“Sporty Chopper”

By Col Shahid Kureshi, Retd (46th PMA)

Col (R) Shahid Kureshi, 46 PMA. Pakistan Army AviationEditor’s Note: Col Shahid Kureshi is from AC/Avn. After the retirement, he shuttles between Karachi and Dubai.

The Bell OH-13 (Sioux) is a two-bladed, single engine, light helicopter built by Bell Helicopter, USA. It was named after the Sioux, a Red Indian tribe which lived in USA and Canada. This helicopter was inducted in Pakistan Army Aviation in 1964. What a beauty of a machine it was! It would itself teach the pilot all that was necessary to be known about rotary wing aerodynamics. This helicopter played a major role during 1965 and 1971 Wars. After the arrival of Jet Ranger helicopters, it stayed for some time and finally retired in 1990.

Helicopter, OH-13 (S)

When I was instructor at Army Aviation School, Dhamial back in late 1970s, the OH-13 (S) was mainly used for training of pilots for circuit and landing and in the training area around Dhamial Air Base. These old OH-13 (S) helicopters were refurbished and we planned navigation sorties. During the first navigation sortie, our first leg was from Qasim Army Aviation Base (Dhamial Base) to Peshawar. The helicopters didn’t have much of speed. I guess the wagons plying between Pindi and Peshawar were doing better time.

When I contacted Cherat Approach and passed on my estimates, the controller asked “Confirm aircraft?”

Not to be cowed down by the witty PAF controller, I responded, “It is OH-13 (S) helicopter and the ‘S’ is for Sports model”.

Related Posts:
Humour in Uniform

Army Jokes (in Urdu/Punjabi)

Pakistan Army Blog (Retired Officers)

Editor’s Note: 
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  1. Brig (R) Javed Rashid Sajid, Avn (60th PMA) says:

    Dear Col Shahid Kureshi,
    Sir, You are Ma Sha ALLAH maintaining your humour. We served together in 3 Squadron. One day while going back from Squadron, we passed through the first lane of Fort Colony. There was a name plate hanging outside a house having name of the officer with is caste as ” Jerral”. You asked me, Do you know what is meant by Jerral?”
    I said, “No”.
    Then you explained it in a lighter manner, “It is actually a cross breed of Jerrican and Barrel”. Ha, ha, ha.
    With due apologies to affected caste, no offensive meant.
    Sir, stay blessed.

  2. Maj (R) Siraj Syed, USA (17 PMA) says:

    I along with a batch of 12 other pilots went to Camp Walters, Texas, USA in March 1963 to attend the first rotary wing conversion course. Our senior most person was Major SMA Tirmizi from 9 PMA Long Course who retired as a Brig and the junior most in our batch was Capt SZM Askaree from 18 PMA Course who retired as a Maj Gen.
    I remained in Army Aviation from 1960 till 1975 and took pre-mature retirement. I flew the H-13 (S) the most which I enjoyed. My log book shows that I had flown nearly 2650 hours on H-13 (S) only.
    These were the first helicopters which Pakistan received from USA. These were extremely powerful because of the supercharger version and we landed these helicopters at Khunjrab Pass which was probably 13000 feet ASL.
    Now helicopters are like toys. A doctor in my town in Colorado lands his chopper in his backyard and flies it himself.
    I am surprised to know that these H-13 remained in service till 1990.

  3. Col (R) Maqbool Rabbani, Arty (41st PMA) says:

    Dear Col Shahid,
    I believe you are the same Col Shahid Kureshi who commanded an Avn Sqn in Quetta in early 90s. It had already been always a great pleasure flying with you a number of times and listen to your witty conversation in the head phones.
    Stay blessed Col Shahid and get connected if possible through email.

  4. Ambassador (R) Tariq Azizuddin /Capt (R), 45 PMA says:

    Nice to see Shahid here!! We were together in AC School Nowshera in 1973 being members of the Honda 175 club. Have happy memories of riding together. Its been 41 years since and all of us have moved on. Wish I could reconnect with Shahid Kureshi to say hello and exchange notes for old times sake.
    Allah Hafiz and stay blessed.

  5. Col (R) Qaisar Rashid Shaikh says:

    A witty and hilarious episode. Keep these coming.

  6. Lt Col (R) Zahid Shah, AC (46 PMA) says:

    Shahid Kureshi,
    Keep it up! A pleasure reading an anecdote narrated by you.

  7. Faisal Tirmizi, USA says:

    My father, late Brig S.M.A Tirmizi, was amongst the first batch of Aviators who went for the rotary wing conversion to Fort Rucker in Alabama in the early 60s. As kids, we used to call OH-13 (S) “Bubble”. So many memories of Dhamial and Aviation.

    • Maj (R) Siraj Syed (17 PMA) says:

      Dear Mr. Faisal Tirmizi,
      Your father Brig Tirmazi went earlier to attend the L-19 (Bird Dog) course at Fort Rucker in Alabama. This was his second trip to USA to attend the rotary wing conversion course at Camp Walters (now known as Fort Walters), Texas. He attended his third course on MI-8 in Russia. He attended his fourth course on Puma Helicopter in France.
      He was a great Aviator and a wonderful person who never lost his temper. As aviators we never bothered to go to Staff College Quetta. If he had attempted to qualify Staff College he could have risen to the rank of a General like Lt General Azmat Awan and even become the C-in-C.
      God always Bless him.

      • Asad Sagheer says:

        Dear Maj Siraj Syed,
        I came across this thread quite by accident, this might be a long shot, but any chances you have any pictures from those days? My late-father, Maj Khalid Sagheer, told me many stories of his times in Army Aviation. Appreciate if you can share any pictures? email: asadsagheer@hotmail.com
        Asad Sagheer

  8. Rehana Akram says:

    While living in Lalazar, Rawalpindi, in 70’s, we saw these helicopters flying over our house all the time and we also had a nickname for them (‘Macher’).

  9. Col (R) Shah Alam, Canada says:

    Nice one, Shahid. It’s very gratifying to see you writing this which confirms you are in good health: certainly better than you were in last Dec, Masha’Allah.

  10. Lt Col (R) Zafar J. Usmani (53 PMA) says:

    Indeed a very witty reply, Sir!

  11. Almas Tirmizi says:

    Being a daughter of an Aviator, Brig (late) SMA Tirmizi, it’s always a pleasure reading something about The Army Aviation. I really enjoyed the little anecdote!

  12. Lt Col Masood Alam (retd) says:

    Nice one, sir.

  13. I only flew an L-19 during my brief stay in Army Avn (1975-78) and used to see this chopper in Avn School. I am sure there must be more anecdotes to be shared by our gladiator Aviators!

  14. Lt Col (R) Rashid Zia Cheema, 6 Avn Sqn says:

    An interesting anecdote. Keep sharing more.
    I hope you are still maintaining your witty style?
    Stay healthy, happy and blessed.

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