We used on as a photo aircraft on Roger Corman's RICHTHOFEN & BROWN production, filmed in Ireland during the summer of 1970 G-ARMU had just been purchased for $4500.00 American by some Brits. We operated the Helio with my collection of War One aircraft with the camera pointed out the port door. I would use flaps, power and then cross-control the aircraft to hold the starboard wing up, and out of shot. This was around 45 knots and the aircraft was very stable in this condition. This was really a low-budget camera mount when compared with our Alouette 111. I flew the aircraft near its limits, and had a lot of fun. Unfortunately, the less-experienced owner took it back to the UK and tried to replicate something from the front yard of someone's country estate and broke it in three pieces.
Paul Richard, e-mail, 16.10.2012 22:51
Owned two one 295 one 250 for 20 years both had cross wind gear very useful total time in helio's 2300 plus hours excellent aircraft never bent one but had one emergency landing no damage. Oil pump failed.
Tom, e-mail, 20.07.2012 03:24
I belonged to an ANG Commando Sq in the 1960's.We got 4 Helio's (U10) in the Spring of 1963 with the geared 295 hp engine. Our missions were low-level night, blackout landings, etc. I became IP in them and really enjoyed flying them. AF took them away from us in 1964 saying they needed them in Viet Nam. In 1966, while at Saigon, I saw several of them.
Andy Pilszak, e-mail, 20.06.2012 23:21
Saw your note on Virtual Aircraft Museum web site. I was with a group that flew two helios to Panama from Ft. Bragg. These were 63-13178, and 63-13180. The Army had 15 there and we took two of them to the 8th. SFG. at Fort Gulick (Coco Solo NAS). They were all painted various colors, and bore little resemblance to Army aircraft. This was in Dec. of 1968.
Paul Zimmerli, e-mail, 01.04.2012 22:54
We used to show off the U-10s at our monthly firepower displays at Hurlburt when I was in the Information Office there between 1966 and 1969. We would put our super-VIPs on a bleacher on the back of a GI 18-wheeler, out on the grass by the runway. We would have a U-10 (with the pilot only and with the speaker gear, etc., removed!) touch down even with one end of the trailer and stop before reaching the other end. (Of course, the pilot chose which direction he landed in, to take advantage of the winds.) Then we would have it turn around and taxi past the VIPs, and turn around again. Running up to full power, he'd take off into the wind and have sunlight beneath his wheels before he reached the far end of the tractor/trailer again. Really spectacular and effective display! Our super-VIPs were everyone from cabinet members to billionaires (I remember being assigned to personally explain everything that was going on to H.L. Hunt!) to film stars to foreign dignitaries. I'm just surprised there was not more investment in the Helio company...
Don Smith, e-mail, 26.11.2011 02:26
I was fortunate enough to fly the U-10 with the 6th Special Forces at Fort Bragg immediatly after flight school. What a piece of machinery! Too bad the Army did not see fit to keep it, once again the Army took second place to demands from the Air Force and everyone lost out.
Curt Kenner, e-mail, 05.06.2011 16:49
I met a gentleman in the winter of '81 when I was flying out of Barnstable, Mass who claimed to be the designer of the Helio Courier. He was flying a yellow Ercoupe and stated he planned to tour the US in the ercoupe. He spoke knowledgeable of the dates of development and characteristics of the helio. could this have really been Otto Koppen? Anyone?
Orville C. Rogers, e-mail, 15.03.2011 20:53
I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity of ferrying many of the Couriers to South America and Africa. For many years it was the work horse of JAARS,the aviation and technical arm of Wycliffe Bible Translors.In the fields, WBT is known as Summer Institute of Linguistics, where their personnel lived with the indigenous people groups, learned the language and translated the New Testament (typically)and taught them to read and write, having the word of God in their own "heart" language. The Courier has done a great job in the areas where airstrips are short and primitive. It is still flying in some areas but the shortage of avgas has forced mission groups to turn to turboprops, since jet fuel is more abundant and cheaper.
J.R. Smith, e-mail, 11.03.2011 01:17
Fantastic aircraft. I crewed one for 20 months at Ft. Benning Ga. (Test and Evaluation and Control Group TEC) when testing the 11th Air Assult prior to becomming the 1st Air Mobility Cav. to prove itself in V-Nam. Also we used it to drop wannabe rangers off in the hinterlands of Ft. Bragg for jungle training. Fun aircraft in the swamps. I had 80 bootleg hours of flying time. Easy aircraft to fly. I understand L-10 did away with the cross-wind landing gear....good move! JR (Smitty) Smith
stephen, e-mail, 10.02.2011 14:55
1957 Helio H-391B $56,000 1787 hours TTAF, 1205 hours on GO-435 (260 HP) All records since date of manufacture. This is an excellent Helio and just out of annual, no squawks.Recent paint and flown regularly. Set up for aerial photo. E-mail me for photos.
Roger Price, e-mail, 22.12.2010 16:31
Flew the U-10D/B out of Bien Hoa, 69-70, 5th and 9th SOS, psyops, leaflets, speaker/Special Ops missions. Then flew it for USAF Academy 70/71 towing gliders for the cadet Airmanship program. I ran the Training/Eval program at Peterson Field Ops Sq. In Feb 71 was flying three cadets in a demo flight and the aileron cable snapped while descending and entering the pattern at Academy old dirt strip. Both ailerons went to full up position leaving me with just rudder, elevator and power to control aircraft. From 2,000' AGL I wrestled it to keep wings as level as I could and as much nose up as possible to survive impending crash. We crashed 20 degrees nose down, about 30 degrees bank at maybe 120 mph. Slammed into a pasture across from Academy North Gate and I-25, bounced, spun 360 degrees, bounced again and came to rest. Prop found 100' away, gear buckled, engine came partly into cockpit, left wing snapped back. Board estimated we impacted at around 15 G's. No one walked away but all survived but many injuries. I broke my leg, ankle, lower back, many cuts, had to be pried out of aircraft as engine had jammed rudder pedals on my ankle. ADC put my picture in the Interceptor magazine even though aircraft was Class 26! Returned to flying status 6 months later. Board discovered chaffing of cable around a pulley, mx inspections never discovered this. USAF grounded all C-123 and 130's with similar cables for inspection. Later after a few ground loops by attached tow pilots at Peterson Field, CO AF replaced U-10s with contract Cubs for towing. U-10 was an incredible aircraft, challenging to fly but could perform some amazing things. In strong westerly Front Range winds I could hover the Helio and fly backwards at 10 knots or so. I retired after 20 years with thousands of sorties but only one where I logged the takeoff and no landing!
Tom L Hogue A&P, e-mail, 30.10.2010 04:01
I have a 1959 helio Courier in my shop for a top overhaul, The owner said it is for sale if any one asks. It has a GO 435 engine, airframe is in super condtion. Located in Brownfield Texas, cell phone 806 891 1102.
Ben Barfield, e-mail, 21.10.2010 07:28
I saw a Helio Shark at our local airport a few weeks ago.. AWSOME !! Did not know there was such a thing.. Looked like a large 172 , but that was the only thing simular !!
Curt Kenner, e-mail, 17.10.2010 21:52
I was in an army detachment that had a U-10A flying out of Udorn Thailand. Air America flew 19 of them in that area and did our maintenance for us. During the tour we had a new engine installed with twin Rajay turbochargers. Ours was the only turbocharged U-10 in SE Asia as far as I could tell. Take-off performance above 3000 MSL was greatly enhanced. Another unique thing about our bird and the Air America birds in the area was the removal of the castering landing gear. Who needs it when you can take off and land across the runway if the crosswinds are so strong (15 KTS for me) that a normal runway take-off is not practicable. The U-10 will ground loop in a heart beat. I have had the tires scream at me on take-off but never had it go around on me like so many others did. I had a technique for landing the ship that i used for landing on short strips and to have it so slow on touchdown that a groundloop wouldn't hurt the aircraft. I wouldn't recommend this to anyone else as it is dangerous if the engine falls. Throddle back to flap speed, full flaps, full power and the aircraft descends nicely at about 200 FPM. I carried that right to the ground. Mighty impressive to a C-141 pilot awaiting takeoff to see no ground roll and an exit on the entry taxiway. Remember this is a dangerous technique and the owner was Uncle Sam. I wouldn't do this in my own aircraft. I loved flying the U-10 and wish I could afford one. the only drawback that I observed was the aircraft would beat you to death in turbulant air. Yes, I have had the slats bang out at cruse. Oh yes, The spoilers are handy and necessary at slow speeds. KEEP 'EM FLYING
Kent Goldsmith, e-mail, 16.09.2010 22:30
In 1972/73, I was Asst Air Attache at the US Embassy in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. A U-10A was acquired from Panama and I was dispatched to Saigon to pick-up, even though I had never seen one nor flown in an aircraft anything like. A beatiful little craft, painted grey with United States of America on the fuselage and American flag on the tail-fin. No-one there had flown one either, as it arrived in a box and was assembled by Vietnamese under the instruction of a couple of Air America types. Armed with a very small handbook, I taxied it around a bit and then took off for Phnom Penh. No particular problems although it did seem to become a bit left wing heavy enroute and I wasn't aware fuel could be transferred via a switch in the right entry door panel (which I couldn't reach anyway very readily). Next surprise was on landing when the leading edge slats popped out on short final. I knew they were there, of course, from take-off but hadn't really thought it through about landing. Slight cross-wind meant left slat popped out a few seconds earlier than the right one, but just a moment later I was on the runway rolling sideways (swivel main gear another slight surprise). We flew it, along with our Gooney bird, until I returned to the states in mid-1973.
A great experience but a somewhat scary aircraft for a guy who spent most of his previous time in C-130s and C-123s. I never really mastered 'tail draggers'to my satisfaction, and that includes the Gooney.
Major USAF Retired
wayne goff, e-mail, 10.08.2010 22:24
i owned 2 of the ht 295 1974 models.I loved them and wish i had one now
Doug Stansbury, e-mail, 12.07.2010 02:42
I was with the 9th Infantry Division PSYOPS, Viet Nam 1968-1969. I flew many missions with the Air Force in the Helio Courier. Was tought to fly the aircraft by an Air Force pilot. Went on to fly commercial and Air Ambulance for many yeas in Hawaii and Western States, the Helio Courier got me started. Great Aircraft!
Doug Stansbury, e-mail, 12.07.2010 02:41
I was with the 9th Infantry Division PSYOPS, Viet Nam 1968-1969. I flew many missions with the Air Force in the Helio Courior. Was tought to fly the aircraft by an Air Force pilot. Went on to fly commercial and Air Ambulance for many yeas in Hawaii and Western States, the Helio Courior got me started. Great Aircraft!
don carty, e-mail, 03.05.2010 22:09
As far as I know, I was the first USAf pilot to fly the L-28 in Jan 1961. I flew one from Grand Forks AFB, ND to Malmstrom AFB, MT. The project to see if missile crews could safely fly themselves back and forth to the missle site was called PRODLECT HIGHCLIMBER, We had a L-28 and a Bever O-6 obtained from the Army. We operated in and out of 700foot dirt landing strips. I was told that the CIA got the Helio aircraft to ferry people in and out of the Iron Curtain countries in 1953. Our project had a few problems. I had an oil vent line freeze over and had to dead stick the plane in. Also at -40 F. I had a landing gear weld break and resulted in a weird landing. My favorite trick was to take off and fly backwards down the field. The KC-97 pilots were jealous. The whole concept was finally canceled after the USAF went "CHEAP CHARLIE" and got free O-6s from the Army insted of paying $40000 per aircraft and a non rated missile crew promptly killed themselves. We then flew the crews back and forth in H-19's and later in UH-1Fs missile crew. To me the L-28 (later called the U-10 was a remarkable aircraft. TIt could slow fly at 27 Knots partly because of the inverting flaps. Max speed was 188mph, and service ceiling was 16000 ft. It had a 900 mile range and got 13 mpg. I think I still have my L-28 ckecklist! Wish I owned one!
Dave Baggott, e-mail, 13.04.2010 15:21
I was a Huey pilot with the 6th SFG at Ft. Bragg in '70. Flew as co-pilot in a U-10 a few times. Very impressive. I just found the "thump----thump" of the leading edge flaps as you lose airspeed to be a bit disconcerting as it was unexpected.
Hubert Flomenhoft, e-mail, 15.01.2010 05:54
Professor Otto Koppen designed a two-control lightplane called the "Skyfarer" in the late 1930s. It was a fabric-covered airplane and did not compete successfully against Fred Weick's all-metal "Ercoupe." The company Koppen formed to produce the Skyfarer was The General Aircraft Corporation. He tried to sell his plane to the Army in WWII, but it was not suitable to be a trainer for pilots who would be flying three-control aircraft. The "General Aircraft Company" then existed on paper. Koppen and Lynn Bollinger of Harvard then got interested in a short-takeoff-and-landing (STOL) quiet airplane which could be operated from small fields close to populated areas. So they developed the Helioplane to not only fly controllably at low speeds, but also at reduced noise levels. It had a V-belt drive from the engine to the large propeller whose shaft was higher on the nose section, so the propeller turned at around 1200 rpm. I don't recall how they handled engine exhaust. The Couriers were then developed and over 500 built and sold, over 100 to the Army as the U-10. Stephen Ruby is correct, the design gross weight was 3400 lbs., but the no-wind takeoff distance was 335 ft., 610 ft. over a 50-foot obstacle, according to a FLYING Magazine article of 1969. In the early 1960s, Helio Aircraft built eight twin-engine "Twin Couriers" for use in Vietnam. The larger wing and fuselage of this design became the basis for the design of the "Stallion," powered initially by a Pratt & Whitney of Canada PT6-6 (or -20) at 550 HP. In 1968, when I joined the company, Bollinger sold new stock to get $4 million for product improvement and new development. The Courier was dressed up with a new interior and a rectangular window which replaced the old porthole window in the rear. The Stallion was upgraded to the PT6-28 engine at 680 HP. There was some preliminary design of a "hammerhead" twin-engine configuration for the Stallion. However, the main project was a new Twin-Courier for the commercial market. All of this petered out, however, because Bollinger ran out of money when he tried to stop the Air Force from buying Fairchild's version of the Pilatus Porter and buy the Stallion instead. During this time, Koppen got interested in developing a commuter turboprop airplane. The General Aircraft Corp. was revived for this purpose. There was some maneuvering where Helio bought out General and changed its name to General, but I'm not clear on those events. All of this fell apart in the 70s and the company became moribund. I've heard that there have been attempts to revive the company since 2000. By the way, I saw somewhere that the Courier used the same airfoil as the P-51. Not so. It used the NACA 23012 whose aerodynamic characteristics were published in 1942. The bare airfoil had terrible stall characteristics, but with full-span slats, there was no stall. There was a minimum control speed and the airplane would just mush down. With spoilers and a large vertical tail, a Koppen characteristic, the airplane had excellent controllability down to very low speeds, so Bollinger called it a "C/STOL," meaning a controlled STOL, unlike other planes alleged to be STOL.
Charles T. Pinkham, e-mail, 30.12.2009 00:01
I have over 1,000 hours flying this great airplane! Most of the hours were flown in Vietnam in 1967-68. We flew the AF U-10D with a 1,000 watt speaker mounted on the left side, and a shoot on the right side for dropping leaflets on psy-war missions. It was well suited for getting in and out of small Army fields, if they had a clear spot on the ground. That is where we picked up “hot captive recordings” to broadcast over known and suspected Viet Cong locations. After returning from VN, I flew the U-10 at the Air Force Academy, where we used it to tow sailplanes from takeoff at 7,000’ to drop off at 9-10,000’. Its castering landing gear posed a problem for some pilots who were not used to landing in a crosswind condition. It was the most unusual and fun airplane to fly, once you were conditioned to its high lift and slow speed maneuverability. Sadly, we retired the last AF U10’s to the AF graveyard at Davis-Monthan AF Base, AZ, in the early 1970’s.
Herbert L Fenster, e-mail, 28.08.2009 23:11
I litigated the case against the CIA
Joseph W. Hazen, e-mail, 27.06.2009 20:03
I flew the Helio-Courier for Air America From December 1961 to April 1966 and logged 2869 hours in it.In this time frame I also flew the Do-28, Dehavilland Caribou and Pilatus Porter. The Helio was a great aircraft for the job it was designed to do.
StuartClement, e-mail, 02.11.2008 02:30
I followed the development and progress of the Helio Courier from the mid 1940s for many years through Lynn Bollinger of MIT who's main job was marketing it . He worked closely with Otto Koppen , it's designer. After it was sold to General Aircraft I lost track of it . I recall the "Stallion" turbine powered very well. I also recall with it's am amazingperfomance taking off and landing on New York City piers during the City's widely publicized helicopter and V/STOL week long experiment in the 1960s (?) . I lost track if it when Helio Corp. was absorbed (?) by General Aircraft Corp . I was responsible for the sale of two of them and influential with interesting the CIA in it's performance and arranging a demonstration for them not long after which they procured a number of them for use in Vietnam . I would appreciate learning what happened to the Courier after the General Aircraft period. Where is it at today? Always wanted to own one !
Frank Regan, e-mail, 28.05.2008 18:08
The Designer of the Helio was Otto Koppen who also had a hand in the design of the Fort Trimotor. He was active in the design while I was an undergraduate at MIT. He showed a movied of the Helop operating under various conditions. One "stunt" was to land the airplane across the runway, rather than along the runway. Unfortunately at the time the faculty at MIT was engrossed in the space age and seemed to dismiss Koppen as some kind of emgbarassing relic. Interestingly, Koppen was pilot and got his instrument rating at the age of 80.
Stephen Ruby, e-mail, 05.03.2008 23:57
Your gross weight are way out of whack, gross weight for the Helio Courier H-250 and Super Courier is 3400 LBS. Ther is a mod for 3800 LBS. for amphib floats. The H-395 has a published no-wind take-off distance of 217 FT. in no-wind situations at gross, keep it light and you are off in half that distance...... Stephen
Greg Gill, e-mail, 23.01.2008 04:47
I believe they came out with a turbo prop model called the STALLION in the late 60's. I got a ride in one of the erlier Curiors and it took off and landed in about twice it's own length into a 20kt headwind PHENOMINAL!!!
Luis M. Moreno, e-mail, 19.06.2007 14:11
An extraordinary and safety aircraft. For many years, I expect. Luis
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