Back Kaman H-43 "Huskie"

Kaman H-43 "Huskie"

Kaman won a US Air Force contract in 1956 for a Crash/Rescue/Fire-Fighting helicopter. Designated the H-43A the first Huskies were delivered in 1958 and eighteen of these piston-powered helicopters were delivered until 1959 when Kaman switched entirely to turbine power.

Designated the H-43B/HH-43B, the turbine-powered Huskie was built in 1958 and lasted nine years. Powered by a Lycoming T53-L-1B the helicopters continued to be used in the USAF Crash/Rescue role. Later addition of an uprated Lycoming T53-L-11A engine re-designated the helicopter the HH-43F and a total of thirty-seven HH-43Fs were built up to 1968. The Kaman HH-43B set a world's altitude record for helicopters with a flight to 9850m and three world's time-of-climb records to 3000m, 6000m, and 9000m.

P.Allen "The Helicopter", 1996

Kaman H-43 "Huskie"

Charles H. Kaman established the Kaman Aircraft Corporation in December 1945 to manufacture a new helicopter rotor and control system of his own design. Development of the basic intermeshing rotor system and its servo flap control was completed in late 1946 and the first experimental Kaman K-125A helicopter was flown on 15 January 1947. From it was evolved first the K-190, flown in 1948, and then the K-225 three-seat utility helicopter; two examples of the K-225 were acquired by the US Navy in 1950. Used for evaluation purposes, they led to an initial contract for 29 HTK-1 trainers which, in 1962, were redesignated TH-43E. Contemporary with production of the HTK-1, Kaman developed the K-600, ordered for service with the US Marine Corps and US Navy under the respective designations HOK-1 and HUK-1; these were redesignated UH-43C and OH-43D in 1962. Eighteen aircraft similar to the US Navy's HUK-1s were also acquired by the US Air Force under the designation H-43A Huskie.

One HOK-1 was flown as a testbed aircraft with an Avco Lycoming XT53 turboshaft engine, and service testing confirmed the considerable performance improvement offered by this powerplant. This led to the H-43B, first flown on 13 December 1958, which became the major production version of the Huskie with a total of 193 built; of this number 31 were supplied under the US Military Assistance Program to Burma (12), Colombia (6), Morocco (4), Pakistan (6) and Thailand (3). Slightly larger than the earlier H-43A (later HH-43A), the H-43B (later HH-43B) had a cabin seating up to eight passengers and was powered by a 615kW Avco Lycoming T53-L-1B turboshaft engine. Final production version was the HH-43F (40 built for the USAF and 17 for Iran). Generally similar to the HH-43B airframe, except for internal rearrangement to seat 11 passengers, this last version of the Huskie had an 858kW Lycoming T53-L-11A derated to 615kW for improved performance in 'hot-and-high' conditions.

An interesting variant of the Huskie family derived from a conversion of one of the original K-225s. Under US Navy contract, Kaman installed in this aircraft a 130kW Boeing YT50 (Model 502-2) gas-turbine engine. When first flown with this powerplant on 10 December 1951, this was the first helicopter in the world to have its rotors powered by a turbine engine.

D.Donald "The Complete Encyclopedia of World Aircraft", 1997

Kaman H-43 "Huskie"


- Ex-US Huskies have served with the air forces of Burma, Colombia, Morocco, Pakistan and Thailand.

- The Huskie established seven world records using its T53-1 engine.

- The first flight of the prototype in this series took place on 13 December 1958.

- The USAF received 263 Huskies (18 H-43As, 203 HH-43Bs and 42 HH-43Fs) between 1958 and 1968.

- The rescue hoist of the Huskie has a capacity of 272kg for lifting personnel.

- A few civilian Huskies remain in use undertaking logging operations.

Photo Gallery 

A Navy HOK-1 (later OH-43D) leads a flight of Kaman helicopters - an HTK-1 fitted with floats, the turboshaft-powered K-225, and the second K-225 prototype

A U.S. Air Force HH-43B Huskie practices rescue operations at an air base in South Vietnam during 1966. Note the exhaust pipe projecting over the tail assembly, four tail fins, wheel skids for operation in swamps or marshes, and two men coming aboard via the rescue hoist. The HH-43s were used mainly for base operations and rarely for combat rescues in Vietnam

Technical data for Kaman H-43F "Huskie"

Crew: 1, passengers: 11, engine: 1 x Lycoming T53-L-11A turboshaft, rated at 850kW, rotor diameter: 14.33m, fuselage length: 7.67m, height: 3.84m, width: 4.58m, take-off weight: 4150kg, empty weight: 2095kg, max speed: 193km/h, cruising speed: 177km/h, rate of climb: 9.15m/s, service ceiling: 7010m, range: 810km

Comments1-20 21-40 41-60 61-80 81-100 101-120 121-140 141-160
Sandra Gomez, e-mail, 17.02.2024reply

I met and fell in love with a handsome man on an online dating site, but I was duped. I chose to look into him since he persisted in demanding money and other things, even though I couldn't see him. I was able to access his phone and all of his personal information from my home country because I contacted Redeemed Hcker-Pro, a hcking and digital asset recovery agency, to do a phone /system hck on his phone. Thanks to Redeemed Hcker Pro, I discovered after the hck that the handsome man I had met online was not who he claimed to be. You can also contact this agency through their hotline in any situation involving hcking and the recovery of lost money or cryptocurrency.
Email: redeemed.h.p.
Website: /redeem-hcker-pro.

Capt Les Nunn. JAG, e-mail, 19.01.2024reply

I represented a HH43 pilot in a Flying Evaluation Board where a defect in the rotor blades was the cause of the problem.

John Hatch, "Dusty", e-mail, 16.11.2023reply

Hello All

I was stationed at George AFB, Victorville Ca. as a Helicopter Mechanic an the Aircrew on the HH-43 B /F Models.

We had a Capstan Liberneck there who was a very good Pilot, that I liked to Fly With.

He received an Assignment to Viet Nam, he was Hovering Over a B-52 Crash When all of a sudden its Bombs Blew Up, Knocking the H-43 out of the Sky and Killing Him, that was very Sad News that I received at a later date.

He was a Great Guy, and a Down to Earth Type of Guy. I Miss him.

Probably the Fire Fighters were Killed too, so sad.

I really Liked the Helicopter, Washing and waxing the Rotor Blades every 7 days did get old sometimes.

I later retrieved a Flying Assignment on H-53's in Thailand at NKP, flying into LAOS for the CIA's Secret war.

Stayed on H-53's until retirement in 1982 as a FLIGHT ENGINEER, WE were No Longer FLIGHT MECHANICS.

Anyhow you Take Care,


E Mail

Dave Glick, e-mail, 19.07.2023reply

Flew the HH43B From 1960 (Westover AFB, MASS) and 62-65 based in Laon Air Base and also flew it in Saudi, Ethiopia and Norway.
Survived 2 crashes and saved a life or 2. Now 88 but would love a little stick time.

Adrian Wever, e-mail, 10.10.2023 Dave Glick

Dear Mr Glick,

I read you flew Huskies in Norway. Was this civilian, or military ( on exercise)?

Thank you for your reply,

Adrian Wevet


Walter J Zimmerman, e-mail, 07.09.2023 Dave Glick

Dave, Hi. Just checking out data to respond to a book written about a B-52 Crash. The '52 was out of Westover' and it crashed in Jan, 1963. If you get this, could you please acknowledge it. Thanks, Walt


matthew, e-mail, 16.03.2023reply

I hate to disagree with the author of this piece But My father flew ASAR out of PlaKu Vietnam as pararescue hoist operator / flight mechanic (I think he said 43rd ASAR) 50 plus missions 24 successful Pilot ASARs so clearly the huskie did extensive air rescue. the "B"ship he generally recovered the fallen. On his last mission the "A" ship took enemy fire and aborted, leaving the "B" ship to make the rescue, Under fire they recover the Col. & backseater alive for which they were awarded the AIR force cross. the squadron CO pulled him from the line that evening the next mission that aircraft flew it was destroyed. he was not reassigned as he was due to rotate home and did. They also worked fire suppression

Lynn klar, e-mail, 11.04.2022reply

My father worked on this helo. I would love to find on to restore with him. I'm going for my A&P now and have a skymaster /o2 myself. If anyone has any maintenance manuals, manufacturer info, anything to help us fabricate the needed parts. My dad became an engineer and a volunteer firefighter when I was a child after USAF retirement. I can see the love for this Whistling shit house in his eyes. I would love to restore and share this amazing story with the next generation. Thank you so much., 18.01.2022reply

I'm trying to find the tail numbers of the HH43s stationed at Cannon AFB between 1970 and 1972., 18.01.2022reply

I'm trying to find the tail numbers of the HH43'S stationed at Cannon AFB between 1970 and 1972

Jeff hawley, e-mail, 30.12.2021reply

My grandfather was a crew chief on the h43 i still have a letter he received from the kamen corporation. He told me he was in service in Alaska and one time fished a russain glass fishing buoy out of the water .. still have it til this day

Jay Ingalls, e-mail, 21.04.2021reply

My father worked at Kaman in the late 50s and early 60s. We lived near the end of the Kaman property in Bloomfield. I remember an H43 flying over the house and my Dad remarking that it had "lost a jug." That was back in the piston-powered days. I have a number of other memories from the time Dad worked there. Dad's badge number was in the three hundred range. I think it was 326 but that was a long time ago.

Cherye L Elliott, e-mail, 01.11.2020reply

My Dad, John Elliott worked for Charlie Kaman during the 50's and 60's. We were stationed at Tachikawa AFB in Japan. He spent most of his time with the technical support of the helicopters. When a helicopter had trouble they would call and be hooked up through radio to the men rescuing our soldiers. All they had to do was put their radio near the engine and my Dad could tell you exactly what was wrong by the sound. I am not sure of all the things he did because he wore a custom made suit to work and carried a orange jumpsuit to stay clean. I remember when Mr. Kaman wanted to go to Vietnam to see how his 'investment' was doing, he had to get permission to get into the country from my Dad. Charlie was not amused.

The reason for my post. I have ALL of the training manuals--you name it I have it, for the helicopters until 1965. Is there a museum or ? That would want to have these books?

I am in the process of moving. I am definitely not throwing them away. I will keep them in the family but I thought they may be better off for enthusiasts to enjoy. Thank you.

Lynn klar, e-mail, 11.04.2022 Cherye L Elliott

If you still have any items relating to the hh43 huskie, I would love to see it and see if I can use it. I want to find one and restore one with my father. He worked on them in Vietnam and they store his heart. I have a skymaster /O2 but dad isn't a fixed wing man. You should hear the love and passion about this helo when das talks about balancing the blades. Please let me know if you do or don't. Thank you very much. Hugs.


jerry ball, e-mail, 30.11.2020 Cherye L Elliott

Hi Cherye I was a firefighter assigned to the HH43B for eight years. After 45 years active /civilian with the USAF I retired and work closely with the Pedro Rescue Helicopter Association. We have placed Pedro Monuments at Maxwell SAFB, AL, The Air Force Academy and one at Lackland AFB. We were schedule to place the last one at the US Air Force Muesuem, Dayton Ohio this year but have been delayed due to the virus. I need a copy of the Dash One Technical Order for the HH43B Huskey. I am in the process of trying to provide a Fire Suppression Kit FSK for the HH43B on display at the DOD fire Academy, Goodfellow AFB, San Angelo, TX Any help would be greatly appreciated. Regards Jerry Ball


Joe daniels, 27.08.2020reply

I was !90150 CREW MEMBER at McCord afbShelly's AFB LIbya

Bud Cochran, e-mail, 20.03.2020reply

I got to fly this helicopter at the Indian Springs AFAF. FLEW MISSIONS TO DROP SHAPES for the rocket earth bore program. We dropped shapes from high altitude. I Day we were climbing well and I was ask if I wanted to set an altitude record. I was on height finding radar. I was told I was at 33500 ft. I climbed until the stick was bouncing off the back stop. This is because the nose tuck more the higher you get.

William Waite, e-mail, 13.03.2018reply

I had the pleasure of serving as an on-board fire fighter with Det. 11, 41st ARRW at Kunsan AB, Korea 1969-1970. The rescue and recovery operations we performed were my proudest memories serving in the USAF. My most exciting moment was an emergency water landing (the water was only 2 feet deep) we had to make in a mine field along the base perimeter.

mark a peck, e-mail, 17.11.2017reply

I was a firefighter /rescue at Mcchord Air Force Base
from 1970 to 1974.

Michael D. Kast, e-mail, 29.06.2017reply

'67; Flight Surgeon Assistant, (School of Aerospace Medicine); pcs to; Left seat Huey's in SAC, then pcs to the Husky in 67th ARRS, Det 13, (you crash, we dash), Moron AFB, Spain,(68--70). HEY--Stan Nelson--took over your typewriter desk too, lol). Besides being left seat, and hoist operator on occasions, I truly respected the Fire Fighters on board during such missions. With med-kit, unfolding stretcher, safely behind the FSK, with the 43 above fanning the flames away in our simulated crash drills really gave me an appreciation to the coordination required to safely remove any crew from a burning craft. (HEY Ken Joyce); My pilots were fantastically adept too. One Capt., on an auto-rotation check ride by his Major, managed to set down rather hard on the front starboard wheel, which bounced the craft up, and over starboard 90 degrees. I know this, as, lol, I was just on board for the extra flight hours. Sitting on the bench up against the electronics conduits on the port side, (behind the Major's left seat position), I watched out the open side door at the expansion cracks of the runway magnifying towards me. (Think 'cross-hairs'. My last thought was; "...this is it".., but the Captain righted the craft back upright 90 degrees to a soft 4 wheeled landing. Base Ops said that our starboard blades missed the concrete by ONE, (1) foot. 'Twas a miracle. How in the world was that possible. We were safe on the ground. I unbuckled, got out, and actually kissed the ground. Never asked how the Pilot managed that landing. Sure would like to know though..! Our 130 Hercule crews were great when we loaded one of our two 43B's on board for deployment to Carbide Ice, Reforger 1. One thing best was the fact that the chopper mechanics are the unsung heros for keeping us crew members alive with always one brand new craft sitting, and charging on the ready pad, whilst they went through the other. Seems they were on a two week rotation. Pedro; "Where Ever Needed".
HEY RUSKIES.., GET OVER IT. Cosmic oriented economics is better than war oriented economics.., da?

Bill McMichael, e-mail, 11.12.2020 Michael D. Kast

Mr. Kast: I'm writing a book that briefly describes a 1961 mission in the Montana mountains that involved an H-43 from the Malmstrom AFB detachment of the Western Air Rescue Center, and I'm trying to reconstruct it with the correct detail. There were several stages to this. One: Picking up local lawmen, one by one, while hovering, and ferrying each to a nearby crash site. Two: Delivering supplies to same at their base camp - food, and hay for their horses. Three: Later recovering human remains, in body bags, from the crash site. You state that the helo was equipped with a folding stretcher. I imagine that was how remains would have been lifted aboard. But for picking up & transporting live individuals, and for lowering supplies, was some sort of rope or cable harness used instead? I just want to describe this accurately. Any help is greatly appreciated. Best, Bill McMichael


Stan Nelson, e-mail, 16.06.2017reply

Assigned to LBRs 1965 to 1969 on HH-43Bs. I was at Moron AB, Spain when the B-52 collided with a KC-135 over Palomares on the SE coast of Spain. We operated out of San Javier, Spain which was 90 nm northeast of Palomares. Our H-43 were initially used to recover the H bomb remains and later supported search and recovery of the 4th H bomb that drifted off into the Mediterranean. We operated on the search and recovery from Jan 66 to April 66. One of our tasks was to sling load pallets of K rations fro San Javier to Palomares. Some days we would fly 3 sling loads a day. We were doing so many sling loads that I coordinated with the truck driver who had to load the K rations onto his truck by hand. I told him if he would park his truck into the wind, that we would drop the pallets of K rations onto the truck bed for him to make his job easier. When we came in with the next load, the truck was into the wind and we placed the pallet in the middle of the truck bed. After that, we placed all the pallet loads on the truck bed. It sure lightened his work load. While supporting the bomb recovery, we also had to recover the remains of of a C-124 crew that crashed into an 11K mountain near Granada, Spain. It was a busy start for 1966.

timothy gerhard, e-mail, 15.06.2017reply


John Reilly, e-mail, 12.06.2017reply

I worked on these at Sheppard AFB in 1969 /70. They trained the Pilot's and the Fire Fighters. I was the Hoist Operator as well. It was a good ship.

Ronald Bryant, e-mail, 28.11.2016reply

Served as aeromedical tech in HH43B for 2 years at Hahn AFB Germany from 1968 to 1970. Great cerew and experience. If you were there please contact me VI's email.

Mark Bennett, e-mail, 03.08.2020 Ronald Bryant

Ron Bryant, sounds like you served the same time at Hahn AB with my father,
HH43 pilot, Maj Robert Bennett. Write me, please. (Good memories for me too.)


Tom Wade Brumfield Jr., e-mail, 16.02.2024 Mark Bennett

Was your father stationed at Perrin AFB Sherman, TX. There was a bob Bennett there while we were.


1-20 21-40 41-60 61-80 81-100 101-120 121-140 141-160
Do you have any comments ?

Name   E-mail

Virtual Aircraft Museum

All the World's Rotorcraft