Loach Driver

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About Loach Driver

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    Full Blown Model Geek

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    Land of the Shamrock

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  1. Thanks for posting it up. LD.
  2. Phew! Thank God for that. LD.
  3. Making a Loach from the new KH kit will all depend on the surface detail, I reckon. It looks like the real Little Birds have reinforcing plates riveted onto the outer skin on the belly and on the fuselage area behind the rear doors. If they aren't there, a Loach won't be too difficult, using spares from Dragon. If they are, it will need a lot more work. LD.
  4. KH listing their Huey as 1/48th on their website. Was really hoping it would be in 1/35th. Will they issue a 1/35th Huey later if the 1/48th one sells well? LD.
  5. An accurate 1/72 Skycrane would be really nice. Even if someone could produce a conversion set with a new accurate cockpit section that could be grafted onto the Revell fuselage. It is a really interesting helicopter that is rarely modeled, sadly. 500 Fan.
  6. Nice work as always. Great finish. LD.
  7. Well done on a superb little collection. LD.
  8. It depends, but as a general rule, most helicopters are flown PIC from the right seat. The civilian version of the Hughes 500 and Bell 47 are usually flown from the left seat. AS350 and Hueys are often flown left-seat during vertical reference work. LD.
  9. Wow GT! Your boss purchased possibly the finest 530FF on the planet right now. If I recall the sales website I saw it on a few weeks ago, it has a really modern and complete avionics fit and it really is a dream machine.You'll enjoy flying that 530 for sure! LD.
  10. Here is a link to an interview with the guys at Dillon Aero that reveals the recent history of the minigun and how the 160th almost had to change to another gun in the 1990's. http://www.defensemedianetwork.com/stories/the-evolution-of-the-m134d-minigun/ There is a photo of the 160th testing the M2 machine guns that also flew on the Kiowa Warrior. I guess they were really looking for an alternative to the minigun. I'm sure they are pretty happy Dillon came along and revitalised the M134. LD.
  11. The following is my assessment of how the Little Bird/Seaspray 500 evolved from standard airframes into the modified helicopters that went into special ops use. This is based on my research into the history of Hughes/MD500 helicopters since 1963. Starting with the first generation of LBs, the AH-6C was modified with the Blackhole IR exhaust and C-20B engine. The IR Exhaust was probably supplied in kit form from Hughes to the Army and they fitted the AH-6C fleet at either the Loach AVCRAD or at the original TF158 hangars. The rocket pod fit was a standard fit for the 500M-D Defender so it was an easy mod. The C-20B engine conversion probably underwent a short flight test programme at Hughes to get a basic release-to-flight sign-off. Given the urgent need to get the aircraft flying, a short flight test programme was probably flown to get a basic idea of the performance changes the new engine brought. I would guess torque was the major limiting factor with the new engine fitted so it was down to the pilot to keep it within limits. As soon as the Iranian Hostages were released, it appears the AH-6C went into a full flight test programme at Edwards. The MH-6E was probably modified with the first benches by the Army while the rest of the airframe was basically a 500M-D Defender. The AH-6F was almost identical to the 500M-D "Armed Scout" version of the Defender. I reckon any avionics upgrades were undertaken by the Army. The first version of the LB that was a non-standard version of the 500 was the MH-6H/AH-6G. This took the 500D airframe and added the 530F main and tail rotor, 530F drive-train and C-30 engine but retained the 500D transmission. The first airframe was probably sent back to Mesa for conversion and for the McDonnell Douglas test pilots to again run an abbreviated flight test programme to ensure flight safety. Once the MD pilots were able to assess and report on the performance limits of the C-30-engines LB, it went to the test activity at Edwards and they drew up the pilot's flight manual via an Airworthiness & Flight Characteristics evaluation or similar. Any FLIRs, armament upgrades/mods were developed by various companies that had whatever clearance was required to work on classified defense projects. The MH-6N NOTAR was an MDHC conversion and again would probably have first flown with MDHC test pilots before going to Edwards and the 160th for testing. The first H-6M MELB prototype was converted and first flown by Boeing. Once it was approved by the Army, I reckon either all LBs went back to Boeing at Mesa for conversion or conversion kits were sent to Fort Campbell to be converted by the 160th themselves (my guess is Boeing did the conversion at Mesa). It looks like the Block III upgrades for the MELB are all currently being developed by various defense contractors once SIMO have drawn up the requirements. N1111U and all the other Seaspray/CIA ships were either converted in parallel with the 160th ships while any of the top secret electronic gear was possibly fitted by the technical guys at the CIA. The CIA gunships that flew in El Salvador were relatively simple conversions and the CIA or Army probably fitted the early FLIR units to them. At least that's my guess........ LD.
  12. Outstanding work on that Kiowa. Flawless. LD.
  13. Apologies for the slight thread drift but it appears the LWL12 rocket pod is designed with the Little Bird in mind so I thought this might be of interest here. After seeing that 12-shot rocket pod in the photo of Dillonaero's MD530FF, I thought that it might be possible to convert an existing 1/72 19-shot pod into an LWL12. I am assuming that the LWL12 was adapted primarily for the H-6/530 but is offered for use on other platforms. I had a Special Hobby AH-1S IDF kit handy and I don't plan on building it with the 19-shot pods. I started off with parts 27,28 and 23. I glued the front and rear parts to the upper half of the rocket pod. I had cut off the lower section of the rocket pod front and rear so that only 12 tubes were visible. Then I blanked off the underside with some 0.5mm plastic card. Here it is, put togther before clean-up. Bottom of pod blanked-off with plastic card. The underside tidied up. I used tiny strips of plastic card to fill the gaps between the plastic card and the rear corner edges of the rocket pod front and rear. Here is the pod from the side after cleaning up the plastic card join. I haven't sanded down the join between the front and rear parts of the pod. I am not sure if this is apparent or not on the real thing so I have left it for now. If I discover that there is no join line or panel line in this area, I will sand it smooth. I am presuming the length of the pod as it comes in the kit is accurate for an LWL12. Front shot. Overall, it looks like an LWL12. I apply the 90% rule to anything scratch-built in 1/72. If it is 90% accurate, it is alright. It is usually hard to find all the flaws and inaccuracies in this scale on small items unless you use a magnifying visor. I am happy enough with it. Now I just need two things, a 1/72 Little Bird or 530FF to hang this pod from and for someone to make a GAU-19 in 1/72 scale! LD.
  14. I guess it makes sense to cut down the 19-shot pod. Ground-clearance wasn't good and maybe weight was an issue too in hot and high environments. At least it won't be too hard to scratch-build! LD.
  15. Does this mean you'll be getting back in the air in that 530F? Will it be a company test ship or just for the owner's private use? Bet you'd like to get back on the range and spin up some M134s again! LD.