LOGAN COUNTY, WV (WOWK)—Lost along with six people’s lives in a tragic helicopter crash in Logan County on Wednesday was a piece of aviation history.
The helicopter that crashed was what’s known as a “Huey,” and this particular aircraft, N98F, was owned and operated by MARPAT Aviation, based at the Logan County Airport. It began its storied journey in 1962 in Vietnam.
According to MARPAT Aviation’s website, “Huey” is a nickname for the Bell UH-1B helicopter, and N98F was “quite possibly the oldest flying Huey in the world.” The site says this one was number 488 out of 10,005 of her kind produced.
MARPAT’s site says that N98F was first known as 62-01968 and joined the 114th Assault Helicopter Company “The Knights of the Sky” in Vinh Long, Vietnam. MARPAT says she served there with the nickname “Miss Fit” painted on her nose until she returned to the U.S. in 1971.
But N98F’s career didn’t end there. The MARPAT website lists “gunship, troop carrier, medevac bird, National Guard aircraft, agricultural aircraft, movie star, and fire fighter” among the helicopter’s many jobs. She was even featured in films like “Die Hard,” “The Rock,” “Broken Arrow,” “Outbreak,” and “Mars Attacks.”
Until Wednesday’s tragedy, N98F served as a sort of aviation ambassador, giving civilian helicopter enthusiasts the opportunity to ride and fly themselves.
There’s no word yet on what caused the crash. The FAA and NTSB are investigating.