Sikorsky NCH-53A 'NONE'

Notes: CH-53A permanently modified for special test.
  Base model:H-53
  Designation System:U.S. Air Force
  Designation Period:1948-Present
  Basic role:Helicopter
  Modified Mission:Transport
  Status:Special Test (Permanent)





Recent comments by our visitors
 Gary Grosclaude
 Sandy, UT
Jim and other Rotorheads,

It's great to see this information posted on the web! It really brings back memories. Jim I don't know if you would remember me, I was a crew chief at Hill on the 53s between 1988 and 1991. You and I worked together on the new strobe light rotor blade tracking system. I still remember your kindness for a wet behind the ears Airman.
Gary Grosclaude
12/27/2014 @ 18:46 [ref: 68850]
 Jim Micko
 Warner Robins, GA
Of course I remember you. Hope you are well. You can reach me at j.micko@dercoaerospace.com
Best regards
07/24/2009 @ 16:40 [ref: 24313]
 Ron Thomas
 Mobile, AL
Jim, good to see your name in print again regarding the stellar history of the NCH-53A MARS helos! I was the EE that worked for Serv-Air at the time the NCH-53As were being built at NADEP Pensacola and spent some time with you at Hill doing some troubleshooting and other mods. Hope you remember me. This was a great aircraft and I was sorry to see them decommissioned. I have a picture of one of them and will get it scanned and uploaded. Best Regards, Ron Thomas.
10/14/2008 @ 12:32 [ref: 22854]
 Jim Micko
 Warner Robins GA 31088, GA
I was the Sikorsky Rep assigned to the 6514th Test Squadron Hill AFB UT during the period of 1985 -1991. During that time, I assisted the USAF in obtaining the "A" model H-53 and modifying it for the MARS (Mid - Air - Retrival - System). The squadron caught drones and operational cruise missiles in mid air (descending via parachute) using an "ALL AMERICAN ENGINEERING" (sic) computerized winch system. Obtaining the "A" was necessary as the USAF had made the decision to modify all existing USAF H-53's to the PAVELOW (Special OPS) configuration. This decision would take away the two HH-53C aircraft already assigned to the 6514th. The process took some time. First step was to identify there was a valid reason to continue the mission. Once that was established AFSC (then Air Force Systems Command - now morphed into AFMC) had to establish funding and a plan. This was a unique program in that the squadron had much creative input in the process. In October of 1987, working with the Warner Robins Air Logistics Center (WRALC) and the Naval Air Depot Pensacola (NADEP) the two aircraft were selected from AMARC (Aerospace Maintenance And Regeneration Center) Davis Monthan AFB AZ, flown via C-5 to NADEP where the work began. The first aircraft 63-13694 was delivered in September of 1988 and the second, 63-13693 in February of 1989. The aircraft were a great success with outstanding performance and mission capable rates. However, in late 1990, the USAF made a decsion that a MARS capability was no longer needed. Over the next 18 months the mission wound down and the aircraft were transfered fisrt to Kirtland AFB and finally Hurlburt Field FL, when they were used as training aircraft until they were taken out of service for good around 1994. One bird was delagated to Ft. Eustis VA for helicopet mechanic training and one was given to the Hurlburt Field Battle Damage Repair (BDR) team for a training aid.

This brief overview of the NCH-53A MARS program only scratches the surface of the story. It doesn't address the dedication, motovation, and drive of selected individuals who pooled their talents and made this program a success.
I'm proud to have been a part of the effort, and continue to view it as one of the high points of my 25 years with Sikorsky.

10/04/2005 @ 12:35 [ref: 11401]