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Lideta Airport (HAAL) Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Ethiopia-United States Mapping Mission aviation support elements:

572nd Engineer Platoon (Topographic Aviation)

USAF Air Rescue Service

Army Map Service - Army Aviation Detachment

Aerial photo of Lideta Airport, the old Ethiopia-U.S. Mapping Mission area, the old Imperial Golf Club and The American Community School (now International Community School) taken in 2002 by Raimund Stehmann. (Click Photo To Enlarge)

                                                  Photo by Raimund Stehmann © 2002

Sketch of Flight Line and Motor Pool - Lideta Field, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. (Sketch by LTC Adrian Traas).

Google Earth Satellite snapshots of Lideta Airfield from 2002 until the most recent available.

CLICK HERE for October 2002   

CLICK HERE for December 2005

CLICK HERE for January 2008

CLICK HERE for December 2008

CLICK HERE for June 2009

CLICK HERE for December 2009

CLICK HERE for December 2010

CLICK HERE for June 2011

CLICK HERE for October 2011

CLICK HERE for May 2012 

CLICK HERE for Jan 2013

CLICK HERE for Feb 7 2013

CLICK HERE for Feb 18 2013

CLICK HERE for April  2015

East View of Motor Pool and Hanger

Click to Enlarge

South View of Flight Line

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

The missing MI-6 Soviet Union helicopters at Liddetta.

Click Photo To Enlarge

The guy in the suit is their Tech Rep, and the one in the grey shirt was the mechanic.  Immediately after I took the picture the Ethiopian Commanding Officer, COL Yeagazu, phoned over to MM HQ to complain.

Anecdote:  The Ethi Army folks (looking 150 yards or so across the field) reported that the MM personnel were walking around with automatic weapons.  What they actually were seeing were pump-type grease guns (lubrication type, not M3 submachine guns) with the handle extended.

Mapping Mission Flightline, Lideta Airport, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. (North East view)

Aerial photo view taken of His Imperial Majesty (HIM) Haile Selassie I International Airport located in the Lideta (pronounced Liddetta) district of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia by Jack Miller circa 1962.  North/North West view


The registration numbers on the aircraft  (helicopters, the U-1, U6's, and U8)  were all bogus.  The Cessnas were borrowed from USAID and had "legit" N-numbers. The bogus numbers replaced official US Army serial numbers (67-17300, etc.) due to local political sensitivities concerning the presence of US military aircraft within the Empire.  That's also why our aircraft were painted red & white; why the vehicles were painted gray and had those neat license plates (which are now rather valuable collectors items); why at first Mission military personnel wore civvies; and why we were not supposed to perform "Drill & Ceremonies"  (D&C).  The latter rule was for a few days knowingly and cheerfully ignored by Flight Line, at which time we marched back and forth in the mornings rather than riding in the back of pickup's.  The Ethiopians complained, so we stopped following a not-very-convincing stern warning from Command.

UH-1B Iroquois

UH-1B:  There were 5 B model UH-1's assigned to Ethi-U.S. Mapping Mission over the life of the program, four were lost to accidents, and one to hostile action taken by the Eritrean Liberation Front. 


 UH-1-B (N1904R) Attacked by ELF (Eritrean Liberation Front) troops north of Keren, Ethiopia in July of 1965. Pilot: CW3 Jack Kalmbach, Mission Classification Specialist: SPC-4 Ron Dolecki, and Habte Mesmer  (Interpreter) were taken prisoner.  Read the personal accounts of this event given by CW3 Kalmbach and SPC.4  Dolecki by clicking on their (highlighted) names, or visit the  "Stories and Memories"  Web page.



The UH-1H replaced the UH-1-B. The four aircraft all arrived together in 1969 on a C-133.

UH-1H gets washed.


UH-23 Hiller (Raven)

H-23 Hiller:  MM had 4 or 5 over the life of the program.  In 1969 and 1970 they were shipped out--some possibly to Iran.  The Hillers were best known for their excellent performance at high altitude.  Their problem was that they were just too small, and were limited in range.  They saw more useful service in Liberia.

H-23E Hiller 


H-43 Kaman Huskie

H-43 Kaman Huskie USAF Rescue Helicopter 


CH-3C Sikorsky  A five bladed main rotor, dual jet engines, and a drop-down ramp at the rear. It flew support for the radio stations, the C-130s doing the HIRAN picture shoots, and Mapping Mission field parties in 1965 and 1966. It was maintained by the USAF 1370th OMS.


C-47 Douglas

C-47 Skytrain.  (Navy version RD-4) Dubbed the 'Dakota' by the British and Australians (Douglas Aircraft Company Transport Aircraft) but known world wide as the "Gooney Bird"

Various C-47's serviced Mapping Mission at different times. Three C-47s were assigned to and operated by Mapping Mission. Among them were N91260 and N17203   N91260 was damaged B.E.R. (Beyond Economic Repair) when it hit a Warthog hole while landing in a remote area in the latter part of 1968.   See picture on 'Damaged Aircraft' page.

C-47 Skytrain; Dakota; or  Gooneybird.  This aircraft was used for resupply and troop transport,  and occasionally as an R&R transport to Nairobi, Kenya and Asmara, Ethiopia (now Eritrea).

C-47 N91260                    (Snoopy) Damaged Beyond Economic Repair (B.E.R.) upon landing. (It hit a Warthog hole while landing at a remote location in Ethiopia in the latter part of 1968).   

C-47 N17203  (actually an ex-Navy R4D)
Replaced N91280 (Snoopy) in January 1969. When MM completed it's mission in Ethiopia, this aircraft was transferred to Topographic Training Team, Tehran, Iran.


C-47 N17203 was ferried from Addison, Texas to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia by Jack Miller, Lee Rodawalt and Gerry Johns (Dec. 1968-Jan. 1969).  Pictured L-R:  Lee, Jack, and Gerry.  (Click Picture for Larger View) 

For a downloadable or printable copy of  Lee Rodawalt's account of the trip:  Click Here

To view the Web page dedicated to Mr. Rodawalt's account of the trip Click Here.



In addition to the assigned C-47s, there were leases of Ethiopian Airline
DC-3's, as well as an Air Djibouti DC-3 that Mr. Clyde Adams of Axum Air purchased from Air Djibouti and then leased to MM.  After the MM lease was completed it was sold to Air Comores.

Ethiopian Airlines DC-3


U-6  Beaver  DeHavilland Canada, MM had at least 3 U6 Beavers, one of which was damaged "Beyond Economic Repair".  The wings were flown out by C-47 and the fuselage was trucked back to Liddetta Airport. The hulk was taken to the Addis city dump after which it completely disappeared in a matter of less than 3 hours.  CLICK HERE   for photos.   CLICK HERE  for additional narrative by Dennis Richards-Detroit Field Party. 

U6-Beaver  N3060R was one of the Beavers flown in the Sudan by Mr. Tim Wolfe, and later flown to Addis Ababa in June 1966.      (Single Pratt & Whitney 450 hp R985 Wasp Junior SB-3 reciprocating radial engine).

 To visit Neil Aird's DHC-2 Beaver Web site CLICK HERE. Neil is trying to catalogue all DeHavilland Beavers ever made. N3060R can be found in his archives under the month of November.


U-1 Otter:  Mapping Mission had one U-1 Otter which in August of 1969 was flown to Mannheim, Germany (a 55 hour flight)  by CPT.  Raines. There was a write-up about it in Army Aviation magazine two years later, as the flight was a distance record-maker for that type aircraft. 

U-1A Otter  76114. To read the history of Otter 76114 compiled by Mr. Karl Hayes in his book "DHC-3 Otter-A History"    CLICK HERE       


U-8 Seminole-Beechcraft Queen Air

The U-8 served a multi-purpose role in Ethiopia but mostly as a Command Transport and Field Party light supply and payrole trips.


 U-9 Aerocommander (Leased)

U-9 Aerocommander. Originally registered in Aden and  leased from "Tony" Besse an export-importer in Djibouti. After the completion of the Mapping Mission it was purchased by Mr. Clyde Adams of Axum Air. 


Cessna 185

Two Cessna 185's were transferred from the Sudan to Addis Ababa.

Lidetta, Liddetta, Ladetta, Ladeta, Laddeda. These alternate spellings are phonetic variants of Lideta so that those using the Search Engines will find the page more easily.