By Philip Jaeger, Director of Operations
The Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum recently welcomed a new arrival, the Sikorsky H-34 Choctaw helicopter. As always, the helicopter seemed to grow once it got inside the building. It always seems that once I have a spot picked out for an aircraft, it is never the right size.
The aircraft, as you can see in the pictures below, started out in bad shape. The Museum restoration crew in Marana, Arizona refurbished the helicopter to how you see it now. As they were cleaning the paint of off the helicopter, they noticed it had the markings of the South Vietnamese Army, which meant that the aircraft had seen combat at one point in its life. So, our curator decided to repaint the aircraft with those markings.
From the research we have done, this is only one of 20 that were given to the South Vietnamese from the Marines in 1969. Later, some of these were reclaimed by the U.S. Army. In its standard configuration, the helicopter can hold up to 16 troops. Sikorsky built 1,000 of these helicopters in total. To the best of my knowledge we are only one of five museums to have an H-34 Choctaw on display.
We hope you can come out and see this large helicopter inside the Aviation Museum. We have more aircraft coming this year so stayed tuned to the blog and facebook for more updates.