A True Love Story By : Mike Maloy
A Hooker's Love Story I would like to publicly thank Don Welch and Larry Schultz for jogging loose some brain cells and reminding me of the fun I used to have hovering the "lumbering beast" as some of you have referred to my graceful, elegant, and very fast C model Hook. At a hover without a slingload the cockpit was roughly 20 feet in the air. Hang a slingload under her and we were hovering as high up as a five story building. Yes she was large.......sort of like flying one-third of your favorite football playing field; she could be cumbersome at times when trying to fit her into an LZ built for a Huey; but she could be nimble and even awesome at speed and her breath has been known to devastate lesser creatures and even buildings. I will admit here and now, I was heartbroken when I graduated from flight school and got my orders to Chinook transition. I felt cheated and deprived of the excitement of Cobras, or guns or slicks or Loaches. But the Army wouldn't budge when I called the Pentagon and pleaded for guns. They said I was stuck with Hooks and should be happy since so many guys wanted that. So I accepted my orders and went off to learn how to be a truck driver......or so I thought. What I soon found out was that flying the old girl was truly a challenge and to do it well was like a fine piece of art. In large part I owe that understanding to George Miller, my IP. I learned to love sling loads. To me it was a personal challenge to hook up every load on the first pass.....just low enough.....just slow enough...to make sure I caught the donut first time, every time. If I live to be 100 I will never forget the excitement of watching that guy on the load, crouched and holding the donut slide slowly beneath the chin bubble and seconds later hear the FE and crew say "you're hooked sir, man's clear, bring it up slow. Slings tight, you're clear below. Clear right and up. Clear left and up. Clear in the rear." Maybe I shouldn't call it excitement.....it really wasn't that....no pumping adrenalin....just a warm smug feeling of having done it right and better than most, one more time. The excitement came when hovering to try and position that 105 so the grunts didn't have to manhandle it into position, and suddenly the earth is erupting right in front of the cockpit. Charles did love to let us think everything was just fine until we were at a hover with a load and then let his mortars fly. Then I felt like the biggest target on earth but we put the load in place and then got the hell out of Dodge City. You guys that flew Loaches and Slicks and Guns and Cobras probably had a lot more excitement in a day than I saw in a month. And for that I have nothing but the greatest admiration and respect for the job you did. I can count the times my aircraft was actually hit by enemy fire on my fingers. I don't even need to use my toes. True we were a big target, but as a valuable asset we were also well protected, so I guess I had it pretty easy in that respect. One of the things I loved most about flying the UH-1 was the ability to do things a fixed wing could never even contemplate. My dad, the F-4 driver used to talk about going low level....and he was talking 200 to 300 feet as extremely low level. And at 350 to 400 knots that is pretty low. But it can't compare with looking up at the tree tops even if you are only doing 80 to 100 knots. Anyway it wasn't long before I learned that in my lumbering beast I could do much of what I could in a Huey. True she needed a slightly larger turning radius and a little more stopping distance.....but for pure exhilarating speed.....or climbing like a rocket with cyclic and collective.....she couldn't be beat. Finally, a month after the CO banned low level passes on our last flight before DEROS, I returned from my last flight flying all day up by Vandy and the Rockpile and points west and told the crew we were going to do a low pass to end all low passes. I was about ten days from DEROS and ETS and I was 22 years old and had survived my tours and I just didn't give a shit any more. I came down the highway from Evans and called Eagle to advise I would be making a low pass over Playtex Pad from west to east then a climbing left turn and landing to the East at Playtex. When I cleared Eagle Mountain I already had her nosed over and was doing about 150 knots when I flew down the company mud road at about 50 feet. Our company O'Club and the CO's hootch were both at the far eastern end of the road and just as I approached the CO's hootch I flared and began one of the steepest cyclic climbs I ever did. At about 500 feet I completed an almost perfect wing-over to the left (just my modest opinion) and brought her back around for a perfect landing to end a perfect day. As we shut down, the CO's runner arrived to tell me I was to report immediately to his office which I did and proceeded to get my ass reamed by Major Sam Kaiser who was the best CO I ever had. Then he escorted me to the club and bought drinks for me all night. At the club I think it was CW-2 J.C. Harris who was about ready to kill me. He and CW-2 Peewee Atwell had been out on the sun deck at the South end of the club when I flared and both were convinced I was going to take out the club and the sun deck. They both went over the railing into the mud on the East side of the club where the drainage ditch was. They calmed down soon enough and I still have a great picture of all of us in front of the bar that night. Hope I haven't bored you with my memories of the lumbering old beast. She was a thing of beauty to me. To fly her was to love her. Mike Maloy Card-carrying member of the WOC Hall of Fame Association Born into the Flying Tigers, Helicopter Pilot by choice. Playtex "And a Half" C/159th, ASHB, 101st Airborne Division Phu Bai, South Viet Nam (both tours) Class 67-25 and 68-501, 6th WOC, Orange Hats Chinook513@AOL.com Seattle, Washington Only Hummingbirds, Angels, and Helicopter Pilots hover..... and none of them are aerodynamically correct.
While I had hoped this web site would be used to find old friends we flew with and to let Playtex members tell their stories I never thought it would take off so big and so fast, but stories like this and the others make all the work worth it!
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