2H4
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Helio Twin Couriers...Erased From History?

Sat Oct 23, 2004 11:42 am

So it's been documented that the Helio U-5A Twin Courier did in fact exist in small numbers. They were apparently used and/or evaluated by the USAF/CIA/Air America in the 1960s.













5A_1.jpg" width=650>


The thing is, they've apparently disappeared from the face of the earth. Not surprising, considering they were involved with the CIA, I know...but I remember reading that one was given to the Indian Air Force and the others were sent to the Alaska Department of Interior or something like that. I also found this:

Reply from Helio Corp to inquiry: "Unfortunately, we have very little information on the Twin Courier. All we know is that there were supposedly seven delivered to the CIA. There are no manufacturing records for these aircraft. They left the factory one day and were never seen again by the Helio Aircraft Company. Apparently all records either went with the aircraft or were destroyed. We still have all the engineering drawings, but that is about it." (— Jos Heyman 11/20/01)

Does anyone know anything about what might have happened to these planes?
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USAFHummer
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RE: Helio Twin Couriers...Erased From History?

Sat Oct 23, 2004 4:33 pm

Wow...a Twin Courier...never even knew they existed...given the Courier's amazing performance, I can only imagine what a Twin Courier could do...VTOL maybe  Big grin *sigh*

Greg
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2H4
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RE: Helio Twin Couriers...Erased From History?

Sat Oct 23, 2004 11:51 pm


What strikes me is how incredibly top-heavy that thing must have been. Both engines and all of the fuel is positioned at the very top of the aircraft. Given the unforgiving landing characteristics the single-engine Helio displayed, I'd imagine the twin is a ground loop waiting to happen.






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SlamClick
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RE: Helio Twin Couriers...Erased From History?

Wed Oct 27, 2004 5:30 am

I flew, and was an IP on the regular U-10 for a couple of years on active duty.
When I look at this one all I can think of is:

VMC


And how the only real virtues of the plane were its low-end performance. IMHO this might have ruined one of the best STOL airplanes out there.

Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
 
2H4
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RE: Helio Twin Couriers...Erased From History?

Wed Oct 27, 2004 8:25 am

Slamclick,

A while back, I had a chance to talk with some folks who have flown Caribous, Twin Otters, etc. They made it sound as if deHavilland essentially ignored Vmc in the STOL charts and speeds to achieve maximum short field performance. Kind of an "at your own risk" deal. Perhaps that's what Helio did with the Twin Courier.


2H4
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2H4
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RE: Helio Twin Couriers...Erased From History?

Thu Oct 28, 2004 1:51 am

Avt007....yeah, I found those links. They don't say where the aircraft are now, or whether they've been destroyed.


2H4
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SlamClick
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RE: Helio Twin Couriers...Erased From History?

Sat Oct 30, 2004 1:57 am

Howdy 2H4 yes, that is correct. Real multi STOL ops has to count on a relative absence of bad luck. Single engine STOL too, to some extent. I flew the Helio, the Beaver, Otter, and some STOL-modded aircraft. In general it is a really good thing if nothing goes wrong while you are in the cobwebby corners of the envelope.

Also, VMC is applicable only at full power on the operative engine. So long as you can give up some altitude for additional speed, or squeeze off some power for additional directional control (and do these things quickly) VMC is not that big a deal.

Other than actual engine placement, this Helio sort of reminds me of the Dornier

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Photo © Kenneth Pedersen


Air America operated a few of these during my time in Southeast Asia.
Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.

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