Heli-Kit News #90, 22-May-00

1. The new 'Gunship' version of the 1:72 Italeri H-21 #1203 (now available everywhere in the world except the UK), comes with markings for a 1959 USAF SAR aircraft as well as for the 1957 French (in Algeria) gunship shown on the boxart. This news is just what you want to hear if like me you built the earlier version of the kit with custom-made USAF SAR markings.

However, I'm told that the sprues do include a welcome pair of drop-tanks for use with the USAF version - as pictured in HKN last week.

2. The new 1:72 Italeri AB.204 #1201 (availability as above) seems to include most of the shortcomings that the cynics among us expected it to, including: Huey afficionados will have little trouble in picking up on a number of other problems. Maybe the aftermarket AB.204 parts referred to in earlier editions of HKN weren't such a bad idea after all. (HKN #62, #68, #69).

3. As predicted earlier, Revell's new version of their 1:72 A.109, kit #4456, comes with South African Air Force markings. I believe these markings, the colour scheme (green, brown & tan), and the weapons and sensor fit are speculative - South Africa only signed the contract with Agusta quite recently and none have yet been delivered. It differs from the earlier REGA version of this kit #4456 in that the third sprue is replaced by one with parts for crew seats, gun pods and rocket launchers, an alternative instrument panel, and a roof-mounted sighting system. This last part is not shown on the box-art. Unused holes in the cabin floor point to the possibility that another version of the kit maybe planned for the future.

4. Last week I speculated about the origins of the forthcoming 1:48 JMGT kit of the Loire et Olivier C.130. I was completely wrong. JMGT is a French company, also known as Socrate, who have been making resin and white metal kits of French subjects for a number of years.

5. The Aviation Workshop now have stocks of all three of the 1:72 Miku Ecureuil/Squirrel kits, (and Ilona Mullerova is listing the Miku Cheyenne). Aviation Workshop's 1:72 SH-2F Seasprite set is now available, this consists of long range fuel tanks and RNZN Decals, #AVW-H01. They also have #AVW-AC07, a 1:72 S-70/H-60 HIRSS exhaust set for Hasagawa Blackhawk/Sea Hawk kits.

6. Yevgeny Borissov's Heliborne website now has English-language pages as well as the Russian. Here you can read about a new book entitled Hot Skies of Afghanistan, and issue #03 of the magazine Aviatsya which includes 16 copiously illustrated pages on the Kamov Ka-27, plus a beautiful double-spread set of six colour profiles and a set of 1:48 scale plans. Both book and magazine are available from Tushino Aviapress.

7. Published recently by Presidio is Dustoff - The Memoir of an Army Aviator by Michael J.Novosel. Given the number of Vietnam war memoirs written by former Helicopter crew members you may be forgiven for thinking that this is just one more to add to the pile. Novosel's story is a little out of the ordinary to say the least. The majority of the book deals with his two tours in Vietnam. However, unlike the thousands of young helicopter crew members sent to Vietnam, Novosel was already 41 by the time he first went to RVN and had commanded B-29 bombers during the Second World War. Serving in the medical evacuation role (Dustoff), not only did he fly 2,038 combat flight hours in Helicopters, undertake 2,345 aerial missions resulting in the evacuation of 5,589 wounded, he also won America highest award for bravery - the Congressional Medal of Honour - this is his story.

8. Lest We Forget - The Kingsmen, 101st Aviation Battalion 1968 is a new paperback by William C Meacham published by Ivy Books. The author served two years in Vietnam as a pilot with Bravo Company, 101st Aviation Battalion 'The Kingsmen'. If the author's name sounds familiar you may well remember it from W.T.Grant's Wings of the Eagle - A Kingsmen's Story (Ivy Books - 1994). Both Grant and 'Wild Bill' Meacham served with unit around the same time and Meacham played a significant part in Grant's story - a superb read with some fascinating material on LRP and SOG operations.

9. A new book published in the NASA monograph series (#17) is The History of the XV-15 Tilt Rotor Research Aircraft - from Concept to Flight. Written by Martin D. Maisel, Demo J. Giulianetti and Daniel C. Dugan, this 194 page book is a very workmanlike study of the XV-15's development. Fairly expensive for a soft back book, it features about 70 black & white photographs but is absolutely crammed full of information. A must-have for any rotary historian's bookshelf on a subject and technology that is only today about to enter series production.

10. Which leads on nicely to a link to the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center's XV-15 gallery.

11. Phillip Treweek's Kiwi Aircraft Images is always well worth a visit. It has recently been updated with pictures of the Kaman SH-2F Seasprite as used by the RNZN, while the next update will include the Bell UH-1H Iroquois and the Bell OH-13 Sioux.

12. Pascal Cholin's Bell-47 gallery has now been posted at the Aircraft Resource Center, and here's a link to an interesting selection of Swedish Police helicopter photos.

Thanks to Chuck Holte, Pascal Cholin, Skip Robinson, Keith Walker, Yevgeny Borissov, Maarten Schönfeld, & Gary Madgwick; and to Pete Tasker for the book reviews.