Skip to comments.Navy helicopter pilots see their profile rise
Posted on 05/08/2010 10:56:22 PM PDT by ErnstStavroBlofeld
Their $33 million helicopters are new. Theres an aircraft-carrier briefing room with their name on the door now. And they get extra parking spaces on the multimillion-dollar real estate of the carrier flight deck.
All the attention feels a little odd, Navy helicopter pilots say.
Were not used to being the story, said Cmdr. Ken Strong, executive officer of HSM-77, a San Diego-based squadron of MH-60R Seahawks.
Its a good time to be flying helicopters for the Navy.
Long in the shadow of the jet jockeys no one has ever made a movie about the rotor-blade community with Tom Cruise naval helicopter pilots are playing a more central role on aircraft carriers. Because the nations 11 flattops are the heartbeat of the sea service, the careers of helicopter pilots are on the rise.
Someday soon, the commander of Naval Air Forces has said, a helicopter pilot may land the job that represents one of the summits of Navy aviation: the CAG, or commander of all aircraft in a carrier strike group of nine ships.
(Excerpt) Read more at signonsandiego.com ...
‘Bout time my beloved H60 community gets some respect!
The Bridges at Toko-Ri was a better movie and it had better stars, William Holden, Grace Kelly, Fredric March, Mickey Rooney
“Long in the shadow of the jet jockeys no one has ever made a movie about the rotor-blade community with Tom Cruise...”
They say that like it’s a *bad* thing.
Btw, did you guys ever see that one Tom Cruise movie? You know, the one where he plays The Cocky Young Guy? ;-)
Mickey Rooney went down swinging right next to William Holden.
I also don't understand the remark about the ready room door. I was on a small boat and the helo guy's had their own ready room.
I thought all Naval Rotor guys were jet jockey washouts? Aren’t they the runts of the litter? (my bro-in-law flew navy rotors)
Yeah, they've always had their own ready rooms on carriers, at least every carrier I've been on.
This is bigger news for the HSL/M wing. As the HSL squadrons lose their Bravos and become HSM Romeo squadrons, they're going to be carrier deployable. The whole H60 community is changing and it's a good community to be in right now. In the old navy, carriers deployed with an HS squadron of 7-8 helos. They handled anti-sub warfare, SAR, CSAR, plane guard, vert/rep, H/VBSS and other operations. Now the HS squadrons are losing their Hotels and Foxtrots and gaining Sierras and becoming HSC squadrons. They're giving up their anti-sub duties to the HSM guys and taking on more surface armament to handle CSAR (Combat search and rescue). It's been a while since I was in the HS community so I'm not 100% sure what the new HSC mission is but I'm seeing the MH-60 Sierras armed with dual M299 Hellfire missile launchers as well as the GAU-17 miniguns.
In short, carriers are now deploying with both an HSC and an HSM squadron. Where they used to deploy with 7-8 helos, they're now deploying with twice as many. Of course, the navy is still going to need helos on the smallboys as well. So this means the navy is going to need to buy more helos. It's a good time to work for Sikorsky.
I was army so I don’t know about the ready room, but my brother was crew chief on a ASW Sea Stallion.
Every navy officer who gets accepted to flight school dreams of piloting a F/A-18 Hornet. Nobody says, "I want to fly a C-2 Greyhound! That's the life for me!" But they all don't get to fly the "go-fasts." The navy needs Greyhound and Seahawk pilots just as much as they need the fighter jocks, who are the rock stars of the air wing.
I work with navy helo pilots every day. They know their place in the pecking order. But they work hard, fly hard and deserve a lot of respect. And as a helo ordnance maintainer, I get the added perk of occasionally being able to fly in the birds I work on (which is more than the Hornet maintainers get to say).
Getting a ride is a thrill. I once got a front-seat ride in a Cobra. The hour went by like 10 minutes.
As a young Bell Helicopter Quality Engr., I was working late one evening out on the flight line. A pilot asked if I’d like to go up because he needed some “ballast”. Of course I jumped at the chance!
I was front seat in an AH-1G Cobra, about 1967, during the flight and the pilot gave me the ride of my life with the power dives from high altitude, low terraine at high speed, etc.
I consider the AH-1W Cobra by Bell to be one of the finest, if not the best, rotary wing attack aircraft and it is a Navy-Marine buy. The Cobras are deployed on ships, just as the other helos are, but they seldom get any press and their big brothers the V-22 Ospreys don’t either.
Yeah....I’m somewhat biased since I worked there for over 35 years, but those are some great aircraft and the military folks love ‘em.
"I want to fly jets, sir!"
Grin-—I guess the pilots love to show them off, mine did the same thing. We were low-leveling through the German countryside and he asked me if I understood how dangerous that was. Yep — and I don’t care.
Then he asked me if I would get sick if he made some hard turns, etc.. I told him that after over 500 freefall jumps, he would be scared long before I was. (As pilot, he would KNOW we were in trouble).
Yep. You don’t forget things like that.
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I was in an HSL squadron of H-2’s (pre H-60), as an Aviation Electrician. It was great duty. On detachment, it was one helo, 12-15 guys (including pilots) on a small ship (Fast Frigates). We were a close knit group, independent of ships company, so we didn’t stand ship-board watches, and when we hit port, we off-loaded to the nearest air station.
When my old man was flying in B-24's (bombardier), the ground-echelon sergeants who'd had training on MG's would occasionally be called up to fill gaps in the aircrew lists. One of the sergeants in the squadron's ground-echelon roster from October, 1942, was with the old man's much-shuffled aircrew, in a new a/c, when they disappeared during the first Ploesti raid on August 1, 1943. Dad didn't make the trip: they did a big personnel reshuffle just before moving the air group from England to Libya, the flying officers grounded for medical or on sick call got moved to base ops so the squadron skippers could get fresh duty-ready officers (only way they could wangle that), and off they went in a big cloud of dust on temporary transfer to Ninth Air Force and the pleasures of Bizerte. My old man thought his navigator had gone down, too, but then he ran into him in the Lowry AFB O-club in Denver in 1951: the guy had been in the shuffle, too, and got shipped out to a sister squadron for two draft choices to be named later. (He went on the raid, though.) Each thought the other had gone down with their crew.
As a jet jockey on active duty, I walked the walk and talked the talk, but later in my career as a test pilot I came to realize that helo and tiltrotor aircrews served the grunts far more directly and regularly than we fast-movers do. And flying their machines takes every bit as much skill as flying a jet. I have the utmost respect for rotorheads regardless of which service.