A Huey helicopter, used in the Vietnam War, holds up to 10 troops. It was primarily used to drop troops into the battlefield. Aircraft was used for this same purpose during World War II, except a different kind of aircraft was used.
NewsChannel 11 toured the Silent Wings Museum which shows the history of the Glider. The Texas Air Museum in Slaton has the Huey and historians say military aircraft technology has come a long way.
The Glider, which is technically known as the CG- 4A, was a one way ticket into battle. It was the first aircraft of its kind. It has a wingspan of 85 feet and standing next to it, it's a massive aircraft. Here's the amazing part, it's a plane without an engine. "In World War II, we used Gliders to take heavy equipment and troops into the battlefield, and now, we're using helicopters to do this," said Mark Earle, L.I.A Director.
Earle says aircraft technology exploded during WWII, and since then it has come a long way. "The R4's in WWII were made with steel tube frames and canvas sides. Now we have Black Hawk Helicopters with aluminum, magnum skins and Teflon armor," said John Bernstein, Aviation Historian for the South Plains.
Bernstein restored the old Huey helicopter, now retired at the Texas Museum in Slaton. He says most Huey helicopters aren't used for battle any more, but were primarily used during the Vietnam War.
Now, the Black Hawk has almost replaced the Huey. In fact, the US military is using them in Iraq. "The Black Hawk is larger, faster, and travels farther. It's an amazing machine," he said.
Although the Glider, the Huey and the Black Hawk helicopters may look different, but they all share one common thing. "Basically, all three are used to get troops from the staging area to the battlefield," said Bernstein.
Another amazing fact about the Black Hawk. It has two engines. If one engine gets shot by the enemy, it has another engine to guide it down to safety. Where the Huey only has one engine.