Here's a side-by-side comparison of two extraordinarily rare STOL machines.
On top, the Helio H-500 (or U-5A in USAF) Twin Courier.
This was obviously a twin-engine development of the standard Helio Courier, retaining the trademark Helio automatic, full-span leading edge slats.
It had an extremely unique feature, as well...the upper half of the nose was plexiglass, presumably to provide the pilot with an unimpeded view when flying STOL approaches at high deck angles that would otherwise obscure the runway ahead.
The Twin Courier also had a rather shadowy history.
Only seven examples were built, and all were delivered to and operated by either the CIA itself, by Air America, or by shell companies operating on behalf of the CIA.
At one point, each one of the Twin Couriers were registered to the government of India...which, when combined with other circumstantial evidence, suggests they were utilized for special operations and reconnaissance missions between India and Tibet, through the Himalayas.
Every single Twin Courier vanished without a trace, and their present whereabouts...if any even exist at all...are completely unknown.
The bottom aircraft is the sole Pilatus PC-8D Twin Porter.
Although very similar in layout to the Twin Courier, the Twin Porter held true to its neutral Swiss heritage and avoided any shadowy, covert military action.
It was developed solely for flight test purposes, and utilized the same engines (albeit geared) as the Twin Courier.
In fact, the two aircraft weighed about the same, and exhibited similar performance.
The Pilatus claimed an impressive minimum control speed of only 39 knots, but its single-engine performance was apparently too poor for the aircraft to achieve Part 23 certification.
As is too often the case, Pilatus chose to scrap the aircraft completely rather than donate it to a museum or put it on display.
Swipe to compare each strange STOL twin with its original single-engine counterpart.
Given a choice of the two, which would you choose and why? ⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ #avgeek #aircraft #aviation #pilot #avpic #avpics