Rescue Squadron UH-1N reaches 20,000 flight hours, becomes DOD’s longest active ‘Huey’

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Stassney Davis
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

A 36th Rescue Squadron UH-1N “Huey” achieved 20,000 flight hours at Fairchild Air Force Base, Jan. 13. According to the aircraft manufacturer, this is the highest number of flight hours for Huey’s across the Department of Defense.

UH-1N “Huey” number 6648 arrived at Fairchild in March of 1971, completing all its operational hours assigned to the 36th RQS supporting search and rescue missions, and survival school training.

“This milestone represents the highest flight time for UH-1N model and truly highlights the significance of the 36th RQS mission at Fairchild,” said Capt. Brian Doyle, 36th RQS pilot. “Reaching 20,000 hours not only shows how durable the Huey is, but it also shows how exceptional our maintenance technicians are at keeping it running.”

The 36th RQS completed 759 flights in 2022, with its fleet of UH-1Ns averaging 18,000 hours total flight time. This makes Huey 6648’s 20,000 hours 2,000 hours higher than the next closest UH-1N in the 36th RQS fleet.

“The Huey is a versatile and reliable aircraft that gives us the ability to reach confined areas to complete the mission,” said Tech. Sgt. Andres Ponce, 36th RQS flight engineer. “There’s not one mission set that the Huey does, it can do anything from search and rescue, medical evacuation, to transportation, which is one of the greatest things about this aircraft.”

The 36th RQS also has the most diverse mission set of any singular UH-1N unit in the Air Force supporting the 336th Training Group’s Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) training, medical evacuation, cargo sling, water survival training and pararescue drop.

“The prowess of the U.S. Air Force is not derived from a collection of military equipment but is defined by the Airmen who are trained to operate it,” said Lt. Col. Jennifer Golembiewski, 36th RQS commander. “Since its creation in 1959 we have continued to stay on the cutting edge of weaponry and the Airmen entrusted with it have always found creative ways to take them to the absolute limit. Among all the platforms used in the last 8 decades, the UH-1N Huey stands out as a testament to the innovation of the force.”

Through their unique mission capabilities and reliable Huey fleet, the 36th RQS continues to ensure the success of their support and rescue missions, and live up to their motto: “That Others May Live.”