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When Hiking Takes You Places You Don’t Want to Go, This Is What Comes to the Rescue

In the late 1960s, a favorite helicopter for the modern-day aviation enthusiasts was born. It’s the Bell UH-1N Huey, a machine so extraordinary it’s in service to this day, conducting its usual search and rescue missions in locations all across the globe.
Bell UH-1N Huey on rescue exercise 8 photos
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Its iconic shape, further made famous by its appearances in movies and TV shows, is a common sight in both military and civilian operations. And that’s quite the achievement, given how there are not that many of them around: the U.S. Air Force, for instance, only flies 59 of them.

The military version of the Bell 212, the Huey is powered by a pair of Pratt & Whitney turboshaft engines capable of taking its 10,500 pounds (4,763 kg) maximum weight to speeds of up to 149 mph (240 kph), and heights of up to 15,000 feet (4,572 meters).

On paper, the above numbers are not something extraordinary, but are what make the helicopter such a reliable rescuer. That, and the constant training of the crews that operate such machines.

There’s no statistic on the number of people it saved, but it’s probably not far-fetched to assume the underbelly of the Huey, like depicted in the main photo of this piece, is something that thousands have seen with hope in their eyes over the years.

This one was exposing its most vulnerable area for the camera during a rescue training exercise conducted at the end of May in the Great Falls area of Montana. The helicopter is flown by the 40th Helicopter Squadron, and the scenario was to rescue an injured hiker in the Highwood Mountains.

We’re not told how the exercise went, but given how this squadron often performs search and rescue missions of the missing and injured, we bet the simulated save went without a hitch as well.

Editor's note: Gallery shows various UH-1Ns.

 
 
 
 
 

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