- Max Speed: 85 mph
- Cruising Speed: 70 mph
- Range: 200 miles
- Service Ceiling: 13,000 feet
- Wingspan: 35’ 1”
- Length: 27’ 4”
- Height: 9’ 6”
- Weight: 2, 500 lbs max
220hp Air-cooled Franklin 0-35-5
Manufactured by Bell Helicopters as the Model 47, this aircraft is one of the most popular, light helicopters ever built. The Army first acquired a militarized version of the Bell 47, now called the H13, in 1946. It was the first helicopter to enter into military service in large numbers, and first in combat in Korea. The Army began the practice of naming their helicopters after Native American tribes with the H13 ‘Sioux’.
The Sioux held many rolls during Korea and Vietnam including utility, wire laying, liaison, reconnaissance and training. It is probably best known though for its roll in medical evacuations during the Korean conflict, transporting wounded soldiers from the front lines to Mobile Army Surgical Hospital units (aka M*A*S*H) by air instead of by truck. Litter carriers were attached to the outboard skids, and quickly and smoothly moved the severely wounded to the hospitals for quick treatment. This little bird soon came to be known as ‘The Angel of Mercy’. One pilot is noted to have evacuated 922 casualties over 545 missions, totalling 700 hours over 14 months!
This aircraft was purchased by Heritage Flight Museum in 2006, largely because of the H13’s use during the Apollo program. The H13’s auto-rotation sink rate was similar to the expected descent rate of the Apollo Lunar Excursion Module, and was therefore used to familiarize the program’s astronauts with those handling characteristics. Though this particular air frame is not a militarized model, it has been restored to look like one.