N62292, a HUS1 Navy Seahorse, was born in February 1958. The Navy used it in the role of ASW (Anti-Submarine Warfare). It was sent to the Airforce for a year where it didn’t see much flight time. It went back to the Navy and was remodeled into a Seabat, which meant it could fly at night over the ocean in its role in ASW. It used one of the first total antilog auto pilots so as to fly precise patterns at night for Anti-submarine warfare for protection of the fleet. The aircraft was DeMiled in 1964. It was then acquired by the Maryland State Police, painted yellow, but didn’t fly that often. After that It was then placed in storage, in California.
A new life began for N62292 when Gerald Hale found her and bought her, it was his first H34. He was struck with her lines and looks. As he acquired other ships and veterans became interested in them it struck a chord with Gerald and his passion for the “Ugly Angles” grew. He hosted many veteran reunions with the H34’s as the main focus.
Gerald painted YL75 to fit in with her hangar mates YL37 and YL38, both Vietnam combat veterans. A friend knowing that Jess was in the Marines and was a Huey/Cobra mechanic, asked if he and Mike would like to come up to see and hear the YL37 start. Jess flew himself and his dad to Inola, Oklahoma to meet and touch the YL37. Gerald even allowed them to “go around the block in YL37.” At that time YL75 was folded up as if it were on an aircraft carrier. Jess spoke of how unique YL75 looked, even though it had been positioned like that for almost 10 years without flying. Jess mentioned, if he ever wanted to sell her he’d like to get in line. Gerald wasn’t interested at the time, he said it was his first and his favorite.
A couple years later, with the passing of Gerald Hale, the trust approached Jess and Mike about allowing them to acquire YL75. There would be no bidding for her, because Gerald saw something in Jess he liked, if Jess wanted her…it would be so. It took Jess and Mike two years of work to get YL75 back into the air. The “YL75 and YL37” got to fly together again at the airshow in El Reno, Oklahoma in September 2021 for the first time in almost 20 years. The YL75 has substantially low hours on the frame and is able to now go back to work.
Sikorsky H34J/HUS1 Seahorse/Seabat
Engine: Wright R1820-84
Main Rotor Diameter: 56ft
Height: 15ft 11”
Jess began his career with Response International Group (RIG) at a very young age, in 2001. He was only 11 years old. Jess received his helicopter private pilot license at age 18, and when he attended the Bell Safety course in Dallas, he was the youngest pilot to do so at age 19. It was his dream to fly helicopters.
Jess joined the U.S. Marines just short of 20 years old. He became a helicopter mechanic for Hueys and Cobras, and continued to fly on weekends to obtain his commercial pilot certificate at age 21. By the end of his 5 years in the Marines, he had risen to the rank of Sargent, plane captain, QA, and was in the process of acquiring his Civilian A&P license.
After his time in the Marine Corps, Jess and his dad acquired a Sikorsky H34J/HUS1, YL75. It took them two years to get it in the air, thus starting Hangar 58 Helicopter services. At the same time, he worked at Logic Aviation for 2 years, flying anything he could, and he received his IA certificate. Jess attended Robinson’s 44 Flight Safety, 66 Flight Safety and Mechanic courses. In 2019 he attended Volo Mission, long line training in Texas. He also received his Ground Instructor certificate in 2019, and in 2020 his CFI. That year, Jess went to work for Columbia Helicopters, gaining over 250 hours in their Chinooks. Jess is now the owner of Hangar 58.
Mike began his emergency services career in 1972 in the Navy, as a Damage Controlman specializing in Firefighting and Biological, Chemical Warfare and was honorably discharged in 1976.
Mike retired in 1998 after 21 years of service with the Oklahoma City Fire Department, where he served as Chief of Special Operations. He operated as “Rescue Operations Chief” during the Oklahoma City incident in April, 1995.
Mike founded and operated Response International Group (RIG), a group that worked with emergency response problem solving, heavy collapse rescue techniques, private collapse planning and recovery operations.
In 2016, Mike and his son Jesse, acquired a Sikorsky H34, YL75. It took them 2 years to get it in the air, thus starting Hangar 58 Helicopter services. Mike works alongside Jesse in whatever capacity needed.