OH-6A “Cayuse” Helicopter s/n 67-16304

OH-6A “Cayuse” 67-16304

Vietnam OH-6A “Cayuse” Helicopter

The OH-6A made its first flight in 1963. The Cayuse was publicly introduced in 1966 and set several records, including record for endurance, speed and rate of climb. In 1966 it entered military service with the US Army. During the Vietnam War the OH-6 helicopters served in huge numbers and were used for light observation and utility roles. The Cayuse (white) was used alongside the AH-1 Cobra (red) attack helicopters, forming (pink) hunter killer teams. It could accomplish missions that bigger, slower and louder helicopters couldn’t do. Under enemy fire this nimble machine had to flew low to the ground, just above the jungle canopy. Once enemy positions opened fire at the Cayuse, they were destroyed by the mighty firepower of escorting Cobras. Due to it’s designation “LOH” (Light Observation Helicopter), pilots and crew nicknamed this helicopter “LOACH”.

Even when this helicopter was shot down, it refused to crack. In the event of a crash the tailboom and engine separate from the egg-like cabin, improving the survival chances of the crew and passengers.

Armament

Armament options, OH-6A Cayuse:

2 – M134 7.62-mm 6x barrel, Gatling type twin MG pods
2 – M260 2.75-in Hydra 70 rocket pods (7 or 12 each)
2 – .50 cal MG pods
2 – M75 40-mm grenade launchers
2 – MK19 40-mm grenade launcher
2 – TOW missile pods (2 each)
2 – Hellfire ATGM
2 – Stinger AAM

Body Armor

Both the Pilot and Observer/Gunner positions were equipped with carbon fiber side panels and seats.
The small-arms protection aircrewmen armor that was introduced in 1966 was a vest with pockets containing composite laminated plates commonly called “chicken plates”. Improved versions were issued through the war and included pockets on the chest and back in which large additional plates could be inserted. The back plate was often not used owing to the weight, and even the chest plate was deleted.

Crews

Two (2) Crew: one Pilot, one Observer/Doorgunner

Missions and Loads

The Hughes OH-6A “Cayuse”, was designed for use as a Light Observation Helicopter (LOH) nicknamed “LOACH”, military scout during the Vietnam war to meet the U.S. Army’s need for an extremely maneuverable observation helicopter. The Hughes OH-6A Cayuse was quite effective when teamed with the AH-1G Cobra attack helicopter as part of what were known as “Pink Teams”, combining the OH-6A “Loach” (white team) with a AH-1G “Cobra” atacke helicopter (red team). The OH-6A would find targets by flying low, “trolling” for fire, and lead in a Cobra, or “Snake”, to attack. The OH-6A could be armed with the M27 armament subsystem, the M134 six-barrel 7.62mm “minigun” or the M129 40mm grenade launcher on the XM8 armament subsystem.

External load capacity was approximately 1,200 Lbs (550 kg), and transport capability 2 or 3 troops or cargo internally.

Specifications

Manufacturer
Hughes Tool Company’s Aircraft Division
Model
OH-6A Cayuse Light Observation Helicopter(LOH) or “LOACH”
Type
Observation Helicopter
First Year of Production
1965
Production Total
1,420
Engine
1 × One Allison T63-A-5A or T63-A-700 turboshaft, 317 hp (236 kW)
Engine Rating
317 SHP
Main Rotor
4 Blade Semi-Rigid
Maximum Take Off Weight
3,549 lbs (1,610 kg)
Empty Weight
1,975 lbs (896 kg)
Never Exceed Speed
152 knots (175 mph, 282 km/h)
Maximum Cruise Speed
135 knots (155 mph, 250 km/h)
Range
232 nm (430 km (267 mi)
Service Ceiling
15,994 ft (4,875 m)
Rate of Climb
2,067 ft/min (10.5 m/s)
Length
30 ft 10 in – 32 ft 2 in (9.4–9.8 m)
Height
8 ft 6 in – 11 ft 2 in (2.6–3.4 m)
Rotor Diameter
27 ft. 4 in (8.33 m)

History

Hughes Model OH-6A “Cayuse” or “LOACH”
s/n 67-16304
Served in Vietnam War during 1968 and 1970-1972
Flight Hours in Vietnam: 1,318
Army units this aircraft deployed with in Vietnam:
Troop C, 1st squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division: Oct ’68 – Jan ‘69
Headquarters, 173rd Airborne Brigade: Jan ‘70 – May ’70
79th Transportation Company: Jun ’70 – Jul ‘70
A Troop, 7th Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division: Aug ’70 – Feb ‘72
608th Transportation Company (Aircraft Direct Support): Mar ’72
60th Assault Helicopter Company: Mar ’72 – Jun ’72

Combat Flight Incidents

Information on U.S. Army helicopter OH-6A tail number 67-16304
The Army purchased this helicopter 0968
Total flight hours at this point: 00000265
Date: 02/08/1969
Unit: DIR SUP / TRAN
This was a Combat incident. This helicopter was REPAIRED IN THEATER
This was a Recon mission for Unarmed Recon
While Enroute this helicopter was at Level Flight at 0020 feet and 050 knots.
South Vietnam
Helicopter took 2 hits from:
Small Arms/Automatic Weapons; Gun launched non-explosive ballistic projectiles less than 20 mm in size. (7.62MM)
The helicopter was hit in the Cockpit
Systems damaged were: COMM SYS, STRUCTURE, INSTRUMENTS, PERSONNEL
Casualties = 01 WIA . .
The helicopter made a Forced Landing. Aircraft took off, fully flight capable.
Unknown as to mission impact.
Original source(s) and document(s) from which the incident was created or updated: Survivability/Vulnerability Information Analysis Center Helicopter database. Also: LNOF, 90119, JSIDR (Lindenmuth Old Format Data Base. Joint Services Incident Damage Report. )

Information on U.S. Army helicopter OH-6A tail number 67-16304
The Army purchased this helicopter 0968
Total flight hours at this point: 00000496
Date: 03/25/1970
Unit: 173 ABN
This was a Combat incident. This helicopter was UNK
This was a Recon mission for Unarmed Recon
While in Target Area this helicopter was Attacking at 0060 feet and 010 knots.
South Vietnam
Helicopter took 1 hits from:
Small Arms/Automatic Weapons; Gun launched non-explosive ballistic projectiles less than 20 mm in size. (7.62MM)
The helicopter was hit in the Left Side
Systems damaged were: FUEL SYS
The helicopter Continued Flight.
The aircraft was diverted prior to accomplishing any mission objectives.

Photo Gallery

Painting of OH-6A s/n 67-16304 by Joe Kline
Painting of OH-6A s/n 67-16304 by Joe Kline

Return to Top

One Comment

  1. When she was flying for the 173rd Airborne Bde Sep, Casper Aviation Platoon out of LZ English and Ghost Town, she was shot in the fuel system on a mission. Robert MacDonald was the Crew Chief and door gunner at the time.. Wish I had more photos of her from Vietnam to send you, but only have one or two that I had already sent you a couple years ago and have several of her from when she was flying for the Maryville County Sheriffs Dept in New York. Am thrilled she is getting restored.,.Love to see the Ghost on her nose and the 173rd patches on her , but suppose it would not be politically correct to put the HIADD patch on her cowl in today’s day and age.. Still thrilled just to see a fantastic war bird of the Inferno Scouts being restored!! She is a proud little lady that served us well…

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *