Restoring the XH-40

The XH-40 aircraft is significant as the first of modern day aviation.

And now it’s on its way to be restored back to its original glory.  Blastoff Inc. of Atmore, Alabama will be restoring the aircraft.

“This happens to be the only one of these left in the world. If I’m not mistaken there were four prototypes built. All of those are gone and this is the only one,” said Army Aviation Museum curator, Robert Mitchell.

2015 marks the 60th anniversary of the UH-1 Huey helicopter. Its prototype, the XH-40, can’t be found anywhere else.

With this milestone comes a big plan for restoration.

“They’re going to take this aircraft in. They’re going to strip all of the paint off of it, basically take the aircraft apart and through meticulous drawings and photographs and archival material will begin to assemble the aircraft in its original configuration,” Mitchell said.

The aircraft was developed in 1955 and even the military was surprised at its capabilities.

“Once the army started to test the aircraft for medical evacuation purposes, they realized, wow, we can use this aircraft for all kinds of things in the Army.”

It started as a prototype, but was later rolled into the fleet and used.
Some may describe it as a jack of all trades and a master of all of them.

“The army was able to choose when they wanted to fight, who they wanted to fight, where they wanted to fight and how they wanted to get there and on the battlefield,” said Mitchell, “That’s a pretty big deal .”

UH-1 Huey Helicopters played a pivotal role in shaping modern day aviation.”

“This is a pretty big deal. It represents a paradigm shift in transportation, in warfare, in medical evacuation. This is the helicopter that changed the world,” Mitchell said.

After a yearlong restoration process, the helicopter will go on display in the Army Aviation Museum at Fort Rucker.

Blastoff Inc. of Atmore, Alabama will be restoring the aircraft.