Author Topic: c/n 504, XW-PGH  (Read 4084 times)

Doug Johnson

c/n 504, XW-PGH
« on: February 11, 2015, 01:34:22 PM »
OK, I'm hooked into a new satellite with Hughes net so no more posting in the middle of the night I will still post first thing in the morning.

4 pictures check your albums. Please do an internet search maybe you'll come up with one I couldn't find, I need all the help I can get.

Previous posts about B-839, XW-PGH or anything click on     Enter ?

The first photo shows that one Helio with Factory light blue and white paint scheme was given Air Force Markings as L-28A (c/n unknown) and a spurious tail number "83096" probably for publicity reason using a known cancelled contract serial number, the number was short lived and may have become N4155D the first Helio in the second USAF military contract later the same year, as an off the shelf purchase.

c/n , (later iven serial/number 58-7025) built 10/58 as model H-395 was converted to military L-28A, original registry N4155D, 10/58 Factory placed in experimental category to test shorter Hartzell 3 blade 96'' prop (STC SA393CE) added to 'Helio Type Certificate' moved battery location from firewall to tailcone dereg 01/59, reg cancelled transfer to US Air Force as s/n 58-7025 tail/number “87025” an off the shelf purchase (in Factory light blue white paint scheme but with Air force insignia) to USAF Air Research & Development Command at Edwards AFB test center CA until 02/59, HQ Command Technical Research (joint USAF/CIA) Bollings AFB DC until 02/59, operated by USAF on behalf of the CIA (crew training) at USAF 7405th Support Squadron, Wiesbaden, West Germany (CIA) until 06/59, Bollings AFB DC struck off charge 12/59, CIA Eglin AFB, FL (CIA) until 09/61, transfer by USAF as non registered “326” to Pacific Corp or Air Asia co ltd 09/61, re-reg remarked B-839 (4th Helio of 29 acquired) Air America inc Vientiane (still in Factory light blue white color scheme with Air Force marks removed) 10/61, probably flown as all silver “839” for an undetermined period of time after China and Laos broke off diplomatic relations in mid-1962, accident(1) landed long and crashed into the jungle on go around attempt @ runway (LS-20) Sam Thong, Laos 06/62, accident(2) hit tree on missed approach due to severe wind shear with the left wing, stove in a slat and jammed the left aileron down @ (LS-21) Pha Peung Laos flown to Vientiane 07/62, accident(3) the tail wheel was damaged as the result of bad runway conditions @ an unknown airstrip in Laos 08/62, accident(4) right main landing gear collapsed on landing @ unknown airstrip Laos 09/62, accident(5) hit an obstruction while taxiing @ unknown airstrip in Laos 04/62, probably returned to B-839 marking around this time it appears to be flying mostly in Thailand, accident(6) due to bad runway conditions @ Ban Muang Thailand 09/62, accident(7) aircraft nosed over while making an emergency landing in a field @ unknown area early '62, accident(8 ) pilot lost control on take off @ (T-519) Ban Boyuak Thailand 01/64, accident(9) damaged ground loop @ (LS-118) Ban Nam Thouei Laos 03/64, accident(10) damaged @ (T-16) Chiang Rai Thailand 03/64, accident(11) engine failed on takeoff crashed during emergency landing @ Ching Kong, Thailand 09/64, accident(12) while landing lost control after touch down due to a weak brake @ (LS-15) Ban Na Laos 04/65, accident(13) damaged by making a hard landing @ unknown airstrip, Laos 06/65, accident(14) major damage ($32,000) ran off the end of the runway @ grass strip near (LS-118A) Nam Lieu, Laos 08/65, accident(15) extensive damage from ground loop @ unknown airstrip Laos 02/66, accident(16) damage ground loop on take off @ (T-08) Udorn, Thailand 06/66, remarked "839", accident(17) prop tips damaged on landing @ (V-01) Tan Son Nhat Airport S/Vietnam 11/66, incident damaged in a rocket attack @ Tan Son Nhut Airport S/Vietnam 02/68, accident(18) engine and prop tips were damaged by taxiing into a fuel drum @ (V-51) Moc Hua S/Vietnam 06/69, temporary storage Saigon S/Vietnam 9/69, registry cancelled, exported to Laos 09/69, sold as XW-PGH Air America, accident(19) taxied into a construction area and the left gear dropped into a hole, damaging the gear, propeller and engine @ Udorn Thailand 11/71, not repaired placed in inactive storage at Tainan Taiwan, sold to Aviation Associates in Manila, Philippines 3/74 who used it for parts

spurious t/n

fresh from Factory

as it arrived at Vientiane

accident no. 4 below

« Last Edit: April 03, 2015, 05:20:59 AM by Doug Johnson »

Doug Johnson

Re: c/n 504, XW-PGH
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2015, 09:40:05 PM »
new photo of first accident

Jason Stephens

Re: c/n 504, XW-PGH
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2015, 10:28:28 PM »
How was anything salvaged at all after that first wreck???


Re: c/n 504, XW-PGH
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2015, 11:29:17 PM »
Not only that, but look at the dates.  It crashed again the following month, which means it was returned to service in less than a month!  That really is some impressive repair and maintenance work.

Doug Johnson

Re: c/n 504, XW-PGH
« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2015, 05:18:59 AM »
I've read stuff that says it was cheaper to build a new Airplane at Tainan Taiwan useing the dataplate then it was to buy a new one from the Factory.

new photo fresh from factory 2nd photo
« Last Edit: April 03, 2015, 05:22:31 AM by Doug Johnson »

Doug Johnson 1

Re: c/n 504, XW-PGH
« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2017, 07:12:14 AM »
Here is a picture of c/n 504 as XW-PGH.

Should be last picture in the queue above.

Hard to believe this aircraft had at least 18 accidents some of them that would be considered DBR (damaged beyond economical repair), before this photo.

« Last Edit: November 02, 2017, 07:16:39 AM by Doug Johnson 1 »

Doug Johnson 1

Re: c/n 504, XW-PGH
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2018, 05:18:40 AM »
Helio c/n 504 XW-PGH is identifiable in the first of several poor quality screen captures.

In this video 'CIA Secret Airline' (Historical Documentary)

Link to YouTube Video clip

Several Helios shown in this 55:00 minute clip about "Air America" it is interesting enough to be worth watching.

Helio XW-PGH (Laos) c/n 504 at 12:30
Helio appears to be XP-? (S/Vietnam) At 13:46 hot landing slats in with 20o flaps lots of mud flying.

Unidentified Helio in color shown at end of documentary possibly Jess Marcom the narrators brother in picture. Looks like the Registry Mark was edited out.
Unusual to see pictures of Air America Helios in color. Also interesting to note that most of the Helios are bare Aluminum but not polished Aluminum

If anyone can identify or figure out tail numbers in any of the other Helios in this video would you let me know?

Helio below appears to be XP-? (S/Vietnam) At 13:46 hot landing slats in with 20o flaps lots of mud flying.

Unidentified Helio shown in color below at end of documentary possibly Jess Marcom the narrators brother.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2018, 06:41:10 AM by Doug Johnson 1 »

Doug Johnson 1

« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2018, 05:36:49 AM »


Re: c/n 504, XW-PGH
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2018, 05:46:28 AM »
Thanks for that, Doug !!


Doug Johnson 1

Re: c/n 504, as N4155D
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2019, 04:24:01 AM »
Here is a picture of c/n 504 as N4155D while still at the factory between 10/58 and 02/59 on floats while the Edo 4130 floats were being certified to place on the type certificate and developing the STC to replace the 101" prop with the 96" prop.

Probably should be the 2nd photo in the queue of photos at the top of the page.

Note the long two bladed prop that is on the aircraft this might even be the experimental 106'' two blade prop.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2019, 04:42:19 AM by Doug Johnson 1 »