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Piasecki HUP-3 Retriever

On loan from the National Naval Aviation Museum

Piasecki HUP-3 Retriever

The HUP-3 was used aboard U.S. Navy aircraft carriers for search and rescue, plane guard and general transportation duties. It was also used to pick up the Mercury astronauts after they landed in the Pacific Ocean, returning from their suborbital flights.

The rugged HUP was built to higher load factors than previous helicopters in the U.S. and was the first helicopter to perform a loop, although unintentionally, when demonstrating its "g" capabilities. The HUP-2 was the first production helicopter to be equipped with an autopilot, which enabled hands-off flying, including hovering.

A total of 339 HUP-1/2/3/4/H-25 helicopters went to the U.S. Army and Navy, the Royal Canadian Navy and the French Navy. For more than 20 years of service, these helicopters were responsible for saving countless lives. The last HUP left the production line in July 1954.

Smithsonian Institution Affiliations Program