UH-1C/M 66-000563 Departs LZ Fritz for LZ Ice in Mesa, AZ.
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 on 15 APR 2019
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.
AAHF Starts Restoring 563
30 APR 2019
563 Rotor removed and moving Inside
563 Just fits the hanger door!
563 Inside at Last
AAHF refurbisment of 563 has already started and been moved inside. The old "B" model rotor head and blades have been
removed for repair and rebuild as a real B model head for another aircraft. Ours was mostly B with some modified D parts and
some parts just missing! 563 will finally get it's C model rotor and blades back that we had obtained a long time ago.
Also, looks like the interior and the transmission access panel has been removed for rework.
AAHF Contnues Restoring 563
6 JUN 2019
563 Gets a New Tail Boom
The guys down in Arizona, swapped the B model tailboom on 563 for a C model tailboom. 563 is coming back together as a
true C model, with a new tail boom and a C model rotor head and blades. Much work has also been done detailing the avionics.
AAHF plans to complete the restore by 1 OCT.
AAHF Contnues Restoring 563
22 JUN 2019
AAHF Busy Painting and Prepping
AAHF Report from Dave Sale:
Outlaw 27 nose door has been removed and being returned to Mike Noord.
A nose mounted grenade launcher will added soon.
Interior paint complete. Inside doors painted. Scissor and associated head parts prepped and painted.
Additional tail boom paint prep.
Darren says he will paint yellow stencils on Sunday, maybe Thursday. That is why masking was left up.
EVIT students Dylan and Scott present.
Will be there this coming Tuesday for another day as we prepare to paint OD on Saturday. Eric would like us to consider
painting all 563 and not just the C model tail boom we got from John Boucher.
Dave Barron called and stated he has the 42 degree gear box and chain cover on the 90 degree box and engine tunnel. Right
now between John Boucher, Jeff Biles, Dave Barron and John Woodward and Ron Disney at HAMPTON we now have found all
the parts needed to complete 563.
Many thanks to the above.
AAHF Contnues Painting 563
6 JUL 2019
563 is starting to look like a brand new re-build! lots of new and repaired parts. The goal is still to finish by 1 OCT 2019.
AAHF 563 Progress
15 JUL 2019
563 Instrument Panel Now and what it looked like before!
The AAHF crew has been keeping very busy. A lot of exterior painting and detailing getting done. More pictures will be coming
later. The interior is now about 90% complete. The armor seats are about to be reassembled, after a complete refurbishment
including new paint and installation of new U-channel rubber. They are also installing a LED light system for the NAV lights.
They have removed the old Outlaw 27 avionics nose door and are prepping a new replacement door. The old door is being
returned to Mike Noord.
This is a picture of the instrument panel and cockpit restoration. Only thing left is the glare shield which he will put on when he
returns, looks great!
Take a look at an old picture of the instrument panel on 563. Had lots of character, but the new one looks like it just came out
of the factory.
21 JUL 2019
Tail Boom Installed and all new exterior paint
Restoration is really coming along, with tail boom installed and all new exterior paint. Now painted in the the 116th AHC colors.
After a 3 months with the 175th ASH (Maverick/Outlaws) in Vinh Long in 1970, 563 spent 8 months back in the US being
repaired. It returned to the 116th AHC (Stinger) in Chui Lai in May 1971 until Oct 1971, before again being heavily damaged.
29 JUL 2019
Cockpit is almost Complete
AAHF is getting close to completing 563, looks as good if not even better than AAHF B model 996. Carlos and team have been
exceptional. Tuesday should get us set up to install the transmission and rotor head and blades on Saturday. As always got
time, come out and assist!!! Suppose to be cooler this coming weekend.
6 AUG 2019
Cockpit is Complete C Rotor Ready to Install
The AAHF in Mesa have really been working hard on 563. Per AAHF, in the four month period between 9 April and 6 August, 1550
hours have been worked by at least 24 people. Huey 563 is essentially done. It will be pulled outside to install the transmission
and rotor system on 3 September. The final drive train install, decal placement or detail cleaning will take about 50 hours. We
could safely say the face lift of 563 took 1600 hours and 4 months. The NorCal VHPA bequeathed us a fine project. Of course,
more time to put into her still, weapons, sim system, even trailer painting and possible conversion to a conventional receiver
It is DONE!
25 SEP 2019
563 Done! Most of the AAHF Crew
For more pictures and lots of interesting info check this link to the Arizona AAHF facebook page.
Army Aviation Heritage Foundation - Arizona Chapter
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