Air America\'s black silent helicopter -Hughes 500P- in Vietnam.

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Air America's black silent helicopter -Hughes 500P- in Vietnam.

Fascinating article on a subject I never knew existed. Black helicopters - the Hughes 500P- were used in Vietnam for surveillance operations.

Black helicopters are a favorite fantasy when conspiracy theorists and movie directors conjure a government gone bad, but in fact, the last vehicle a secret organization would choose for a stealthy mission is a helicopter.

A helicopter is a one-man band, its turbine exhaust blaring a piercing whine, the fuselage ski’s vibration rumbling like a drum, the tail rotor rasping like a buzzsaw.

In the last dark nights of the Vietnam War, however, a secret government organization did use a helicopter for a single, sneaky mission. But it was no ordinary aircraft.

The helicopter, a limited-edition model from the Aircraft Division of Hughes Tool Company, was modified to be stealthy. It was called the Quiet One—also known as the Hughes 500P, the “P” standing for Penetrator.

Just how quiet was the Quiet One?
... Quote:
It was absolutely amazing just how quiet those copters were.

I’d stand on the [landing pad] and try to figure out the first time I could hear it and which direction it was coming from.

I couldn’t place it until it was one or two hundred yards away.There is no helicopter today that is as quiet.
recalls Don Stephens, who managed the Quiet One’s secret base in Laos for the CIA.

The Quiet One grew out of the Hughes 500 helicopter, known to aviators in Vietnam as the OH-6A “Loach,” after LOH, an abbreviation for “light observation helicopter.” The new version started with a small research-and-development contract from the Advanced Research Projects Agency (now the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) in 1968. ''

The idea of using hushed helicopters in Southeast Asia came from the CIA’s Special Operations Division Air Branch, which wanted them to quietly drop off and pick up agents in enemy territory.

The CIA bought and then handed over two of the top-secret helicopters to a firm—by all appearances, civilian—called Air America. Formed in 1959 from assets of previous front companies, Air America was throughout its life beholden to the CIA, the Department of State, and the Pentagon.

The Quiet One’s single, secret mission, conducted on December 5 and 6, 1972, fell outside Air America’s normal operations.

The company’s public face—what spies might call its “legend”—was that of a plucky charter airline delivering food and supplies to civilians in Laos, and flying occasional combat evacuation missions in Laos and South Vietnam.

While it did substantially more than that, and at considerable peril (217 of its employees died in Laos), Air America crews did not make it a practice to fly deep into North Vietnam.

More here http://www.airspacemag.com/...

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By netchicken: posted on 7-2-2008








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