Cobra AH-1F Helicopter
Original Paint, Display in Progress
New Paint and Finished Display
Early in the 60’s, the US military had a couple of problems on its
hands. One was the huge Soviet build-up of tanks along the
East-West border in Europe. The other was how to provide ground
forces in Vietnam with support they so badly needed. The call went
out to various helicopter manufactures to design an attack
helicopter which could provide adequate ground support for combat
troops and have the capabilities to knockout an enemy tank.
Extensive tests were conducted
against tanks to help with the European problems of massive soviet
tank buildup. These tests demonstrated that anti-armor helicopter
teams properly trained and deployed could achieve high ratios of
armored vehicles destroyed for every missile-firing helicopter lost
Bell came forward with
a design the military liked and a production contract was offered
for 110 aircraft. The Grand Daddy of all attack helicopters
was born in April 1966. It arrived in Vietnam in June 1967 and
amassed over a million operational hours. Named the Cobra, it was
known by troops as the “Snake”.
The way was paved for the development of the modern attack and scout
helicopter. These principles would take Army aviation into the next
of the characteristics of a Cobra AH-1F are:
Length - 53.1 feet with rotors
Length - 44.6 feet fuselage
Wingspan - 10.8 feet
Width - 3.3 feet
Height - 13.4 feet
Weight - 5 tons
Speed - 195 MPH
Crew - 2 (1 pilot and a weapons officer)
Armament – (Various Combinations)
Tow Missiles, Hydra 70 Rockets, 20 mm Cannon
The narrative audio comes from the USMC Combat Helicopter Association.
This particular Cobra was used in the US Army.
Three months after being born,
this Cobra was flying missions in Vietnam. It was assigned to
the 7th squadron of the 1st Air Cavalry
Division. It was then stationed in Vietnam. It stayed with the
1st Cavalry Division during its entire combat tour of
duty. Since many visitors to our Memorial Park have voiced an
interest as to the actual history of this “fighting Lady”, we have
decided to add this segment to our website. As you read this,
please remember that she has five purple hearts for damage from
hostile enemy ground fire. Her cockpit has been splattered
with American blood from both the pilot and weapons officer.
At no time was she lost or destroyed. She was retrieved and
brought back to base camp, repaired and lived to fight again.
The most important fact regarding this Helicopter is that all that
flew with her lived! The holes in her side, the signs of
leaking hydraulic fluid, the transmission problems and rotors that
were shot up, and the American blood that spilled onto her floor did
not keep her from bringing all who flew her back alive.
To everyone who was a member of the 1st Air Cavalry Unit
in Vietnam, please stop by the park and see one of the original
Gunships. If you were a of the 9th infantry division in
Vietnam stop by and see first hand one of the “Snakes” that
supported your division and was responsible for saving many lives.
If you’re like me and just like Cobras, stop by and look at the
Grand Daddy of all attack helicopters.
Please use the
following links for additional information and photos:
(Click on any
thumbnail picture to view a larger version)
people have visited our park as it was being constructed.
Almost every visitor would stop by the Cobra and want to see
inside the cockpit. After watching people climb up to the
cockpit time after time, the park commissioners decided to build
a set of steps with a landing so people could view the inside of
the cockpit safely. The landing is high enough off the
ground for small children to comfortably view the Cobra's
interior and its contents. If you visit our park, please
look inside the Cobra but please do not climb on her!