By Col (R) Shahid Kureshi (46 PMA)
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.
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”.
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