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2019 Events
(Please scroll down to see the latest photos)
(Prior year links are at the bottom of this page)

Huey Unwrap for the 2019 Season
17 FEB 2019

(Sorry - no pictures)

At 1000 hrs on Sunday, 18 FEB, Ed Morris and Jim Cunningham met with Ken Fritz at LZ Fritz to wash the Huey and prep the
pickup for a President's Day celebration.  The Huey covers were shot and thrown out.  Ken will look for a new cover.  Marcia
Fritz joined the group for lunch and beer at the Alamar.  

American Heritage Day
Mt. Vernon Memorial Park
Fair Oaks, CA
18 FEB 2019

A Few kids enjoying our Huey

Ken & Marcia Fritz, Al Doucette, Mike Whitten, Jim Stein, Ed Morris, Ken Lake, Jim Cunningham, Thom Gilbert and Curt Knapp.
attended the event. The weather was bright and sunny and a little breezy and chilly.  But there was a good turn out including
Abe and George.  A Revolutionary War cannon went off twice right next to us with no damage!  Mt. Vernon gave us a nice
donation and invited us to come back on this coming Memorial Day. Unfortuantely this conflicts with the VHPA National Reunion
this year and volunteers may be hard to find. (Note: Curt's camera battery died, otherwise we would have had more pics!)

Vietnam Memorial Day
Reno, NV
28 - 31 MAR 2019

Our next event was to show our helicopter in Reno, Nevada on 30 March for a Vietnam Memorial Day celebration, sponsored by
the Reno Chapter of the Vietnam Veterans Association (VVA). The Huey was cleaned up on 28 Mar with the help of Mike Nord,
Ken Lake, Tom Inks, Curt Knapp, Ed Morris, and Ken Fritz.  Of course it rained right after they finished and it was forecast to
snow in the mountains that night.

A decision to abort or go was made at 0900 on Friday, when I-80 chain restrictions were finally lifted.  The transport team were
then told it was a go. Some of the team live 70 miles from LZ Fritz. The team consisting of Al Doucette, Jim Stein, and Mike
Whitten, assembled at LZ Fritz and then drove the unit to Reno on 29 Mar.  Of course the helicopter and truck were very dirty
again from the slushy roads. VVA organizers were asked to muster a Huey wash crew in a few hours! They met our Huey at the
Chevron station at Boomtown Casino, a few miles west of Reno in the early afternoon.  Not only they managed a wash place
and crew, but added a Patriot Guard motorcycle escort , local TV newscasters , and Reno PD motor cycle  officers  to join in,
for an estimated 30 motorcycle strong escort to the Reno Event Center where 66-00563 was put on display to a large crowd
celebrating National Vietnam War Day. The VVA chapter in Reno is an amazing group to pull off a reception like this in only a
few hours notice!

In addition to Al Doucette, Jim Stein and Mike Whitten taking the Huey to Reno, other members met the Huey on Saturday
morning in Reno.  Mike O’Connell, Ed Morris, Marcia and Ken Fritz, were all there and honored as VIP guests. The event was a
tribute to the men and women who went to Vietnam – those who were lost and those who returned.  Over 1000 veterans and
guest attended the event.  The governor of Nevada proclaimed it Nevada Vietnam War Day.
It was also a tribute to the Huey – the savior of so many in Vietnam. Congressman Mark Amodei spoke at the luncheon and he
was especially thankful for having our Huey there as he talked about the efforts to successfully place the memorial to
helicopter crewmembers in Arlington National Cemetery.

563 setup in the Reno Event Center

Our Team

There was also other Vietnam memorabilia on display. Ken Fritz met a Spike Team member, 5th SF, that he may have flown into
Laos and North Vietnam while flying insertion missions in 1969.  How did the man get out of country with all that stuff? The guy
was thought lost, so his buddies mailed his uniforms home – then he showed up to an empty locker! If the stuff had been sent
through regular channels, we know it would never have made it home. His parents saved the gear and he displays it proudly.  

Spike Team member with Memorabilia

UH-1C/M 66-00563 Returning to LZ Fritz on the Last Mission for VHPA-CCN

UH-1C/M 66-000563 Departs LZ Fritz for LZ Ice in Mesa, AZ.
Sacramento, CA
13 APR 2019

66-00563 Ready to Depart LZ Fritz

Packing up the Spare Parts

Loading the UH-AUL

Our wives waiting for the Launch

Good Bye 66-0563

Ken Fritz handing over the keys

66-00563 Departs LZ Fritz for the last time

A sad day for CCN.  Our beloved Huey UH-1C/M 66-00563 was retired.  We had a work day at LZ Fritz to prepare 563 for a long
mission and load it's support UH-AUL truck.  Afterwards, we had a great BBQ and beverages to reminisce the good times.

As you all know, we are not getting any younger in this "Last-Man-Standing" organization. For many valid reasons, we have had
dwindling active participation over the last several years.  We did have 40 dues paying members last year, but only about 10
members who were active and available to participate in the chapter events.  It has become increasingly difficult to put on
events and maintain 563 with so few members available.

Also, our Huey has been stored outside for the last several  years and although mostly covered, it is showing its age and
requires significant cost and manpower effort to maintain as a worthy static display. We were approached by the Army
Aviation Heritage Foundation (AAHF) in Phoenix, Arizona to obtain 563 for further restoration and indoor storage in their
museum.  AAHF will have plaques noting that members of VHPA-CCN restored and donated the aircraft.

The VHPA-CCN officers  voted to accept their offer.  We donated the helicopter, the trailer, truck and all spare parts to the AAHF
on 13 APRIL 2019. The AAHF in turn made a generous donation to CCN.

It pains us all to lose 563, which has been the "glue" for our successful chapter, but we know it is going to a good home.

563 passes into Arizona and lands at LZ ICE

AAHF accepts 563 from Curt Knapp and unloads the UH-AUL

History of 66-00563

UH1-C/M SN 66-00563 entered active duty with the US Army in August 1966.  It served 3 tours in Vietnam with units of the 1st
Aviation Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, and 4th Infantry Division from October 1966 to March 1972.  After 2419 combat flight
hours, 3 major factory rebuilds, 2 major depot repairs, and numerous combat damage repairs, it spent its last active duty days
with the 101st Airborne Division at Ft. Campbell, KY. In January 1976 it was sent  to the California National Guard in Fresno, CA
and when the UH-1Ms were replaced with AH-1Gs it was sent to the Sacramento Army Depot as a non-flying avionics training
platform until the facility closure in March 1995.

The VHPA-CCN wanted to preserve 563 and the Depot wanted it gone.  It was sitting outside, basically a shell of a fuselage with
tail boom and doors. It had no engine, transmission, rotor  assembly, tail rotor, seats, instruments, radios, circuit breakers
panels, controls, front battery compartment cover, greenhouses , insulation blankets, or much of anything else.  Many of the
panels were dented and fit improperly.  No spare parts came with it.

With no place to store it, VHPA-CCN set it up as a sad static display in front of the now defunct Orangevale VFW in Orangevale,
CA for a year, where vandals damaged the doors.  A local helicopter operator then agreed to store 563 in his hanger, while CCN
was collecting parts.  During this time to operator removed the original C model tail boom for his own use and installed and old
B model tail boom before returning to CCN a few years later for restoration in a storage facility in West Sacramento (thanks to
Mike Nord and Western Trucking). We could not get the original tail boom back!

A custom trailer was built and restoration was "completed" enough to start showing 563 in late 2003.  It has been shown since
then at numerous veteran's events, schools, and parades throughout Northern, CA to  tell the story of the pilots and crew who
flew combat in Vietnam.  Many thousands of veterans, adults, and children have experienced sitting in a real helicopter and
learning a little more about the Vietnam War and the pilots who flew the helicopters "Above the Best".

VHPA-CCN members are proud of their accomplishments of flying in Vietnam and the restoration of 563.  Showing the Huey and
telling its story to the public has been a very satisfying experience.   But we lost or indoor storage and we don't want 563 to
succumb the ravages of rain and sun outdoors. We realized that it is time to get the restoration completed and moved to a
secure facility, where the public can continue to enjoy her.  The mission of the AAHF-AZ chapter fits those requirements

The last UH-1C restored by the AAHF

Ken Fritz has more room for some his other toys!
1992 Nissan 300ZX TwinTurbo and 1930 Model Tutor Sedan

Now we will move forward with more lunches, BBQs, and other types of meetings. Let's hear your ideas.

Lunch Meeting at the Alamar Marina Restaurant
Sacramento, CA
22 MAY 2019

Meet before Eat

On 22 May, we had 8 members and 4 guests meet for lunch at the Alamar Marina Restaurant on the Sacramento River.  We had
a good meeting and discussion on some important chapter business and collected ideas for the next few events.
Topics discussed:
CCN account status
AAHF progress on 563
AAHF donation - approved (see email for details)
AAHF 563 visit in OCT? (restoration is scheduled for completion on 1 OCT)
CCN VHF radios (donated to Ken Fritz)
Meeting ideas from each member/CCN future events:
Travis Airforce base Museum
Nutree Airport Museum
BBQ at Ken’s this summer – 4th of JULY?
Open for member input

The next event will likely be a visit to the Travis Air Force Base museum.  Also, we are exploring a visit to the Vacaville airport
aviation museum (they actually have a UH-1 displayed) and possibly a Napa Valley wine tour.  To our members - please keep
the ideas coming!

VHPA Annual reunion
Oklahoma City
30 MAY 2019

VHPA-CCN Members at the Annual Reunion

Greg Hutson, who has moved out of California, met up with Jim Stein and Al Doucette at the annual VHPA reunion.  Mike Whitten
(not pictured) also attended.  They represented our local chapter.

Travis Air Force Museum and Lunch
Fairfield, CA
20 JUN 2019

A tour of Travis AFB Museum was conducted for us by Richard Terps,  Flight School Class 70-35 and a VHPA member.  Good
tour and lots of old Air Force airplanes.  Many of us have memories of Travis, either going to or coming home from Vietnam.  
Jay came home to Travis on a C-141 on a stretcher.  This event was organized by Jim Cunningham.  Thanks Jim. Al Doucette,
Ed Morris, Ken Fritz, Jay Goodrich, Ken Lake, Dave Anderson, and Jim had lunch afterwards at at Amici’s East Coast Pizzeria,
located in the Nut Tree Center in Vacaville.  No helicopters at Travis, so Al, Ed, Dave, and Jim went over the The Nutree Airport
Museum to take a look at their UH-1H after lunch.

BBQ at LZ Fritz
Sacramento, CA
9 OCT 2019

“Napalm John” Lett, Navy A1E pilot, RVN 1970-’71 shared a few of his exploits with about 13 members and guests.  John
continued flying as a commmercial pilot after Vietnam, eventually retiring as the chief flight officer for Chevron's worldwide
fleet of aircraft.  He did mention that he mostly hired former Army Aviators, since they always got the job done. We all had a
nice burger feed, thanks to Ken Fritz.  We also had a Navy C-130 pilot with time over Vietnam as a guest.  Lots of interesting
stories from back then! Thanks to Jim Cunningham for arranging to have his friend John Lett share his stories.  Many of us
have a great appreciation for the A1E pilots for keeping the enemy heads down, while we were on the ground hoping to leave
sooner than later.

AAHF Picnic
Mesa, AZ
25-26 OCT 2019

The Army Aviation Heritage Foundation invited us to a picnic on 26 OCT in Mesa, AZ to celebrate the debut of the newly
refurbished UH-1C/M 66-00563.  Twelve members and guests from our local chapter met in Mesa on 25 OCT.  We met up with 4
other VHPA members and wives and one of Ken Fritz's crew chief from Vietnam.  Another member, who has moved out of
California, caught up with us on th 26th.

On the 25th, the Army Aviation Heritage Foundation hosted us for lunch and a private tour of the Commemorative Air Force
Museum at Falcon Field in Mesa, AZ.  We ate in the hanger as they moved the CAF flyable B25 and B17 into the hanger.  Got
close up an personal with the aft tail gun!  Dave Sale who is the President of the AAHF, AZ Chapter and also a docent at the
museum, then presented us with 563 that they had towed over from their facility.  We also met a lot of the crew who put in
almost 1400 hours of restoration work.  Wow, a lot of great work has been done!

Lunch in CAF Hanger

563 Just outside the CAF Hanger at Falcon Field

Dave Sale (AAHF) presents 563 to CCN members

Cockpit looks new and rocket launchers just waiting for one more mount

We then crawled through the B17 and got lots of information about all the WWII aircraft in the Museum.  Another highlight for us
was a restored UH-1B gunship displayed in the museum.  The CAF is expanding its displays to Vietnam era aircraft.  They now
have a CH34 as well as the UH-1B.  If you ever are in the Phoenix, AZ area, a visit here is well worth your time.

B25 "Maid in the Shade" backing in and B17 "Sentimental Journey"

Dave Sale staring the tour and a few of us in front of a restored UH1-B Gunship

We ended the day with a group dinner at a great Mexican restaurant in Gilbert.  A few of us got too trusting of our GPS
navigation and saw more of mainstreet Gilbert, then we bargained for!  But finally got dinner.

The next morning, it was up to Falcon Field again.  There was time to take a look at a classic car show and a second look at
some of the aircraft in the CAF museum again before lunch.  We rode in golf carts between the museum and the adjacent
picnic grounds.  They didn't like to let people wander down an active taxiway at the airport.  The AAHF had arranged to fly in
over a dozen helicopters that were parked near the picnic grounds.   They had their AH-1F (The Black Pearl) and about a dozen
other helicopters including a UH-1H, TH-55, and OH23F (elongated OH23D).   There also were static displays of UH-1M (563), a
restored OH-6A, and parts of the next AAHF project to complete a flyable OH-6A.  After a good lunch catered by the nearby
Steak and Stone restaurant located on Falcon Field, it was time to rest up for a group dinner at the Steak and Stone.  The
restaurant owner is a big supporter of the local AAHF chapter.  Great dinner for all.  On Sunday, most people traveled home and
a few of us stayed a few days to check out Sedona and the Grand Canyon.  A good time was had by all.  

1965 Mustang at Carshow

OH-13E (note OH-6 parts for future rebuild on a trailer and a Hughes 500C in background
Also a OH-6A on atrailer with the blades folded

               VHPA members at the picnic    Al Doucette and Ken Fritz with Outlaw 27 Nose cover

Last Dinner at the Steak and Stone Restaurant

AAHF 563 Restoration

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Copyright ©  2013-2020 Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association - California Chapter North.  Contact Webmaster
Copyright ©  2013-2020 Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association - California Chapter North.  Contact Webmaster