERING
COMPILED BY CHARLES APPLE,
FOCUS PAGE EDITOR
Sources: National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, National Air and Space Museum, National Naval Aviation Museum, Nixon Presidential
tial Library & Museum,
el, CBS News, The Washington Post
Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., Igor I. Sikorsky Historical Archives Inc., U.S. Navy, Air Force Magazine, Air International, the History Channel,
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The aircraft — a military
version of a Bell 47J, very
common at the time — was too
cramped and too warm for
Eisenhower’s tastes, so he
ordered a switch to a larger
helicopter — a model the Air
Force didn’t use.
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