April 23, 2024

On 15 Sept 1971, a Helicopter Training School was established and it was equipped with three Hughes Hu300 two seater helicopters. These two seater helicopters were powered by a Radial Piston engine and were used for ab-initio training of chopper pilots. Four of these small sized choppers were procured – IN081, IN082, IN083 and IN084. The Hughes equipped INAS-561, earmarked for Helicopter Flying Training. The Hughes were phased out in the Mid-80s.

The tiny Hughes Hu300 IN083 was used in the Navy’s Helicopter Training School. This is one of the two surviving Hughes choppers, the other is with NIAT in Cochin.

Today IN083 proudly stands in the NAM, while another Hughes, the IN081 is preserved at the NIAT in Cochin. The aircraft is in great condition. However it could do with being shifted indoors or under shelter. The Bubble shaped cabin of the Chopper is unique and difficult to procure. There is every danger of the cabin being affected by the sun and turning opaque. While panels and canopies can be replaced for the other helis like the Chetak or the Seaking, the Hughes is a rare bird, and the Perspex will be beyond replacement if it gets damaged.

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