This is one of three helicopters at FWAM and one of two that can travel on a trailer for exhibits, display, parades, or educational events. Contact us at email@example.com to arrange a visit.
ABOUT THE OH-58 KIOWA
This is one of several helicopters at FWAM and can travel on a trailer for exhibits, displays, parades, or educational events. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a visit.
The Bell OH-58 Kiowa is part of a family of single-engine, single-rotor, military helicopters used for observation, utility, training, and direct fire support. The aircraft is closely related to the civilian Bell Model 206A JetRanger. The OH-58 has been in continuous use by the U.S. Army since 1969 and has been operated by many foreign countries.
Development began in 1960 when the United States Navy asked 25 helicopter manufacturers on behalf of the Army for proposals for a Light Observation Helicopter (LOH). Bell Helicopter and 12 others competed for the award. Hiller, Hughes, and Bell won the competition.
Bell’s first prototype flew in December 1962. However, it was the Hughes OH-6 Cayuse that was selected in May 1965. Bell redesigned its entry into the Model 206A JetRanger. Hughes could not meet the production demands and bids were soon sought for alternative helicopters. Bell resubmitted and underbid Hughes to win the contract. The civilian Model 206A also became the OH-58A or “Kiowa” in honor of the Native American tribe. The Army has a tradition of naming helicopters after Native American tribes. Over 2,200 aircraft have been produced.
The Army received the first OH-58A Kiowa at a ceremony at Bell Helicopter’s Fort Worth plant in May 1969. Two months later, the aircraft began arriving in Vietnam. Approximately 45 OH-58A helicopters were destroyed during the Vietnam War due to combat losses and accidents.
The aircraft continued with upgrades to engine and armaments and became a substantial force as a scout, trainer, and fighting aircraft. The last OH-58 was retired by the US Army in July 2020.
The OH-58 has flown more combat missions than any other US aircraft – over 600,000.
This aircraft was built by Bell Helicopter in Fort Worth, Texas.
When restoration is complete, this aircraft will be our primary outreach tool for school visits, parades, air shows, community events, and more.
Manufacturer: Bell Helicopter
Crew: 1 pilot, 2 pilots, or 1 pilot and 1 observer
Length: 32 feet 2 inches
Rotor diameter: 35 feet 4 inches
Height: 9 feet 7 inches
Empty weight: 1,583 pounds
Max. takeoff weight: 3,000 pounds
Powerplant: 1 × Allison T63-A-700 turboshaft, 317 shp
Fuselage length: 34 feet 4.5 inches
Maximum speed: 138 mph Cruise speed: 117 mph
Range: <300 miles
Service ceiling: 19,000 feet
Armament: M134 six-barreled 7.62mm minigun mounted on the M27 Armament Subsystem
M129 grenade launcher mounted on the XM8 Armament Subsystem
We have two Bell OH-58s at the museum. The first is a Bell OH-58A-BF Kiowa that was Army Serial Number 71-20606 (constructor’s number 41457). It is a bare airframe stripped of just about everything. Comfy foam seats and a picture of an instrument panel make this perfect for kids of all sizes.
Our previous Bell OH-58 (Serial Number 68-16979) was acquired from the Oklahoma Highway Patrol but was heavily damaged in a wind storm. It was used for parts to restore our current OH-58 on exhibit.
Our restored and displayed OH-58A has returned the aircraft to its original shape and form as it arrived in Vietnam. This Bell OH-58A-BF Kiowa (Army Serial 70-15469 and Construction Number 41020) was added to the Army fleet in 1970. It operated until May 1995 until it was put on display at Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base. It was loaned to the Fort Worth Aviation Museum in January 2021 and has been professionally restored.
Bell Helicopter built more than half the 67,000+ aircraft constructed in North Texas. This helicopter was constructed during the peak of production – during the Vietnam War.
Kiowa is almost finished at Propwash Airport and almost ready for pick up. It will be our trailer “Queen” for functions and activities for show purposes. Excellent condition to be back at end of January.
Note: Scheduling is always a moving target depending on weather and workload. All schedules are subject to changes.
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