Welcome to The online forum and website of the Helio Aircraft Association, Inc.

Main Menu

Unidentified Helios I

Started by Doug Johnson, August 10, 2011, 01:31:24 PM

Previous topic - Next topic

Doug Johnson

How about these.

edit; possibly c/n 2504 registry Rwanda 9XR-??, 1964  H-250   



Photo 1) Helio H-250 in Africa prior to it's demise during a demo flight, aircraft was damaged beyond repair. The guy that was looking at it had contacted me in 2006.

Photo 2) Crowley Ranch and their 2 Helio's (250 and 295)

Photo 3) Helio 395 in the Philippines being re-built (Ex-JAARS)

Photo 4) Helio 295 N6319V that was once used by Talkeetna

Doug Johnson

Now that you've jogged my memory I think 1 is this airplane 2505 originally N5447E was in Nairobi, Kenya as 5Y-AMM reg Xpird '05, sold to Marc Lekeu in Laos, who put a 300hp Lyc IO-54O with 3 bladed Hrtzl prop, on it.

edit, well maybe not paint schemes don't match.  do you remember any numbers.

Do you remember the persons name that owned it in Nairobi? I believe it's still for sale.

Do you have any Numbers for the other two at Crowley ranch? or the JAARS 391

edit; 2505   HS-???     1964  H-250   Thailand   N5447E, ZS-EEV South Africa, 7P-FDA Dominican Rep, ZS-EEV, 7P-EEV, 5Y-AMM Nairobi, Kenya xprd reg '05 Tom Clayton,  300hp Lyc IO-54OK1B5 / 3 bladed Hrtzl  prop, now  in Laos RDPL-????  Marc Lekou




5Y-AMM is a different airplane, not the H250 shown, that airplane was badly damaged beyond repair and is still in Africa in pieces..!!

Photo 3 is the H395 Super Courier, look at the cowling, not a 250..!!

Doug Johnson

You posted before I could edit I should have looked at more than a thumbnail before I posted.

That cowling is pretty obvious. Do you have any numbers for them?

Nicholas Hanks crashed N222LT c/n 1442, Jul 22/09 in Madikwe, South Africa but that obviously isn't a 1400 series Helio.



Hi Doug,  Thanks for all of your great perseverance and diligence in tracking down all of the Helio History and sharing it with us! I greatly appreciate it; I'm catching the bug for this as well.

The Crowley Ranch H-250, which was owned by Katrina Sutphin, the widow of Ron Sutphin's, was N5467E, a 1965 H-250, with c/n 2523. 

Ron Sutphin was the well known former Marine, Air Force pilot, Air America Helio Pilot and Helio military test pilot and early Helio innovator, CAT, and JAL pilot, who died Oct. 3, 2007 in a Piper Super Cub crash on his Eastern Oregon ranch while working his cattle, at the age of 76.  Katrina told me that Ron wrote the Helio operating manual for Air Force and Air America operations in S.E. Asia, as well. -- 

Katrina Sutphin's H-250 was deregistered on 11-15-05, and the registration was cancelled on 1-19-2006, -per info.  I believe it was Katrina's first H-250.  I haven't found out what happened to it after that, or any info or data on the Crowley Ranch H-295.  I believe I have her email address somewhere, from contacting her a few years ago, and could try to get in touch with her again for more info, if you would like.

The Crowley Ranch airstrip picture of her N5467E H-250 which was waiting to enter next on to the Crowley Ranch strip for takeoff was probably taken in late summer or fall of 2001.  The H-295 (with both red, white and black wings and horizontal stab) is directly behind the H-250,  broadside to the holding short H-250, in the left side of the photo.  I looked at all of the H-295 photos on, trying to identify it that way by it's paint scheme, but didn't find one that looked like it.  The H-295 had a red prop spinner, the top half of the fuselage and nose was red, divided by a white stripe, and I believe the total bottom half was black.  The paint looked a little old in 2001, so it was possibly re-painted by now.  I told you I'm being infected with the Helio sleuth bug !  But I can't complain because I love it. 

Katrina's a great, classy lady who is a super ranch manager and a very experienced bush pilot and instructor, -taught by the Best, her husband Ron.  She and her husband spent a lot of time for many years up in Alaska and in the N.W. on various flying adventures and aircraft salvage and bush repair missions.

One of Ron's well loved specialties was flying in to repair downed bush planes in the field, good enough to fly them out to civiliization, to salvage and/or rebuild them.  Jerry Jaques, (Talkeetna Air Taxi) was taught to fly Helios by Ron Sutphin, as well, and very highly regards his lessons and Helio experience gained from Ron's unique special ability to transfer his Helio knowledge as a C/STOL flight instructor.  We lost a true original iconic Captain Helio four and a half years ago--Ron Sutphin would have been 80 yrs. of age now, and no doubt still flying Cubs and Helios.  Ron and Kat spent a lot of hours in their Cubs, Helios, other taildraggers, and even had a beautiful Grumman Goose and a T-28 for a few years.  Ron checked out his wife in the T-28, too. 

I believe they had one of the H-800's for a while, also.  There is a picture of a beautiful H-800 in their ranch hanger.  There is also a photo of the 1983 H-800, c/n H-17, N800TH, pictured at their ranch.  I don't believe that is the same H-800 shown in their hanger, but I'm not 100% sure of that. 

I learned from Doug Johnson's post, in which he shared his email from Jack Frye Helio Corp, on Nov. 26, 2011,  that this H-800, N800TH,  pictured at the Crowley Ranch, was formerly registered as the second N4104D.  The first N4104D was a 1956 H-395 B, c/n 022.  Jack Frye Helio Corp believes the second  4104D, the H-800 which later became N800TH, was probably renumbered by Lyn Bollinger, himself, as that N4104D number was available and Bollinger would have done it for sentimental reasons.  The email says that this H-800, N800TH crashed and was exported to Russia as a wreck.  Kat Sutphin's pic of it, presumably taken on their ranch was taken before 12-19-2003. 

The Sutphins always had at least three or four taildraggers at their ranch.  I believe Ron had over 40,000 hours in everything from Boeing Stearmans to JAL Boeing 747's, to piloting F-100s in the 1950's!!  He's yet another legendary Helio expert I would have loved to have met and learned from, to add to the list which includes Larry Montgomery, and Robert T. Vincent III, the deceased previous owner of my Helio, and quite a few others.

Oh yeah, Doug, I'm sorry I forgot to answer your question a few months ago, to tell you that I wasn't a Laotian service "Ravens" pilot, when you asked me if I was associated with "The Ravens" because of my Ravens user name.  The S.E. Asian--Laotian Ravens very gutsy Air Force O-1 Bird Dog fire control spotter pilots working mainly in Laos.  They flew with many brave Hmong tribesmen who were often their backseat spotters.  There were many casualties in that vital air war specialty in the "secret war" in Laos.


Helio H800 N4104D was wrecked twice, once in King Salmon, Alaska, then again in 1994 in Minnesota when it was on floats..

On May 1, 1994, at 2020 hours central daylight time, an amphibian Helio H-800, N4104D, operated by T. J. Farms of St. Cloud, Minnesota, was substantially damaged 10 miles northeast of St. Cloud Municipal Airport, St. Cloud, Minnesota. The pilot experienced a total loss of engine power and made a forced landing on a gravel road. The amphibious float equipped airplane went over an embankment, dragged a float tip in soft gravel, and came to a stop upside down. The private pilot was uninjured. Visual meteorological conditions existed at the time of the accident and winds were calm. The flight originated at Princeton Municipal Airport, Princeton, Minnesota, at 2015 hours central standard time to reposition the airplane to a private strip at Long Lake, southeast of St. Cloud, Minnesota. No flight plan was filed.

Installation of amphibious floats had just been completed on the airplane. The pilot stated he had departed Cambridge Municipal Airport, Cambridge, Minnesota, 2.3 tachometer hours earlier with an estimated 45 gallons of fuel, performed touch and go landings, and was on his final leg of this flight. The pilot also stated he believes he exhausted his fuel supply. The fuel consumption of the Lycoming IO-720A engine installed on the H-800 is 33 gallons per hour (gph) at takeoff rated power and 23 gph at 75% cruise power as per Lycoming data. This was confirmed by the pilot and FAA inspector on scene. Post crash investigation revealed no fuel in the tanks, nor any indication of fuel spillage on the ground below the wreckage.

Doug Johnson

I'ts kind of disappointing that you're not a Raven. In my research on Helio I found while the Ravens mostly flew bird dogs they did fly other airplanes and occasionally Helios and I was hoping for some stories. Although you didn't do bad in this very interesting post, thanks for the reply.

Also thanks for the numbers it let me fill in another blank.

You should do well at the reunion.




The Crowley Ranch Helio H-295 is N67697

Doug Johnson

Thanks Stephen,
A little more on that Helio from my list, now N295B c/n 1252  s/n  (66-14350)   1967  H-295/U-10D    located in Anchorage,  AK,   formerly N67697 Crowley Ranch, now owned by Bruce Friend, Skyline Sales Inc


October 25, 2007

In Memoriam: Ron Sutphin, CAT and Air America Pilot

Ron Supthin, who helped introduce STOL aviation to Southeast Asia, and who logged over 40,000 hours during a long, varied, and highly accomplished aviation career, died in a plane crash on his ranch in eastern Oregon on October 3, 2007. During his life, the aircraft he flew ranged from Stearman biplanes to F-86 and F-100 combat jets to 747s.

Though not a gregarious man, he was liked and highly respected by those he flew for, including Robert Rousselot of CAT and Air America, Gen. Heinie Aderholt of the U.S. Air Force, and Bill Lair of the CIA.

Ronald J. Sutphin was born in modest circumstances in rural Virginia, in the Blue Ridge region. In 1947 he enlisted in the Marines. In his spare time, he took college correspondence courses as well as private flying lessons. When he was transferred from Camp Pendleton, California, to Quantico, Virginia in 1950, he flew himself across country in his own Piper Cub. By the time he began a naval aviation cadet program in 1952 he already had his multi-engine transport rating and was a flight instructor on weekends.

He flew combat missions in the Korean war, and learned to speak basic Korean. (Later he would speak basic Lao and would become fluent in Japanese.) While he continued to fly in the naval reserve, the G.I. Bill paid for his commercial pilot training, and in 1956 he flew for Pan American and then for the smaller Seaboard and Western Airlines, until he finally got the job he wanted in Asia with Civil Air Transport, and later Air America. His missions included covert flights to Indonesia and resupply flights to Tibet.

He learned to fly the Helio Courier STOL plane from Heinie Aderholt, an Air Force officer on loan to the CIA. Sutphin played a key role in modifying and improving the Helio, as the first models were difficult to fly. He flew Bill Lair of the CIA from Bangkok to Savannakhet, Laos in 1960 on the flight that began Lair’s involvement in the Laos war, as well as the involvement of the Thai Paru special- ops unit. He also located Gen. Vang Pao, the Hmong leader, for Lair when the Plain of Jars fell, and from this incident began the CIA’s Hmong operation, one of the largest in Agency history.

Sutphin exited the Laos war relatively early, leaving behind stories of his aviation feats, such as flying in the front and out the back of an aircraft hanger with his wings nearly touching the doors, and flying upside down into the Long Tieng valley. Though the stories may or may not have been true, there was little doubt that Sutphin was technically capable of achieving feats of that kind. He was an extraordinarily talented pilot who liked nothing better than testing planes’ capabilities without going beyond them (as I discovered for myself when he took me canyon-flying in Oregon; there was a strange sensation of being completely safe, even when one wingtip was nearly touching the boulders on the canyon floor while the other wingtip nearly touched the canyon walls). He was Air America’s test pilot for several years in the early 1960s before deciding to transition back to commercial aviation. Eventually, he became a 747 instructor pilot for Japan Airlines.

Sutphin met and married his wife, Katarina, when she was a stewardess for FinnAir. He taught her to fly, and she became an instructor pilot in STOL planes such as Super Cubs in Alaska, where the couple spent much of their time. After retiring from JAL, Sutphin had a sideline business of repairing crashed STOL planes in the Alaskan bush, and then flying them out to proper repair facilities, where the planes would be fully refurbished. Both in Alaska and when he bought his ranch in Oregon, he bought and sold STOL planes, and he usually seemed to have three or four of his own. He raised cattle on his ranch in the remote sagebrush country of eastern Oregon, and used his planes to spot and even help herd cattle for the annual roundup. Ron Sutphin was 76 years old when he died. The NTSB has not yet finished its investigation of the accident.

â€" Roger Warner

In remembering Ron Sutphin I always think of a "Log Book error" story he told me many years ago. For those of you that knew our Chief of Flight Operations, Captain Robert E. Rousselot, you will remember that he was as tough as nails. Someone remarked that Rousselot left the U.S. Marine Corp because it was too soft. Captain Rousselot was "death' on Log book errors. If you made an addition error in filling out the aircraft log book you would receive a personal hand-written note of reprimand from Captain Rousselot. Ron Sutphin was telling me of such a hand-written note he received from Captain Rousselot, that read:

Dear Captain Sutphin, Sad, sad, sad, evidently you can fly, but you can not add. Signed Capt. Rousselot

Ron Sutphin read the letter, and noted that Capt. Rousselot had misspelled the word "evidently". Ron wrote back to Capt. Rousselot:

Dear Capt. Rousselot, Sad, sad, sad, evidently you can add, but you can not spell. Signed Capt. Sutphin

Please send web updates or information about problems with this page to the Webmaster.


Contact Information
or send your comments or suggestions to
  Air America Association - 1913 Coralino Drive ~ Henderson, NV 89074

Doug Johnson

Stephen here are 4 that I think I snagged from you.



Photo 1) Can't see the "N" number but if that's N6306V it belongs to Bill Coyle in Colorado, if not, it might be C-GZZA..

Photo 2) Zach Fisher's N528LM H-250

Photo 3) Helio #1201 C-GBYA

Photo 4) N61MU 295 #1224

Doug Johnson

Quote from: gearedone on August 10, 2011, 01:52:21 PM
The Helio H-295 in Iceland is now TF-SUN

I just discovered TF-ORK is c/n 1218 originally N6425V

c/n 1281   1967  H-295   Palm Beach,  FL   originally N6341V, then TF-SUN Iceland, now N9061Q Agricultural Products inc

can anyone translate this TF-ORK is not on the current Icelandic registry


Doug Johnson

Can anyone add information to these 2 Helios. It looks like I wil have to do some corrections to my list of Helios.

Airfast an associate company of Helicopter Utilities an Australian company  acquired two Helios in April 1966 to augment/support their fleet of helicopters. They were used mainly in New Guinea . The  two machines had consecutive ex-US identities (N6315V c/n 1210 and N6316V c/n 1436) they had been in  Indonesia #1210 as PK-KBB, #1436 as PK-???.  VH-UND c/n 1210 was sold in the US in 1970 and has a current registry as N295LA, based in Oregon..  VH-UNF c/n 1436  the second Super Courier was sold to North Carolina based missionary company JAARS it became N31299 and went to Columbia . It was retired from use in 1994 as HK-2177W