(HELICOPTERS)

During the Viet Nam era, flight training consisted of flying half the day and taking aviation and military classes the other half.

The WOC students and the Officer students were broken into three groups, one group learned to fly the Hiller OH23, the second the Bell OH13 and the third the Hughes TH55.

Here they began to learn the meaning of coordination.

Now we were faced with having to hover the chopper over one spot for more than 5 seconds.  To accomplish this, our IP's (Instructor Pilots) would take us to a 10 to 50 acre field.  We used every inch of it too.....

He than would allow us to control just the pedals (for left & right turns) for a few minutes, than to control only the collective (power to go up or down) and than finally the cyclic (movement control to move forward or backwards, slide left of right, to move diagonally as well).

Next he would allows us to use two controls at the same time, after changing these over a period of time, he would than allow us to all of the controls.

TO HOVER, this was like balancing yourself on a big ball, talking, reading a book, eating and drinking at the same time.  We had to remain over the same spot on the ground, stay three foot above the ground and tried to keep the chopper pointed in the same direction.

After we learned to hover, we continued to learn more about the helicopter, choppers.  We learned aerodynamics, flight path, glide path, rate of descent and much more.  We were given extensive classes on weather, tactics, maintenance, operations (both day & night) and so on.

Our greatest goal in flying was to SOLO.  I can remember my first solo.  I wasn't as coordinated on the controls as I should have been, BUT, my IP let me go anyway.  Here is what Solo wings looked like. (look at Jim's hat)  I believe we were required to solo within 10 to 12 hours of flight time.  If we could not, based on individual assessment, additional time was allocated.

Picture of James Marsh.

The day we soloed, we had a nice refreshing dip in the local swimming pool at the Holiday Inn.  Earlier classes had the opportunity to experience mud puddles, ponds, bath tubes and other water resources.

Holiday Inn, Mineral Wells, Texas

woltsolo.JPG (32064 bytes)     

Photos, courtesy of James Marsh.


This list shows the radio frequency, elevation and traffic pattern altitude (TPA).

Here are the pages from the student Fort Wolters Flight Training Book

Downing Heliport, TH-55 helicopters main airfield.

Main Heliport, OH-23, OH-13 and some TH-55 Helicopters

Dempsey Army Heliport was used for advance flight training.

Airfield name Frequency Elevation Traffic Pattern Altitude
Downing Tower 119.50 964 1500
Wolters Tower 139.40 892 1500
Dempsey Tower 141.10 1153 1700

Here you learned how to land in confined areas and how to get out safely.  The LZ's were marked by one of three different tires.  A "Green" tire in an LZ allowed students to solo in those areas.  A "Yellow" tire required an IP on board and a "Red" tire was an area for demonstrations only by an IP.  The black tire was a no loaned area. (the colors of tires will be updated soon.)  When you landed in an LZ, you landed to the upper 1/3 of the area.  After landing, you friction down the controls, got out and mark the LZ by placing rocks and heavy sticks to see when you back the aircraft up.  You placed a stack if rocks at the point you stopped the aircraft.  From here you could take off.

There were many stage fields which we operated from, as of 68/69, they were;

Stage Field name Radio Frequency Elevation Traffice Pattern Altitude
S/Field 1(Pinto)   141.05 1003 1700
S/Field 2(Sundance) 142.95 1013 1500
S/Field-3(Ramrod) 149.60 955 1500
S/Field-4 (Mustang) 139.45 1094 1600
S/Field-5 (Rawhide) 149.90 845 1400
S/Field-6 (Bronco) 148.90 1053 1600
S/Field-7 (Wrangler) 141.20 1040 1600
An Khe 143.30 1010 1500
Bac Lieu 141.45 974 1500
Ben Cat 141.4 1456 2000
Ben Hoa 148.65 1070 1600
Cam Ranh 142.35 1135 1600
Can Tho 142.30 976 1500
Chu Lai 148.75 1019 1600
Da Nang 143.20 1120 1600
Hue 141.35 1068 1600
My Tho 143.15 790 1300
Phu Loi 140.40 1082 1600
Pleiku 143.40 968 1500
Qui Nhon 141.90 1125 1600
Soc Trang 139.10 908 1400
Tay Ninh 148.85 1225 1800
Tuy Hoa 148.60 1282 1800
Vinh Long 143.85 1120 1700
VungTau 148.8 850 1400

(courtesy of Gary Earls)

Because we were so "hard" on the aircraft, the Army had an extensive maintenance program to keep the helicopters flying.  Here is a night shot of Dempsey Heliport maintenance hanger.

For more photos and information on Fort Wolters and the Viet Nam era flight school, click on this link.

In addition, the Army always took care of their people.  If there was an emergency, the Medivac Helicopter was sent out to help.  Here is a shot of Hospital and Medivac Helicopter.

After many weeks at Fort Wolters, we graduated and then went to Advance Helicopter Training at Fort Rucker or Fort Stewart.

To see Class Photos, taken in For Wolters, visit the www.vhpa.org Viet Nam Helicopter Pilots Association website.

Next stop:

Fort Rucker  or  Fort Stewart & Hunter AAF

Let us not forget our weekend passes.
We needed the time off to unwind.


By request, here is a Guestbook similar to the one we lost.
New armyflightschool.org Guestbook Page (Click Here)

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This is why we serve and defend our country.

The Declaration of Independence

The Constitution of the United States of America

"Associate yourself with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for "tis better to be alone than in bad company"
George Washington

"No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country."
General George Patton Jr


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1998-2011 Timothy E. Wilkerson,CW3(retired).  All rights reserved
Last updated May 04, 2012