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HO-5 / OH-5 / FH1100

In 1961, twelve companies submitted proposals to meet US Army requirements for a four-seat turbine-powered light observation helicopter. After evaluation, three designs were selected and 5 of each: the Bell OH-4A; the Hiller OH-5 and the Hughes OH-6, were ordered for trials by the U.S.Army Aviation Board. The Hiller OH-5 was designed as a light observation helicopter for the Army, but it lost the competition. Stung by the loss of the OH-5 contract, however, which Hiller felt had been stolen by Hughes, Hiller Aircraft refused to bid on the next Army contract. This resulted in Bell winning the OH-58, and the virtual end of Hiller helicopters when production ended in 1973.

The FH1100 was the first US civilian turbine-powered light helicopter to enter production. This all aluminum semi-monocoque five passenger light turbine helicopter was originally powered by the Allison 250 C18 turbine and later by the Rolls-Royce 250 C20B. It is a tough, dependable, durable design that has proven itself in the most extreme of operating conditions for over forty years.

Serial number 09 was the first FH1100 helicopter produced, on 03 June 1966. In 1968 the FH1100 became the first light-turbine helicopter introduced in an airborne ambulance configuration.

In 1967, the Army reopened the LOH competition for bids because Hughes Tool Co. Aircraft Division could not meet the contractual production demands. Bell resubmitted for the program using the Bell 206A. Fairchild-Hiller failed to resubmit their bid with the YOH-5A, which they had successfully marketed as the FH-1100. In the end, Bell underbid Hughes to win the contract and the Bell 206A was designated as the OH-58A. Following the US Army's naming convention for helicopters, the OH-58A was named Kiowa in honor of the Native American tribe.

In 1969 the FH1100 helicopter became the first civil light-turbine helicopter to be successfully used as a US based helicopter air ambulance. In California, CAL FIRE began using contractor-owned helicopters for fire control in the mid 1960's. Bell 47, Hiller FH1100, Bell Jet Rangers and Aerospatiale Alouettes were used the most through the 1970's.

By the early 1990s the aerial vehicles most widely used for law enforcement activities were the three place reciprocating-engined helicopters typified by the Bell 47G series, the Hughes 300C and the Enstrom F-28A. Turbine helicopters (Fairchild Hiller FH-l000 and Bell 206A Jet Ranger) were becoming popular in law enforcement activities, but their high initial costs ($98,000 and $105,000, basic price respectively) put them out of reach for many agencies.

Maximum speed at sea level is 127 mph, with fuel consumption as low as 22 gallons per hour. Demonstrated technology, low operating costs, reduced maintenance cost, ease of operation are all benefits of FH1100 ownership. Maximum Range and endurance at 5,000 feet is 615 miles and 5 hours with auxiliary fuel tanks.

Quick change weapons packages make the FH1100M suitable for a variety of missions. It can be used as an armed or unarmed scout as well as for anti-tank missions. It takes just minutes to reconfigure for mission priorities.

The FH1100M scout version converts into a two patient air ambulance. Use it for utility transport, search and rescue, communications forwarding and wire laying. Other missions include training, command and control, airborne news gathering, police work, harbor patrol and border patrol.

Stability augmentation system provides increased effectiveness as a weapons platform. Added stability reduces time necessary to acquire and fire on a target. Optional digital glass cockpit available as replacement to analogue instrument panel. System and crew armor plating available to improve mission survivability. Self sealing fuel tanks. Dual independent hydraulic controls.

The use of FH1100M for many different tasks can cut the expense and logistics of maintaining your flight line. It's much simpler to keep a fleet of multi-purpose helicopters in the air, rather than using specialized aircraft that are capable of performing only one type of mission.

Production of the Fairchild-built version ended in 1973-4. A total of 246 had been built when production ended, with about 30 FH-1100s was supplied to the armed services of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Cyprus, Ecuador, Panama, the Philippines and Salvador. Hiller Aviation (which was reconstituted as a private, independent company in 1980) bought back the rights to build the aircraft from Fairchild, with plans to build two a month in 1983, although in the event this was not achieved.

The company later operated as Rogerson Hiller and, since 1984, built and marketed updated versions of the original FH-1100. These were the RH-1100A Pegasus civil helicopter and the RH-1100M Hornet military rotorcraft, the latter capable of carrying the latest battlefield avionics and armed with guns, rocket pods and ATM and AAM missiles.

FH1100 Manufacturing Corp. now manufactures the FH1100 helicopter. FH1100 Manufacturing Corp. is taking a pro-active, aggressive attitude with regard to the safety of the fleet of existing FH1100 helicopters. It is a tough, dependable, durable design that has proven itself in the most extreme of operating conditions for over forty years. But all aircraft need proper maintenance to keep them in top shape.

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Page last modified: 24-01-2015 19:08:08 ZULU