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-   -   "The Quiet One" used on a CIA mission in Vietnam (https://www.pprune.org/rotorheads/233075-quiet-one-used-cia-mission-vietnam.html)

BigMike 3rd Jul 2006 10:29

"The Quiet One" used on a CIA mission in Vietnam
Interesting photo of a special "Loach" developed to infiltrate CIA operatives behind lines during the war in SE Asia. Anyone on here involved in this, or the development?
From Wayne Mutza's excellent book "Loach"
Photo from Hughes

jetflite 3rd Jul 2006 11:01

Can you elaborate on the term "Loach" ? ?

MightyGem 3rd Jul 2006 11:36

LOH: light observation helicopter, IIRC.

Ian Corrigible 3rd Jul 2006 12:59

Lu Zuckerman provided some additional insight on The Quiet One in this thread. The link to the Air America PDF document which I provided appears to be broken, but here are some extracts:

The types of missions flown by Air America’s Hughes 500s:

Most official Air America papers like the Flight Operations Circulars speak of only two Air America Hughes 500s (N353X and N354X), and those aircraft were operated out of Udorn on medivac and communications missions into Laos and could carry 3 passengers (Aircraft and avionics information as of 1 April 73, in: UTD/Kaufman/B1F14). But those two aircraft only served as cover for two others - the “Quiet Ones” - which were used for a secret wiretap mission into North Vietnam and whose complete identities appear only in one Air America paper hidden among others preserved at the Air America Archives: in a letter dated 15 June 73, by which Air America’s Senior Vice President Clyde S. Carter asked the FAA to note a change of ownership for those two Hughes 500Ps. As their conversion to Hughes 500Ps is not mentioned, they may have become regular Hughes 500s again at that time. Those documents also reveal that from the very beginning, the two regular Hughes 500s had only one purpose - to be used as cover for the Hughes 500Ps, as all four aircraft were registered on the same day in April 71, although the regular ones came to Laos only about one year

Hughes 369HS N352X 800248S: bought new, July 1971

Service history: regd. on 15 July 71; believed converted to Hughes 500P (“The Quiet One”) in the USA between July and October 71 for a communications-intercept project called “Main Street”; directly controlled by Washington in September 71; ferried to Air Asia’s base at Tainan about October 71 and used there until the spring of 1972 to train 6 senior officers from the 34th Squadron of the Republic of China Air Force for a wiretap mission into North Vietnam; the project “Main Street”, employing Messrs. Smith and Lamothe as special pilots, ended on 31 December 71; not listed as maintained by Air America, Udorn, on 1 April 72; loaded into an Air America C-130 and flown to Takhli (T-05) about June 72; flown to PS 44 in June 72 for a wiretap mission into North Vietnam; used by Taiwanese crewmen from the RoCAF’s 34th Squadron to practice night missions near PS 44 until early September 72, when the Taiwanese were sent home; then, Air America crews were trained to fly to Vinh in North Vietnam and to tap the telephone line; after several failures, that mission was successfully completed in the night of 6 to 7 December 72. The 2 Hughes 500Ps had been painted in US Army markings and serials painted over, possibly to make believe that they had been stolen from the military. Flown to Thailand on board an Air America C-130 in December 72, immediately after the Vinh mission was completed. Possibly reverted to a regular Hughes 500.

Fate: sold to The Pacific Corp., Washington, in 1973; sold to Southern Sky Inc., Dallas, TX, on 27 June 73 change of registered owner requested on 15 June 73; did no longer exist in 1995.

Hughes OH-6A/500P “12968" 570053 - April 1971, bailed from US Army 65-12968

Service history: prototype of the Hughes OH-6A/500P “The Quiet One” (photo in: Conboy/Morrison, Shadow war, p. 361); believed used to train three Air America pilots at the USAF’s secret Area 51 testing range in Nevada between the end of April 71 and July 71 for a wiretap mission into North Vietnam (Conboy/Morrison, The quiet one, p. 46); then probably served as a model for the conversion of Air America’s own 2 Hughes 369s to Hughes 500Ps.

Fate: eventually became N45780 in December 77; with the US Border Patrol, El Paso TX, as N45780 at least 1995-98.

I have an image of The Quiet One's engine regenerator somewhere.


Rich Lee 3rd Jul 2006 22:22

Here are the files of which you refer:
There has been a great deal of work on these concepts and that work continues .....

BigMike 4th Jul 2006 07:28

Air America 500 used as "cover" for the mission.

From Wayne Mutza's book "Loach"

Photo by Judy Porter/VHPA

pohm1 4th Jul 2006 08:48

Hey BM

Whats all the interest anyway? Wasn't a couple of hundred hours in "The Colonel" enough for you? ;)


BigMike 4th Jul 2006 17:15

Hi P1, hows life in Puma-land...

Just interested if anyone was involved in the mission or development.

I noticed on the second photo, the 500 has the modified exhaust for IF suppression. Was this very effective? I don't see it on the current generation Little Birds as used by the 160th SOAR.

SASless 4th Jul 2006 19:59

Some more info on Air America operations.....



Evergreen bought out Intermountain and Marana Air Park. Have run into Evergreen C-130's at very odd places with some very odd looking 212's.

Game's the same ...just different company names.

EESDL 4th Jul 2006 21:16

'Loach' cover story for Man's chopper
You've got it all wrong folks........ the CIA escapade was just a cover story to take some more pics of Man's Chopper (often seen lurking about at rear of Air America pics - as highlighted in last pic.

Harry O 23rd Sep 2014 20:06

US developed quiet helicopter in 1970

Declassified files.
The CIA developed a "quiet" helicopter in 1970
Long before the world learned of "stealth" helicopters like those used in the 2011 Osama Bin Laden raid, the CIA had developed a "quiet" helicopter all the way back in 1970.
The agency set to modify the OH-6 light observation helicopter for use in secret infiltration in hostile places.
Surprisingly, "the first test bird was up and flying in about 60 days, and it was fully operational in about six months."
In March 2008, Air & Space magazine wrote about one of the aircraft's missions to tap phones in North Vietnam.

The technology apparently hasn't arrived at NPAS ;)

chopper2004 23rd Sep 2014 20:50

Air America's Black Helicopter | Military Aviation | Air & Space Magazine

The a/c in question used were not regular army OH-6A Loaches but civil Hughes 369 used in Laos, one key mission was wire tap of the enemy.....had pretyt high tech kit at the time - FLIR, displayed on two tv monitors , etc etc

It was also flown by some ROCAF crews specially selected and trained funnily enough inside Area 51.


paco 24th Sep 2014 04:49

You mean Blue Thunder wasn't the first? :)


IBMJunkman 24th Sep 2014 13:02

Blue Thunder was 1983. Just a Johnny Come Lately knock-off. :)

noooby 24th Sep 2014 13:43

Anybody have a photo of this machine? I'd love to see the exhaust muffler!

Bravo73 24th Sep 2014 13:56

Originally Posted by noooby (Post 8670160)
Anybody have a photo of this machine? I'd love to see the exhaust muffler!


From this thread (from 2006): http://www.pprune.org/rotorheads/233...n-vietnam.html

500e 25th Sep 2014 19:23

History, Travel, Arts, Science, People, Places | Air & Space Magazine

megan 7th Feb 2019 21:56

The Quiet Loach
A story I've not heard before.



scoobytopdog 7th Feb 2019 22:35

Fascinating bedtime read.

Thanks for the post��

Tickle 8th Feb 2019 02:00

Video about it here:

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