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The Factory Prototypes, part 4

Started by Doug Johnson, July 06, 2021, 08:05:36 AM

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Doug Johnson

The Factory Prototypes, H-392, H-291, H-250, H-295 (1200 series), H-295 (1400 series) & H-295B (1500 series) part 4

I have decided there needs to be a part 4 to “The factory prototypes” to address the prototypes after the Helio Courier went into production.

I also decided to use some links to previous information to shorten putting it together.

See Otto Koppen interview click on   

See the other posts of prototypes part 1
click on

See next part 2
Click on

Check out part 3
click on

And now here is Part 4

The first prototype after production began was the "H-392F-1 Strato-Courier'' A high altitude photography platform and the Factory proposed "USAF U-10C (high altitude photo reconnaissance aircraft)".

The "Experimental Prototype H-392 Strato-Courier model" was an attempt to build an affordable civilian "High Altitude Aerial Photo Platform" using a strengthened H-391B cash-cage/fuselage modified with a GSO-480-A1A6 engine with twin exhaust augmentor and also proposed was the, Military "U-10C  a high altitude photo reconnaissance airplane", with a 360 hp Lycoming IGSO-480-B1A (but was never built), the type certificate was not pursued on either, and only the 1 prototype H-392F-1 was built.

c/n 010, built 09/55, as model H-391B, original registry N4207B sold to Henry Darling Jr GA (1st of 2) sold 12/55, back  to  Factory,
converted to H-392 (sponsored by the CIA) experimental prototype in '57 using CIA funds for engineering (possibly to compliment CIA's Neptune and U-2 aircraft), the ''H-392 Strato-Courier'' and Factory proposed USAF U-10C (high altitude photo reconnaissance), placed in restricted category (Type Certificate never pursued), modified with Lycoming GSO-480-A1A6 & Hartzell HC-93Z20-2A/10151 propeller (STC SA900WE), installed nose bowl similar in appearance to H-295 installed 3,000lb up-gross (Helio mod #21) and crash-cage/fuselage was strengthened for larger engine (same as the H-291 prototype configuration later became the H-250 prototype), also modified with 24'' camera port in floor for a Wild RC-5 camera, optional mufflers inside cowling a reserve fuel tank system  placed in restricted category 8 dereg 05/57 export as
XB-YOI H-392 c/n 010 placed in restricted category Servicio Aerotecnico Mexico [Louis Struck (1st of 2 Helios)], Louis Struck set altitude record 31,200' in '57, CIA discontinued engineering tests 07/60, sold '63 Jaars
as XB-YOI Jaars (14th Helio of 46) converted to H-395 dereg export (OB-LKG-714 ntu) Peru '63, OB-M-714 ? '64, OB-T-14 ? '66, accident no details crash @ Chamaya Jaen Cajamarca Bolivia 9/66 destroyed, dereg 11/67 Sucre, Bolivia
Since this is another Jaars A/C maybe they will come up with a photo while with them in Peru as OB-T-714, pretty unlikely though, probably another CIA secret.

For photos of c/n 010 Click on;

The next prototype to come along was the Prototype for the H-395 which was actually three H-391Bs c/n 075, 081, and 087. Two c/n 075, 086 were converted to H-395s at the Factory using Helio mod no. 45 and no. 48 using CIA funds, Those mods were developed in the process of converting c/n 10 into a H-392. C/n 081 was used to test the other 26 mods placed on the H-395 model and c/n 075 was placed on the type certificate for the

Important see "The H-395 AND THE CIA involvement” click on

To see photos of c/n 075  click on

c/n 075, original registry N4143D, built 02/58 as model H-391B converted to H-395 by 09/58, conversion began in 06/58 with CIA backing the Factory converted it to the 1st prototype H-395 (GO-480) configuration completing development of Helio mod #45 that began on c/n 010, c/n 075 was then placed on the H-395 type certificate replacing c/n 501 (never built) 09/58, sold to King-Hurley Research Group (CIA front co) DC by 10/59, it went to Armed Forces Experimental Training activity Camp Perry VA (Joint Special Forces and CIA) by 11/63, transferred to Continental Air co placed in restricted category for patrolling operations sold 06/64, Pacific Corporation (CIA) and export Laos 06/64, CAT Air America Saigon (20th Helio of 29 acquired), 09/64 rereg XW-PBY Vientiane, accident(1) crashed on takeoff @ (LS-137) Mak Phout Laos 09/64, accident(2) made a hard emergency landing due to an engine failure @ unknown airstrip in Laos 05/65, accident(3) forced landing after engine blew up @ (LS-36) northwest of Na Khang Laos 06/65, accident(4) hard landing resulting in a kinked crash-cage/fuselage @ Vientiane (L-08) 09/65, accident(5) extensive damage landed short of runway resulting in a ground loop @ (LS-2) San Tiau Laos 10/65, accident(6) had a hard landing damaging the tail gear @ an unknown airstrip in Laos 11/65, accident(7) overshot the runway because of horses on the runway damaging the left landing gear and the prop repair cost $15,500 @ (LS-14) Pha Khao Laos 07/66, accident(8 ) crashed @ (LS-191) Thong Kheun 11/66, accident(9) made a rough landing knocking off the main landing gear @ unknown airstrip 07/67, incident damage by a rocket attack @ Tan Son Nhut Airport 02/68, accident(10) substantially damaged on attempted first touch-down landed correctly the second time @ (V-216) Ba Ria S/Vietnam 05/68, accident(11) causing extensive damage to the aircraft repair cost $19,500, pilot lost control and crashed into the fuselage of Helio XW-PCD still lying on the runway while attempting a short landing over it and came to rest inverted on the 35 degree down slope adjacent to the east side of the strip @ (LS-201) Sam Song Hong Laos 03/69, accident(12) skidded off the end of the runway while landing on wet grass and struck a tree damaging the left wing and horizontal stabilizer, the rudder and the tail cone @ (LS-227) Moung Ao Neua Laos 07/69, not repaired, salvaged for parts Vientiane, Laos, dereg 12/72

To see photos of c/n 081  click on

c/n 081, built 02/58 as model H-391B original registry N4134D 02/58 King-Hurley research Group DC (CIA front co) placed in experimental category at Norwood MA to explore 21 modifications 24 volt electrical sys,installed inflight fold-able removable two piece left side (paratroopers) door, fuel tank on right side under seats 22 gal under copilot seat 54 gal if also under psngr seat, hooded instrument panel with lights, red dial illumination lts, warning lt when nav lts are on, relief tubes, shorten push pull tube on control column, cargo tie down rings and raised floor, used for testing mods for proposed H-395/U-10B, testing jointly and continuing with c/n 087 and 075 accident or incident not reported or investigated @ unknown place time repaired horizontal tail and left and right ailerons replaced both wings tips both wing ribs and angle skin stiffeners on bottom surface of wing between tip rib and next inboard rib on both wings sold 08/60, Martin Enterprises (Robert Martin) NY accident no details @ unknown place time reg cancelled 7/62 as dbr, export reg HK-1374X  ? 11/67, rereg HK-1374W Columbia Agritecnica sa (Formerly known as Agricola Salazar sa) '70, Casa Inglesa ltda sold 12/70, rereg HK-1374P Ernesto Breiler Gireke sold 07/75, Gianaldo Martinelli sold 12/77, Nohemy De Gomez sold 05/90, Diogenes Charry registration canceled 02/00 unknown reasons, fate ?

For photos of c/n 086 click on

c/n 086, built 04/58 as model H-391B original registry N4136D sold 04/58, Civil Air Transport inc (CAT) until 05/58, dereg for export 02/59, to Air Asia rereg as B-833 Taiwan 09/59, Air America (1st Helio of 29 acquired) chartered to USOM for trials in Laos sat idle at Wattay Vientiane Laos because of Pilots dislike until 2/60, (sometime between 2/59-2/60 it was the 3rd Helio converted at Tainan Thailand to H-395 configuration with GO-480 eng using Helio mod #45 it was taken by Major Aderholt to (T-05) Takhli Thailand to serve as a courier aircraft, then Major Anderholt used for training Air America pilots convincing Air America crews that the Helio could easily land at places where most other aircraft had difficulties landing, and after demonstrating dozens of short and tricky mountaintop landing at (“Lima Sites”, at that time still called “Victor Sites”), sites normally used only by helicopters, the Helio became one of Air America’s work horses in Laos, accident(1) after engine failure aircraft nosed over while making an emergency landing @ (L-15) Phong Saly Laos 03/60, incident due to fuel exhaustion made a forced landing @ unknown place Thailand 06/61, accident(2) a Hmong tribesman walked into the idling propeller and was killed while the aircraft was being loaded @ unknown airstrip Laos 09/61, incident because of control malfunction made a forced landing @ (L-08) Vientiane Laos 10/62, accident(3) crashed while landing @ (LS-86) Hong Non Laos 02/63, accident(4) crashed while landing it wasn't retrieved because the aircraft was in a hot area being bombarded by mortar and small arms fire @ drop zone “L” Laos 06/3/63, reportedly B-833 was purposely targeted and blown up to deny enemy possession 06/21/63, dataplate may have been recovered it was named in a request to Langley  for permission to rebuild complete A/C using only the dataplate at their maintenance facility in Tainan Taiwan

The prototype for H-395A model was c/n 515, a special-order H-395. So, a c/n 1001 was never built, it was actually an engine variant and a return to a H-391B but with a beefed-up airframe and the same lower horsepower engine

For photos of c/n 515 click on

c/n 515 built 07/59 as model H-395 then converted to H-395A, original registry N44298 (reused) Factory (1st of 2 special order, H-395A placed on type certificate), Svenska Aeroplan originally special order as a H-395 with a H-391 Eng and only 4 seats for larger baggage compartment (3 mods done later) but the new model H-395A (c/n 1001 not used) configured with 1st option for a larger baggage area (rear portholes not removed on 1st) 2nd special order option c/n 1004 next 3 as mods c/n 1289 c/n 1232, and c/n 514 was ready for production and was used instead, SE-COA Svenska Aeroplan AB Sweden accident no details @ Landstallshaveri Mieskarjarngasjon, approx 40km from Suorva Sweden 04/62 and next accident no details @ Maj Njurunda Sweden 11/66 sold '72, export rereg OY-ECA Denmark Anders Hansen accident no details @ Bjergby Denmark 1/76 sold as wreck '80, dereg export re-reg N44298 Dodson Aviation inc (Robert Dodson) KS sold as parts '83, Mark Van Oosten CO sold wreck '91, Carson leasing equity ? (Salvage Broker) OR sold '92, reportedly as a wreck project exported to Lebanon (OD-reg ntu ?)

The prototype for the H-250 was the H-291. Only one was built as a prototype, not a lot is known about it but it was probably a new construction built with what was learned building the strengthened cage for increased horsepower in the H-395, (not actually needed for the H-250) but probably with the hat stingers in the tail cone, the .50 thou rear wing spar, heavy duty stabilator, and beefed up flaps that gave the H-250 a 3400 LB gross.

Shortly after the beginning of the U-10D contract the only H-291 c/n 1 reg N9757 was built '62 at Factory Pittsburg, KS as a prototype for  the H-250 series, then converted to the H-295 protype, the a/c was recycled, placed in the production line and converted 02/67 to U-10D/H-291 c/n 1238 s/n 66-14336

c/n 1238, originally built as N9757 (later reused) in 1962 as a Mid States Model H-291 s/n 1, as pre-production prototype for the H-250 '2500' series, next converted to the prototype for the H-295 '1200' series then 02/67, converted to a U-10D military model c/n 1238  s/n (66-14336) U-10D for USAF 02/67, accepted by USAF t/n “66-14336” USAF assigned to (Air Materiel Command?) Sacramento Air Materiel Area McClellan AFB CA to be prepared for overseas shipping as a MaP delivery then canceled 03/67, USAF (Pacific Air Forces Command) 56th SOP wing Nakhon Phanom, 606th Special Operations Squadron 11/69, USAF (Tactical Air Command?), 388th Tactical Fighter Wing (a holding unit) Korat Royal Thai AFB, Thailand until 11/69, (USAF Academy) 4600th Air Wing Consolidated Line Maintenance Squadron used for training purposes Peterson AFB CO, for the period '69-'71 operated as glider tug at USAF Academy at CO Springs, accident during demo flight with 3 cadets control cable to aileron jammed then broke in flight while descending to enter traffic pattern at the Academy's old dirt strip both ailerons went full up crashed 20o nose down 30o bank at 120 mph in pasture bounced spun 360o engine pushed partway into cockpit gear buckled left wing broke away no fatalities but no one walked away without serious injuries @ Peterson AFB CO 02/71, USAF w/o as dbr 07/71, stored reclamation/salvage until 11/71, sold 08/72 as N9757 (in FAA file as “Mid States Model 291/U10D Serial 1238” & “Helio Courier H-291-1238”) USAF sold to Joe Marrs Lake Placid, FL, severe damage dereg '82, reg revoked '09 fate probably scrapped

There are no photos of c/n 1238 (note registry begins with a 9) Interestingly all purpose built prototypes through N9757 the first number of the registries is a 9

Doug Johnson

The prototype for the (1400 series) H-295 came from the incomplete c/n 1278/U-10D left at the end of the U-10 production run, the incomplete a/c was re-numbered and completed as c/n 1401 basically a cosmetic upgrade to the 1200 series, the interior with individual seat, new yokes, a departure from round rear window to a trapezoidal style, and electric flaps and pitch trim, and the addition of a dorsal fin c/n 1416 on up.

For photos of c/n 1401  click on

c/n 1401, built 12/67 as model H-295 original registry N6327V Factory used incomplete U-10D fuselage/crash-cage c/n 1278 to build c/n 1401, Factory KS placed in experimental category for testing to show compliance with FARs until sold 07/68, Stolairco inc (Hunter Kindall dealer) WA used for aerial photography & skydiving accident aircraft ground-looped during the takeoff run and collided with rocks, the right gear collapsed, but the aircraft continued on and went through a fence @ Winthrop WA 5/70, accident approximately 8 hours after the landing gear was reinstalled  and the completion of repairs from previous incident, the right shock strut collapsed during the takeoff run failure due to tensile overstress @ Rock Springs WY 9/70 sold, Gregg MacDonald (Wintermute-Northwest Leasing co) WA repaired installed dorsal fin (used on c/n 1416 on) sold '72, Fleet Investment co (Phillip Strelinger) WA sold '74, dereg export C-GHDT H.W. Groundwater ltd BC (H.W. Groundwater) '?, Victoria Flying Serv '?, Cougar Air inc BC sold '87, Nahanni Air Serv NT sold '90, North-Wright Airways ltd NT (2nd Helio of 2), named “Artic Surveyor,” Warren Wright Norman Wells, NT

The "H-29B (1500 series)" was intended as an upgrade to the H-295 as an engine variant with a fuel injected engine and some minor changes to the electric flaps and trim. only one was built c/n 1501. Because of incurable problem with the injected engine running rough at low rpm power setting, and after many tests with lycomings help the intended upgrade was dropped 11/73, TC amendment was not pursued and it was converted back to a 1400 series a/c, but the GO-480-G1A6 engine with alternator, electric trim, and minor changes to the electric flaps were retained going forward from c/n 1458

c/n 1501, built 10/73 as 1500 series model H-295B, original registry N6493V (reused c/n 1458), The H-295B model c/n 1501 was placed in experimental category to show compliance with FAR for the following minor deviations, a Lycoming IGO-480-A1B6 with bendix fuel injection (spec 2486-A) and a revised electric flap and pitch trim systems (Helio drawing 295-000-002) that cosisted of a Cessna motor for the flaps and a electric Aerospace-Controls linear actuator installed on anti-servo trim tab push/pull cable at rear of aircraft. The 1500 series prototype, intended for the next upgrade to the H-295 line as an H-295B model (engine variant) became a discontinued project after much testing with the help of Lycoming because of inability cure problem of the injection causing geared engine to run rough at low RPM power settings 11/73, c/n 1501 was placed back in the production line at Factory Pittsburg, KS and converted to 1400 series H-295. The minor changes to flap and trim are retained and used on c/n 1458 and up as well as all 1700s.

For photos of c/n 1458 click on

c/n 1458, originally built 10/73 as a prototype H-295B model c/n 1501, then converted 11/73, to 1400 series H-295 original  registry N6493V (retained after conversion), c/n 1501 was an H-295B model as per Statement of Conformity, and was placed in experimental category as an H-295B to show compliance with FARs for the following minor deviations: a Lycoming IGO-480-A1B6 engine; revised electric flap and trim systems (Ref: Helio Drawing 295-000-002) The 1500 series was to be an upgrade to the 1400 series as a model H-295B an engine variant of the H and HT-295 Helios, the 1500 series project was discontinued after extensive testing with Lycomings assistance, reportedly because of inability to cure the problem of the fuel injection causing the geared engine to run rough at low RPM power settings, 11/73 c/n 1501 was placed in the 1400 series production line and the construction no. was changed to 1458 (N6493V) at the Pittsburg, KS Factory

N6493V c/n 1458 was the first Helio with a GO-480-G1A6 engine (on airworthiness certificate) sold 11/73, John Roberts ltd SC (dealer) 05/74, first owners Louis Siracusa & Richard Wandrocke (aka Rusty Pelican & Ancient Mariner) CA installed Rajay Turbocharger sold '75, Brice inc (Sam Brice) AK accident aircraft ground looped during the landing roll and the gear collapsed through overload failure @ Fairbanks AK 4/76, sold '77, Wright Air Service (Al Wright) AK (4th of 11) installed Fernandez 8000 skis installed 24x10x6 tires wheel and brakes & 10'' tailwheel and fork (#95-32039) sold '80, Lee Pete AK installed 850x10 Goodyear tires and Cleveland double puck brakes removed 10'' tailwheel install original incident landed on road when pilot noted a rapid drop in fuel quantity & vapor from wing. Fuel cap was cocked, allowing siphoning @ Fairbanks AK 07/88, Vixie Rochester & James Metheney Clear, AK accident pilot was attempting to land at a remote private airstrip to pick up a  passenger. He reported that he landed hard, and that the left main gear collapsed. He said his total flight experience in this type of aircraft was only 55 hours and feels his lack of experience in the type was a contributory factor @ Clear AK 6/88, accident not reported or investigated details revealed in next incident @ unknown place AK 4/90, next accident the pilot had indicated to Bettles that he had lost power and had a fire on board, on-site examination showed that the right wing, both ailerons, left flap, rudder, vertical fin and stabilator had all separated from the aircraft in flight. Engine examination revealed extensive fire damage to the #5 cylinder, the head area having been completely consumed by fire. The rod cap and one bolt could not be found at the wreckage site. Investigation revealed aircraft and pilot were involved in a previous landing accident 4 months prior to this substantially damaging the aircraft major repairs were made to the airframe, the engine nose case was removed and overhauled, and the propeller was overhauled. Lycoming SB recommends engine tear down after sudden stoppage; no record of compliance, A/C was destroyed by inflight engine fire and losing control subsequent wing separation @ 40 miles southeast of Bettles AK 8/90, crashed destroyed fire, dereg 8/91

       The minor changes to flap and trim on c/n 1501 were retained and used on further 1400s and all 1700s
      1st of 40 Helios delivered from the Factory with Lycoming GO-480-G1A6 as standard equipment

Let me know if anyone finds this interesting and I will continue with

A Part 5.