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Number 120 Spring 2013

Spring 2013 Issue 120

Return of the King The CH-53D Sundown: A 48-Year Career Comes to a Close

All Jammed Up 1

Rotor Review # 120 Spring ‘13


Maritime security demands the most advanced multi-mode anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare helicopter. One with a sophisticated mission system that provides complete situational awareness. One with network-enabled data links that allow information sharing and instant decision making. One that is operationally proven and in production.

MH-60R. The right choice for Maritime Security.


Rotor Review # 120 Spring ‘13

HSM-73's Armed MH-60R with a current graph of DoD Budget from Post-Korean War until now. Naval Helicopter Association

Photo courtesy of HSM-73 Public Afffairs Office. Cover art by George Hopson, NHA Design Editor.

©2013 Naval Helicopter Association, Inc., all rights reserved

Features Editor-in-Chief

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LT Scott Lippincott, USN

Design Editor George Hopson

Aircrewman / Special Missions Editor

Return of the King LT Guy Henry, USN


Valiant Shield: Lesson in ORM LTJG Kyle Abner, USN


Flying for Freedom LTJG Carolyn Keener, USN


Astronaut Sunita Williams Speaks to Women of NAS North Island LT Nick Puno, USN


Improving the Human-Machine Interface for Helo Pilots / Inadvertent Instrument Flight in Helos - Danger CDR Christopher E. Kirby, USN / Maj H. M. Whitfield, USMC


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AWCM David W. Crossan, USN


HSC / HS / HM Editor LT Chris McDonald, USN LT James Thomas, USN

HSL / HSM / HUQ Editor LT Allison Fletcher, USN

Doing More Without More

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USCG Editor Vacant

Technical Advisor

LCDR Chip Lancaster, USN (Ret)

Book Review Editor

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Coping with Cuts LT Nick Puno, USN


Preparing for Today's Contingencies: Maximizing Combat Readiness CAPT Larry Vincent, USN / CAPT Shawn Malone, USN


Culitivating Boldness in Austere Times CAPT Dave Bean, USN (Ret) / CAPT Dave Yensenky, USN (Ret)


Feedback For Change LTJG Zachary Cavitt, USN


Eight-Pack LTJG Carolyn Keener, USN


Perspective from NATOPS: Using Command Climate and Safety Culture (C3) to Maintain Readiness LCDR Ryan Hayes, USN


LCDR BJ Armstrong, USN

Historical Editor

CAPT Vincent Secades, USN (Ret)

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Rotor Review (ISSN: 1085-9683) is published quarterly by the Naval Helicopter Association, Inc. (NHA), a California nonprofit corporation. NHA is located in Building 654, Rogers Road, NASNI, San Diego, CA 92135. Views expressed in Rotor Review are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the policies of NHA or United States Navy, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard. Rotor Review is printed in the USA. Periodical rate postage is paid at San Diego, CA. Subscription to Rotor Review is included in the membership fee in the Naval Helicopter Association or the corporate membership fee. A current corporation annual report, prepared in accordance with Section 8321 of the California Corporations Code, is available to members upon request. POSTMASTER: Send address change to Naval Helicopter Association, P.O. Box 180578, Coronado, CA 92178-0578.


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Rotor Review # 120 Spring ‘13

Naval Helicopter Association, Inc. Correspondence and Membership P.O. Box 180578 Coronado, CA 92178-0578 (619) 435-7139 / (619) 435-7354 (fax)

Corporate Associates The following corporations exhibit strong support of rotary wing aviation through their sponsorship of the Naval Helicopter Association, Inc.

National Officers

President.................................................CAPT Michael Ruth, USN V/P Corp Mem......................... CAPT Don Williamson, USN (Ret) V/P Awards ............................................CDR Wilmer Gange, USN V/P Membership ......................................LCDR Ryan Hayes, USN V/P Symposium 2013..........................CDR William Sherrod, USN Secretary..........................................................LT Matt Rigler, USN Treasurer ....................................................LT Ryan Klamper, USN “Stuff”.........................................................LT Gabe Stevens, USN Senior NAC Advisor.........................AWCM David Crossan, USN Executive Director.................Col Howard Whitfield, USMC (Ret) Admin / Rotor Review Design Editor.....................George Hopson Membership/Symposium ........................................Kerri Dowling

AgustaWestland Inc. BAE Systems / Electronics Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc. Boeing Integrated Defense Systems Breeze-Eastern CAE Inc. Delex Systems, Inc. EADS North America FLIR Systems, Inc. G.E. Aviation Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Sensors LSI, Inc. L3 Communications / Crestview Aerospace L3 Communications / D.P. Associates Inc. L3 Communications / Ocean Systems L3 Communications / Vertex Aerospace Navy Mutual Aid Association Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems Robertson Fuel Systems L.L.C. Rockwell Collins Corporation Rolls-Royce Corporation Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation Telephonics Corporation USAA UTC Aerospace Systems

Directors at Large

Chairman........................RADM Steven J. Tomaszeski, USN (Ret) CAPT Chuck Deitchman, USN (Ret) CAPT Dennis DuBard, USN (Ret) CAPT Greg Hoffman, USN (Ret) CAPT John McGill, USN (Ret) CAPT Dave Moulton, USNR (Ret) CAPT Bill Personius, USN (Ret) CAPT Paul Stevens, USN (Ret)

Regional Officers

Region 1 - San Diego

Directors.………………........................CAPT David Bouvé, USN CAPT Jack Schuller, USN President..…............................................CDR Chris Hewlett, USN

Region 2 - Washington D.C.

Director ..…………...…………........CAPT Steve Schreiber, USN President .........................................RDML (sel) Dan Fillion, USN

NHA Scholarship Fund

Region 3 - Jacksonville

President...................................CAPT Paul Stevens, USN (Ret) V/P Operations........................................................................ TBD V/P Fundraising ..............................LT Gretchen Rybarczyk, USN V/P Scholarships ........................CAPT Kevin “Bud” Couch, USN V/P CFC Merit Scholarship...........LT Jonathan Wendt, USN Treasurer............................................LT Brad Davenport, USN Corresponding Secretary.......................LT Alexa Bestoso, USN Finance Committee.............................CDR Kron Littleton, USN (Ret)

Director .....................................................CAPT Dan Boyles, USN President.................................................CDR William Walsh, USN

Region 4 - Norfolk

Director ................................................ CAPT Paul Esposito, USN President .......................................CDR Todd D. Vandergrift, USN

Region 5 - Pensacola

Directors...................................................CAPT James Fisher, USN Capt Thurman Maine, USCG President ....................................................CDR Matt Bowen, USN 2013 Fleet Fly-In.................................LT Mark Cunningham, USN

NHA Historical Society President...................................CAPT Bill Personius, USN (Ret) Secretary.....................................CDR Joe Skrzypek, USN (Ret) Treasurer.......................................................................Joe Peluso San Diego Air & Museum......................CAPT Jim Gillcrest, USN (Ret) USS MIDWAY Museum.................CWO4 Mike Manley, USN (Ret) Webmaster......................................CDR Mike McCallum, USN (Ret) NHA BOD......................................CAPT Dennis DuBard, USN (Ret)

Rotor Review # 120 Spring ‘13

Far East Chapter

Director..............................................CAPT Murray J. Tynch, USN President..….................................................CDR David Loo, USN


Departments Number 120 / Spring ‘13

Editor's Log LT Scott Lippincott


Chairman’s Brief


RADM Steve Tomaszeski, USN (Ret)

President’s Message


Aircrewman’s Corner


NHA Scholarship Fund


NHA Membership


View from the Labs: Supporting the Fleet


CAPT Michael Ruth, USN

AWCM David Crossan, USN

Page 13

CAPT Paul Stevens, USN (Ret) LCDR Ryan Hayes, USN CAPT George Galdorisi, USN (Ret)

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Letters to the Editor

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Industry and Technology Historical: The CH-53D Sundown: A 48-Year Career Comes to a Close Mr. John Milliman


Change of Command


There I Was:

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Page 62 Articles and news items are welcomed from NHA’s general membership and corporate associates. Articles should be of general interest to the readership and geared toward current Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard affairs, technical advances in the helicopter industry or historical anecdotes. Submissions should be made to Rotor Review with documents formatted in Microsoft Word ® and photos formatted as high-resolution JPEG and/or PDF by e-mail to: or by FEDEX / UPS on a MAC or PC formatted CD to Rotor Review / NHA, BLDG 654, Rogers Road, NASNI, San Diego, CA, 92135. Also, comments, suggestions, critiques and opinions are welcomed, your anonymity is respected. Send: by email to; by mail toNaval Helicopter Association, Inc., P.O. Box 180578, Coronado, CA, 921780578; call (619) 435-7139; or FAX: (619) 435-7354 .

The Day that My Maintainers Saved My Life LT Trevor Prophet, USN


Just One Flight Before We Pull into Manila LT Chaz Nelson, USN


All Jammed Up LT Justin Pacheco, USN


Squadron Updates


USMC Updates


USCG Updates


Book Review


Engaging Rotors Pulling Chocks

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Editors Emeritus

The Rotor Review is intended to support the goals of the association, provide a forum for discussion and exchange of information on topics of interest to the rotary wing community, and keep membership informed of NHA activities. As necessary, the President of NHA will provide the guidance to the Rotor Review Editorial Board to ensure the Rotor Review content continues to support this statement of policy as Naval Helicopter Association adjusts to the expanding rotary wing community.


Wayne Jensen John Driver Andy Quiett Susan Fink Tracey Keef Bryan Buljat Todd Vorenkamp Clay Shane

John Ball Sean Laughlin Mike Curtis Bill Chase Maureen Palmerino Gabe Soltero Steve Bury Kristin Ohleger

Rotor Review # 120 Spring ‘13

Editor’s Log


reetings fellow N H A members! I’ll get right into the heart of this issue’s focus…"Doing more, without more." The topic is a generally hotly debated topic as we struggle to come to grips with a way to identify with changing times. The editorial staff started out with a brief discussion on Sequestration and how we could tie it into our annual theme of Training and Safety. The end result was the age old adage that we’ve all heard at some point in our careers; “Do more with less!” Then the discussion started floating around the various levels of leadership and the decision was made that the old saying didn’t quite fit the bill. Try not to look at it as having less, rather look at it as we just aren’t getting more. Obviously I am way oversimplifying the idea but it gets us to a great starting point, which brings us to Rotor Review #120. I want to personally reach out and thank all the great contributors for this issue. We reached near and far, from the squadrons all the way to CNAF, getting great responses and inputs from every level. Our hope was

to examine the challenges we face from every tier of leadership. How do we still maintain readiness and operate safely in a constrained fiscal climate? No matter how you look at it, we have to adapt to change. We will still have to produce students via the flight school pipeline. We will still have to deploy detachments and squadrons around the world. But most importantly, we will have to do all this as the most capable fighting force in the world while minimizing the risk to ourselves and others. We already have the best equipment money can buy. Now, how do we most efficiently operate this equipment while continuing to accomplish our mission goals? It’s our hope that some of those questions get answered in these very pages.

*As an unrelated editor note, we are seeking one new Coast Guard and one new Marine Corps Editor to join our team! NHA is a much larger community than just the Navy and we want to continue to ensure that the USCG and USMC are appropriately represented in Rotor Review. If you or someone you know is interested or a great candidate, please contact us via email at navalhelicopterassn@

count on is our Symposium. Our annual Symposium went as planned and we had an exceptional West Coast membership turnout. My optimism for this reason wasn't far-fetched here, because NHA purposely holds symposiums in naval helicopter Fleet concentration areas such as Jacksonville, FL, Norfolk, VA, and, this year, San Diego, CA.  At NAS North Island near San Diego, we have two helicopter wings with 21 squadrons and about 3,000 personnel. In addition, there are Coast Guard and Marine Corps rotary wing squadrons in

the area. We had a small contingent of members attended from the East Coast and beyond. Your presence at NHA 2013, more than ever, signaled support for all that naval rotary wing aviation does for our nation in peace and war. The topic for RR 120 is “Doing More Without More: Training and Safety in a New Fiscal Climate,” a most appropriate subject given the tension of today’s military budget. Being true to that adage, “train like you’ll fight” becomes ever more important in the virtual arena.

LT Scott Lippincott, USN

Rotor Review Editor-in-Chief

Chairman’s Brief


HA’s “Sequestration Symposium” is upon us! As I began to write this column on Saint Patrick’s Day, we were working on passing a federal budget, Truman’s deployment remained “delayed” and our federal colleagues are facing an unexpected and un-welcomed furlough. Still amid the imposition and frustration of government travel restrictions, times, indeed, have been difficult. Sustaining American forward naval presence, influence and power projection aside, one thing you can

Rotor Review # 120 Spring ‘13


Continue on page 5

Continued from page 4

Briefing Notes: NHA Symposium 2013 was May 13-16, 2013, at the Town & Country Resort and Convention Center. NHA exists for you, our membership, AND is dependent upon the financial support of our corporate members. All of our corporate members were at the San Diego Symposium. All of them. Operational matters permitting, attendance at our NHA Symposium provides an unparalleled opportunity to interact with senior naval leadership, “Captains of Industry,” fellow wing/squadron pilots/enlisted aircrew/ maintainers, as well as enabling you to provide your feedback on rotary wing products directly to industry. In addition, it is an occasion to recognize professional excellence at the Awards Luncheon for those members who have distinguished themselves in action. Plus, it’s simply a great time! In my ever growing category of “I wish I were that guy,” I do wish I was serving with USS Freedom’s HSM-73 Helicopter Combat Element. The OIC is LCDR Jake “Giggles” Haff and he leads the “Gold Crew” component on LCS-1. Freedom deployed from her homeport of San Diego on March 1. The ship is sailing to Southeast Asia and Singapore for approximately eight months to conduct maritime security operations with regional partners and Allies. This marks the first of many planned rotational deployments to the Western

Pacific for LCS platforms, and LCDR Haff and his Battlecats fly the ship’s most valuable asset, the MH-60R. May they always fly well and make history. To our shipmates in USS Truman’s air wing, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 7, the Dusty Dogs, and Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 74, the Swamp Foxes: no, I can’t find anyone who ever remembers this happening before. Sailing early, yes; packed up and ready to go, and then, not so Never been there or done that. The Secretary of Defense delayed the deployment of USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) and USS Gettysburg (CG 64) 6 February. The deployment was originally scheduled for Friday, 8 February. “Ours is not to reason why. Ours is but to do and die” as Lord Tennyson said. Stay ready, be patient. Duty shall call. I have had the privilege and pleasure of serving as your chairman since 2007. At this year’s Symposium I turned over the chair to a lifelong NHA member, NHA Lifetime Achievement Awardee and friend, Rear Admiral Bill Shannon, USN (Ret). RADM Shannon graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1975 and was designated an unrestricted Naval Aviator the following year. He flew the RH-53D Sea Stallion with HM-12 and HM-14

and the MH-53E as a department head with HM-15. In addition, as a Navy/Marine Corps Exchange pilot, he flew the CH-53D while serving as the S-3 and Weapons and Tactics instructor with the Ugly Angels of HMH-362. From 1993 to 1995, Bill served as executive officer, and subsequently, commanding officer of the Blackhawks of HM-15. Most recently, Bill served as the program manager of the Multi-Mission Helicopter Program (PMA 299) where his team successfully introduced the MH-60S Seahawk to the Fleet. Following PMA 299, Bill became the deputy program executive officer for PEO(A), then went on to serve as the director of Total Force Readiness for the Naval Aviation Enterprise and NAVAIR’s Assistant Commander for Logistics and Industrial Operations, before serving as program executive officer for Unmanned Aviation and Strike Weapons. Bill is currently executive vice president, Science and Engineering Services, Inc., Patuxent River, MD. NHA is most fortunate to have someone as devoted, passionate and knowledgeable about our community to serve as our 16th Chairman of the Board. Welcome aboard, Admiral Shannon! It was great seeing you all at this year's NHA Symposium. Until then... Fly well and keep your turns up! RADM Steve Tomaszeski, USN (Ret) NHA Chairman

President’s Message


ubbas! As I’m writing this, we are all anxiously awaiting the outcome of the budget and future flight hours (or lack thereof) remaining for 3rd/4th Qtr FY13. It’s difficult to plan for the unknown, keep morale up and ensure quality of training doesn’t suffer. Safety must always remain high on the “gotta have list.” Most of us are in this business because we love to fly and being a Naval Aviator is the pinnacle of flying professionalism. We don’t want our flight hours going away. . .

With regard to safety, it’s probably a good time to remind myself and everyone that straps into an aircraft that it’s not the high intensity, low light, gun pattern or brown out maneuver that typically causes mishaps. It’s the maneuver or procedure that we conduct often, over and over again, that bites us. It’s getting lazy and not referring to the checklist after the HIT check on deck and taxiing off with a PCL still at idle, or accepting that tail wind landing instead of taking the extra time to position the helicopter for an approach into the wind.


Don’t be “that guy,” a victim of the stupid stuff. Keep your guard up always, even though you’ve done it a hundred times. Don’t cut corners on the hundred and first. Keep training hard and fighting for more flight hours! CAPT Michael “Babe” Ruth, USN NHA President

Rotor Review # 120 Spring ‘13

Aircrewman’s Corner


ellow Aircrewmen – Hello Again! I’ve anxiously been anticipating writing in regards to the theme of this issue of Rotor Review. BEFORE you turn the page and skip what’s written, thinking the Old Timer is going to tell Sea Stories, or things starting with “True Story”, consider the whole environment and experience that will follow. No, I won’t be telling Sea Stories – or anything starting with “True Story.” (They are all true – I don’t have to preface them with the warning.) We very well are approaching some difficult challenges ahead. I can say right off the bat, the last time I had any experience with such challenges (to include Naval Aviation), I absolutely do not remember such clear communications heading into it. That is difference number one. Further differences are shown by our current leadership asking for ideas, developing potential solutions, and being steady enough to understand changes will come without warning – that we all need to be prepared regardless…Warfighters First – Ready for the Challenges Ahead! Having noted only a few differences, there are some distinct similarities in our potential adjustments to come. The first that comes to my mind: training. As disappointing as “Ground Training” is to some, it has clear advantages, especially in budget limited environments. First and foremost, it can be tackled by bringing back the basics. Ranging

from safety, to aviation fundamentals and procedures, to advanced tactical applications and knowledge. Specifically for the Enlisted Helicopter Aircrew – this increases our ability to re-focus on some perishable skills in many of our warfare areas. Hitting the books, group training, individual training, and ground/static aircraft training provide many opportunities to apply procedures in environments that allow for further technique development, as well as reaching a wider audience all at once. Flight training is also important, and I’m not discounting its value. I’m merely stating the opportunities that we can leverage if and when harder times approach us in the future. Our first and constantly demanding responsibility in training: safety. Enlisted Aircrew safety training should focus on anything and everything to include Standard Operating Procedures, NATOPS, SAR, ALSS Gear, in addition to Special Procedures and other areas that are not only routine, but also the non routine. Both ends of the spectrum are the most dangerous. The things we do daily, the things we rarely do, and everything in between all have equal challenges to be confronted. Secondly comes the basics of the missions of each platform, beginning to end or “Cradle to Grave” in scope. These usually also align with Enlisted Rating Exams, which, in our

Rotor Review # 120 Spring ‘13


Navy environment, may continue to be just as challenging for advancement. Here, again, is another opportunity to capitalize on time management that is a direct investment into your future. The strongest influence you have on your Advancement Exam Standard Score each cycle is studying. (Sailors often HATE the word studying, which is why, now, we mostly say “training.”) Don’t, however, let the play on words prevent you from doing both. Fellow Aircrew – although we truly enjoy every moment we have being “installed” in the back of Helicopters, we didn’t get here without strong training programs that work. Each of us participated in Aircrew training programs that produced results. Each of us graduated from those programs, continued to invest in ourselves and each other, developing our skills to what they are today. NONE of us are finished. We constantly train to be the best at what we do. Additional capabilities come along, and we must take those challenges head on to be the experts in those capabilities. Sometimes, it’s the right time to get back to refresher training – and to re-energize our ground training programs, especially if they have the potential to shift our focus as an organization of professionals. We can become even better through these types of efforts provided we go into them with the right mindset. Remember to occasionally make it fun and invite the participation of the Officer ranks in knowledge. AWCM David W. Crossan USN NHA’s Senior Naval Aircrewman Advisor

NHA Membership


his issue's t h e m e is incredibly timely. Although doing more with less doesn’t appear to be a new theme for the Navy, the unprecedented fiscal climate creates new challenges and concerns. Later in this issue, I discuss how a successful Command Climate and Safety Culture (C3) can help combat the risks inherent in Naval Aviation. I also believe that NHA can help improve the overall culture of our community, raising morale and safety at all levels. NHA is an excellent venue to promote our profession in a social atmosphere: leadership can gather to discuss current trends and shared visions; peers can discuss experiences and lessons learned;

and all of us can strengthen the unspoken bond we share as pilots, aircrew and maintainers. The network that NHA fosters can help keep the rotary wing community strong during this period of uncertainty. I enjoyed seeing many of you at the Symposium. For those attendees that

made it out to San Diego, I encourage you to gather within your own region to share your experiences and promote the mission of NHA. Fly Safe, LCDR Ryan “Gassy” Hayes NHA VP for Membership

NHA Scholarship Fund


y the time you read this, we will have selected this year’s scholarship recipients. Once again, contributions by our corporate sponsors, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, L3/DP Associates and Sikorsky, have made possible significant awards to the best of those selected. With funding in place for our Memorial Scholarships and your contributions through CFC and Regional fundraisers, we hope to award more than $30,000 during this cycle. Thank you to one and all for your support of “NHA’s most worthwhile endeavour!” In other news, work continues on upgrading our administrative practices and documents so that we can better market the Fund, especially to corporate entities. We hope to have much of the paperwork in place by

this year’s Symposium . It is clear that additional resources will be needed to market the Fund effectively, so your continued financial support will be extremely important as we go forward with this work. I, once again, want to thank CDR Chris Hewlett, LT Sam Wheeler, LT Jennifer Huck and LT Brad Davenport for all of the work they did on behalf of the Fund. The success of the Fund


and the scholarships we provided during their tenure can be largely attributed to the dedication and determination they exhibited while serving on the NHA Scholarship Committee. They made a real difference in the hopes and dreams of those receiving our scholarships….. so can you! Hold fast, CAPT Paul Stevens, USN (Ret) NHA Scholarship Fund President

Rotor Review # 120 Spring ‘13


Not too big. Not too small. Just right.

The AW101 provides maximum flexibility in a true medium lift helicopter. Excelling at the usual (speed, range, endurance and survivability) and enabling the extraordinary. Its full height, stand-up cabin and full sized aft ramp provides room and flexibility for the widest variety of missions from Combat Rescue to Head of State VIP missions. A fully state-of-the-art, net-ready system provides superior situational awareness and connectivity even in the most remote parts of the globe. An All-weather capability, and a proven 30 minute run-dry transmission coupled with 3-engine performance makes it one of the safest helicopters operating world-wide today. A military aircraft which has proven itself in Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan‌..why accept less when so much is at stake?


Rotor Review # 120 Spring ‘13


A View From The Labs: Supporting The Fleet By CAPT George Galdorisi, USN (Ret)

Why We Are Doing More Without More: And How We Are “Pivoting to Asia” The idea of the future being different from the present is so repugnant to our conventional modes of thought and behavior that we, most of us, offer a great resistance to acting on it in practice. John Maynard Keynes, 1937 From Global Trends 2030


ince the theme of this issue of Rotor Review is “doing more without more,” I thought it would be useful to address what the Navy is doing more of today – and will do vastly more of in the future – but will be doing it in an environment where there will be less funding to do everything. What I am talking about specifically is the Navy’s “Pivot to Asia,” and it is something that will impact all of us over the next decade and beyond. This United States’ Pivot to the AsiaPacific region has been talked about in both the defense and mainstream media for quite some time, but is probably best articulated in an article our Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Jonathan Greenert, wrote in the November 14, 2012, Foreign Policy entitled “Sea Change: The Navy Pivots to Asia.” You can read the entire article at: http://www. change so I’ll just surf the wave tops here. In this article, the CNO notes that the Navy’s active presence in the Asia-Pacific region is not new, and “the Navy will build on its longstanding Asia-Pacific focus in four ways:” 1. Deploying more forces to the AsiaPacific area 2. Basing more ships and aircraft in the region 3. Fielding new capabilities focused on Asia-Pacific challenges 4. Developing partnerships and intellectual capital across the region Since publication of this article, the CNO has spoken frequently about the Navy’s Pivot to Asia. A recent speech to the World Affairs Council addressed this change in good granularity. I’ll share it with you here, in the Chief of Naval Operations’ own words:

“Let me give you, how do you rebalance into Asia Pacific? You tell me about the ships. There are four key features to the rebalance to the Asia Pacific. First are the ships. It’s force structure. You’ve got to have ships or it’s just not going to work right. But it’s also aircraft. We are moving our new aircraft called the P8 which is a maritime patrol aircraft. What does that mean? Frankly, it’s a 737-800, literally, that we’ve kind of tricked out to do a lot of important things from anti-submarine warfare to anti-surface warfare. It has special radars, can carry special weapons and a lot of other things. We are now bringing


that into our fleet and we’ll deploy that later this year. The first squadron of those will go to the Western Pacific.” “You may have heard of a Global Hawk which is a large, bigwinged drone that we’ve been using for years. The Air Force brought that in. We have a marinized Global Hawk. It’s called a Broad Area Maritime Surveillance. I’ve got to give you acronyms, right? It’s called BAMS. Broad Area Maritime Surveillance. What does that mean? It’s an unmanned aerial thing, a drone. It flies up to 1200 miles around there. Continue on page 10

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Continued from page 9

It’s got a lot of sensors on it, balls, EO, electro-optical, infrared; it can see things on the ocean very, very definitively, and they will be deploying here in about four [to] five years, to Guam. And so those are going to the Western Pacific first. So is our Joint Strike Fighter, which is the next generation stealthy strike fighter aircraft: a lot more gas, a lot more weapons, radar evading. The first deployment of them will be in Japan and that will be right around the end of this decade. So it’s ships to Asia, its aircraft also to Asia.” “Number two, we are going to move our homeporting of ships more toward the West. More toward Hawaii, more toward the West Coast, such that by the end of this decade 60 percent of the ships we have in the Navy will be west of the Mississippi, if you will. We’re doing that as a ship gets retired from the East Coast and one is built, we move that home port to the West Coast. So there’s this graceful migration, I guess, to the West Coast. So we’re moving our homeporting more West.” “Number three, the capabilities that we are building out there from cyber, from electromagnetic spectrum monitoring, from the ability to detect a cruise missile, a ballistic missile. The most modern missiles that we have, the most modern torpedoes, all of those technologies. A lot of those are

benchmarked to the kinds of capability we need in the Western Pacific. So we are migrating, if you will, our balance toward capability to the Western Pacific.” “Lastly, I call it intellectual capacity or capability. It’s about shifting our focus on partnerships and, really, we’ve been in the Western Pacific a long time, we the Navy. It’s about nourishing and revitalizing relationships in Korea, in Japan, in Singapore, in Australia. The Philippine government is very much interested in saying -- I don’t know that we’re going back into Subic Bay; we’re pretty far from that. That takes a lot of work. But we’re discussion operations that we can do in and around there. We still fly out of the Air Force base there in the Philippines that we used to be at with the Philippine armed forces. We do operations once a month where we fly together to do that. So it’s intellectual capacity shifting toward the Western Pacific.” “We are collocated in Japan with the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force Fleet Headquarters. What that means is we have our people sitting at monitors watching U.S. ships right beside Japanese folks, so they’re counterparts, watching things. When we do air operations, we’ll go out and fly around, take scouts out there on the ocean. We come back, put the tapes in and show this is what we saw. It’s

Rotor Review # 120 Spring ‘13


right next to our Japanese counterparts. We are very tight with them. The same picture under the ocean, which is really cutting edge technology and really looking out ahead.” “We are nurturing the relationship with the Republic of Korea, with their Navy. Close partners. I mentioned the Singaporeans have invited us to bring those four ships down to Singapore. Big deal. That’s putting some skin in the game, if you will, and they have a headquarters where they’ve invited us to collocate down there and use for operations. So it’s really the refreshing or the nurturing, if you will, of relationships. So it’s force structure -- ships, aircraft; its homeporting; its capability; and then its relationships, partnerships and intellectual capacity.” Admiral Greenert discussed other issues in his World Affairs Council remarks earlier this year, but for me, this “four point” description of the Navy’s Pivot to Asia can help all of us in the Rotary Wing Community anticipate the future and be ready to “do more without more” and do it where it will matter the most in the future. SCAN CODE

To view and download Global Trends 2030

Iron Barnacle Rescue

HELICOPTERS in the Early Years

Side Note: If you would like read ROTORHEAD - Life and Times of an Early Helo Pilot, it is available in our NHA Library or you can buy your own copy from in hard cover, soft cover or as an digital copy for Kindle™ or Kindle Fire™.

Are You Getting Your

? Dear Editor; I was one of the Navy maintenance crew members that made up that operation. I have been trying to find some mention and or acknowledgement of our involvement with the Cambodian Incursion operations. Although I wasn’t an air rescue crewman, I am grateful to have had the opportunity to be part of that crew and the operation that we performed on that mission. It would be great to connect again with some of my ship mates. Former PO2 Jim Reich Dear Former PO2 Jim Reich, Glad to hear we were able to connect with the maintenance side of the house as well. It takes the entire team to make up a successful operation! Hope you get the chance to connect with some shipmates soon. Editor-In-Chief

Dear Editor; You were kind enough to publish excerpts from what is now Chapter 7 of my book "ROTORHEAD Life and Times of an Early Helo Pilot," in your Rotor Review Spring 2012 and Fall 2012 issues. This book contains the full versions of those stories plus others of my helo associated tours. Sincerely, Robert A. Close, USN (Ret) Dear Mr. Close, We look forward to reading the whole book! Editor-In-Chief


Dear Readers; We are wondering if you are receiving your Rotor Review in the mail in good condition or recieving it at all? If you have any issues receiving your magazine via the USPS or electronically, please bring it to our attention by calling 619.435.7139 or emailing us at to verify that we have the correct address.

We Would Like to Hear From You If you would like to write a letter to the Editor, please forward any correspondance via email to or by mail to the following address: Naval Helicopter Association, Inc. c/o “Letter to the Editor” P.O. Box 180578 Coronado, CA 92178-0578

Rotor Review # 120 Spring ‘13

Industry and Technology

Heli-Expo 2013: Russian Helicopters Projects 2015 Deliveries For Two New Platforms Article by Scott Gourley, Reprint courtesy of


n their sixth consecutive Heli-Expo "Russian Hour," representatives from Russian Helicopters and the Russian Helicopter Industry Association presented the first international briefings on two new helicopter models now slated for customer deliveries in 2015: the Mi-171A2 and the Kamov Ka-62.



he Mi-171A2 is the latest addition to the bestselling Mi-8 / 17 family of helicopters represented by approximately 4,500 platforms in service around the globe. The Ka-62 is one of the latest contenders in the global medium multipurpose helicopter market. According to Dmitri Zuykov, director of marketing for medium-class and Mi-8 / 17 helicopters, the new Mi-171A2 is the latest upgraded variant of the series. The design made its maiden flight in 2012. Zuykov highlighted the aircraft’s ability to follow both visual flight rules and instrumented flight rules, an 800 km flight range, and projected maximum speed of 280 km/h and cruise speed of 260 km/h. The numbers all represent increases over the specifications for the current generation Mi171A1 platform. "But I can tell you that now we have performed flight tests and we have achieved max speed of 300 kilometres per hour," he added. Additional features include the ability to transport up to 5,000 kg on external load, versus 4,000 kg on the current design. ‘So with this helicopter you will be able to transport four tonnes inside the cabin and five tonnes on external load,’ he said.

Current plans call for completion of aircraft certification in fourth quarter 2014, followed by the start of commercial deliveries in first quarter 2015. Envisioned missions for the Mi171A2 include: passenger transportation (including offshore transportation); cargo transportation; VIP transport; search and rescue; patrolling; and medical

evacuation. In the case of passenger transportation, for example, the Mi171A2 will be able to transport up to 24 passengers on energy absorbing seats. Zuykov added that offshore operations will be facilitated by "the widest range of optional equipment, such as life vests, life rafts, emergency exits, emergency flotation system, and emergency beacons." VIP transportation configuration options range from 8 to 14 seats. Other design elements include two VK-2500 engines with separate fuel

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supply systems, composite rotor blades with 4.5X service life, and an X-shaped tail rotor design proven on the Mi-28 Havoc attack helicopter. The second helicopter to receive its first international spotlight at Heli-Expo 2013 was the Kamov Ka-62 medium multipurpose helicopter. The platform has many of the same anticipated applications as the Mi-171A2, ranging from passenger transportation for up to 15 passengers; to internal and external cargo transportation; to emergency medical services. According to Alexander Vagin, chief designer for Kamov Company, the five most important approaches taken during the Ka-62 conceptual design process were: flight performance; safety features; comfort; maintainability and operational cost; and worldwide operation. Vagin outlined a range of performance characteristics based on the Ka-60, which he described as "the military prototype of the Ka-62." Performance envelope characteristics included service ceiling of 6,100 m, 750 km maximum range, maximum speed of 310 km/h and cruise speed of 290 km/h. "A big part of the goal achievement is the engine," he said. "Following the study of all engines available in the world for the intermediate helicopter class we have chosen the Ardiden 3G, the new generation engine that is currently under development by Turbomeca." Planned programme schedule calls for the first public flight of Ka-62 in August of this year, followed by type certification in the fourth quarter of 2014 and initial entry into service during 2015.

Industry and Technology

Common Cockpit is Good for MH-60 Helicopter Press Release courtesy of Lockheed Martin Missile Systems and Sensors

Lockheed Martin’s 400th Common Cockpit will be installed in Australia’s first MH-60R.


n the mid-1970s, NASA astronaut Fred Gregory advised Space Shuttle managers to talk to the agency’s aeronautics experts after he learned that the Atlantis cockpit was slated for an update. NASA conducted research on displays that could process the raw aircraft system and flight data into an integrated, easily understood picture of the flight situation, culminating in a series of flights demonstrating a full glass cockpit system. Borrowing from the work done by NASA and commercial airlines, Lockheed Martin developed the Common Cockpit avionics suite for the U.S. Navy’s MH-60 Seahawk helicopter program.

Today (Feb. 25), it will bring the 400th Common Cockpit to the Royal Australian Navy via the MH-60 Romeo helicopter program. Lockheed Martin delivered the first MH-60 Common Cockpit avionics suite in 2002 when U.S. Navy MH-60 Sierra helicopters became operational.   “The Common Cockpit avionics suite has proved to be a highly effective flight and mission systems hub during more than 600,000 flight hours aboard the U.S. Navy’s fleet of 360 MH-60R and MH-60S helicopters built and delivered to date,” said CAPT James Glass, the U.S. Navy’s program

Bell Helicopter Delivers 100th H-1 Helicopter to the U.S. Marine Corps Press Release courtesy of Bell Helicopter


ell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. company (NYSE: TXT), today delivered the 100th of a planned total of 349 H-1 helicopters during a ceremony at its Amarillo Assembly Center. The US Marine Corps H-1 helicopter program is comprised of both the UH-1Y utility helicopter and the AH-1Z attack helicopter. John Garrison, president and CEO of Bell Helicopter said, “We are deeply

proud to be the Marine Corps' partner in these aircraft. They are among the most advanced, capable and affordable attack and utility helicopters serving today.” The UH-1A story began back in 1959 with the U.S. Army and it progressed through various versions ending with the M model. The Huey, as it was affectionately known, also

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manager for H-60 Multi-Mission Helicopters. “A digital, all glass cockpit that’s common to both platforms and operationally proven will enable critical interoperability between MH60 aircraft operated by both the Australian and U.S. navies.” The Common Cockpit avionics suite features four large, flat-panel, multi-function, night-vision-compatible, color displays. The suite processes and manages communications and sensor data streaming into MH-60 multimission helicopters, presenting to the crew of three actionable information that significantly reduces workload while increasing situational awareness. Australia is the first international customer to buy the U.S. Navy’s MH-60R multi-mission helicopter, which became operational in January 2006. The U.S. Navy is expected to take delivery of the first missionready MH-60R helicopter in December 2013 for transfer to the Royal Australian Navy in early 2014. All 24 Australian aircraft are to be delivered by mid 2016. “The MH-60R is a proven capability with the Common Cockpit at its core,” said CAPT Scott Lockey, who is the Project Director for the Australian MH-60R program. “The Australian acquisition of 24 multi-mission Romeo helicopters means that we will have the capacity to provide at least eight warships with a combat helicopter at the same time, and we can rely on the Common Cockpit to successfully network and communicate with our fleet.”

Industry and Technology Continued from page 13

served as the foundation for the Cobra attack gun ship. These helicopters also have a long Marine Corps lineage going back to the original basic Huey helicopter, first deployed during the Vietnam War in 1963 as the UH1E. Later the E model was upgraded to a twin engine N model. The Cobra attack helicopter traces its history back to 1968 and the AH-1G model. Although the exterior look may have remained the same, each new model introduced new performance and capability upgrades such as new rotor systems, gear boxes and materials, and ultimately achieving the capable and lethal versions the Marines fly today. Major suppliers for these latest H-1 models include: Northrop Grumman supplying the Integrated Avionics Suite, Thales providing the Helmet Mounted Sight and Display System, Lockheed Martin Orlando supplying the AH-1Z Target Sight System (TSS), FLIR Inc. with the UH-1Y BRITE Star II forward-looking infrared

Previous models achieved considerable international sales success and the current models are beginning to attract foreign interest as well. The AH-1Z is in competition to supply 36 new attack helicopters to South Korea with a decision sometime this year.

About Bell Helicopter Bell Helicopter, a wholly owned subsidiary of Textron Inc., is an industry-leading producer of commercial and military, manned and unmanned vertical-lift aircraft and the pioneer of the revolutionary tiltrotor aircraft. Globally recognized for worldclass customer service, innovation and superior quality, Bell’s global workforce serves customers flying Bell aircraft in more than 120 countries. sensor, L-3 Crestview Aerospace providing the UH-1Y cabin structure, and General Electric Aviation supplying the T700 engines.

Mini Helicopter Drone for UK Troops in Afghanistan Press Release courtesy of BBC


ritish soldiers in Afghanistan have become the first to use miniature surveillance helicopters in frontline operations.


he drones can fly around corners and obstacles to identify potential hidden dangers, the Ministry of Defence said. The Norwegian-designed Black Hornet Nano features a tiny camera and relays video and still images to a handheld control terminal. It measures about 10cm by 2.5cm (4in by 1in) and weighs 16g (0.6oz). The MoD, which also operates more than 300 larger-sized unmanned air vehicles in Afghanistan, said the Black Hornet is carried easily on patrol and works in harsh environments and windy conditions. They have been in use in Afghanistan

The Ministry of Defence plans to purchase 160 of the mini drones. since 2012, a spokeswoman confirmed. Surrey-based M arlborough Communications has a ÂŁ20m contract with the military to s upply and maintain 160 of the drones, which were originally developed b y P r o x Dynamics for search and rescue operations.


Mini drones can be piloted directly or programmed to follow co-ordinates using GPS. Powered by battery, the Black Hornet is reported to have a range of about half a mile (800m), a top speed of 22mph (35kph) and can fly for up to 30 minutes. Continue on page 15

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Industry and Technology

Continued from page 14

They can help soldiers on the ground pinpoint hidden Taliban fighters and explosives. Sgt Christopher Petherbridge, of the Brigade Reconnaissance Force in Afghanistan, said: “We used it to look for insurgent firing points and check out exposed areas of the ground before crossing, which is a real asset. “It is very easy to operate and offers amazing capability to the guys on the ground.”

Defence minister Philip Dunne said intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems were a “key component” of the MoD’s investment in new equipment over the next 10 years. Spending outlined last month also includes almost £36bn for a new generation of nuclear-powered submarines, almost £19bn for combat aircraft, and around £17bn for Royal Navy warships.


owered by battery, the Black Hornet is reported to have a range of about half a mile (800m), a top speed of 22mph (35kph) and can fly for up to 30 minutes.

A Giant Leap for Automated Flight Press Release by Lockheed Martin

ONR looking to develop automated flight system that places low-level control in the hands of the aircraft SCAN CODE



opular Science magazine recognizes this unmanned cargo helicopter deployed in Afghanistan as one of the top new products of 2012.

ONR’s Autonomous Aerial Cargo Utility System will be platform agnostic, but some of Lockheed Martin’s cutting edge automated flight technology has already been demonstrated on the K-MAX unmanned cargo helicopter currently deployed in Afghanistan. Photo courtesy DVIDS.


he U.S. Navy took an important step toward making fully automated flight a reality when it deployed the K-MAX unmanned cargo resupply helicopter developed by Lockheed Martin and Kaman Aerospace to Afghanistan last year. Now, the Office of Naval Research (ONR) is taking a giant “leap” with a program called the Autonomous Aerial Cargo Utility System (AACUS). ONR awarded a $13.5 million contract to a team led by Lockheed Martin to develop and demonstrate a concept called “supervised autonomy” aboard an unmanned vertical take-off

and landing aircraft. The Lockheed Martin team’s Open-Architecture Planning and Trajectory Intelligence for Managing Unmanned Systems (OPTIMUS) architecture will enable an aircraft to effectively control itself, on a primary level, while a human maintains higher level control. Although some of the technology has been demonstrated on K-MAX, the OPTIMUS system is designed to be platform-agnostic. “AACUS is the college level leap above K-MAX,” said ONR’s AACUS

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program officer Dr. Mary Cummings in an Oct. 3 AUVSI article. “K-MAX was a necessary first step for AACUS, but AACUS will actually take the concepts beyond K-MAX and substantially advance them… We’re one of the most advanced autonomy program(s) right now in the research and development community.” Under the contract, Lockheed Martin’s team will develop technology that has the potential to dramatically improve the utility and effectiveness of current unmanned vertical take-off and landing aircraft, as well as offer pilots supplemental decision aids on existing manned platforms. According to Cummings, AACUS will enable the aircraft to land in wind, weather and brown out conditions that exceed pilot capabilities.  “This contract provides our team the opportunity to demonstrate how far we can expand the technology envelope,” said Roger Il Grande, Lockheed Martin’s director of airborne systems. “Some of our cutting edge technology has already been demonstrated on K-MAX for the Army’s Autonomous Technologies for Unmanned Air System program, and is now deployed with the Marine Corps on the aircraft in Afghanistan.”

Industry and Technology

Denmark Selects U.S. Navy’s MH-60R Seahawk Helicopter Press Release by Lockheed Martin


he U.S. Navy announced today that the Danish government signed an official letter of offer and acceptance formalizing its intent to buy nine MH-60R Seahawk helicopters and comprehensive logistics support for its Maritime Helicopter Replacement Program. Valued at US $686 million (Kr 4 billion), the aircraft will be procured via the U.S. Government’s Foreign Military Sales program. “It’s great news that the Danish government has selected the U.S. Navy’s MH-60R, an aircraft we believe is the world’s most capable multi-mission maritime helicopter,” said RADM Paul Grosklags, Program Executive Officer, Air, ASW, Assault and Special Mission Programs. “Danish pilots and crew will be able to fly with the confidence that these aircraft have been proven operationally capable at sea and have the full logistics support already in place to ensure they are ready and able to fly anytime, anywhere in the world.” Denmark is the second country to buy MH-60R helicopters following Australia’s purchase of 24 aircraft in 2011. All nine aircraft will be delivered

to the Danish government by 2018. The Danish aircraft are configured for search and rescue or anti-surface warfare operations, including defending Danish interests in the North Atlantic, executing antipiracy operations, and conducting other missions during international deployments. The U.S. Navy was supported in its winning proposal by Team Seahawk, consisting of MH-60R aircraft manufacturer Sikorsky Aircraft, mission systems integrator Lockheed Martin, engine manufacturer GE, sensor supplier Raytheon Corp., and training supplier CAE. Headquartered in Bethesda, MD, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs about 120,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The corporation’s net sales for 2011 were $46.5 billion. Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., based in Stratford, Conn., is a world leader


in helicopter design, manufacture, and service. Its parent company, United Technologies Corp., based in Hartford, Conn., provides a broad range of high technology products and support services to the aerospace and building systems industries. This press release contains forward-looking statements concerning potential production and sale of helicopters. Actual results may differ materially from those projected as a result of certain risks and uncertainties, including but not limited to changes in government procurement priorities and practices, budget plans or availability of funding or in the number of aircraft to be built; challenges in the design, development, production and support of advanced technologies; as well as other risks and uncertainties, including but not limited to those detailed from time to time in United Technologies Corporation’s Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

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A CH-124 Joins NHA Gulf Coast Fleet Fly-in 2012 Article and Photos by LT Guy Henry, USN


his past October, the Naval Helicopter Association 23rd Annual Gulf Coast Fleet Fly-in played host to a sight that none of the young Student Naval Aviators had seen flying before, the mighty Sea King. For the second year in a row, a CH-124 Sea King, from 12 Wing Shearwater, Nova Scotia, Canada, made the trek down to join the Naval Aviation event. The 2011 Centennial of Naval Aviation Fly-In marked the first time an international aircraft and crew participated in this particular NHA event. Though part of the Royal Canadian Air Force, the Maritime Helicopter (MH) community has its roots in the Canadian Navy. They were originally Royal Canadian Naval Aviators until a 1968 Forces realignment that moved all aircraft under Air Command within the greater Canadian Armed Forces. Fast forward a few decades, and the MH community is now part of the RCAF. They are the only aircrew in the RCAF to operate off of ships, which makes them the kindred spirit of the USN Aviators. So, how’d you do that? This was the question most frequently asked where ever we went. How did we receive approval

from the boss to take an asset 1500 miles? Advice to any junior officer: if you have a non standard idea for something, you can always ask. They can always say no, but you can always ask. They did not say no, but they asked how would we do it? Since nothing like this had been done in years, the corporate knowledge on travelling to the USA for training missions and not operations had been lost. After reinventing the wheel and answering every question that was thrown our way, we figured out the appropriate diplomatic channels and went forward.


Return of the King

It also helps to have a good plan to justify the request and loss of a Wing asset for nearly 2 weeks. The RCAF is a different animal than the USN or USAF. There are roughly 68,000 active duty personnel in the entire Canadian Forces, Army, Navy, and Air Force. They have 27 Sea Kings split between bases on each coast. Letting an up aircraft head down south with minimal support represents a significant loss of assets for the entire fleet. Both years, the plan revolved around training. In 2011, we were able to complete 19 training sorties on the trip, mainly conducted out of Chambers Field, NS Norfolk, thanks to great support from the HSC-2 Fleet Angels. In 2012, we completed 24 X’s split between Chambers and NAS Whiting, with support again from HSC-2 and HT-8. The return trip this year was compounded by the tragic force of Hurricane Sandy, forcing an all Canadian crew into unfamiliar terrain, flying to Canada up the West side of the Appalachian Mountains. These are very high visibility trips for the RCAF, and they are heavily scrutinized. Excellent maintenance personnel, dedicated adaptable aircrew, inContinue on page 18

Photo Above: CH-124 Sea King from 12 Wing Shearwater makes an appearance at the 23rd Annual Fleet Fly-In.

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depth prior planning, and cooperative aircraft contributed to these events being great successes. Time to train for aircrew generation was cut down significantly. The benefits of trips like this do not just revolve around training. For most of the Student Naval Aviators and the Canadian aircrew, this is their first opportunity to meet, work, and share a beverage with each other’s closest ally. Fostering this relationship and keeping channels ready and open is as important today as it ever was. Canada has stood side by side with the US in most of our conflicts, and RCN ships are regularly integrated into USN battle group operations. We hope that this represents just the beginning of an increase in cross border unit level training and interaction. With the CH-148 Cyclone coming online in the coming years, the RCAF will soon be fielding one of the world’s most advanced maritime helicopters, likely The Crew of 406 Maritime Training Squadron further increasing its operational role on the seas and making this kind of Shearwater, Nova Scotia, Canada cross boarder cooperation all the more valuable. In the mean time though, there’s still only one King.

VALIANT SHIELD: A Lesson in ORM Article by LTJG Kyle Abner, USN


any ORM articles state time and time again, if something seems out of place, speak up; you will never be wrong for discussing ORM. Recently, HSL51 Detachment SIX found this adage to be true. While on board USS Mustin (DDG 89), DET 6 was in the middle of one of SEVENTH Fleet’s largest exercises, VALIANT SHIELD 2012. As a detachment, we were excited to apply the Anti-Submarine Warfare tactics taught and learned throughout our syllabus. The ship was also looking forward to the exercise as this was the first underway for them after a three month long dry-dock period, starting with the motivational, “goget’em” attitude passed on by the Captain. DET 6’s deployment was unique, in that we accomplished AVCERT, Helo Day, and Ship Helicopter Integration Program (SHIP) in one week and immediately transitioned into operational tasking, while participating in the exercise. The “crawl, walk, run” mentality we preached before leaving, was going to be challenging to maintain while it felt like a full blown sprint, just one week into patrol. We applied a lot of self pressure, as this was our first time with the George Washington Strike Group, and we wanted to launch the helicopter without a hitch. However, DET 6 would forget we were still in the “walk” phase at best.

Sailors assigned to the “chock and chain crew” prepare to park an SH-60 Seahawk helicopter assigned to the Warlords of Helicopter Anti-submarine Light Five One (HSL-51). Photo by PH2 Michael Sandberg, USN One particular day, it seemed make sure everything was "good to go" with as it was business as usual with a hot- the aircraft. Upon inspecting the left side of the pump and crew swap on the flight deck aircraft, they noticed the port weapons pylon of USS Mustin. While conducting the appeared to be ripping off. The crew before had crew swap, the on-coming crew was launched sonobuoys for the ASW mission and doing their usual pre-flight checking to Continue on page 19


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with the weapons pylon situated right below the sonobuoy launcher, it was determined that a possible launched sonobuoy caused the damage. After informing the current crew, the aircraft was shut down so that the maintenance team could replace the pylon. Upon shutting down, it was noticed a tail gearbox cowling corner fastener was unlatched as well, a situation that is not uncommon for helicopters since the vibrations often unlatch the fasteners. With what would normally be no big deal for the maintenance team, the pressure was beginning to mount. There was now double the maintenance to be conducted, with the added pressure to re-launch the helicopter on time and proceed with the flight schedule for the exercise. With the two groups of maintainers working their fastest on the aircraft, it seemed like the beginning of

was stopped as soon as something did not look right. The vivid picture, that is easily remembered, is the helicopter’s nose canted out to the right of the track, with a heavy list to the left. A picture that made the hair stand-up on everyone’s neck. It appeared that any more movement would just pull the tires right off. At that moment, as everyone held their breath together, we took a step back, and seemed to ask the same question, “What are we doing?” One could almost feel the massive sigh of relief, as we collectively called what amounted to a “training time out.” At that point we determined that the flight schedule was done for the day. The OIC called the Captain and informed him what had happened and why the schedule was going to be s a detachment, we were excited to closed out early. apply the Anti-Submarine Warfare We came to the realization that this tactics taught and learned throughout was only training our syllabus... [But] the “crawl, walk, run” in an exercise, and mentality we preached before leaving was there was no need to push an unsafe going to be challenging to maintain while it felt environment. like a full blown sprint, just one week into patrol. The OIC and Maintenance divergence from the briefed plan, a common Officer for DET 6 gathered the entire starting point where mistakes get made. detachment to sit down and talk about Upon screwing in the unlatched what exactly happened and how it could fastener, it was noted that a tool was missing be fixed. It seemed, at that point, that from the tool pouch that was brought up the everyone remembered back to aviation tail. The maintainer believed that the tool basics and thought about ORM. With fell overboard, but as standard procedure, problem after problem accumulating, a FOD search and missing tool report had it was easy to see the Swiss cheese to take place. Since the helicopter tail was model coming into play. As a team positioned over the water aft of the flight and collective decision, it was decided deck, it would have to be traversed forward to just execute a normal straightening to the maintenance line in order to conduct procedure to correct the helicopter the FOD search. It is normal procedure from the current position. Upon further that following every shutdown to close out inspection the maintenance department the flight schedule, the helicopter has to be determined that the main mounts were straightened using the RAST system, in order not spread to any unsafe limits, and for it to follow the track slot, so the helicopter the helicopter would not need to be rides straight in the RSD. However, with “downed” at all. pressure building as every minute ticked The next day we resumed by to re-launch and make the next event on our flight operations in support of time, the helicopter was traversed without VALIANT SHIELD. 11 coordinated straightening, thus causing the main tire events later, after launching 25 DIFAR mounts to spread. Immediately traversing and 25 DICASS, gaining 14 MAD


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U.S. Navy Official Photo

detections, conducting 14 simulated torpedo attacks, and writing 11 PURPLE reports, VALIANT SHIELD came to an end for the DET 6/Mustin Team. After an exhausting two weeks, and fully utilizing the “crawl, walk, run” mentality, the DET 6 Spartans overcame the challenges of not just ASW, but also the hazards we are presented with everyday. No one could have anticipated that what seemed like an easy fix almost downed an aircraft for a long period of time. As this has been stated many times before, speak up if anything seems out of place. After seeing this in real life and not just a story, one realizes that speaking up early when something does not seem right is crucial. We were lucky that we spoke up early enough and no damage was caused. No one will ever fault you for pausing to re-evaluate the basics of ORM.


Flying for Freedom Article by LTJG Carolyn Keener, USN


he newly transitioned Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron SEVEN THREE made history in June 2012 when it became the first MH-60R squadron to operate underway with the Navy’s new Littoral Combat Ship (LCS). During this time, HSM-73 tactically incorporated its resources with USS Freedom (LCS 1) to conduct surface warfare operational testing in an exercise off the Southern California coast. Being the first MH-60R on a brand new ship gave rise to new experiences and challenges. The LCS is faster, more versatile, and more agile than previous surface ships. As its designation implies, LCS fulfills the need to combat threats typically found along coastal regions such as small armed surface vessels, diesel submarines, and mines. The shallow draft, high maneuverability, and speeds in excess of 40 knots make LCS uniquely optimized to combat these threats. The concept for the Navy’s newest vessel allows for expeditious outfitting of mission specific packages in support of Surface Warfare (SUW), Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), or Mine Warfare (MIW) missions. These mission packages include manned and unmanned air or subsurface sensors designed to be on-loaded and ready within 96 hours.

BC 704 in a low hover over the LCS flight deck, viewed from the HCO tower. Photo taken by LT Jake Lacey, USN

LCS utilizes a minimal manning concept consisting of just 40 ship’s company personnel. While HSM-73’s aviation detachment yielded a significant increase in manning, their focus remained - much like a traditional HSL detachment - on the maintenance and operation of the helicopter. According to LCDR Dan Brown,

Officer-in-Charge for the HSM-73 detachment, “the aviation team pitched in when needed, but we remained dedicated to aviation operations and maintenance; LCS has a solid plan for how to manage day to day shipboard operations with a minimal crew assigned.” LCS flight deck equipment differs substantially from typical air-capable ships. Continue on page 21

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Rotor Review # 120 Spring ‘13



h e L C S i s f a s t e r, more versatile, and more agile than previous surface ships.

BC 704 lifting from the LCS flight deck. Continued from page 20

For example, CRUDES ships utilize a Horizontal Reference System (HRS) bar, a gyro-stabilized landing aid that represents the horizon on a moving deck. LCS is not equipped with the HRS bar, though it still has the Stabilized Glide Slope Indicator (SGSI). In addition, the LCS flight deck is approximately 50% larger than a DDG’s and the Freedom Class hangar has the capacity for a single MH-60R and two of the Navy’s new rotary-wing Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) – the MQ-8 Fire Scout. Perhaps the most significant difference on the LCS is the absence of a Recovery, Assist, Secure, and Traverse (RAST) System used to straighten the aircraft and traverse it in and out of the hangar. The lack of a RAST System also means there is no need for a Landing Safety Officer (LSO). Instead, the MANTIS (Multi-Aircraft Nose/Tail Integrated System) is used to move the helicopter in and out of the hangar without being restricted to a track. The new system presented a unique challenge for the detachment since the Air-Capable Ships NATOPS (NAVAIR 80T-122) does not incorporate procedures for its use. According to

LCDR Dan Schlesinger, Detachment Maintenance Officer, “There was no pre-op or checklist associated with the MANTIS; HSM-73 detachment personnel laid the foundation for future MH-60R detachments by developing these checklists themselves.” Despite some setbacks during initial testing, LCDR Brown stated, “LCS 1 and the MH-60R worked together seamlessly, both tactically and as a crew, by providing an over-the-

horizon surface picture for LCS 1 as well as serving as an extended weapons platform.” USS Freedom will soon deploy with a detachment from HSM73. This much anticipated and historic deployment will be divided into both a Gold and Blue Crew. The Gold Crew will have the unique opportunity to showcase the U.S. Navy’s newest ship and its integration with the MH-60R at the 2013 International Maritime Defense Exhibition and Conference in Singapore. This is a very rare and special opportunity for HSM-73 of Carrier Air Wing SEVENTEEN, normally tasked with supporting Carrier Strike Group HSM requirements. Future LCS HSM aviation detachments will be supported by an integrated MH-60R/Fire Scout expeditionary squadron. A great deal of respect and gratitude are due to both the Freedom and aviation detachment personnel for their hard work and flexibility during this successful high profile event, paving the way for future employment of both LCS and the MH-60R aircraft.

BC 704 traversing out of the hangar using the MANTIS .

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Astronaut Sunita Williams Speaks to Women of NAS North Island Article by LT Nick Puno, USN


n February 28th, 2013, just prior to the Helicopter Sea Combat Wing, Pacific, Change of Command Ceremony, female helicopter pilots from a variety of commands on North Island took advantage of a rare opportunity to get together face to face with a NASA Astronaut and fellow Navy helicopter pilot. “I grew up watching Star Wars movies and thinking it would be cool to be an astronaut, so I was a bit star struck to meet CAPT Williams. She’s a fantastic role model for any aviator, not just female



fter midnight the moon set and I was alone with the stars. I have often said that the lure of flying is the lure of beauty, and I need no other flight to convince me that the reason flyers fly, whether they know it or not, is the esthetic appeal of flying... Amelia Earhart, American aviator and author

helicopter pilots. We just happened to be the lucky ones who had a chance to meet with and talk to her,” said CDR Stefanie Vanmeter, a Fleet Replacement

grew up watching Star Wars movies and thinking it would be cool to be an astronaut, so I was a bit star struck to meet CAPT Williams. She’s a fantastic role model for any aviator, not just female helicopter pilots. - CDR S tef a n ie Va n n e t e r, US N

Squadron instructor. CAPT Sunita Williams flew the CH46 and was a test pilot prior to being assigned to NASA. At the meet and greet social, she spoke about her time with NASA and what it took to get there after flying helicopters in the Navy. CAPT Williams also spoke about the future of NASA and emphasized the retirement of the space shuttle does not mean the retirement of NASA. Her stories about the living conditions in space and having to learn Russian to communicate Continue on page 24

CAPT Shoshana Chatfield, former Commodore of Helicopter Sea Combat Wing, and CAPT Sunita Williams, NASA Astronaut and helicopter pilot (center, l-r) with the Female Aviators of the Helicopter Community on NAS North Island. Photo taken by LT Nick Puno, USN

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Rotor Review # 120 Spring ‘13



CAPT Chatfield (standing left) introduced CAPT Williams (far right) as the guest speaker at her Change of Command on February 28, 2013 as VADM David Buss (Commander, Naval Air Forces) and newly HSCWP Commodore Jack Schuller look on. Photo taken by Jennifer Vigil, Coronado Patch.

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with others aboard the International Space Station were interesting to say the least. “She is quite the inspiration, and knowing what she has achieved may help me push myself to be a better pilot,” said ENS Alicia Willimas, a fleet replacement pilot. “It was a great opportunity for me as an Ensign to hear about some options that are available to me after my first tour and what is possible after the Navy. It also made me

realize there are new goals we should be setting for ourselves everyday.” Later in the day, CAPT Williams served as the guest speaker at the HSCWP Change of Command ceremony where CAPT Shoshana Chatfield was relieved by CAPT Jack Schuller, former Commanding Officer of HS-6. CAPT Chatfield and CAPT Williams have been acquainted since


t was a great opportunity for me as an Ensign to hear about some options that are available to me after my first tour and what is possible after the Navy. It also made me realize there are new goals we should be setting for ourselves everyday. -- E NS Alic ia Willima s , US N 26

early in their careers. CAPT Chatfield shared an entertaining story from their days together in Aviation Preflight Indoctrination about being selected as opponents in a school house boxing match without being allowed to actually make contact. The part of CAPT Williams’ speech comparing walking on the moon to conducting vertical replenishment operations in the CH-46 while deployed earlier in her career were comical, as she said they were similar. CAPT Williams also talked about how her helicopter experience kept her at ease while she was hanging upside down in her straps during a shuttle recovery because she could identify the rescue helicopters approaching. CAPT Williams’ presence at both events was greatly appreciated as she inspired those she spoke with about her experiences and prestigious achievements in her ongoing Naval career.

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Improving the Human-Machine Interface for Helo Pilots Article by CDR Christopher E. Kirby, USN


elicopters operate at low altitude--within 500 feet of ground level. As helicopters evolve and become faster and more agile, their pilots will continue to navigate in this restricted environment at high speeds. By better understanding human-machine interactions, we can increase the safety of our rotary-winged aviators through improved training programs and cockpits. A project to reach this goal is underway at the Modeling, Virtual Environments and Simulation (MOVES) Institute at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) in Monterey, CA.

In summer 2011, I worked with Dr. Quinn Kennedy of the NPS operations research department and Dr. Ji Hyun Yang of MOVES on a collaboration between the university and the Navy that investigated human-machine interaction and helicopter pilots. The project involved the analyses of the visual scan patterns of pilots using a system called FaceLab, while the pilots flew in environments specifically encountered by helicopters. FaceLab, made by Seeing Machines Inc., collects face/head/eye data utilizing infrared light. For this experiment, FaceLab used two pairs of fixed (as opposed to head-mounted) stereo cameras, two infrared light emitters, and two laptop computers. Infrared emitters were needed to produce the level of infrared light necessary for the fixed stereo cameras to capture head and eye motion. Two lap computers ran the software that collected, interpreted, and

stored the data from the stereo camera system. Prior to each flight, the FaceLab system had to be calibrated to accurately capture the pilot’s head and eye data. To do this, a “world” was set up in the computers to simulate the environment in which each pilot operated. A head model was established for each subject in the simulated environment created using the FaceLab software in order to correctly collect gaze and scan data. Once the environment and the head model were established, FaceLab was ready to run through the trials. The system in use at NPS, however, was merely a mock-up of a helicopter cockpit (chair, desk, and a large computer screen) created in the MOVES Institute’s lab rather than an actual helicopter simulator. Despite these limitations, I approached Kennedy and Yang with the


idea of taking FaceLab on the road for use in a simulator that represented a helicopter in service with the fleet. They agreed that getting FaceLab to the fleet was an important goal, and we were on our way to better understanding how helicopter pilots scan. The amount of coordination necessary to obtain a simulator and pilots to support the project was staggering. After many phone calls, e-mails, and drives to NAS North Island, I obtained the permission and support required from Helicopter Sea Combat Wing Pacific, three North Island-based squadrons (the HSC-3 Merlins, HSC-4 Black Knights, and HSC21 Blackjacks), and NPS. In November 2011, we were ready to start our project in a working helicopter simulator. A research assistant from NPS accompanied me to the Continue on page 26

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Tactical Operational Flight Trainer (TOFT) 2 at North Island, and we began our work. TOFT-2 is a non-motion simulator used for training and evaluation of pilots flying the Navy’s MH-60S. The simulator represented the cockpit of the MH-60S and produced video quality that was more than sufficient to meet the needs of the study. Using charts donated by the squadrons and my experience as a naval helicopter pilot familiar with the San Diego air space, I was able to construct a low-level route that the pilots would fly in the simulated airspace around the local area. The video quality of the simulator had everything I needed, from mountains to

SIDEBAR The following article, written 37 years ago, addresses issues in CDR Kirby's article such as the instrument scan pattern and value of its application. As CDR Kirby's article explains, knowledge gained by tying scientific reasearch to dangers like those Maj. Whitfield described can significantly increase the effectiveness of training.

Inadvertent Instrument Flight in Helos:


Article by Maj H. M. Whitfield, USMC. Reprinted from Approach, April 1976


ITHIN the past year there have been two CH46 accidents as a result of pilot vertigo after inadvertent entry into IMC (instrument meteorological conditions). There have also been other helicopter accidents with circumstances similar to the ones mentioned. It would be easy to ascribe these accidents primarily to the pilots' lack of instrument proficiency, and this undoubtedly is germane. But there are other important related factors which warrant consideration. This article will focus on the CH-46, but the discussion has relevance to all helicopters. The problems associated with helicopter pilot vertigo following inadvertent entry into IMC will be separated into three categories: the machine, the weather, and the crew.

The experiment used systems that followed the eye movements of pilots as they looked from their instruments to outside the cockpit Photo from Naval Postgraduate School

the occasional “widow maker” (a telephone pole or radio tower) on the route to keep the pilots busy. With the simulator, the FaceLab equipment, and the route of flight ready to go, all I needed were the pilots. From the three squadrons, I was able to recruit 17 subjects for the trials. They were all Navy helicopter pilots from carrier-based (HS) and expeditionary helicopter (HSC) communities. In the preflight demographic surveys, the eight pilots from the HS squadron described themselves as primarily maritime operators. The nine pilots from the HSC squadron described themselves as overland operators. All of the pilots except one were current in the MH-60S. Of the 17 participants, 14 were men. The most experienced pilot was a female maritime pilot with 3,400 total flightContinue on page 27

The Machine. Helicopters, unlike fixed wing aircraft, are inherently unstable and are probably the most vertigoinducing machines designed by man. They have a variety of vibrations or oscillations, produce high noise levels, and can induce flicker vertigo by the action of sunlight shining through the rotating blades. What's more, helo pilots are limited in their unusual attitude recovery practice. Despite acrobatic maneuvers performed for publicity purposes by company test pilots, helicopters — particularly transport helicopters — were not designed to routinely perform such maneuvers. As a result, helo pilots do not have the opportunity to practice all-attitude instrument flight and thus build their confidence in maneuvers other than normal flight. Properly maintained and balanced, the CH46 is a very stable and well designed helicopter for low altitude instrument flight. I emphasize balanced because many helicopters regularly and safely fly with uncomfortable beats caused by blades out of track, weak rotor dampeners, or weak automatic trim systems. Sometimes, malfunctions in the stability augmentation systems (which maintenance doesn't know of

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Features Continued from page 26

cont.: INADVERTENT INSTRUMENT FLIGHT IN HELOS - DANGER or hasn't had time to correct) make actual instrument flight more difficult. Furthermore, the CH46 has its all-weather limitations. It does not have operable deicing equipment for the engines or windshield. It does not routinely carry oxygen equipment, and it's a challenge to fly in turbulent IMC conditions. The flight control system also poses some problems for instrument flight. Collective pitch lever and cyclic stick flight control feel in the CH46 are introduced artificially through the use of centering springs and automatic trim system actuators. When the CDR (centering device release) button on the cyclic stick grip is depressed, the lateral, longitudinal, and directional centering springs are released, causing a loss of artificial feel (the stick is fairly loose). More important, a reference point is lost. When the button is released, the centering springs are again engaged in a new position, restoring artificial feel and establishing a new center of reference for the control system. The CP (collective pitch) lever brake trigger operates in a similar fashion. The centering device springs may be manually overcome at any time; however, when control pressure is released, the controls will return to their original position. It may be already apparent to the reader that the pilot's technique in using the CDR switch and collective pitch brake trigger under IMC

is very important. More will be said later about the use of these switches. The Weather. Although inadvertent entry into IMC by a helicopter pilot could occur at any altitude, the most critical, and the one this article will focus on, is close to the ground or other obstacles such as mountains, tall trees, or buildings. Because of the helicopter's capability to hover or maneuver at very slow speeds, it is operated in peace and war to perform critical missions — sometimes in marginal weather. The difference between inadvertent and planned entry into IMC conditions is dramatic due to several factors. Inadvertent IMC entry causes problems because it: • Is unexpected and usually not discussed or planned by the pilots. • R e q u i r e s i m m e d i a t e transition to instrument flying from a prior effort to remain visual. • Usually includes strong pilot anxiety over collision with other aircraft or terrain. • Often results in roughness or jerkiness on the flight controls by the pilot. • Is usually entered with the CDR button and CP trigger release depressed, since this is the normal mode while doing difficult maneuvers beneath a low overcast. This condition will probably continue at least into the initial stage of instrument flight. • Causes poor instrument

scan with possible fixation on one gauge or another, sometimes resulting in neglect of the attitude gyro. • Can contribute to poor cockpit coordination. The CH46 is very sensitive to pitch change and usually requires only a few degrees change on instruments to perform most maneuvers. A common problem with pilots who haven't flown instruments for a while, particularly actual instruments, is that they will depress the CDR button and move the cyclic to make a correction and shift their scan from the attitude gyro to other gauges. Before they know it, they have overcorrected, sometimes ending up chasing the attitude gyro. During any traumatic experience in flying, there is a tendency to momentarily freeze or become fixated on one aspect of the event. Where are the hills? What heading should I fly? Should I descend or climb? All the while you are clenching the controls very tightly and stiffly. T h e c r e w. What about cockpit coordination? Most transport helicopters fly with two trained naval aviators with instrument ratings. However, like fixed-wing transports and unlike two-place fighter and attack aircraft, the two individuals in the cockpit may have had little experience together. Too often the briefing before the flight focuses on who will do what in the event of a stereotyped emergency such as engine failure. Not enough training and cockpit coordination is devoted to the specific responsibilities of each pilot during an emergency or assisting each other under difficult IMC conditions. Also, what about Continue on page 29

hours. The least experienced pilot was a man with only 350 flighthours who was recently certified to fly the MH-60S. The trials consisted of something all pilots are used to: flying a simulator. The procedure progressed like every flight with a brief, flight, and a subsequent debrief. Each pilot had to have his or her profile created in FaceLab for the software to record their head and eye movements. Every volunteer was patient throughout the process, which involved looking at numbers placed around the cockpit to calibrate the system. (Sometimes the set-up took longer than the flight, which was only 26 minutes). After the setup was complete, the pilots flew a low-level route through the simulated environment. FaceLab recorded eye-scan direction and head position for the entire duration of the flight. None of the pilots indicated on the post-flight surveys that flying the route was difficult. The experimentation phase of the project lasted three weeks. Afterward, it was time to see if the integration of the FaceLab system with a fleet simulator was more than a pipe dream. The only way to accomplish this goal was through mathematical analysis of all of the data presented. For the experiment to be successful, the data from the eye-scanning software and the data from the simulator had to be combined and analyzed. We hoped to gain insights into the scanning behaviors of helicopter pilots through this combination of systems that had never before been used together. Months of painstaking analysis produced some interesting results: the eyetracking system indicated a Continue on page 29

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Features cont.: INADVERTENT INSTRUMENT FLIGHT IN HELOS - DANGER familiarity with switches and controls from either seat? H2Ps are supposed to fly certain flights from the right seat. Some HACs think they are being nice guys if they offer the right seat to H2Ps even on a potentially demanding nontraining mission. Most accidents result from a combination of factors all occurring at the worst time. We can minimize the possibility of helicopter accidents as a result of pilot vertigo following inadvertent entry into IMC conditions if we emphasize the following: 1) Be mentally prepared for the possibility of going inadvertently into IMC;-2) Discuss it in the brief prior to flying. During the mission the HAC and H2P should be talking to each other. If the pilot flying feels uncomfortable, or if he feels he may not be able to maintain visual flight, he should say so to prepare the other pilot. Constantly be mentally reviewing your course of action if you should go into IMC. Develop the habit of not continually depressing the CDR button or CP trigger release. Let the aircraft do most of the work for you on instruments. Usually, it will do a better job, and it will help you relax and scan more effectively, minimizing fixation. Take every opportunity to practice simulated and actual instruments. Most helicopter cockpits resemble a greenhouse, and it's hard to truly simulate instrument flying. So utilize a helmet shade to assist. Where trainers are available, make use of them and include unusual attitudes, instrument takeoffs, and autorotations on instruments. Be especially careful flying instruments in a helicopter with a pronounced beat or oscillation. Know your own limitations, and don't press a mission beyond what you feel you are capable of handling, particularly with your current proficiency.

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decreasing relationship between scan-rate and pilot experience, suggesting that the scan-rate decreases as a pilot becomes more experienced. A pilot’s scan rate is the amount of shifts per second he or she has during the flight. A shift is when the pilot moves his or her scan from one instrument to another. The analysis used altitude variance (deviation from the mean altitude above the ground) as a measure of performance. Results indicated that higher scan-rates correlate with higher degrees of variance in the altitude, indicating that a quicker scan does not necessarily result in better performance. The more experienced pilots showed a lower altitude variance overall (they were more consistent in maintaining a constant altitude above the ground), and those pilots all exhibited slower scan-rates. Regarding the association between eye-scan parameters and total flight time, the strongest trends were the amount of time pilots spent looking out of the window and instead consulting their instrument display. As flight experience increased, pilots spent more time viewing the instrument display than out the window. Further evidence of this trend was presented when we looked at the amount of time a pilot “fixates” on a particular area, as the more experienced pilots had more fixations on the instrument display than the less experienced pilots. Using another approach to analyze the scanning data, we made distinctions between fixations that lasted longer than 70 milliseconds and those that lasted less than this (labeled “no fixations”). This time cutoff was used to determine when a person was

clearly fixating on something versus just a visual skim. A fixation is not “staring,” it is merely an event in which the pilot dwells on the area of interest in an attempt to gather and interpret the information from that area. This event can happen when the pilot sees something of possible significance to his or her flight that might take more time to interpret, or the pilot chooses to be more deliberate in scanning. Exploratory

analyses revealed that more experienced pilots take their time gathering information from the flight instruments compared to the less experienced pilots. This can be thought of as a more “intentional” scan exhibited by the experienced pilots. The association between eye-scan parameters and flight performance was another relationship investigated by the study. A negative correlation between the Continue on page 30

Suggested Emergency Procedure and Briefing Guide 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

Verbally confess. Establish an instrument scan. Stablize and level the aircraft If confident of geographic position, then standard rate turn for 180 degrees. Note: Make your decision and/or direction of turn based on the last known location of obstacles and terrain. If not confident of position, then climb to MSA. Communicate. Squawk 7700 and contact ATC on 121.5 or guard (the FAA's preferred method of communication when IIMC). Identify freezing level if you might be climbing through visible moisture.

Warning --- Continued unintentional VFR flight into IMC conditions is an emergency and may result in controlled flight into terrain.

Image (above) was featured in article "Getting Control of CFIT" written by Maj Matt Robinson, reprint of Approach, March-April 2009.


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average dwell percentages for looking out the window with altitude deviation showed that pilots who spent more time looking out the window had poorer overall performance in maintaining a constant altitude. This was in line with what my flight instructors always told me when I was learning how to fly: keep the instrument scan going no matter what! It turns out science proves them right. From the analyses, a dominant scan pattern was produced. A scan pattern is defined as series of head and eye movements that give insight as to how a pilot gains information about the aircraft and the environment. The pilots spent most of their time scanning between the windscreen and the instrument panel, with occasional glances to the aircraft diagnostics screen. This development was key to understanding which scan patterns are used by the more

experienced pilots to aid future pilot training programs. The information gained from understanding eye-scan pattern during flight at high speeds and low altitude could be used in the development of a viable heads-up display (HUD) for the MH-60S. Pilots spent some time (35 percent) fixating on the instrument display; those who spent more time looking out of the window were less likely to maintain constant altitude. Given that the instrument display provides valuable information, but the pilot also needs to look out of the window regularly, the HUD would greatly narrow the distance that pilots would have to scan between the windscreen and the instrument display. It would allow pilots to keep their scan outside while still gaining valuable flight and navigation data from the HUD. The instrument display information coupled with limited aircraft diagnostics data would greatly reduce the amount of time a pilot would have to divert his scan from the outside world.


It may be easy to say that some of the results found in the study are “nobrainers,� in that every pilot with the slightest degree of experience knows that scanning the instruments results in better flight performance, or that a HUD would make things easier on all of us. I agree, but the people that design our cockpits are primarily scientists and engineers, not pilots. To get what we want in our cockpits, we have to speak their language, which is the language of mathematics. This research represents the efforts of many pilots at NPS who are trying to take information that pilots may take for granted and put it in to terms that scientists and engineers can use and understand. The only way to make the information credible is to do experiments that provide significant data. Results from this research may aid training effectiveness, as spending more time looking at the instrument display and less time looking out the window aids maintenance of altitude in today's helicopters. We found that long looks out the window may be particularly detrimental in maintaining lowlevel altitude. With this study and future Continue on page 31

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Suggested IIMC brief points 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19.

Verbal confession procedures/criteria Time-critical issues. No second guessing/committed. Instrument scan responsibilities Flying pilot. Non-flying pilot (if dual piloted) Spatial disorientation and geographic disorientation during this transition is insidious. An immediate instrument scan is critical Stabilize the aircraft Level the wings. Level the nose. Center the ball. Turn 180 degrees. If confident in your geographical position and terrain/obstacle avoidance, initiate a standard-rate turn for 180 degrees away from last known position of obstacles and terrain. Climb. If unsure of geographic position or terrain/obstacle avoidance, and if not VMC after 180 degrees of turn and one minute, climb. Identify minimum safe and obstruction altitudes. Communicate on 121.5/guard — 121.5 is the FAA's preferred frequency for IIMC. Squawk 7700 Consider freezing level Image (left) was featured in article "Getting Control of CFIT" written by Maj Matt Robinson, reprint from Approach, March-April 2009.

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studies, guidelines can be created as we learn more about how experienced pilots scan while flying at low altitudes. We found from the preflight surveys of the pilots that they are flying approximately half of their flight time over land. It is therefore critical to understand the scan patterns of these experienced pilots and pass that knowledge along, in the form of structured training, to the pilots of the future. Training syllabi are often “written in blood,” a common saying in the aviation world, describing how most training manuals are written by examining the mistakes—sometimes fatal—of other aviators. Being able to write training manuals based on science and research is far more preferable than waiting for another mishap to happen. More work is already in progress, and we hope to expand this study into civilian aviation. In the future, we envision that the results of this research will affect how pilots train and how the cockpit is designed.

About the Author CDR Kirby is a recent graduate of the Naval Postgraduate School. He is a rotary-winged Naval Aviator with more than 2,900 hours of flight time in multiple airframes.


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The CH-53D Sundown

A 48-Year Career Comes To A Close -- The Journey Of The Marines’ First True Heavy Lifter Article by John Milliman, Naval Aviation Center for Rotorcraft Advancement

Marines board for a final flight in an aging 53D


he light flash that ripped across Bikini Atoll July 25, 1946 did more than merely illuminate the 71 ships anchored there as part of Operation CROSSROADS seconds before the ensuing blast of the Mk 3A nuclear “device” destroyed most of them. America's first real experimentation with nuclear devices helped Marine Corps planners establish the central role helicopters would play in future operations -- supplanting traditional means of putting Marines ashore that massed ships, landing craft and troops close to shore as easily decimated (by a nuclear device) targets. Thus, if helicopters were going to put an assault force on the objective successfully, the force, by definition, would have to be built on a “heavy lift” capability. Building on experience gained in Korea, the Marine Corps developed its first attempt at a vertical heavy lifter, the Sikorsky HR2S-1. Designers had originally intended the aircraft to use turbojet engines. The technology for that simply wasn’t ready at the time so they returned to their old standby – the radial piston engine. Despite barely meeting its requirements, the “Deuce” ultimately would not be the assault heavy lifter the Corps needed. Although the Deuce had set lift records earlier in its life, in operation in Vietnam, the Marines not only found it required extensive and

frequent maintenance, but was limited in its lifting ability – the limitations of even the most advanced piston engines of the day meant it could only lift a UH34, the Corps’ standard troop-moving helicopter, but only if the Sea Horse’s rotor head, transmission, engine and tail pylon had been removed. Heavier aircraft were even more problematic, especially if located at higher elevations, and with a basic empty weight of approximately 21,000 pounds, lifting one of its own kind (even with extensive disassembly) was not possible. If nothing else, the Deuce had been a worthy school master – a platform to introduce Marines to the basic concepts of true heavy lift even if it couldn’t master them itself.

Delta Dawn As experience showed the limitations of the HR2S/CH-37 design, and as practical, powerful turbo shaft engines became available in the late 1950s, Marine Corps planners again turned to the issue of vertical heavy lift and developed a specification for an aircraft to replace the Deuce. Released in 1961, the specification called for a new turbine-

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powered assault transport that could carry a 1.5-ton truck and trailer, the Hawk Missile system, an “Honest John” tactical missile on its trailer, a 105-mm howitzer, or a Jeep and its trailer. Initially, the service considered an open-framed “flying crane” layout, much like the Army would get with the CH-54 Tarhe. The Marine Corps rejected that idea, as the “combat box” system of detachable and configurable “pods” needed to carry troops or other loads internally was overly complicated. Again, the Marines turned to Sikorsky and ordered the aircraft (which Sikorsky gave its in-house designation of S-65) be built to test in the specified configuration. Designated the CH-53A Sea Stallion, the prototype made its first flight October 14, 1964. Featuring two 2,850 shaft horse power General Electric T64-GE-6 turbo shaft engines mounted outboard of the main transmission in pods similar to the Deuce’s arrangement (but much more compact), the design again allowed for an unobstructed main cabin. This time, however, the main opening was to the rear of the helicopter rather than to the front. By also locating the tail rotor and its dynamic component atop a vertical fin mounted at the end of a tail boom integral to the main cabin roof, designers were able to Continue on page 33

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place the cockpit on virtually the same level as the main cabin, creating a much more trim and aerodynamic design. Other features of this technological leap included a vastly improved six-bladed main rotor head, automatic blade and tail boom folding, rear-mounted ramp, updated avionics and much improved range and load carrying ability. The combination of the improved power available from the turbo shaft engines, as well as the rugged rotor head, gave the Sea Stallion unprecedented flying qualities, demonstrated when the prototype was flown through an extended series of loops and rolls – heretofore unheard of maneuvers for helicopters. The new CH-53A mostly fit within the same physical footprint of its predecessor (rotor diameters were identical at 72 feet but the CH-53 had 10 square feet less rotor disc area) and there was less than 1,700 pounds difference between their empty weights. When the tail boom was folded, the Deuce was longer by eight feet. External lifts that could be accomplished now included externally slung loads up to 8,000 pounds. In early testing, the CH-53 proved itself able to lift both UH-1 and UH-34 helicopters without disassembly, but only marginally able to lift a CH-46. Upgrading the first operational aircraft with up-rated T64GE-6 gave an additional 3,000 pounds of lift – more than enough to lift a downed CH-46 rigged for lift. Deliveries of the production configuration began in 1966 and a four-aircraft detachment from the first operational squadron, HMH-463, shipped for Vietnam in January 1967. Pilots in Vietnam flying the new aircraft often found themselves having to figure it out for themselves. “There was a NATOPS, but no one knew it,” recalled one the first pilots to fly the new CH-53 in Vietnam with HMH-463, Dave Hemelright. “And it wasn’t extensive or clear anyway, so we had to make it up for ourselves. It helped that we had a lot of former HMX pilots who flew with us – I had the experience of flying with some really good pilots.” Hemelright and his squadron mates amassed an impressive record almost immediately, recovering 103 aircraft (including 72 UH-34s – the equivalent of three medium

lift squadrons) in only five months. “We called it ‘mechanical medevac,’” he said. Speed was certainly a virtue for the big, new lifter. “We could fly a Huey faster as an external load than they could fly themselves,” Hemelright explained. “In fact, we were the only aircraft in Vietnam that flew single ship. No guns, no back up. On one of my hops into the Citadel, we hit the beach at more than 100 knots. We dropped our load, turned and left. We met our escorts on the way out.” The rest of the squadron followed with 22 more aircraft in May. By the end of 1967, Sea Stallions had retrieved 370 aircraft, carried 75 percent of MAG-16’s cargo and passengers while only accounting for 16 percent of the group’s flight hours. In Southeast Asia, the CH-53As and later, the CH-53Ds, earned a solid reputation for quick retrieval of downed aircraft – important as the less time spent in the field with a downed aircraft meant less time as a potential target for enemy weapons fire. According to Hemelright, there was plenty of enemy fire even when you didn’t expect it. “We were at Quang Tri in August of ’68 when the duty came in and announced a MarLog to Da Nang and then to Marble Mountain,” he said. “We dropped off the load at Da Nang okay and headed on. We approached the bridge unaware that the North Vietnamese had retaken the bridge. We flew into a whole lot of tracer fire and we wrapped that thing tight -- into about 70 degrees of bank. I pulled that collective into the overhead!” The new aircraft’s power and increased capabilities took a little getting used to by the pilots. “I had a buddy, a former CH34 pilot, break a 53 collective trying to wrap the throttle,” Hemelright said. “But it was truly a pilot’s aircraft. You felt invincible. It had enough power to get you into trouble but we had so few, and parts were scarce, so we were careful with them.” It didn't take long before the Sea Stallion also earned a deserved


excellent reputation for combat resupply, as well, keeping remote firebases (for which there was no road access) supplied with ammunition and other supplies. Sea Stallions played a vital role in keeping the Marine garrison at Khe Sanh supplied during its siege from January 20 to April 6, 1968. The single runway at Khe Sanh, located on a slope, meant that takeoffs only went down slope and landings always went upslope – making it a relatively easy matter for enemy gunners to effectively engage transport aircraft like Marine and Air Force C-130’s making their approaches to the embattled outpost. Not everyone appreciated the performance of the big helicopter, however. “We were picking up an external load at An Wa when an Army OH-6 ‘Little Bird’ landed next to us,” Hemelright recounted. “We told him not to park there, but he did anyway. Our rotorwash blew him right off the Marston matting and onto his side.” Improvements to the T-64 engine led the Marines to switch Sea Stallion production to the CH-53D model in 1968 to take advantage of first the 3,695 SHP, -412 engines or the 3,925 SHP, -413 engines. Internal changes made possible carrying up to 55 troops internally, as opposed to 38 in the CH-53A. Production of the A and D model Sea Stallions ended in January 1972 with a combined total of 265 aircraft produced. The D “makeover” was a big hit on the flight line. “The jump from the Dash Six to the 413 engines made a big difference,’ recalled retired Marine Col and former CH-53 program manager, Ed Seiffert, who flew the first ‘53’s in Vietnam with Hemelright. “Pilots who flew the D fell in love with it and how it performed its job. If you flew it the way it was meant to be flown, you wouldn’t have any issues -- it was a friendly aircraft. To screw up in the -53, you had to be a hamfisted SOB.” MSgt Soupy Campbell, USMC (Retired) remembers the day that the first CH53Ds were delivered to HMX-1 in 1972 for VIP support. “I was a corporal working in the Maintenance Department at the time when the first three CH-53Ds were flown to HMX1. They flew in and conducted a low altitude, high speed pass down the runway and we were all very impressed. It was the first time many Continue on page 34

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Historical Continued from page 33

of us had seen 53s with aux tanks on them.” Ultimately, five CH-53Ds would serve at HMX-1 as VIP support assets until the late 1990s.

A Frequent Wind and a Pirated Ship The last Sea Stallions in Vietnam before the mandated pull out were assigned to HMH-463. They stood down in May 1971. They’d be back one last time. With the political situation deteriorating rapidly in Cambodia in the Spring of 1975, American diplomats decided to evacuate all American personnel from the capital of Phnom Penh. Operation EAGLE PULL commenced when Sea Stallions of HMH-462 and HMH463 (chosen for their greater lifting ability and range) launched from the decks of USS Tripoli and USS Hancock (respectively) steaming off the Cambodian coast, bound for Phnom Penh with elements of the 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment onboard as a security force to cover the withdrawal. Landing in a parking lot outside the embassy, the Sea Stallions embarked 82 U.S. citizens (including Ambassador John Gunther Dean), 159 Cambodians and 35 other foreign nationals, and returned to the ships. But it was merely a dress rehearsal for the main U.S. evacuation of Southeast Asia two weeks later. By the end of April 1975, no less than 13 North Vietnamese regiments ringed the South Vietnamese capital of Saigon and it was readily apparent to the diplomatic staff that it was time to go. At 10 a.m., April 29, 1975, the order was flashed to the fleet to commence Operation Frequent Wind. The 23 Sea Stallions from HMH-462 and 463 aboard amphibious ships (to include Tripoli, Hancock and Okinawa) were joined by 27 CH-46s from HMM-165, six UH-1s from HML-367 and eight AH-1Js from HMA 369. Additionally, 10 Air Force CH-53’s that had arrived onboard the aircraft carrier USS Midway from Clark Air Base in the Philippines, joined the package which was en route to Saigon at 3 p.m. Col. Bob Leavitt, USMC (Retired), CH-53K Director of Logistics at PMA-261, reflects on his participation in the event: “It was about 11:30 on April 29, 1975 aboard

LPH 3, USS Okinawa, and all HMH-462 pilots were either seated, eating, or in line to get their lunch in the wardroom. The enlisted aircrews had buttoned up and secured the aircraft and were on the mess deck getting their lunch. Both pilots and aircrew had just stood down from what had become a multi-day vigil of rising at 03:30 to clean up, dress, eat, brief, draw weapons, preflight and be sitting in their aircraft ready to launch by 06:30 for the potential evacuation of Saigon. The only major change to this day is that lunch would be interrupted by the 1MC directing all aircrews to man their aircraft for launch. The 16 aircraft would launch in four waves headed to evacuate the falling city. All 462 aircraft would make a sortie into the American Embassy to evacuate American civilians, some aircraft lifting up to 110 passengers. I would personally fly another six sorties into and out of the Defense Attaché's Office compound carrying anywhere from 87 to 106 Vietnamese passengers. We landed on what seemed to be every ship of CTF 76. The crew on the Duluth brought us sandwiches and #10 cans of water to replace our missed lunch. During the various landing evolutions we had to avoid Vietnamese Hueys and Bird Dogs trying to find a way to take our landing spots. In the end, crews from HMH-462 would fly seven sorties accumulating up to 10.5 flight hours. Upon reflection, it was incredible that the Okinawa would be home for 18 CH-53Ds along with two Hueys and four Cobras. The aircraft would strain under the tremendous loads we placed on it, either in lifting out of the pick up zones or hovering off the deck of an LPD protecting our spots to land. Through all of this, the CH-53D’s from HMH-462 and HMH-463 along with the HH-53s from the Air Force would do yeoman’s work in airlifting thousands of refugees from Saigon. Two weeks prior, the aircraft of HMH-462 would evacuate Phnom Penh in Cambodia. Throughout my career, there are many memorable moments with the aircraft. It has continued to be a work

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horse, whether on float, part of the home guard or in the fight. As the time dwindles for the aircraft’s continued operations, it is worth remembering that this aircraft was born in the fight, Vietnam, and will end in the fight, Afghanistan. Her picture hangs prominently on my wall in remembrance of the many battle streamers she has won, and the many lives she has touched.” At the height of the operation, approximately 2 a.m. on April 30, a CH-46 and a CH-53 were landing at the embassy every ten minutes, guided by an AH-1J Sea Cobra. When “Swift 22,” a Marine Corps CH-53D, completed the last evacuation (the embassy security force) at 7:53 a.m., April 30, the largest helicopter evacuation on record had used 81 helicopters in a 19hour period to lift 978 Americans and nearly 6,000 Vietnamese to safety aboard the ships of the 7th Fleet. Two hours later, the South Vietnamese government officially surrendered to the invaders. The Sea Stallion’s duties in Southeast Asia weren’t quite over. In a page taken from the Medium Lift “playbook,” the CH-53 was to have another opportunity to perform the assault support mission. Just two weeks after Frequent Wind, on May 12, 1975, Cambodian forces operating in international waters seized the American flagged commercial vessel SS Mayaguez and took it, along with its crew, to Koh Tang Island, located off the Cambodian coast. A rescue operation was quickly put together using Marines of the III Marine Amphibious Force located at Utapao, Thailand and U.S. Air Force HH-53 and CH-53 aircraft located in Thailand. Despite Operation Frequent Wind having occurred less than two weeks earlier, most Marine and Navy assets had redeployed and were on their way back to Okinawa. Planners would have to make do with what was at hand — aircraft from two Air Force squadrons, the 21st Special Operations Squadron (CH-53s) and the 40th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron (HH-53s) — mainly because they were the only aircraft immediately available capable of performing the mission. Continue on page 35

Historical Continued from page 34

As Koh Tang Island was approximately 195 miles from Utapao, the fact that Air Force HH-53’s were capable of inflight refueling was a useful bonus – a feature the Deltas would never enjoy and who’s absence would come back to hamper the aircraft only five years later. Assaulting the island and ship in three elements (one element of three Sea Stallions carried the boarding party for the ship, the other two elements were to seize the island itself), the 11 aircraft approached their target areas. The boarding party for the ship encountered little resistance and actually boarded the ship from a Navy destroyer, rather than from the helicopters. The other elements weren’t quite as lucky losing all but five to complete the mission successfully. When the last Marine was lifted off Koh Tang at 8:10 p.m., the Sea Stallions had played a direct combat assault role that had seen a ship retaken and its crew freed. Although some aircraft were lost and the rest shot up, the ruggedness of the Sea Stallion design impressed the members of the Task Force.

Desert One Arguably the saddest moment in the long career of the Delta came in April 1980 when eight Navy RH-53’s, flown by Marines and under Seiffert’s command, took off from USS Nimitz to participate in the Iranian hostage rescue mission. Part of a large joint force that included Air Force C-130’s and Army Delta Force and Rangers, the helicopter part of the mission was to rendezvous with the C-130’s at “Desert One” -- an expeditionary landing field set up in the Iranian desert – refuel and then proceed to another landing zone closer to Tehran from which the actual rescue would be staged. Bad luck and weather plagued the mission from the start with one aircraft having to abort and return to the Nimitz with problems, another had a malfunctioning sensor which caused it to be abandoned by its crew in the desert along the way and a third helicopter arriving at Desert One after suffering the loss of a primary hydraulic system en route. With the minimum number of helicopters available to complete the mission per the mission rules (five), but one of them having only one functioning hydraulic system, Seiffert faced a tough command decision – continue with a demanding mission that was


pon reflection, it was incredible that the Okinawa would be home for 18 CH-53Ds along with two Hueys and four Cobras. The aircraft would strain under the tremendous loads we placed on it, either in lifting out of the pick up zones or hovering off the deck of an LPD protecting our spots to land. Through all of this, the CH-53D’s from HMH-462 and HMH-463 along with the HH-53s from the Air Force would do yeoman’s work in airlifting thousands of refugees from Saigon. Two weeks prior, the aircraft of HMH-462 would evacuate Phnom Penh in Cambodia.

just getting started by flying one aircraft with no backup hydraulic system, or abort the mission. “If you take off with only one hydraulic pump…,” Seiffert paused, obviously reliving a painful memory that has been with him for 32 years and leaving the rhetoric question to answer itself. “We were one hydraulic jam nut away from being successful on that mission.” In hasty consultation with the other element commanders, the overall mission commander decided to abort the mission. In the ensuing withdrawal from Desert One, the bad luck continued with one of the remaining RH-53s colliding with one of the C-130s. When it was over, all five -53s were lost (one destroyed and four abandoned) with eight killed and two wounded. Perhaps overcomplicating the planning was the Delta’s lack of an aerial refueling capability – The rendezvous at Desert One was needed to refuel the helicopters to get them to Desert Two -- the actual jumping off point for the mission. Still, the Marine Corps only grudgingly accepted the need for the capability, and only with the next version of the 53. “We had to fight tooth and nail to get the Marine Corps to accept aerial refueling as a valid requirement,” explained Seiffert.

Replacement? As the 1980’s got underway, the next major development in the CH53 came along -- the CH-53E Super


Stallion. With improved lift and performance, chiefly attained by adding a third engine and improving the rotorhead, the “upgrade” was intended to replace the venerable Delta but never actually did. During a period of low-intensity conflicts, the Delta squadrons still found themselves supporting operations in Beirut, Grenada, Panama and other places while still supposedly getting ready to “sundown” the platform. “We used the aircraft mercilessly,” explained former program manager Seiffert. “Especially in the Middle East. The Delta was built by Mr. Sikorsky to be able to do more. Some aircraft are built to the mission requirement so you put up with some limits that are hard to overcome if the aircraft performs well. But we had an aircraft that could outreach its mission requirements.” Lee Bassett, Installs Team Lead at PMA-261, spent seven years (1982-1988) as a crew chief, avionics tech, and mechanic on CH-53Ds in HMT-204, HMH-461, and HMX-1. “I hauled tons of cargo, medevac'd injured Marines and civilians to hospitals, flew it on Presidential support missions all over the country, crewed it at WTI, and blasted a lot of holes in the sky helping to train pilots. But I do know one thing, I made it home every time. It was a great aircraft, and I am lucky to have had the honor to crew it with some of the best pilots I have known. It was big, powerful, and nasty but it never let me down.” Not that it never broke down, however … “We had reliability and maintainability issues,” said Seiffert. “We never wanted to shut the aircraft down Continue on page 49

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DOING MORE Rotor Review # 120 Spring ‘13


Coping with Cuts Article by LT Nick Puno, USN ith the very mention of the buzz word sequestration, our minds were triggered to contemplate the detrimental effects of such massive budget cuts. How does it affect us? For our community, we are operating with significantly less flight hours which is much better than original plans of shutting down post deployment squadrons and even an entire Air Wing .


Renowned businessman and writer, Peter Drucker, said, “Efficiency is doing things right; Effectiveness is doing the right things.” Doing the right thing is what we do, but can we be efficient without the flight hours to fly not only to progress with qualifications but to remain proficient at the basics of aircraft control? As I was coming up through our training pipeline, I remember asking a simulator instructor and former Navy helicopter pilot what it was like flying a life flight bird in the civilian sector. His response was every flight felt like it was his first flight in the aircraft because they weren’t able to fly enough hours to maintain proficiency. Coupled with the operational necessity of such flights, a dangerous scenario becomes exponentially more risky. Imagine if the only flights you flew were alert launches, and you get the picture. Fortunately, plans have changed since our original prediction. Flight hours, although drastically cut, are being funded to allow post deployment squadrons to continue to fly with minimal flight time to maintain proficiency. Furthermore, the current plan provides increased funding for squadrons preparing for operational deployments. It is up to each squadron to manage its down time wisely with the push for increased ground training such as small arms qualifications, refresher courses, schools, etc., as well as simulator and Aircrew Virtual Environment Trainer usage. We can and will attempt to mitigate the circumstances with actions such as increased simulator flight usage but it’s going to take maximum effort, focus, and concentration on every single flight from each and every member of our community to maintain our high standards of safety AND remain efficient and effective. Pat Riley, a successful NBA coach put it perfectly when he said, “A particular shot or way of moving the ball can be a player’s personal signature, but efficiency of performance is what wins the game for the team...” 39

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hile some of our citizens regard the drawdown of forces in Afghanistan as the end of over ten years of war, naval leaders understand that America’s Navy has been engaged throughout the globe in conflict or crisis response for decades – and that the United States will continue to maintain this presence and leadership in support of national security interests. In fact, today’s Navy, as a Center for Naval Analyses study suggested in 2001, is more than an extension of the Cold War force that shaped our senior military officers and civilian leadership.1 Rather, the modern United States Navy is a reflection of our maritime history with an emphasis on combat surge, forward deployment and presence, and multi-mission capability.2 Underscoring this Deep Legacy – or shared history with our nautical forefathers – is an unrepentant commitment to readiness. Since the Age of Sail and the Navy’s transition to steel and steam, Sailors have been relied upon to maintain themselves and our forces in a high state of readiness – through cycles of crisis, force expansion and downsizing. The current debate between the American people and our elected representatives share many similarities to past experiences regarding budgets, national priorities and deficits. For the generation in uniform that came of age after September 11, 2001, sequestration marks the first significant reduction in military budgets since those tragic terrorist attacks. While it is certain sequestration will impact training and readiness because of the immediate manner in which budget cuts were implemented, as Secretary of Defense Hagel stated at the National Defense University in his first major policy speech in April 2013, it is also clear that tough resourcing decisions must be balanced to ensure capabilities and readiness come first. 3 To sustain the gains the naval helicopter force has achieved through the introduction of the MH-60R and MH-60S, Navy leadership must demonstrate a resolute commitment to excellence in our people and our profession of arms. Thus far, our Naval Aviation leaders have done all we have hoped to preserve flying hours and deployments, albeit at reduced levels. Therefore, the naval helicopter force must take the next steps to identify the path ahead and prioritize the investments needed to maintain our ability to fly and operate safely and effectively in some of the world’s most hazardous environments.

Preparing for Today’s Contingencies

Maximizing Combat Readiness CAPT Larry Vincent, USN, and CAPT Shawn Malone, USN

Way Forward

readiness investments. To maximize readiness – specifically To understand the framework combat readiness – the Helicopter Sea by which Naval Aviation will sustain Combat and Helicopter Maritime Strike its readiness, particularly in this period communities must embrace initiatives which characterized by fiscal restraint, our enable crews to gain the most from each crews should thoroughly familiarize flight hour through in-depth professional themselves with Commander, Naval education; innovation and rapid adaptability; Air Forces’ “Vision for Naval Aviation and the full integration of synthetic training 2025.” The Commander’s guidance, into crew and group exercises. updated in January 2013, lays out three While our profession embraces key elements – capability, wholeness, the nine principles of war embodied in the and capacity. These elements articulate most recent update of The Department of an evolutionary approach that capitalize Defense’s capstone joint document, “The on improved weapon system integration Doctrine for the Armed Forces” released and interoperability to meet our in March 2013, we should recognize the country’s strategic demands.5 It also importance of readiness – an accepted affirms a commitment to naval aviation principle of war in the Russian Federation, capabilities and core competencies built but not in the United States – to the success around nuclear powered aircraft carriers or failure of any mission or operation.4 As (CVN) and embarked Air Wings. A any of us who have prepared briefs or led a concept which to the helicopter force Current Readiness discussion can confirm, must include the embarked HSM / Rotor Review # 120 Spring ‘13 HSC detachments 40 that are critical to flying time and qualifications are inextricably the preservation of the Navy’s striking linked as core squadron and detachment

power. This combat power, embodied in the Navy’s air wings, tomahawk missile capable platforms, and expeditionary and special forces, is the foundation we must be prepared to defend in order to successfully counter evolving threats and deter or defeat our country’s adversaries.

Helicopter Maritime Strike – Warfighter Always Introduced to the Fleet in 2007, the MH-60R airborne multi-mission system has demonstrated the value of its improved sensors and systems capabilities. As the only organic aviation anti-submarine warfare capability embarked in strike groups, and a key component of surface warfare / surveillance capabilities, HSM squadrons and detachments rely on advanced systems and command and control links to speed detection and datafused classification assessments to warfare commanders. A complex weapon system, the MH-60R requires highly trained and Continue on page 39

Focus specialized crews to accomplish its missions – and the sorties that enable our aviators and naval aircrewmen to gain experience and master their skill sets. To attain the level of interoperability envisioned for HSM, the ship-air team requires regular, integrated training periods so that crews can fully exploit the Romeo’s capabilities during HARP and at sea exercises. Linked synthetic trainers now offer crews the ability to practice and rehearse missions with surface combatants and aircraft carrier-tactical support centers (CV-TSC). However, new methods such as these require updated training plans. These training plans with embedded aviation tasks must now be developed collaboratively with NSAWC and NMAWC. In this way, we can complement proven training plans and ensure crews’ have the foundation and knowledge needed to draw from when flying. In this period of change and transition, our most important investment in time and resources must remain our warfighters and world-class support teams. While no amount of simulation can replace or replicate aircraft flying experience, classroom preparation, table top exercises and a continuum of synthetic training, which allows ship and air crews, as well as warfare commanders’ and staffs, the ability to repetitively train to high standards will benefit all of us working to put ready squadrons and detachments to sea until flying hours are restored.

weapons systems (M197, rockets) and ISR (Rover and Vortex) capabilities. In an article dealing with current and future fiscal constraints, why spend so much time discussing the past? Because in an era where communities will struggle to stay relevant, HSC is poised to do the opposite. The air wing of the 1980s had 75 aircraft with 6 helicopters. The air wing of 2013 has approximately 65 aircraft with 19 helicopters. Amphibious ships formerly saw the Navy helicopter only as a SAR platform. Through the lens of an emergent threat, they now recognize the Block III Armed Helo as a tremendous asset. Special forces across the spectrum now routinely request HSC-84 or 85. HSC has a tremendous opportunity.

Master the Basics

This is a time for innovation among the squadrons and weapons schools. Admiral Greenert compared the recent budget situation to being “rigged for reduced visibility … this budget situation has been to me kind of like being in a fog bank.” (Chief of Naval Operations ADM Jonathan Greenert Sea Air Space- Service Chiefs Panel 8 April 2013 http:// Greenert/Speech/130408%20SAS%20 Service%20Chiefs%20Panel.pdf) We Helicopter Sea Combat are indeed in an era of uncertainty, – On the Cusp with budget reductions for the near and The HSC community has gone possibly far term. This is time of change through myriad changes in the past 10 years. in both the CVW and expeditionary The CH-46 was phased out of naval inventory side with new platforms, new missions as our expeditionary squadrons transitioned and new capabilities. As a ship rigged to the MH-60S. HELTACWINGPAC, for reduced visibility, HSC must move HSWINGPAC and HELWINGRES all forward slowly, but steadily, mastering the basics of this new playing field. merged to form Helicopter Sea Combat Naval Aviators want to fly … period. Wing Pacific (HSCWP). HSC Weapons Nothing can replace time in the aircraft. Schools were established on both coasts There is nothing that can replace the with a very specific mission: Increase the training of a dual-ship low light Gun-X. combat readiness of HSC and legacy HS The lack of flight time will be painful. squadrons to ensure they deploy ready for With that time though, ensure you are any contingency in all required mission areas. In 2009, Commander USSOCOM pushed to ready to fight your platform. Learn your institutionalize naval rotary wing support to new systems. Use the simulators, to special forces. Admiral Roughhead directed include the Aircrew Virtual Environment CNAF to dedicate two helicopter squadrons Trainer (AVET). Know your NATOPS. to the cause: HSC-84 and HSC-85. Even Know your tactics. Poised as we are as the last of the HS squadrons transitions to move forward in the tactical arena, from the Foxtrot and Hotel to the Sierra, the nothing will put the brakes more surely Rotor Review #to120 Spring 41 than a lack of community is continuing evolve with ‘13 new on forward progress

professionalism in the basics.


Heavyweight boxing great Jack Dempsey once said that a champion is somebody who is ready when the gong rings. Not before. Not just after. But when it rings. No one joined the Navy to fly simulators or see a ship at a dock. We joined to fly and to fly at sea. With that said, there is tremendous opportunity in where we are now. The HSM and HSC communities have made gains in both capabilities and CONOPS. More than any time in the past, the rotary communities are working together. Now is the time to consolidate those gains. The CNO’s tenets are clear: Warfighting First, Operate Forward and Be Ready. The task to the warfighters of HSC and HSM is clear. When the fog of this budget crisis has cleared, we will emerge ready.


The Navy Department Library, U. S. Navy Forward Deployment 1801-2001, The CNA Corporation, Center for Strategic Studies, Peter M. Swartz and E. D. McGrady, http://www. deploy.htm (June 2001). 1

2 forward_deploy.htm.

Talk Radio News Service, http://www. hagels-first-policy-speech-heavy-ondomestic-budget-cuts.html, Ed Zuckerman (3 April 2013).


U.S. Department of Defense, The Doctrine for the Armed Forces (JP 1) (Washington, DC: 2013), I-13.


Department of the Navy, The Vision for Naval Aviation 2025 (San Diego, CA: 2013) 5

Photo Courtesy Department of Defense

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CULTIVATING BOLDNESS IN AUSTERE TIMES Article by CAPT Dave Bean, USN (Ret) and CAPT Doug Yesensky, USN (Ret)


here has never been a better time for a Naval Aviator who wants to make a mark on his profession. The next ten years will be characterized by deep financial constraints, restricted steaming and flight time, and yet they offer rotary-wing aviators the opportunity to establish and solidify their vital role in the carrier air wing, and in the conduct of naval operations. Much as our predecessors did in the years between the World Wars, we must seize this opportunity to explore and advance the use of ship-based aviation in conducting prompt and sustained combat operations on and from the sea. Helicopters can and should be at the center of those operations. At press time, we stand – yet again – on the edge of a fiscal ‘cliff.’ However Congress is able to resolve the budgetary crisis, it is certain to have negative impact of noticeable magnitude on our armed forces. Senior Navy officials have publicly articulated the anticipated reductions in building, maintenance, and operating accounts,

and they appear drastic. They translate immediately into reduced time at sea, fewer opportunities to train, and an inability to meet the level of commitment our Service has sustained over the past few years. Reduction of the carrier presence in the CENTCOM Area of Responsibility (AOR) is the most recent, and potent, example of this


drawdown in commitment. A time to retreat and lick our wounds? I would argue quite to the contrary. No community in Naval Aviation is healthier than rotary-wing. Implementation of the Helo Master Plan has provided us with new airframes, sensors, and weapons systems across the community. Marry that Continue on page 42

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Focus Continued from page 41

with the new operational paradigm of two carrier-based helicopter commands, and you are left with a tremendous opportunity to leverage the confusion sown by these turbulent budget times. We should cultivate tactical boldness where retrenchment might otherwise be suggested. Who is ready to lead rotarywing to its pivotal role in 21st century naval operations? How will this be done? Look no farther than the Department of the Navy…to the Marines. “While future wars remain unseen over the horizon and budget woes squeeze the military budget, the Marine Corps is resetting its combat training to get back to the basics and play to its strengths.”1 Using a ‘building block’ approach, the Marines are redesigning their key training exercises to ensure they are prepared to meet an uncertain future enemy. This adaptive mindset fosters development of a force flexible enough to meet a range of possible conflicts based upon the Obama Administration’s strategic outlook. In the Corps’ focus on warfighting fundamentals lies the key to our own success: identify the critical strengths of our community; focus on and leverage those strengths to ensure our ability to fight when called upon. So where do you fit in this picture? What are the critical ‘building blocks’ for HSC & HSM?

The touchstone of tactical development is your individual command’s Required Operational Capability/Projected Operating Environment (ROC/POE). This document describes your squadron’s ‘raison d’etre’ – why and how you will fight, and under what conditions. When was the last time your wardroom discussed this key document? Does it accurately reflect your role in the carrier air wing? Does it address the role of rotary-wing in countering the Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2/AD) paradigm that has so much currency today? Skipper: spend at least as much time with the ROC/POE as you have developing your Mission Statement from Leadership School. Start with your own JOs and carry that discussion to another ready room. Commodores: Have you supported the latitude and intellectual ferment that a critical eye can foster? Preface your bold tactical move with a serious look at the policy direction that drives those tactics. Only then will you be ready to identify and develop those ‘building blocks’ that will support your ultimate success.

Training and Readiness The Ops O’s mantra. Do the skill sets in your current matrix adequately support that ROC/ POE? If not, what changes would you recommend? This planning tool


ultimately becomes the proximate source of those essential skills – the ‘building blocks.’ Having established a T&R matrix that reflects reality, how have you designed your training events? Maximize your use of simulator time by both teaching and expanding your systems and tactical knowledge. Make the events more challenging than a simple check in the box. Ops O: how do you structure the HAC checks in your command? Do you seek to work within the confines of a narrow envelope, or do you see these evolutions as an opportunity to expand tactical thought and capabilities? Allow me to suggest that personal investment in community improvement and advancement is an important indicator of any Naval Aviator’s success. Actively seek to leverage the great ideas of your cockpit leadership.

An Additional Challenge For Your Tactical Development: Integration with the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UASs) that are destined to share your flight deck. The Unmanned CarrierLaunched Airborne Surveillance and Strike System (UCLASS) is the next and most visible step in the progression of unmanned aircraft that have been migrating to sea; it follows quickly on the heels of Fire Scout. How will these systems complement the missions conducted by your manned platforms? UAS missions are typically defined by the ‘three Ds’: Dirty, Dull, and Dangerous. Consider their role, then, in undersea warfare, which one author described as “24/7, monotonous Continue on page 43

o community in Naval Aviation is healthier than rotary-wing. Implementation of the Helo Master Plan has provided us with new airframes, sensors, and weapons systems across the community. Marry that with the new operational paradigm of two carrier-based helicopter commands, and you are left with a tremendous opportunity to leverage the confusion sown by these turbulent budget times. We should cultivate tactical boldness where retrenchment might otherwise be suggested [...] While future wars remain unseen over the horizon and budget woes squeeze the military budget, the Marine Corps is resetting its combat training to get back to the basics and play to its strengths.”1 Using a ‘building block’ approach, the Marines are redesigning their key training exercises to ensure they are prepared to meet an uncertain future enemy. Rotor Review # 120 Spring ‘13




or Naval Aviation, the next decade can easily be a time of significant tactical development, or you can let it become a period of retrenchment and stagnation... Within the chaos of budget cuts and reduced operations lies the opportunity to leverage the intellectual capital and creative thought that has always separated U.S. warfighters from their adversaries... I challenge the readers of these pages to carry rotary wing to the forefront of tactical development.

Continued from page 42

and boring punctuated by periods of intensive operational uncertainty.”2 How can the persistent, wide-area sensors on a UAS dovetail with the shorter-term and shorter range ASW sensors of an MH60R? Do they offer more – or less – than a maritime patrol aircraft? Or, how can a radar-equipped UAS be integrated with one or more MH-60S to form a ‘Hunter-Killer’ package? Either of these missions support defense of a capital asset in that same A2/ AD environment. Consider combined operations between rotary-wing and UAVs as the 21st century analog to the shift from battleship-focused operations to war at sea conducted by naval air power. The next decade can, and should, be a period of intellectual ferment and explosive tactical growth in rotary-wing aviation. As the heroes of Midway were forged in the lean years of the 20s & 30s, so too can our Navy’s success in the next conflict be written in the austere days ahead of us. Where slim budgets keep you on deck, leverage the ‘sunk capital’ of your own intellect; be aggressive and challenge your colleagues to think the same way. Maximize the use of flight simulators to develop and refine your thoughts; sow competition across your community through graded evolutions which pit one squadron against another. Recall the ASW/ ASUW Rodeos of 20 years ago: what is the contemporary model? “ W a r g a m i n g [is] especially critical in these times of shrinking resources and come[s] closer than any other form of intellectual exercise to illustrating the dynamics of warfare, about which they make players think.”3 Certainly the war games of the inter-war period were fundamental to Navy’s success

in the Pacific at Midway and afterwards, but don’t believe that such success is confined to the Naval War College alone. Concerted efforts to define your community – whether HSM or HSC – can be accomplished at the tactical level, between and amongst members of a Type Wing. Let those war games be an outgrowth of your own efforts; write the future pages of Naval Aviation on your terms. For Naval Aviation, the next decade can easily be a time of significant tactical development, or you can let it become a period of retrenchment and stagnation. With history as a guide, I submit that the former is well within our grasp. Within the chaos of budget cuts and reduced operations lies the opportunity to leverage the intellectual capital and creative thought that has always separated U.S. warfighters from


their adversaries. The impetus for that leverage should come from those most intimately tied to the chaos: the warriors at the tactical level. I challenge the readers of these pages to carry rotary wing to the forefront of tactical development.


1. Gretel C. Kovach, “Marines Combat Training Going Back to Basics,” San Diego Union-Tribune, February 03, 2013, A1. 2. VADM J.R. Fitzgerald, “More Than Submarine v. Submarine,” U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings (February 2013): 33. 3. Milan Vego, “Study War Much More,” U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, (January 2013): 63.

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Focus Focus

Feedback for Change Article by LTJG Zachary Cavitt, USN


aval Aviation is always challenged to do more with less. The current fiscal environment notwithstanding, the last several years of sustained operations, forced manpower reductions, and community transition plans further add to the challenge. In the fall of 2012, HSL-49 was on the brink of collapse. Many Sailors felt overextended and out of gas. There was just no juice left to squeeze. Over a period of 24 months, the expeditionary SH-60B squadron deployed 12 detachments, of which the last 10 were two-plane detachments. For two consecutive years, the Scorpions deployed more detachments and executed more flight hours than any other expeditionary squadron in Helicopter Maritime Strike Wing Pacific; however, the squadron showed the signs of the strain. The metrics were trending in all the wrong directions, the most significant – the number of Sailors voluntarily separating at their end of obligated service.

Squadron leadership used various feedback methods such as periodic safety assessment surveys (CSA/MCAS), “Anymouse,” CO’s Suggestion Box, CO’s calls, and check-outs with departing Sailors to learn the key issues. Comments from the April 2012 CSA/MCAS included: “there definitely seems to be a ‘suck it up’ culture around here;” “we are undermanned

and under budgeted;” and “we are over tasked which is obvious due to shore duty personnel going to sea.” Many falsely believed HSL-49 was undermanned. It wasn’t undermanned, it was under-qualified. The shortfalls of qualified technicians, exacerbated by expeditionary detachment organization, created a perception of not enough

Rotor Review # 120 Spring ‘13


people to meet requirements. Other key issues included unpredictable working hours, insufficient opportunities to train, and minimal emphasis on physical training (PT). Results like these showed that the current system was broken and no longer working. As the last West Coast squadron scheduled to transition to the MH-60R, the Continue on page 45

Continued from page 45

Scorpions were faced with not only sustaining the current operational tempo, but planning for an increase in deployed detachments while simultaneously reducing the available work force as Romeo cadre begin transition training in the fall of 2014. Things needed to change…And they did. “Take care of your Sailors and they’ll take care of you.” This tenet is tried and true, but HSL-49 needed a wholesale change to take care of the Sailors and ensure safe and effective operations. Referencing Sailor feedback, command leadership identified the issues, causes, and solutions to improve Sailors’ quality of life. In August of 2012, the CO, XO, CMC, MO, MMCO, and MMCPO set the goal of creating a weekly “battle rhythm” to ensure squadron personnel had reliable work hours, dedicated times for PT twice a week, and professional training once a week without sacrificing continuity of operations. The CO observed that when Sailors were convinced they were going to work on the weekend, not only did productivity not increase, it actually decreased. Gambling on an assumption, although reduced working hours on shift would result in an actual maintenance time decrease, there would be an increase in productivity due to the boost in morale. The outcome was a three-shift

rotation that was dependent upon sufficient number of qualified personnel to sustain it and focused productivity during the shift. Leveraging duty sections to work Saturdays actually increased maintenance time to catch up on special inspections or reduce the number of “up” gripes on aircraft. The four-section duty rotation is now solidified giving Sailors the ability to plan months out around weekend duty while increasing overall material condition of the airframes. The new working hours became the CO’s “contract” with the Sailors of HSL-49. Implementation requires commitment at all levels of the chain of command to adhere to the weekly battle rhythm. The contract is sacred, and only adjustable by the CO, successfully engendering trust and improving the

command climate. Six months later, the morale and productivity of HSL-49 Sailors proves the adjustments were successful. The November 2012 CSA/MCAS survey asked, “What is my unit doing right, and why?” Over 40% of Sailor responses specifically mentioned the new working hours improving quality of life and having a positive effect on morale. Productivity increased as well with the new working hours while maintaining pace with pre-deployment demands and external tasking. Adequate time for weekly physical exercise is available resulting in a 33% reduction in Personal Fitness Assessment (PFA) / Body Composition Assessment (BCA) failures from FY12/1 cycle to FY12/2, and dedicated in-rate training has become routine. Perhaps the strongest evidence is the comments from the Sailors. When a squadron mechanic was asked if he felt like a more productive and

Photos: (above- left) Scopions at sea face an increase in deployment detachments and a reduction in available work force while substaining a normal operational tempo; and (above-right) HSL-49 pilot preparing for a flight under the squadron's new operational changes. Photos courtesy of HSL-49 Public Affairs Office.


Rotor Review # 120 Spring ‘13

Focus Continued from page 45

physically fit Sailor, Aviation Structural Mechanic Petty Officer First Class Jason Scott responded, “We have received better maintenance pass downs and communication has increased, resulting in improved man-hour utilization. Personnel seem happier with increased PT sessions and work harder with an established secure time.” The change is apparent to the deckplate leadership as well. MMCPO AZCM Andrews noted that “Sailor morale and quality of life has clearly and distinctly improved for our Sailors at HSL-49” when questioned about the results of the CO’s working hours contract. Through engaged leadership, HSL-49 creatively addressed organizational challenges by bridging Sailors’ desires and command objectives with the fundamental concept of just “taking care of your Sailors.” The proof is in the pudding: Scorpion detachments have received a grade of outstanding and zero off-track programs on the last five pre- and post-deployment maintenance inspections; PC qualifications are up from 62% to 87% in four months; our Sailors have achieved a 98% EAWS completion rate; 100% SAR swimmer currency; and 100% Torpedo Qualification success rate, all while staying mishap-free. Yet again, the phrase “well, this is how we’ve always done it,” has been debunked and Sailors are better off for it.

Eight-Pack Article by LTJG Carolyn Keener, USN

Rotor Review # 120 Spring ‘13



elicopter Maritime Strike (HSM) Squadron SEVEN THREE reached another historic milestone in its history as the first MH-60R fleet squadron to fly with the Right Hand Extended Pylon (RHEP). HSM-73 had the opportunity during Helicopter Advanced Readiness Program (HARP), a tactical training program, to successfully shoot several missiles from the RHEP. Previously, MH-60Rs have been outfitted with the Left Hand Extended Pylon (LHEP) and have only been able to carry four missiles. The addition of the RHEP allows the helicopter to be a more capable weapons delivery platform by doubling the capacity for Hellfire missiles. Procedures for launching a Hellfire from the RHEP are similar to launching from the LHEP, with the exception of a reversed heading offset for autonomous shots. Continue on page 47

Focus Continued from page 46

Although the potential to carry eight missiles could be beneficial in the right environment, crew served weapons are sacrificed. "The RHEP adds options - swing loads without sacrificing the bottom two rows of buoys - but severely degrades the crew served weapon (CSW) employment window. This can all be mitigated through mission planning; i.e., one missile platform (MH-60R) and one CSW platform (MH-60S) for an SUW mission," said LT Brandon Hunter, HSM-73 Tactics Officer. “Normally the range of motion for the gun swing arm is from about 2 o’clock to 5 o’clock. With the RHEP the range is reduced to about 4:30 to 5:30 giving us a very short time on target. There’s very little room to adjust for accuracy,” explains AWR1 Nicholas Miller. Warning shots are more difficult to do because of the reduced field of fire. Additionally, using our current tactics, it’s not possible to perform warning shots with the RHEP installed. During mission planning the decision to fly with the LHEP and RHEP, or LHEP and a crew served weapon will be determined based upon the threat environment and potential targets. HSM-73 Combat Element ONE on board USS Freedom (LCS 1) is the first to deploy with the RHEP, and they are proving to be a powerful surface warfare (SUW) asset with this added capability. The MH-60R greatly extends the sensor range of the LCS and, now with the ability to carry more missiles, increases weapons superiority. The multiple configurations that the MH-60R now provides make it a formidable force for future engagements.


he RHEP allows the helicopter to be a more capable weapons delivery platform by doubling the capacity for Hellfire missiles. Procedures for launching a Hellfire from the RHEP are similar to launching from the LHEP, with the exception of a reversed heading offset for autonomous shots.



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Rotor Review # 120 Spring ‘13

Historical Continued from page 35

because we weren’t sure if it would start again. The Delta would always ‘talk’ to you and tell you what was wrong with it. But we never had the safety issues other aircraft had. “And flying it isn’t hard -- you could do anything you liked with it and not hurt it,” he added with a wry smile. “It was getting the SOB started that was hard.” Eventually, the Marine Corps, working with NAVAIR, realized something further had to be done to keep the aircraft flying. “The way to sustain the number of aircraft required in the Fleet to meet the mission was to consolidate them in a central location,” Seiffert said.

Aloha Fridays In 1995, the CH-53D squadrons consolidated in mid Pacific at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay, as part of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing Aviation Support Element and Marine Aircraft Group 24. But that came later, after the Deltas found themselves supporting myriad peace keeping and nation building efforts that consumed the Corps in the 1980’s and ‘90s. The Ugly Angels of HMH-362 deployed to the Middle East for Operation DESERT STORM and returned in 1993 aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt as part of a Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force. The squadron also participated in support of operations Deny Flight, Provide Promise and Sharp Guard in Bosnia and the Adriatic Sea from May 1993 until August 1993. HMH-362 participated in support of Operation Southern Watch in the Arabian Gulf from June 1993 to July 1993. In 1994, Deltas moved from the sands of the Middle East to the tropics while participating in Operation UPHOLD DEMOCRACY in Haiti. The consolidation in Hawaii in 1995 brought good and bad, however. “In flight school I secretly wished I would get to go to Hawaii and fly the Vietnam veteran CH-53D,” said Maj. Lee

Clare. “I kept this secret to myself as there were very few slots and I was soon to be married and did not want to get my hopes up.” “My early days in HMT-301 proved exactly what I had hoped for,” added Clare. “The flying was exciting and Aloha Fridays in Hawaii were an added bonus. Flying in the TFTA with landings at LZ Pu’u Kapu, externals at LZ Black and the Orange and Black TERF routes were great. The aircraft was powerful and amazingly nimble for its size and the scenery could not be beat. Throw in training trips to PMRF, NVG ship wreck routes, weekend trips to Maui and even MarLogs to the Big Island and you can sum up what it was like to be in a squadron in Hawaii.” Some Marines may have believed themselves to be far from the action and merely supporting training evolutions in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, the truth lay elsewhere, according to Clare. While sustainment training for Marine Expeditionary units heading to the Western Pacific and support for the 3rd Marine Regiment stationed at Kaneohe Bay consumed much of their time, the Marines of the Delta squadrons at K- Bay still provided critical support to Marine Corps operations. And still, the aircraft, serving alongside its “replacement,” labored on. “When you get the aircraft into a nurturing environment,” explained Seiffert, “it goes forever.” Terrorists brought the near

Rotor Review # 120 Spring ‘13


idyllic Mid-Pacific cycle of sustainment training and Unit Deployment Program (UDP) pumps to an end with the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The Global War on Terror and operations in Afghanistan and Iraq called on all vertical lift assets to support the fight. At first, the Deltas helped by picking up the rotations to the Western Pacific. In March, 2002 HMH-362 became the first CH-53D squadron from MAG-24 assigned to the Marine Corps’ UDP at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, for a sixmonth period, according to Capt. Clayton Piersall, HMH-362 operations officer. Upon arrival in the Western Pacific the Ugly Angels deployed within 48 hours on a four-month island-hopping tour, known within the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing as the “Fishhook.” During this period, the Ugly Angels flew more than 7,100 nautical miles from mainland Japan through the Republic of the Philippines, Brunei, Singapore and Malaysia to Utapao, Thailand, before redeploying to Iwakuni. Throughout the next few years, the Delta squadrons participated in numerous UDPs and exercises, including BALIKATAN, COBRA GOLD, and LF CARAT, while preparing for possible contingency operations in India and Bangladesh. “While in HMH-463 over the next few years I was able to participate in UDP’s to the winter seasons of Japan and Korea, the humid summers of the Philippines and Thailand,” Clare said. It wasn’t long before the Deltas would “head to the sound of the guns.” In 2004, four CH-53Ds with the Continue on page 51

Change of Command And Establishment






Proud Warriors

CAPT F.J. Schuller, USN relieved CAPT Shoshana S. Chatfield, USN on February 28, 2013

CAPT James J. Fisher, USN relieved Col James D. Grace, USMC on March 21, 2013

CDR Jennifer Wilderman, USN relieved CDR Tres Dehay, USN on March 1, 2013

CDR Derek Fleck, USN relieved CDR Troy Anderson, USN on March 15, 2013





Blue Hawks

LtCol Bradley J. Harms, USMC relieved LtCol Eric Gillard, USMC on 22 March 2013

CDR Richard H. Weitzel, USN relieved CDR William H. Bucey, USN on March 28, 2013




CDR Daniel A. Nowicki, USN relieved CDR Gregory S. Thoroman, USN on April 18, 2013



CDR Peter J. Riebe, USN relieved CDR Jose L. Rodriguez, USN on April 4, 2013



Fleet Angels

CDR Matt Bowen, USN relieved CDR Paul Bowdich, USN on April 4, 2013

CDR Todd D. Vandegrift, USN relieved CDR Hugh P. Everly, USN on April 12, 2013






CDR Christopher R. Brown, USN relieved CDR Randolph W. Borges, USN on April 20, 2013

LtCol Richard P. Matyskiela, USMC relieved LtCol Jeffrey L. Davis, USMC on April 23, 2013

CDR Christopher S. Hewlett, USN took command as the first Commanding Officer on May 2, 2013

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Historical Continued from page 49

31st MEU became the first Ds to deploy to Iraq for Operation IRAQI FREEDOM (OIF). Then, from 2006 to 2009, five rotations of CH-53D squadrons deployed to Al Assad, Iraq. “In the spring of 2006 I deployed with the first CH-53D squadron to Iraq,” said Clare. “For seven months the reliable “D” provided 24-hour assault support. Two of my fondest memories are of a night time division raid south of Al Assad and on September 11, 2006 delivering steaks, lobster and ice cream to all of the Marines at the remote Forward Operating Bases (FOB) in Iraq.” The last major upgrade to the aircraft was another engine improvement -- replacing the venerable General Electric T-64-413's "hot section" to upgrade to the -416 model, according to Bud Salmon, H-53 T-64 Assistant Program Manager for Logistics at PMA-261. "The aircraft were headed to Afghanistan," he explained. "We needed to give them all the power and performance we could. We also installed the Titanium Nitride-coated compressor blades to protect against erosion and corrosion." Enabling more than twice the payload under certain conditions at higher altitudes, the engine upgrade gave Delta crews greater power and safety margins in combat, according to Salmon. In April 2009, HMH-362 redeployed from Iraq to Afghanistan and took part in Operation KANJARI, a heliborne insert of approximately 4,000 Marines into the Helmand River Valley. In the next three years, six squadron rotations would occur at Camp Leatherneck.

Sundown on the horizon Sundown for the aircraft truly began with the deactivation of the Delta training squadron, HMT-301 (The “Wind Walkers”), June 3, 2005. During its 39 years of training CH-53 pilots, aircrew, and maintainers, the Wind Walkers flew more than 144,000 hours, trained more 2,800 aircrew and received the Chief of Naval Operations’ safety award seven times. Operational sundown commenced, fittingly, when HMH-463, the first squadron to fly the CH-53 in combat, transitioned to the MV-22B Osprey in September, 2011. When they had completed their last deployment

in Afghanistan, though, the members of HMH-463 had tallied an impressive record flying in 171 named operations in 182 days with the highest mission capable rate of any helicopter squadron in theater at 81 percent. They were also the first CH-53 squadron to fly the new GAU-21 .50 cal machine gun in all quadrants on the aircraft, and they were the only Delta squadron in either Iraq or Afghanistan to run three maintenance shifts. "Three pilots from last year's deployment are now MAWTS-1 instructors in Yuma, AZ." said Lt. Col Pete Gadd, the last CH-53D Commanding Officer at HMH-463. "It was a privilege to fly and fight in such a great community, and I was blessed to serve with so much talent.” He added, “The D was a rugged and reliable airframe, she took me home for 18 years. It’s appropriate she finished in combat." Meanwhile, the last two operational Delta squadrons, HMH-362 and HMH-363, continued supporting combat operations in Afghanistan. “In 2010, I rejoined the CH53D fleet with HMH-362 and deployed to Afghanistan,” said Clare. “The aircraft had undergone a few upgrades but was still the aircraft I had loved to fly. For seven months I enjoyed flying the oldest platform in the theater and bragging about how our 40-year old aircraft and young Marines were providing whatever the infantry needed. “There was no greater joy than landing at a FOB and cleaning out all of their ‘space A’ troops and cargo and having room and lift to spare,” he said. “Memorable flights included many day and night raids as well as the fact that the CH-53D was still in high demand. Shortly after this deployment I found myself back in Afghanistan with HMH363 and the squadron was now at the forefront of a surge in activity.” Despite the aircraft’s advanced age, and the fact that metal had already been cut on its replacement (the CH53K), the aircraft was still, in former squadron skipper Seiffert’s words, “Reaching beyond its requirement.” “Our general support mission


was still valid but now we were more focused on direct support, named operations,” Clare explained. “During our seven months we completed more than 100 named operations crippling the Taliban’s operations. During this tour I was able to fly on HMH-463’s and HMH-363’s last combat CH-53D flights.” Despite the looming retirement of the platform, tasking and flight operations continued at a high pace -- even as some aircraft were being retired individually. HMH-362’s Ugly Angels reached 80,000 mishap free flight hours in July 2011 and promptly departed Kaneohe for two weeks of training in Yuma, Ariz., followed by a stint at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Training Center, Twenty-nine Palms, Calif. for Exercise ENHANCED MOJAVE VIPER, after which the squadron began retiring aircraft. Four aircraft flew to what’s commonly referred to as “The Bone Yard” -the Aircraft Maintenance and Regeneration Center at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Ariz. Two aircraft flew to the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Fla., where one is now displayed in the National Naval Aviation Museum and the other became a training tool for aircraft rescue and fire fighting teams. After returning to Hawaii, HMH362 flew the last operational Delta in Hawaii to the Pacific Aviation Museum located on Ford Island in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii Feb. 9, 2012. The aircraft might have sundowned in Hawaii, but the Deltas were still in the thick of combat in Afghanistan as detachments from the squadrons were still rotating in and out of Helmand Province, Afghanistan. In August 2011, the Red Lions of HMH-363 arrived in Helmand Province to operate from Camp Bastion in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM (OEF) 11.2 from September 2011 until March 2012. While there, they supported the Marine Corps push into the northern sector of the province in support of Operation EASTERN STORM and completed more than 50 named operations involving day and night escorted inserts and extracts, combat and emergency resupply missions, airborne vehicle interdiction operations and rapid ground refueling missions out of hasty forward arming and refueling points. These Continue on page 53

Rotor Review # 120 Spring ‘13

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Rotor Review # 120 Spring ‘13


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Continued from page 51

The End Comes

operations extended from the southern border of Afghanistan, to the western border and up to the northern Helmand cities of Kajaki and Sangin. The Red Lions returned to Kaneohe Bay March 16, 2012 from their last squadron deployment and were redesignated as Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 363 May 10, 2012 and relocated to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, CA as part of Marine Aircraft Group 16. After more than 40 years as a CH-53 squadron, and having debuted the aircraft in combat in Vietnam, the unit continues its legacy as a V-22 squadron. It’s traditions and legacy remains intact, though. “One of the great things we do in the Marine Corps is keep our traditions and lineage alive,” explained Staff Sgt Derek Torrellas, former HMH-363 crew chief. “So what was once HMR-363 became HMM-363, which then became HMH-363, the Lucky Red Lions now live in Miramar as VMM-363. In the VMM-363 ready room the current Red Lions proudly display the artifacts and memorabilia from those Red Lions that flew in Vietnam, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.”

As with all Marines, the end of the road finally came for the Delta’s active duty career. The Ugly Angels of HMH-362 made the last operational flight of the CH-53D Aug. 16, 2012 in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. All other Deltas in theater and back in Hawaii had already deactivated and were sent to museums or to the Bone Yard, so when the last operational aircraft taxied back to the line and shut down, they ended the 48-year flying career of the CH-53A/D Sea Stallion. “The aircraft made one more flight, but as cargo aboard Air Force C-17s and straight to AMARC at DavisMonthan AFB” commented LtCol Doug Ogden, PMA-261 H-53 In-Service IPT Lead. “Five are scheduled to be sold to Israel, and will serve with our allies and continue the legacy. Both the Israelis and Germans intend to continue to fly their twin engine H-53 variants until 2025 and beyond.” After 40 years of combat operations and peacetime exercise support, as well as seeing its replacement fielded and the “birth” of the third generation 53 (the CH-53K), the aircraft engenders the same sentiment from its

last pilots, as from its first such as Hemelright and Seiffert. LtCol Oliver, last commanding officer of the Ugly Angels, reflects on his time flying CH-53Ds after conducting the final combat deployment of CH-53Ds in Afghanistan. “The CH-53D, despite its size, still felt like a sports car to fly. The maneuverability was awesome. It was a pilot's helicopter, and did exactly what the pilot wanted. While it couldn't lift the same as an Echo, it was still a very capable assault support helicopter, and throughout my time flying it there always seemed to be more than enough work for the Delta to do around the Corps from CONUS, WESTPAC to Afghanistan. More than a few Marines went into harm's way in the back of a CH-53D, and the sincere appreciation of the grunt's for the lift provided was always evident. That said, the greatest feeling flying the CH-53D was seeing the smiles of Marines taken out of harm’s way after an operation.” “I will always have a special bond with the Delta,” said LtCol Mark Revor, HMH363 Commanding Officer. "In part because it is the plane I flew in two different combat zones in part because of those we lost while flying it, and in part because those old birds, and those who flew and fixed them, had a lot of personality.” “Throughout my time in the Marine Corps, I have had the opportunity to be a part of many different squadrons and units," said LtCol Thomas Pecina, former HMH-362 Commanding Officer in Afghanistan. "Without question, the 'Delta' community possesses a unique camaraderie. When you fly an aircraft that dates back to Vietnam, you can’t help but be aware of the aircrafts legacy every time you step onto it.” "The 53D community is one that has great respect for its tradition, lineage and aircraft history," Pecina added. "It is my great honor to have had the privilege to fly this magnificent helicopter as a member of the Ugly Angels. Flying and operating from Hawaii to Afghanistan, the mighty Sea Stallion never disappointed the squadron or our aircrews in its performance and reliability. The CH-53D community has a proactive “can do” attitude operating a proven true workhorse; the 53D goes anywhere and does everything asked of it." Continue on page 54


Rotor Review # 120 Spring ‘13

Historical Continued from page 53

There I Was

“While I still flew on them, I held the belief that the helicopters transcended the aluminum that they are comprised of,” explained Staff Sgt. Torrellas. “Each aircraft had a changing personality; some were tame, others were constantly begging to be returned to the line. Some flew days on end without breaking; others couldn't manage to break the deck for days. Every Delta story was formed by the people who maintained it and flew it. That is why I could feel a sense of connection between myself and whoever, unknown to me, had stood in the crew chief window feeling the wind on their face during a flight 30-40 years earlier.” And indeed – while tallying up sorties, cargoes, passengers delivered, mishap free hours flown, named operations supported, exercises participated in, mission ready rates and the like leaves an impressive legacy of its own, perhaps the most resonant legacy the big helicopter leaves is the individual one in each Marine who felt his or her connection with the aircraft to be more than touch. “I’ve found myself missing the loud noise, dirt, dust, heat and cold of my recent CH-53D flights,” said Maj Clare. “I miss hearing crew chiefs and AO’s calls on ICS, radio calls from FACs at remote FOBs and the camaraderie of life in a Delta squadron. I missed

taking the aircraft out for a lap around the island (of O’Ahu), interacting with the phenomenal Marines that kept this aircraft flying for over 40 years and most importantly supporting the infantry in peace and in war." LtCol Pecina pointed out that the success of the aircraft resulted from the people who gave it life. "The Delta has always been maintained by a superior group of men and women dedicated to the stewardship and legacy of this aircraft. The maintenance department’s daily victory of maintaining this 40-year-old Sea Stallion helicopter set the conditions for success during combat and peace time operations. The history of operations includes peacetime training exercises, shipboard MEU deployments, and combat deployments to Vietnam, Grenada, Desert Storm, Desert Shield, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Most recently in Afghanistan, the Infantry and Commanders had come to ask for the Sea Stallion by name because of its versatility and the community’s deep commitment to supporting the infantry." LtCol Oliver echoed that sentiment. “No discussion of the CH53D should ever omit the invaluable contributions of the maintenance and support personnel who kept it flying over the years. Their selfless dedication and hard work allowed pilots and aircrews to train as required, and to be successful

when called upon in peacetime and combat. The long hours of dirty work endured in the extremes of weather from the cold of Korea to the heat of Afghanistan always allowed the mission to be completed. The CH-53D left service in Afghanistan with the highest aircraft readiness of any USMC aircraft on the flight line, while at the same time being the oldest aircraft on the line. I can't express enough admiration for the magnificent work of CH-53D maintainers over the course of its service life. Flying the Delta has been amazing privilege. I began flying it in the latter half of its service life, but saw many improvements (GPS, Aircraft Survivability Equipment upgrades, and 416 engines) that allowed it to remain a viable Marine Corps assault support asset to the very end. I was extremely happy that the CH-53D was able to close out its service to the Marine Corps on a combat deployment to Afghanistan helping Marines on the ground to the very end. In a time of constricting budgets, and as the CH-53K moves closer to achieving an operational status, the long serving legacy of the CH53D serves as a fresh reminder that Marine Corps Heavy Lift aircraft are a long term investment in maintaining the expeditionary capability of the Marine Corps. The CH53D was a wise investment then, and the American taxpayer got their money's worth out of the aircraft.”

The Day That My Maintainers Saved My Life Article by LT Trevor Prophet, USN


O, you’re not going to believe this…" said my Air Detachment Maintenance Chief, in an eerie prequel to his next statement. I was the Detachment Maintenance Officer aboard the mighty USS Gary (FFG 51), operating in the Eastern Pacific Ocean off the coast of South America on a six month Counter Narcotics deployment. With an auxiliary power unit (APU) and main engine

change, a 175-hour phase inspection, and nearly a main transmission change already under our belts just two months after leaving homeport San Diego on our two-plane SH-60B detachment, I shuddered when I imagined what words would leave his mouth next. A cautious “What?” was all I could muster. “We found a hole in the TGB (tail rotor gear box) sight gauge on the TA (turnaround inspection) and we think you might have landed with little to no transmission oil in the tail gearbox.”

Rotor Review # 120 Spring ‘13


While sitting in my stateroom, I answered, “I’m heading back to the hangar and we’ll talk then,” as I replayed in my mind what I had just heard, “You might have landed with little to no tail transmission oil.” My initial reaction was a looped "WhiskeyTango-Foxtrot," which was running violently through my head. I sped aft to the flight deck and began the brain-racking process of questioning. How could this have happened? What did we miss? What did I do to cause this? Continue on page 55

There I Was Continued from page 54

On the flight deck, the sight of maintainers and aircrew crowded around the tail pylon suddenly snapped me out of my bout of self-questioning. I took it all in: the visible crack in the baseball-sized glass sight gauge under the starboard side of the tail cowling, disturbingly absent of any indication of oil, the dark orange hue of the oil which now soiled both sides of the tail; and lastly, the pooling of oil at the base of the pylon. More questions arose from our team: How was it found and how much oil is left? One of our dedicated and trusty Plane Captains (PC) discovered a small crack in the TGB sight glass on a routine TA, following the shutdown of the aircraft between flights. After draining the remaining oil, it was determined that approximately 330 mL remained to splash over the helicopter’s tail rotor drive shaft, as it spun at approximately 1,200 revolutions per minute within the gearbox. 330 mL equated to roughly onequarter of the minimum level of servicing required (1200 mL) before an automatic removal and replacement of the tail gearbox is mandatory. No helicopter aviator wishes to imagine gears spinning at unfathomable speeds, then violently seize up due to oil starvation and result in catastrophic gear box failure in flight. Standing on the flight deck never felt so good! The question among the aircrew and maintainers: HOW did the sight

glass suffer the crack in flight? The ground turn and vibration analysis had been completed without issue, as predicted. After aircraft shutdown, the aircrew performed one last aircraft walk-around, specifically noting the tail rotor integrity for popped cowling fasteners or any visible oil leaks, while the final vibration and maintenance paperwork was verified safe-for-flight. Upon my return to the aircraft, the remaining aircrew and maintenance quality assurance representatives completed their final inspections and passed the universal signal for "good-to-go" with exchanged thumbs-ups. In the earlier FCF brief, I informed the crew and the maintenance team that I would not be surprised if this FCF was one of the shortest they have ever seen. In twelve short minutes, the functional check flight was complete. What will probably always haunt me is the suspicion that at some point in the twelve minute FCF, the TGB sight glass fractured and depleted its precious contents into the waters below. Ironically, the night before the incident during maintenance shift turnover, I discussed with my maintenance team of the underscored importance of "the little things." I had challenged each one of them to analyze

their critical procedures for safe aircraft mission execution. This maintenance challenge impacted all hands, especially the youngest of the group, the Plane Captains. Plane Captains have a critically important job: being the last set of eyes on the aircraft before departure. While the exact cause of the TGB glass fracture may be unknown, two things are for certain. First, the Plane Captain’s attention to detail and adherence to standard operating procedures undoubtedly prevented our degraded helicopter from relaunching that afternoon. The second certainty is, that was the day I will always remember that my maintainers saved my life. The backbone of Naval Aviation maintenance is procedures by the book, attention to the detail, and unconditional pride in one’s work. Despite no indications present prior to the twelve minute FCF, the damage that occurred in-flight was promptly recognized once on deck and addressed regardless of the inherent pressures for deployed mission tasking. The fate of that flight came down to a matter of minutes, perhaps even seconds with any prolonged flight might have been disastrous, leading to a seizure of the tail rotor and forcing the aircraft into a violent downward spiral into the water. When any aircraft lifts wheels off deck, executes the assigned mission, and safely lands, remember the technical expertise and manpower required to make Naval Aviation possible.

Just One More Flight Before We Pull into Manila Article by LT Chaz Nelson, USN


urely DESRON doesn’t need us to do SSC eight hours before we pull into Manila, right?” I thought. “Wrong,” was the Air Plan’s reply. It was the 23rd of October and three weeks after our visit to Port Klang, Malaysia and we would be pulling into Manila, Philippines for a four day visit the next morning. The whole crew, LT Rocky Gutierrez, AWR3 Stanislav Oros, and I, were eager to successfully complete this flight. By the time we would land, eat, and complete our post-flight duties, the ship would be almost pierside. At 1930 we convened for the brief. Focus had shifted during the day

from nightly Surveillance, Search and Control (SSC) operations to the popup task of delivering a bag of life rafts to the air detachment aboard the USS Shiloh. The first three hours of the flight would be purely SSC to give the Shiloh time to close the USS McCampbell. The second half of the double-bag would be an approximately 120 mile transit to transfer the life rafts before we would come back to Mom and finally get excited about liberty. During the week, as we had neared the Philippines, the density of the small fishing vessels floating in pairs in the South China Sea had increased tenfold. Looking through


Night Vision Goggles (NVG’s) there would be dozens of bright lights, so we would have to rely on the Forward-Looking Infrared (FLIR) sensor to get a good visual on the contacts. At our 2200 launch time everything was going smoothly. We went ahead and loaded the life rafts early in case Shiloh was closer than briefed. We had been constantly seeking updates hearing as far as 180 miles out but Combat wasn’t able to confirm that number. We launched into a night of clear weather, calm seas, and illumination dim enough that you couldn’t make out the surface of the ocean with the naked eye. Our primary tactic to ensure full coverage was to start at the Northern part of Continue on page 56

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our sector and fly East/West and snake our way down each row of RADAR contacts. We would be able to pick up any smaller contacts that did not show on RADAR this way. The most common contact in the area was the Trimaran. Some of them looked like canoes with outrigging on both sides and others looked much more suited to fishing operations 50 miles from shore. As we picked up the first boat on FLIR, we began to notice what appeared to be a bait box attached by a rope floating about 50 feet behind the boat. Some of the boats had a flashlight that they would shine at us and were lit in accordance to navigation rules. Some were not lit at all but we would come upon their radar signature and find them on FLIR. About one hour into the flight. AWR3 Oros mentioned that he smelled something burning. After a quick check to make sure the aircraft was not going to turn into a fireball over the Philippines we concluded that we were smelling the beginnings of four days worth of tasty Filipino food. It was just strange to smell it so far from shore. We had reached the easternmost edge of our sector and set up for a straight line of four contacts. Directly between two of the contacts in a void of RADAR returns, AWR3 Oros noticed a waving light. He immediately slewed the FLIR in that direction. “This boat looks like it’s sitting really low in the water” he said, “and it looks like they are waving us down.” I quickly pulled up his screen and saw the typical fishing Trimaran we have seen in this area except, as AWR3 Oros stated, there was not a lot of freeboard. It was unlit except for what appeared to be a Tiki torch that the several bodies we could see standing on top of this vessel had put together and lit on fire. Unfortunately, what we had smelled wasn’t tasty food but we had found mariners who appeared to be in distress. LT Gutierrez immediately went into Helicopter Aircraft Commander (HAC) mode. “Chaz, get on the mission change checklist,” he grunted as he strained to look out the right window as we came around for a second look. It was 2330 and we had 2500 pounds of fuel, enough for another 1.5 hours until our “Red Light.” We descended to 200 feet to more clearly

see that the people standing on top of the vessel were even with the height of the outrig floats. This vessel was sinking. Now that we were sure of what was going on we relayed what we saw to the Anti-Submarine/Anti-Surface Warfare Tactical Air Controller (ASTAC) and requested our Detachment Officer in Charge (Air Boss), LCDR Matthew Cole, come down to Combat immediately. Since we were sure we had a real Search and Rescue (SAR) mission on our hands we conducted the SAR checklist in the PCL and set our bingo fuel to get back to the McCampbell which was 20 miles away. We had enough for two hours at max conserve until splash, less than that

make sure the situation doesn’t deteriorate.” Back on the McCampbell, AWR1 Thomas Rowley and AWR3 Bryce Hawley had been fetched from their racks and in a matter of minutes were both dressed out for SAR, one for the aircraft and one to assist with a Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB) rescue. We estimated it would be about an hour until the McCampbell was on station. The SAR asset on the USS George Washington about 30 miles away had been notified and was getting ready to launch. Our next concern was to ensure the survivors were safe while the rescue method was determined. There were three options on the table. Our aircraft could fly back to McCampbell, pick up a Rescue Swimmer and rescue what we had determined


t our 2200 launch time, everything was going smoothly. We went ahead and loaded the life rafts early in case Shiloh was closer than briefed... We launched into a night of clear weather, calm seas, and illumination dim enough that you couldn’t make out the surface of the ocean with the naked eye. Our primary tactic to ensure full coverage was to start at the Northern part of our sector and fly East/West and snake our way down each row of RADAR contacts. We would be able to pick up any smaller contacts that did not show on RADAR this way... As we picked up the first boat on FLIR, we began to notice [s]ome of the boats had a flashlight that they would shine at us and were lit in accordance to navigation rules. Some were not lit at all but we would come upon their radar signature and find them on FLIR.

in the hover. We would be checking off station with enough to head straight in for a landing with Green Deck or with 30 minutes of fuel if we didn’t have it. “Oros, deploy a Mk58 in case their light goes out,” LT Gutierrez ordered. We were ready to relay the picture of what we were seeing down to the ship so our next move was to complete the Automatic Approach Checklist and come into a coupled hover at 80 feet beside the distressed vessel. “Sir, we can get back to Mom, pick up a swimmer, and be back on station in less then 30 minutes!” AWR3 Oros suggested. We relayed his suggestion down Hawklink. The response from Air Boss, who had made it to combat, was “Standby, guys; the ship is requesting to break sector to head your way at full speed,” and, “remain on station and

Rotor Review # 120 Spring ‘13


to be five souls. HS-14 aboard the George Washington could execute the rescue once they arrived on scene. Finally, the McCampbell could execute a rescue via RHIB. Being only 20 miles from the scene (approximately one hour out) in a situation where there was no imminent danger to the fishermen with us standing by in case their vessel sank the rest of the way, the RHIB was deemed the best asset. Our next thought as a crew was to get life rafts in the water to aid the survivors should the situation get worse before the SAR helicopter was on scene. Fortunately, because we were flying with the life rafts for the Shiloh as well, ten in all, we had enough for the survivors and our crew should we need to ditch. We wanted precise placement of the raft upwind of the vessel so it could only get closer to the survivors. We dialed our coupled hover down to 40 feet and AWR3 Oros deployed the Continue on page 56

There I Was Continued from page 56

first life raft. The life raft inflated and made an immediate evasion from any planned point of employment due to the rotor wash. It continued to blow further away as we added power to come back up to 80 feet to continue to observe the survivors. We illuminated the life raft with the searchlight so the survivors could see that we were deploying aid. It seemed the sea anchor was doing its job. We knew the NWP 3-50 said to deploy in a 10/10 creep or a 15 foot hover, but that was for the larger Multi-Person Life Rafts. These were single person LR-1’s. “Let’s try deploying one at 80 feet,” AWR3 Oros said. As AWR3 Oros deployed the raft and the lanyard broke away to shoot the cartridge, nothing happened and the raft fell into the ocean. “Should we try to deploy more?” Since we were holding the Shiloh air detachment’s life rafts, we had eight more rafts to give, use five, and we still had enough for the crew in case of a ditch. The next we deployed at 40 feet and we used the rotor wash to steer the life raft to the boat before the sea anchor got a good hold. The fourth and final life raft we deployed at 80 feet and it landed exactly where we intended. The survivors on the ship had continued to wave their torch as we were hovering close aboard. It had been approximately five minutes from first spotting them until the first life raft was in the water. It took another ten minutes until we had the two functioning life rafts that we dropped close by in the water. From the FLIR imagery we could pick out five survivors standing on the ship. Some of them were waving along with the torch-bearer. After the first life raft was in the water we watched as one survivor was secured to the ship with a rope and swam the 20 yards to hop in the life raft as the others

pulled him back in. The same maneuver was pulled off for the last life raft. The crew of the sinking vessel pulled the life rafts onto the top of the boat which was now resting approximately sea level held up only by the buoyancy of the outrig floats. At 0030, we asked again if we could come back for a swimmer. We were told that the SAR helicopter on the George Washington was spinning up to relieve us. We had 30 minutes until we reached our Red Light. The McCampbell was on station and in the process of lowering the RHIBs “Helldiver” and “Avenger” into the water. The FLIR could pick up the RHIBs going down the starboard side of the ship. The SAR helicopter, Lightning 623, arrived on station ready with swimmers. Of immediate concern was illuminating the survivors so the RHIBs could execute the rescue. The rescue crew on the boats did not have NVGs and therefore would not be able to see Lightning 623’s IR searchlight, so Hover Lights were the immediate substitute. “Will you guys be ready to recover us in the next few minutes?” LT Gutierrez inquired over Hawklink. “Currently conducting RHIB ops,” was the reply. The back of the ship was lit up like Christmas with searchlights on the starboard side of the ship illuminated for RHIB launching. The second RHIB pulled away and the lights dimmed enough for us to continue to land once we got our Green Deck. We landed with 700 pounds of fuel in the tanks. If we were to get any lower we were ready to divert to the carrier for fuel as RHIB ops were a


he survivors on the ship had continued to wave their torch as we were hovering close aboard. It had been approximately five minutes from first spotting them until the first life raft was in the water. It took another ten minutes until we had the two functioning life rafts that we dropped close by in the water. From the FLIR imagery we could pick out five survivors standing on the ship. Some of them were waving along with the torch-bearer.


hindrance. Lightning 623 stayed on station to illuminate the rescue. The RHIB team recovered all five mariners, some of them leaping into the water before the boat arrived even though there was still vessel to stand on. It turns out the survivors had set out for Yellowfin Tuna five days prior and earlier in the night they had begun to take on water. They were taken to the McCampbell and evaluated, given dry clothes, and they were off the ship in Manila nine hours later as the ship pulled into port. For us however, the night was not over. We had just deployed four of the five life rafts meant for the Shiloh so they could be mission capable. Fortunately, the Maintenance Officer of HS-14 was in Lighting 623, so we were able to coordinate with them over the radio to acquire a life raft bag from their squadron on the carrier. We finished fueling on the McCampbell, got an updated position of the Shiloh (130 miles) and launched to get the life rafts on the carrier. We proceeded North to finish the mission we had started hours before. After adding one hour to our scheduled six hour mission, we logged our SSC/SAR/Logistics flight complete. The CRM trait of Adaptability/ Flexibility is one we often discuss and, on almost any flight in the Forward Deployed Naval Forces (FDNF), we can cite an example of its use. The mission change checklist set us up for success; reminding us to confirm our change in mission, set a bingo, and complete other applicable checklists. Once we were at those checklists, we had to alter the set SAR procedures to effect what became more a rescue and less a search. Deploying the individual life rafts was one way in which we met our requirement to ensure the survival of the survivors without executing the actual rescue. The coordination of the ship and air team ensured the most suitable platform conducted the rescue. While our swimmers are always ready to deploy and perform, the teamwork and flexibility shown by all players was ideal. While SSC may be redundant, conducting it day after day, you must be prepared at any minute to change the mission and use the procedures you have memorized.

Rotor Review # 120 Spring ‘13

There I was

All Jammed Up

Article by Justin Pacheco, USN


elicopters are complicated machines. Thousands of parts and hundreds of miles of wires and lines contribute to a working H-60. Navy helicopter pilots spend years studying systems and memorizing limits at the harassment of their instructors. NATOPS publications tend to focus those efforts on the major systems such as engines and transmissions. Generations of pilots create gouge that simplifies the complexity of the H-60. They can take an incredibly complicated system with thousands of moving parts and dumb it down into a block diagram with a couple of lines. Typically when one of those simple blocks or lines fail, NATOPS has an emergency procedure to handle it. How convenient! So what happens when one of those little parts left out of the block diagram fail? Depending on what it is the crew just might find themselves all jammed up. MH-60 Sierras inherited the task of replenishing the ships in our Navy. Everything from ammunition to ice cream is hoisted from the decks of USNS ships to the gray vessels of the USS type. Anyone who gets the opportunity to experience life aboard a USNS ship hauling loads back and forth to the Fleet should count their blessings and enjoy the life while they can. I was definitely counting my blessings. VERTEP flying was great and after a few months of slinging loads our crew could hold our own. During that time however, I started realizing how tough the job could be on our gear. Helicopters operating in that environment are subject to extremely intense demands. Loads can often weigh over 5000 pounds, pushing the very limits of the helicopter’s capabilities. Highly qualified maintainers work hard to keep them flying. LT Jonny Kane, our detachment Maintenance Officer, was always ordering parts and stressing to keep the aircraft up. Pressure always existed to keep two birds flying, but somehow we nearly always pulled it off. You would be surprised how cranky a strike group can get when they run out of toilet paper! One morning off the coast of Japan, the George Washington Strike Group maneuvered into position to receive supplies.

Only a couple of small boys were scheduled that day. I was the first to launch with LTJG Brian Hock about an hour or so before sunrise. Our OIC was LCDR Adam Schultz launching in the second aircraft. Normally the first bird up heads out to the port delta and sets cruise control until the second bird is airborne. Our OIC had a little trouble getting started but eventually after about two hours both of our helos were off deck. If you’ve ever worked with with cruisers and destroyers before then you would probably not be surprised to know that they still weren’t ready to conduct VERTREP even though we were nearly an hour behind schedule. Patiently we waited, as usual. Two hours into the flight we were getting quite a bit lighter because we were lower in fuel. That meant we were prime to start picking some loads. Finally, the ships were ready. The first customer, a destroyer, was about 3 miles astern. Winds were off the starboard side around 10-15 knots. I was in the left seat feeling a little fortunate given the conditions because that meant I would get both the picks and the drops! As we headed in for the pick, the helicopter was working just like advertised, or so we thought. Centered over a load, I increased the collective after it was hooked up. The powerful and light Sierra barely flinched with the added weight. Instruments read well under any limit and I began my transition to forward flight. As I crossed the deck edge I felt something in the collective that was unusual. It felt like I couldn’t raise the collective any higher. As soon as I realized what was happening, it was gone and I had full control again. I mentioned to the crew that I thought for a second I couldn’t raise the collective. Since it happened so fast, I actually thought perhaps I was just being a weakling or perhaps my glove may have prevented the collective trim switch from becoming fully depressed.

Rotor Review # 120 Spring ‘13


Everything was working fine now and no one was concerned. Either way, we were now at about 500 ft AGL and about halfway to the ship with a load under us. It was now time to descend to the customer ship with the first load. The other aircraft was on the way with their load about a minute or two behind us. As I attempted to lower the collective to set up for the drop, to my astonishment the collective felt like it was stuck again! I assumed that my glove was the issue. I clicked the trim release switch and moved my fingers around while pushing down on the collective. It wasn’t my glove. I could not descend. The first reaction, if you can’t descend, is to try and go up. I raised the collective and let the crew know that I had something wrong with the controls. I saw out of the corner of my eye the aircrew jump off the floor and into the seats, taking notice how incredibly fast they moved and strapped into their seats the moment we recognized a problem. Just then the controls felt normal. I could raise and lower the collective with no apparent problems. I waved off the approach to the ship, notified the other aircraft, and then headed out into the starboard delta with the load still swinging under me to troubleshoot. I didn’t want to pickle the load at this point. We began discussing the indication I just felt. The most probable cause of the malfunction in our opinion was a malfunctioning collective trim servo. We secured trim. I was raising and lowering the collective for about five minutes and everything felt okay. At this point we felt were sure that it was a malfunctioning collective trim servo. The customer ship and our playmate were inquiring as to our status. I asked them to standby as we continued to troubleshoot. After a few more minutes of climbs and descents we were confident that the issue was resolved by securing trim. We knew we would have to bring the bird back for repair, but we still had a load underneath of us. Delivering a load without trim isn’t too big of an issue because the majority of the time you’re over Continue on page 59

There I Was line in a simple diagram in our NATOPS OIC and tower then requested a starboard a deck you have the trim releases depressed was failing, it certainly wasn’t making to port approach. The current winds at the anyway. Some appropriate ORM discussions sense to us. Trim was already secured time were okay for both but this would allow took place and the crewmen unstrapped from but clearly was not the problem, so I had me a better wave off route if necessary. In the seats and headed back to the "hell hole" for my copilot turn it back on. I thought hindsight, I should have asked them to break delivery of the load. about a boost servo malfunction but was away. My approach was slower than normal reluctant to turn boost off. If what I was It was time to descend. I tried and soon the load was placed on the deck. The experiencing was a broken, or about to to lower the collective. NOTHING back end of a destroyer is much closer to the be broken, control tube or bell crank in HAPPENED. I pushed harder. I told my crew water line than that of my ship. Waves are only the control routing, I feared the worst. that I can’t descend. I had all of my weight about twenty feet below the helo and the salt The extra forces that boost off creates on the collective and we weren’t descending. spray tends to kick up at those altitudes. The on the controls could finish breaking Just like before, if you can’t descend, you crewmen notified us that the load was on deck off whatever might be coming loose. naturally want to go the other way. I lifted we were cleared to depart. I raised the collective We determined that securing boost was on the collective. It barely moved. I could and pushed the nose forward to head back absolutely the last resort if control could barely climb. My collective was jammed! I towards our ship. Just as I reached translational not be maintained. At this point, I could looked back at AWS2 Reader and told him lift, I felt the collective stick again! This time raise and lower the collective most of its we may not get another shot at this landing we were dangerously low over the water. Trim range again. I had no problems flying so we had better make it count! LTJG Hock was obviously not the issue. Slowly, we climbed max endurance at 75 kts. asked me what I wanted him to do. I told away from the water reaching a safe altitude and Finally, after about 15 minutes, him to call out my VSI and altitude. He then discussed our was excellent. He stayed options. My crew calm and collected. He chief dug around to did exactly what he was wo hours into the flight we were getting quite a see if FOD had gotten told and I’m grateful bit lighter because we were lower in fuel. That in or around the for a copilot that didn’t meant we were prime to start picking some collective stick, but complicate an already loads. Finally, the ships were ready... Winds were off could find nothing. complicated issue. My A box built into the crewmen were making the starboard side around 10-15 knots. I was in the helicopter covers the good calls, though we left seat feeling a little fortunate given the conditions joint of the collective were still about two because that meant I would get both the picks and stick and prevents miles out. I kicked the any FOD from tail out and that gave us the drops! As we headed in for the pick the helicopter getting stuck in the a descent. We managed was working just like advertised, or so we thought. controls. My copilot about 100 feet per minute was on the controls (fpm) max, then quickly and he could feel the discussed what was going stuck collective too. We were quickly finding we had a place to land. I set up on a to happen once we get over the deck. None ourselves in one hell of a jam. very long and easy final about 3 miles of us were sure if we could get down or not. I immediately notified my ship and the behind the ship on a port to starboard My ability to wave off was possible if started OIC that I was indeed experiencing a serious approach. The deck was mostly cleared early enough, but we were all worried that control malfunction. I had only a very small off with plenty of room to land. Besides whatever was wrong with the collective place to land aboard my ship at this point that my OIC and tower, I left out many of could get worse the longer we flew with it I wasn’t comfortable attempting a landing with the details with the ships themselves. and the more we pulled on the collective. a control malfunction. The destroyer was not Radio chatter was bad enough when I The approach felt like an eternity. ready to catch us either. I explained to my OIC reported a control malfunction. Our We inched our way down, and, as we slowed, that I needed somewhere bigger to land, but ship was still in CONREP with another we got a little better descent rate around for the time being we were okay and we could destroyer attached on the starboard side. 300 fpm. It was clear that the collective maintain level flight. He needed to move about I thought about having them conduct was of no use and we were going to shoot ten loads and, with the help of the deck crew, I an emergency break away because that for a no hover landing. As we got over the could expect a spot in about 15 minutes. The destroyer was now blocking my ability deck and into ground effect, the helicopter carrier was out of range for our fuel state, so to wave off if my collective jammed stopped descending. I couldn’t get down. this was the best solution. In the meantime, we again. I didn’t want to wait because We discussed pulling one PCL back to discussed what else may be the problem. we were afraid that I’d lose all control droop down, but as we moved ever so close No indications of any malfunction of the collective the longer we kept to the super structure we lost the wind and Continue on page 60 were present on the displays. If any block or flying. I relayed my intentions to the Continued from page 58



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There I Was Continued from page 59

translational lift. The Sierra softly touched down. Suddenly we were safe. After shutting down the rotors, we all breathed a heavy sigh of relief. Our maintainers began crawling all over the helo trying to determine what went wrong. I was asked to try to move the collective. It was moving again. An extremely loud popping noise could be heard and felt in the controls. No one could figure out what was wrong. Since the OIC’s aircraft was still flying, we folded the bird and stuffed her in the hangar to resume operations with one aircraft. Within about 20 minutes the maintainers had half of the helicopter torn apart and had already found what was causing my control malfunction. I was white in the face as the gravity of the situation rushed back to me as I realized how lucky we were to have landed safely. The threaded end of a simple bolt that connects the collective stick to its pivot point had rubbed its way through a soft protective aluminum housing causing the jam. That box was the same one that prevented us from seeing if any FOD was at the collective joint earlier in trouble shooting. Silvery aluminum dust was apparent all over inside of the joint. A perfect arc was etched into the aluminum housing as the collective moved and rubbed over time. Finally, on that particularly sunny morning in the Philippine Sea, the threads of that bolt finally popped through

and completely seized up my collective. That bolt wasn’t part of any NATOPS drawn block diagram. It never was of interest to me or the rest of my crew until it reared its ugly threads. There was no troubleshooting, no emergency procedure, and no way of knowing that particular bolt was messing with our lives. You couldn’t preflight it, feel it rubbing, or see the dust as it was all closed up in that protective aluminum box. I figured that a HAZREP was likely coming. Could I have done anything better? Was this my fault? Was this our maintainers fault? It really made me sick. The HAZREP was written after a full debriefing from all of the aircrew involved. What was found eased my concern. The real problem lay with that simple bolt and the lack of instruction on its installation. A Technical Publication Discrepancy Report (TPDR) was written to identify the lack of instruction with IETMS. As we found out, the bolt did not have any written instructions on which way it was to be installed. It did have a picture describing which way the bolt was to be installed. However that configuration would ultimately leave the least amount of clearance between the aluminum box and the bolt threads. A technical directive was issued to inspect every single H-60 in

Rotor Review # 120 Spring ‘13


the Navy for evidence of the discrepancy and to ensure the bolt was installed properly providing the most clearance. I don’t know if other helicopters were found to have the same problem, but what we do know is that this particular problem should never happen again. There are literally thousands of moving parts on a helicopter. We have studied and studied how control inputs are made, engines work, and rotors turn. Pilots have reduced incredibly complex systems into block diagrams and lines, formulating emergency procedures when one of those lines or boxes fail. That little bolt, so seemingly insignificant and certainly left off of our simple block diagrams, could have killed my crew and I that day. Luck had much to do with a successful landing as we learned. If the bolt had popped through and jammed at any other point in the collective's travel, this story may have very well ended in obituaries rather than a Rotor Review article. Proper procedures soon followed with HAZREPs and TPDRs to ensure this wouldn’t happen again. I guess it just goes to show that flying helicopters can be dangerous business and that no matter how hard you study and memorize numbers; sometimes your life literally just hangs by a thread. Good luck!


elicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron Fifteen (HM-15) celebrated Women’s History Month, March 3, with a wreath laying ceremony at the Naval Aviation Monument Park in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The event, sponsored by the HM-15 Chief Petty Officer (CPO) Mess, commemorated the 40th anniversary of the first female Naval Aviators. “[Chief Petty Officers] are the ones who remember when we did things and why we did things,” said CDR Mark Leavitt, commanding officer of HM15. “They are the ones that archive the history of this great Navy. This event in aviation is a part of our heritage that we need to hold onto and build on the importance of that date.” Members of HM-15, also known as the Blackhawks, were in attendance during the ceremony. These members included division officers, chief petty officers, first class petty officers of the squadron, and civilian friends and family. All attendees celebrated the accomplishments of women in Naval Aviation. “This organization [Navy] has realized the benefit and value of diversity,” said Leavitt. “Women in aviation make us a more diverse organization.” During World War II, a group of women pilots were pioneers, heroes and role models. They were the Women Airforce Service Pilots, otherwise known as WASPs. They were the first women in history to be trained to fly American military aircraft in the United States. The women were trained to fly non-combat missions in order to free up male pilots to fly combat missions overseas. From 1942-1944, 1,079 women successfully completed training to ferry aircraft, test planes, instruct male pilots and tow targets for anti-artillery practice. These women covered a wide spectrum of social and economic backgrounds.

They were nurses, teachers, secretaries, factory workers, waitresses, students, housewives, debutants, actresses, and there was even a chorus girl. But despite their different backgrounds, they were patriotic, strong in spirit, and had a passion for flying. During the ceremony, the guest speaker, Navy LT Rachel M. Barton, aircraft commander and helicopter pilot assigned to HM-15, quoted Doris Tanner, an original WASP. “The myth of flying was ‘a glamorous, long white scarf flying in the wind; the breeze in your face.’ It was just that - a myth. The routine was backbreaking, hard, dirty work. It strained every ounce of endurance and courage we could muster. The dust and sand ground into our clothes, the sun burned our skin to leathery brown and our hair to dry straw. There were days when we wondered, why not quit and go home? Why didn’t we? Not a question that is easy to answer! Love of flying, love of a never ending challenge, and the pride of having a vital part in the defense of our nation. The desire to release the men for combat and thus ending the war and bring a loved husband or brother home, taking part in defeating the monster Hitler and liberate Europe. None of us knew exactly why, but every one of us loved the excitement and were determined to make it through and win those silver wings.” The WASP program was deactivated Dec. 20, 1944, having flown about 60 million miles in operations. Thirty-eight WASPs were killed during the life of the program, including some in training. Thirty years later, the Navy became the first service to graduate a female pilot. LT Barbara Allen Rainey was the first woman to receive the wings of gold Feb. 22, 1974. Today, more than 54,000 women are on active duty and more than 10,000 females serve in the Reserves. In 2012; 873 women


Squadron Update

Wreath-Laying Honors First Female Naval Aviator

earned their wings of gold and women now comprise 10 percent of the Naval Aviation community. The Blackhawks of HM-15 reached a milestone in female aviation, June 22, 2012. Barton was a part of the first allfemale mine-countermeasure flight that took place in Bahrain. This event was significant, not only because the flight crew was all-female; but also because the maintenance crew was all-female, including the maintenance safe-for-flight chief. This was the first time there were enough qualified females in the same location to comprise a “female-only” mine-countermeasure flight. “Today, women serving in active duty billets have become so accepted that most of us don’t stop to think about it as we go about our daily lives,” said Barton. “It has become something that is accepted as normal. But on days like today, it is nice to take a few moments to stop and think about those who have served before us - the opportunities we now have due to their legacy, and the role that we now play in paving the way for future generations. In order to truly appreciate the life we have today, it’s important to know our past and how far we’ve come.”


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Squadron Update

Celebrating Maintenance Excellence Article by LTJG David Indiveri, USN

Photo by YN3 Narda Duque, USN


he Easyriders of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light Three Seven (HSL-37) celebrated an outstanding achievement of Naval Aviation on 25 February 2013, in receiving the 2012 Sikorsky Helicopter Golden Wrench Award. This award is presented annually to one squadron in each Navy Air Wing that exhibits the highest standards of maintenance excellence of Sikorsky Naval helicopters and recognizes the hard work and dedication of the squadron personnel that support them.

Navy Helicopter Squadron Celebrates 29th Birthday

Article by LT Monica Mondloch, USN


he Island Knights of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron TWO-FIVE (HSC-25) are celebrating their 29th anniversary today. The Navy helicopter squadron, based at Andersen Air Force Base in Yigo, has proudly served the Navy and the Guam community for 29 years, providing 24-hour search and rescue, medical evacuation, aerial firefighting, force protection, and disaster relief services to the entire Northern Mariana Islands region. As the only rescue-capable helicopter unit in the Marianas region, the Island Knights maintain a helicopter and crew on continuous alert. HSC-25

works closely with the US Coast Guard and Guam Fire Rescue, and is ready to assist day or night, in good or bad weather, 365 days a year. In nearly three decades of service, the Island Knights have conducted 1,926 search and rescue flights, saving over 1,200 lives. In just the past month, HSC-25 conducted eight rescue missions, assisting ten people in distress. The Island Knights were recently recognized in the news media for their efforts to rescue a Taiwanese fishing boat captain in challenging weather conditions. While maintaining their continuous search and rescue capability, HSC-25 also trains two detachments

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which deploy from Guam for months at a time to provide logistical and search and rescue support to the US Navy’s Seventh Fleet. These detachments transport supplies, ammunition, and personnel throughout the Pacific Area of Responsibility and provide an armed helicopter capability to the USS Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Readiness Group based in Japan. In addition to their diverse and demanding mission set, the Island Knights also stand ready to deploy a two-helicopter humanitarian relief detachment anywhere in the world within 24 hours should the need arise. Continue on page 63

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Continued from page 62

HSC-25 was commissioned on February 3rd, 1984 as the Providers of Helicopter Combat Support Squadron FIVE (HC-5). Originally based at Naval Air Station Agana, HC-5 flew the H-46D Sea Knight helicopter. When NAS Agana closed in 1996, HC-5 moved to their present location at Andersen Air Force Base. On April 21st, 2005 the Providers were re-designated as Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron TWO-FIVE and took on the call sign Island Knights. With the new name the squadron also transitioned to the Navy’s newest helicopter, the MH-60S Knighthawk. Today the squadron’s 400 highly-trained active-duty Sailors - 70 officers and 330 enlisted personnel - fly and maintain a fleet of ten multi-mission MH-60S Knighthawk helicopters. The squadron executes a diverse mission set, including vertical replenishment of ships at sea, special operations support, combat search and rescue, anti-surface warfare, air ambulance, and maritime interdiction operations. HSC-25 is proud of the squadron’s role in the Guam community and looks forward to another 30 years of service to its people. Island Knight Pride.

HSC-25 Takes Training on the Road to Saipan Article by LT Paul Byrne, USN


ife in Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands can be challenging for Aviators and Aircrewmen trying to finish a training syllabus. Without access to training ranges and facilities like those available to their counterparts in California and Virginia, meeting the requirements of the SWTP syllabus sometimes becomes an exercise in creativity and flexibility for the Island Knights of HSC-25. In December 2012, the Island Knights were faced with the possibility that their primary laser range would be closed for several months due to mechanical issues with the sea-going target platform. With the local range closed, HSC-25 began searching for training opportunities elsewhere. The squadron quickly realized the only alternative to the local range was the Farallon de Medina (FDM) Live Fire Range located 160 miles to the North of Guam and just 50 miles north of Saipan. For fuel planning reasons, the squadron would need to send its aircraft on detachment to Saipan in order to make the greatest use of the time spent at FDM and maximize on the training opportunities there. This would be uncharted territory since no squadron had operated full time from Saipan in many years.

A CH-46 and MH-60S operate off the northern part of Mariana Islands Photo courtesy of HSC-25 Public Affairs Office.

In January 2013, elements from HSC-25, Joint Region Marianas, the Government of Guam, the Government of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, and the 36th Wing of the U.S. Air Force began meeting to finalize plans for establishing a temporary military


presence in Saipan. After many weeks of planning and countless meetings with the various groups involved, an agreement was reached that would assuage the concerns of each while still providing adequate safeguards to an island host unaccustomed to continual military operations involving numerous aircraft and live ordnance. Continue on page 64

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With a solid plan in place and with the full support of the homeguard contingent of the squadron still in Guam, HSC-25 deployed the Det FOUR Junkyard Dogs with two MH60S aircraft and 54 personnel, including seven JTAC operators from Naval Special Warfare Unit One and two instructors from the HSC Wing Weapons School, Pacific, to Saipan on March 3rd, 2013. The detachment began flying Monday afternoon with introductory Close Air Support events using small arms and crew-served weapons. As the week progressed, the crews and their JTAC counterparts incorporated many new training methods, eventually culminating in the use of SOFLAM

designators and ground-based target acquisition techniques, as well as incorporating SCAR training with the CAS events. Over the course of five days, the Island Knights flew 36 SWTP events for Aviators and Aircrewmen involving SCAR and Close Air Support, including a live Hellfire training shot. The Aircrewmen also spent a great deal of time training on aerial gunnery, expending 17,800 rounds of 7.62mm and 9,100 rounds of 0.50-cal ammunition. This included live-fire practice utilizing newly developed Aerial Gunnery patterns with simultaneous employment of door and window guns. Access to the range also permitted the flight crews to make use of the various laser designators

available to the MH-60S, something rarely permitted in Guam. This also allowed the operators from NSWU-1 to practice utilizing multiple methods for marking targets that are not able to be practiced on Guam, including 40mm Grenades, HE and illumination rounds, and tracer and LTM matching. SCAN AND LIKE HSC-25 ON

NAS Lemoore SAR Rides Again Article by LT Thomas Ham, USN


etween 1972 and 2003, the Angels of NAS Lemoore Search and Rescue (SAR) amassed an impressive 948 rescues in the service of the regional community. Flying the H-1, the pilots and rescue crewmen of the Angels gained a reputation as the Navy’s premier mountain flyers. These professionals honed their skills in the rugged peaks of the Sierra Nevada Mountains encompassing both Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks where many a wayward hiker found respite in the form of an orange-clad savior attached by cable to an orange and white Huey. NAS Lemoore pilots also found comfort in the assurance that NAS Lemoore SAR was standing ready to come to the rescue if their day took an unpleasant turn. Despite its impressive accomplishments, the unit was not immune to budgetary and political pressures and was disestablished in 2003. Soon after the Angels’ decommissioning, a movement began to bring SAR back. The herculean efforts

New crew of NAS Lemoore SAR.

Photo courtesy of NAS Lemoore SAR Public Affairs Office.

of many individuals culminated with the official reestablishment of the SAR unit now dubbed the Wranglers on October 19, 2012. The Wranglers exist as a division of the Base Air Operations department and consist of nine pilots, eight Naval Aircrewmen, and two SAR

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Medical Technicians. The first of three MH-60S aircraft arrived in Lemoore in June followed by the others in October and November. Since then, they have been maintained by civilian contractors who have learned their way around the Sierra under the watchful eye of seven active duty Project Oversight / Continue on page 65

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Quality Assurance Representatives. The unit’s personnel have trickled in since October 2011 and have been diligently working with HSC Wing Pacific and their sister SAR units to build every program from scratch, a massive undertaking. Flight operations commenced after a successful Safe to Operate inspection in September and since then, the Wranglers have flown over 300 hours of functional check flights, local area familiarization and training. The unit subsequently passed the crucial Model Manager SAR evaluation in February and is now SAR capable. The Wranglers SAR area of responsibility will once again include the San Joaquin Valley and the High Sierras of Yosemite and Sequoia, as well as Warning Areas

stretching more than 120 miles off the coast of California. At full capability, Lemoore SAR will maintain an alert aircraft and crew at NAS Lemoore and a second at Marina Municipal Airport in Monterey, providing Lemoore Strike Fighter squadrons with the promise of rescue within an hour of parachuting into the always cold Pacific waters. Everyone is cognizant of the work ahead. Aircrewmen have been through rappel training and all pilots are graduates of NSAWC’s mountain flying course. Additionally, three pilots and one aircrewman have flown with the Longhorns of NAS Fallon SAR and have brought back an acute awareness of the challenging and highly technical

nature of high altitude mountain rescue. In spite of the obstacles now conquered and those looming down the road, every member of the Lemoore SAR team is ready to re-establish Lemoore as the go-to SAR asset in California’s Central Valley.


Vanguard Teams Up With the Mine Warfare Center of Excellence Article and Photo by LTJG Nathaniel Swank, USN


s spring arrives like a lion in the Panhandle of Florida so does the Mighty Vanguard of HM-14. Beginning the 27th of February, the MH-53E Sea Dragon, the Navy’s largest helicopter, took to the skies over the white sands of Panama City Beaches conducting Airborne Mine Countermeasure (AMCM) operations in the Joint Gulf Test Range (JGTR). Every year, HM-14 conducts a monthlong VULCAN Exercise (VULCANEX), an annual event that focuses on the Navy’s AMCM capabilities. This exercise allows HM-14 to partner with Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Panama City Detachment (PCD) to advance HM-14’s naval mine warfare effectiveness by qualify pilots and aircrews in essential mission skills. Additionally, the exercise enables a coordinated effort with NSWC PCD to conduct further research and development on mine warfare weapon systems and mission support equipment. This year, beach-goers have watched the mighty MH53E, nicknamed Big Iron, trailing two separate devices in the crystalline aqua waters of the Gulf of Mexico: the MK-106 magnetic and acoustic mine sweeping system and the AN/ AQS-24A mine hunting sonar.

The Mighty MH-53E tows the MK-105 magnetic influence sweep sled to a simulated mine field. The MH-53E hauls the 10,000lb MK-105 magnetic influence sweeping sled, a system uniquely deployable from the Big Iron due to the MK-105's weight and fuel requirements. When the MK105 is combined with the MK-104


acoustic influence sweep system they form the MK-106 combo sweep system. For almost three decades, the MK-106 has proven to be a very effective weapon system used by the Continue on page 66

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U.S. Navy as a way to keep the waterways safe against enemy mine threats. The AN/AQS-24A is the MH-53E's airborne mine countermeasures sonar capability. The AN/AQS24A is the world's only deployed and operationally proven, high-speed airborne mine hunting system possessing high-resolution, side-scan sonar for real time detection, localization and classification of bottom and moored mines at high area coverage rates. Together these systems are vital to the Navy’s ability to locate and destroy sea borne mines. HM-14 proudly flies and trains with NSWC PCD, the technical center of excellence for mine warfare conveniently located on the Gulf of Mexico with direct access to the JGTR operation areas. The Maintainers work on the Big Iron to get her ready for tow as the sun rises Gulf Coast's favorable weather leads to great flying over St. Andrews Bay. SCAN AND LIKE HM-14 ON conditions and the centralized mine warfare expertise between NSWC PCD's and HM-14 results in significant gains in the Navy’s mine warfare readiness. By participating and training in coordinated exercises like VULCANEX-13, HM14 has successfully been able to maintain a mine warfare capability responsible for clearing thousands of miles of water to protect U.S. vessels and keep international shipping traffic flowing through vital sea lanes; all while maintaining a rapidly deployable force capable of operating anywhere in the world within 72 hours.

HSM-71 Squadron Update: Deployment 2012-2013


fter a quick turnaround of only six months from their previous seven-month deployment, the Raptors of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron SEVEN ONE (HSM-71) are once again out at sea. The squadron embarked nine helicopters aboard the USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), and with only a single detachment on the USS MOBILE BAY (CG 53), the Raptors are again busy with an eightmonth surge deployment to the Navy’s Fifth Fleet Area of Responsibility. As an integral part of Carrier Air Wing NINE (CVW 9), HSM-71 continues to support the John C. Stennis’ Strike Group in maritime security operations while honing anti-surface and anti-submarine war fighting skill sets. The Raptors also surpassed 26,000 mishap- free flight hours in February 2013. Among the many challenges of preparing for the surge deployment, the squadron engaged in an underway

sustainment exercise (SUSTEX) in July aboard the USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) and conducted tactical air wing integration training at Naval Air Station Fallon in April. HSM-71 visited Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, on October 4, 2012, as the first port call of the surge deployment. During this visit, HSM-71 invited distinguished visitors on board the USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) and USS Mobile Bay (CG 53) to showcase the MH-60R and raise interest in the new helicopter among representatives from allied nations. In addition to highlighting the strengths of the new platform, the foreign military sales event succeeded in strengthening the military ties between the United States and Malaysia. After a strenuous in-port visit in Kota Kinabalu, the Raptors have

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gone on to enjoy several ports of calls to include Phuket, Thailand; Manama, Bahrain; and Dubai, UAE. As the only carrier strike group deployed throughout the holiday period and flying in support of national security objectives, the Raptors have been focused on the successful completion of our mission. On November 17, 2012, with personnel watching from the flight deck of the USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), HSM71 held an airborne change of command ceremony five hundred feet above the Arabian Gulf. After 18 months in command, CDR Todd Glasser was relieved by CDR Pat Jankowski. CDR Ryan Tewell, a plankowner of the Raptors, rejoined the squadron as the new Executive Officer. During the first half of the surge deployment, HSM-71 successfully conducted Continue on page 67

Squadron Update

An HSM-71 MH-60R prepares for launch from USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) Continued from page 66

over 2,000 mishap-free flight hours, visited multiple countries, transited the Strait of Hormuz, and executed numerous missions capitalizing on the diverse capabilities of the MH-60R. The squadron has also participated in and led several air defense and subsurface warfare exercises with CVW 9 squadrons, coalition partners, and joint theater assets. Along with the USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), the rest of CVW 9, and as the only deployed carrier strike group, HSM71 expects to return from deployment in the spring of 2013. Until their return, the Raptors will be out at sea accomplishing the nation’s tasking in a highly dynamic environment. HSM-71 will continue conducting helicopter operations with professionalism and excellence, living up to the motto, “The First and Finest.”

Hunter vs. Killer: A Romeo and Sierra Dynamic on Straits Transits Written by LT Andrew Myers, USN, and LT Michael Lindsey, USN


ith any deployment of an aircraft carrier and its associated strike group, there is the inevitable administrative requirement to transit from homeport to an area of operations. With today’s focus on operations in FIFTH Fleet, it is nearly inevitable that a carrier will take station in the Arabian Gulf. Doing so requires transit through a narrow passage of water notorious for its unique set of challenges: The Strait of Hormuz. Traditionally, in day-to-day operations, protection of the Strike Group has fallen to fixed wing aircraft, which have the ability to cover large distances in a short amount of time. Their speed enables them to identify potential threats well before they become

a factor for the carrier. However, the geographic constraints of the straits do not lend themselves to this mode of operation, a fact which is made all the more inconvenient by the number of threats a transit can produce. To fill the role, rotary wing aviation steps in with platforms that are well-suited for closein dynamic operations. In the past, the role of protecting the carrier through straits transits has often been supported by a single helicopter squadron. However, with the Navy’s transition to deploying two helicopter squadrons aboard a carrier, the Strike Group of today is much better equipped to handle this lively environment. This increased capability


comes with the requirement for improved coordination, communication, and command and control. Carrier Strike Group THREE, with the USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), is the first in the Navy to deploy the new Romeo and Sierra team. HSM-71 and HSC-8 are on their third deployment as part of Carrier Air Wing NINE. With three deployments to their credit, these two squadrons have incorporated numerous “lessons learned” to continually develop new tactics to make a transit through the Strait of Hormuz a safe and efficient evolution. The strait transit day, “The Superbowl” as we like to call it, begins very early. The day prior, a mass brief is conducted to get both helicopter squadrons caged and ready to go for arguably the most pivotal sequence of Continue on page 68

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events for any carrier squadron. Planning the brief and execution is done several days prior, ensuring that nodes of communication, refueling timelines, targeting priorities and airspace delineation are agreed upon by all players. This plan is briefed up through the Commander of the Airwing to the Admiral for approval. Once approved, the mission is essentially “chair-flown” during the mass brief where any lingering questions are answered. The crews flying early the next morning get together the night prior for NATOPS briefs and then adjourn for the night to rest for the next day’s events. As the newest helicopter in the Navy, the MH-60 Romeo consolidates and enhances many aspects of different helicopters of the past, making it an effective Command and Control platform. The Romeo takes the airborne radar, Electronic Support Measures (ESM), and anti-surface warfare capabilities of the SH-60B and combines them with the carrier-borne dipping sonar capability of the SH60F. Additionally, Romeo pilots begin training as strike controllers in the Fleet Replacement Squadron, and continue that education through a rigorous

training syllabus in their operational fleet squadron. Effective training and 21st century sensors make the Romeo a lethal hunter. The Romeo perches high above the battle space, as the Strike Group begins its approach to the Strait of Hormuz. Using radar, ESM, Link 16 and electro-optical sensors, the Romeo builds the battlespace picture and relays that information to both the commanders aboard the carrier and the Sierras in the striker role. The job of the strike controller is to maintain the situational awareness of the Strike Group and direct assets to investigate or deter a contact from closing the carrier. Typical contacts include merchant vessels carrying oil through the straits, fishing vessels, civilian speed boats running goods from country to country, and Iranian naval ships, small boats, and submarines coming to monitor the strike group as it passes. Each contact is closely monitored until they are well clear and no longer a threat.

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Using MH-60S Block 3Bs, HSC-8 takes the Armed Reconnaissance or “Striker” role during strait transits. Working in sections of two to four, Sierras operate in predetermined sectors; their primary responsibility is investigating tracks and executing pre-planned responses. Using Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) and Link-16, tracks are passed from Romeos to Sierras who remain in visual contact, handing it off as the contact moves into different sectors, until the Strike Group passes well clear. Helicopters operate within close distances of the carrier, which compresses the timelines for reacting to threats heading towards the carrier. Crews are often unable to keep normal standoff distances from traffic and contacts of interest due to the narrow water space of the strait. As a result, constant concern for the Law of the Sea and Rules of Engagement are required. Current threats call for the use of a four-gun configuration (two GAU-21s and two M-240s). The GAU-21 is the primary weapon to dissuade small boats from getting too close to the Strike Group. The MH-60S FLIR can only be controlled by the left seat pilot. This pilot usually spends the majority of the time tracking contacts with the FLIR and passing information Continue on page 69


SQUADRON UPDATES Continued from page 68

back to the carrier. The right seat pilot is primarily at the controls and keeps situational awareness of the surface picture and other aircraft. Between the two available ultra high frequency radios, communication between Sierras is kept on one radio and communication with the strike controller is left for the other. Often J-Voice (Link-16 voice) is used as a third radio. Working with the Romeos, Sierras are given some tactical autonomy, updating the tactical scenario directly to the Warfare Commanders who are ready to interject if required. Moving away from pre-programmed responses, the Romeo and Sierra team work to assess each threat independently and react appropriately to deescalate

the situation. This approach does not necessarily equal less aggressive flying, as crews constantly strive to maintain position and maximum energy on the aircraft, often requiring tight turns. Ironically, non- combatants often require the most effort to remain clear of the formation, especially smugglers attempting to cut through the force. Advances like ROVER, Ku-Band and Video Data Link broaden the abilities of the Strike Group by allowing the Romeo and Sierra to pass real time video feedback to the Warfare Commanders. This increases the Admiral, CAG, and DESRON’s situational awareness on the battlespace and gives them much more time to make decisions.

Working together, the Sierra and Romeo team is extremely effective. Although the Helicopter Master Plan has not yet been fully executed, the HSM/HSC model is already a proven concept. The helicopter squadrons of Carrier Air Wing NINE continue to build upon lessons from the past and forge the way ahead. With continuing advancements in technology and tactics, rotary wing aviation has asserted itself as a factor that plays a vital role in Carrier Strike Group operations. SCAN AND LIKE HSM-71 ON

Fire Scout Unmanned Helicopter: USS Robert G. Bradley Set Deployment Record Article Courtesy of HSC-22 Public Affairs


he U.S. Navy’s MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned helicopter surpassed another milestone in March when the MQ-8B Fire Scout helicopter completed its 600th deployed flight hour while embarked on USS Robert G. Bradley (FFG 49). The unmanned helicopter, part of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 22, logged its 600th deployed flight hour March 31. This record exceeds the previous Fire Scout deployment milestone by 100 hours and will likely climb higher with nearly two months remaining on the frigate’s Mediterranean deployment. This is the fifth sea-based deployment for the MQ-8B.   Fire Scout routinely flies 17 hours per day, while providing a 12-hour realtime Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) orbit to combatant commanders. Robert G. Bradley received communication upgrades allowing the aircraft’s Full Motion Video (FMV) camera feed to be distributed to the ship’s

Combat Information Center (CIC) and to commanders at military installations throughout the world. “The teams of [Robert G. Bradley] and HSC-22 have taken Fire Scout and maritime ISR to a new level,” said CAPT Patrick Smith, Fire Scout program manager at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md. “They tackled multiple sparing, integration and operational issues. Their perseverance demonstrated the significance of maritime based ISR. Fire Scout continues to be in great demand and is answering the call globally via our shipboard deployments.” Smith said the team will continue to take lessons learned and provide improvements to future deployments. “The U.S Navy brings a unique capability to the ISR customer,” said CDR Pete Ehlers, Robert G. Bradley commanding officer. “Fire Scout is a proven technology with greater multipayload and mission capability than smaller UAVs the Navy operates. We are


able to access many areas of interest without adding an undesirable U.S footprint on land.” Since 2006, the Northrop Grummanbuilt Fire Scout system has flown more than 8,000 flight hours – with more than half of the flight hours performing real-world operational tasking during ship-based and land-based deployments within the past 18 months. This deployment also marks the first time that an HSC squadron has deployed with the Fire Scout. Previous deployments have all been conducted by the Helicopter Maritime Continue on page 70 Strike community.

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USMC Update

“I’m extremely proud of our aircraft maintainers and aircrew”, said LCDR Brett Meskimen, HSC-22 detachment officer in charge. “Our active and Reserve Sailors took the lessons from the previous deployments and ran with them. They have set the new standard for future detachments from both communities. We still have a long way to the end of deployment, but it is worth taking a moment to reflect on the hard work and accomplishments of the whole team as they support the needs of the warfare commanders.”


Vmm-365 Flies The Barn

Article by Cpl. Martin R. Egnash, USMC


arine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 365 conducted the largest Osprey flight in the squadron’s history, February 20, 2013. The squadron flew all 10 of its operational MV-22B Ospreys at the same time in what is referred to as ‘flying the barn.’ “It’s slang to call an aircraft hangar a barn,” said VMM-365 Commanding Officer LtCol. Christian Harshberger. “When you fly every one of your aircraft, we call it flying the barn.” The previous largest flight the squadron conducted included a total of seven aircraft in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. Harshberger said the reason for such a large flight was to prepare for a possible upcoming deployment in the future, where the squadron may have to fly their own aircraft across the Atlantic Ocean. “Unless you are deploying on a (Marine Expeditionary Unit), you usually don’t fly your own aircraft, so we wanted to make sure everybody would be prepared for a long flight and all the aircraft were in good working order,” he added. Harshberger said another reason for conducting a training operation on this scale

was for morale. “Being a part of something like this is a source of pride for our whole squadron,” said Harshberger. “Almost the entire squadron was involved in some way. Whether flying in the air or assisting indirectly, flying all our aircraft together in a single formation was a group effort.” More than three dozen crew chiefs actively flew during the flight. “I’m proud that I get to play a part in all this,” said Sgt. Chad Tompkins, VMM-365 Osprey crew chief. “We work hard and we work as a team here. It’s a good feeling when your hard work is acknowledged and the command has enough faith in all of us to take out every one of our aircraft, and fly them at the same time.” The VMM-365 Marines faced obstacles along the way to make this historic flight possible. “Whenever we fly in a formation, crew chiefs have to be watchful for the other aircraft positions,” said Tompkins. “The difficulty rises with each aircraft because there’s more to look out for and more potential

Rotor Review # 120 Spring ‘13


problems. I flew in the lead aircraft, so it is especially important that we are in a good position, because all the other aircraft base their positions on us.” Six of the 10 aircraft flew for more than six hours, stopping only once to perform a tactical landing. “In addition to giving us extra training, we did it to prove that we could,” said Harshberger. “Seeing 10 Ospreys landing in close proximity to each other at the same time is an impressive sight.” To keep the Marines in the air, six of the Ospreys conducted air-to-air refueling with two KC-130 Hercules with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 252 from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point. “One of the primary reasons we utilize the Osprey is its ability to refuel while in the air,” said Harshberger. “The only limiting factor in how far or long they stay in the air is its crew.” On the flight back to the Marine Corps Air Station New River, each aircraft flew half a mile behind each other. This created a five-mile chain of Ospreys flying together. “Nothing says America like 120,000 shaft horsepower flying through the air,” said Harshberger. SCAN AND LIKE VMM-365 ON


Wolfpack Shows Off Heavy Haul Prowess Article by Cpl. Melissa Wenger, USMC


arines with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 466, Wolfpack, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, took to the air Feb. 28 to perform a training evolution here, where pilots, crew, and a helicopter support team practiced external lifts with a CH-53E Super Stallion. External lifts allow HMH-466 to quickly get large cargo to their “customers” without having to land the helicopter. “We have a max capacity of 36,000 pounds that we can lift,” said 1st Lt. Devin O’Neal, a pilot with HMH-466 and a Stafford, VA, native. “In combat, we can move anything from beans and bullets to band-aids externally across the battlefield.” For training purposes, landing support specialists attached a 6,200-pound load to a single-point sling suspended from the belly of the Super Stallion. “We were just picking up steel high beams today, but the object you’re picking up is

not really the big deal, it’s the weight of it and how aerodynamically it flies,” said O’Neal. “Today, we were training just to do precision hovering over a load to allow the Marines underneath, the HST, to hook up the load.” The crew chiefs observe the conditions at the front and tail ends of the aircraft to warn pilots, who have a limited range of vision from the cockpit. “We fly a 100-foot helicopter and when we pick up the external load, it’s approximately 25 feet behind where we sit, so we really can’t see the load once we fly over it,” said O’Neal. “Our eyes are the crew chiefs. The communication between us and the crew chiefs is really vital and we couldn’t pick up the load without them.” As for the pilots and crew chiefs, they only make it look easy.

“It’s actually pretty strenuous for us,” said O’Neal. “Flying up at 3,000 feet straight and level isn’t really tasking on the pilot or on the crew because once the helicopter is in flight, it’ll generally fly on its own. With something like this, the crew is very, very involved. They have to be eyes out 100 percent of the time. For us up front, it’s a lot of small movements and adjustments.” SCAN AND LIKE HMH-466 ON

Article by PO3 David Weydert, USCG


he Coast Guard is responding to a distressed fishing vessel approximately 15 miles east of Assateague Island, Md., Wednesday. A man located on a life raft has been rescued by an aircrew aboard an MH60 Jayhawk helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C, and two other men are reported missing. Coast Guard 5th District watchstanders initially received an emergency position indicating radio beacon alert from the 67-foot fishing vessel Seafarer at 10:39 a.m.

The watchstanders contacted the vessel’s owner, who believed that the Seafarer had become disabled and the vessel’s sister ship started towing the Seafarer. It was reported that the the ship lost the tow and sight of the Seafarer when weather conditions worsened. Watchstanders dispatched a crew aboard an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City to the Seafarers reported position. Once on scene, the aircrew recovered one man from a life raft and took him to Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury, Md.


A 47-foot Motor Life Boat crew from Coast Guard Station Chincoteague also deployed to search the area. On scene weather is reported to be 30 to 40 mph winds and eight to 12-foot seas. SCAN AND LIKE USCGAS Elizabeth City ON


Coast Guard Rescues 1, Searches for 2 from Fishing Vessel Off Eastern Shore

Rotor Review # 120 Spring ‘13

Their History, Heroics and Humor

Written by Barbara Marriott, Ph.D - Book Review by CAPT Vincent C. Secades, USN (Ret)


he 1st of April 1948 the U.S. Navy established its first operational helicopter squadrons, Helicopter Utility Squadron ONE (HU-1) and Helicopter Utility Squadron TWO (HU-2), at NAS Lakehurst, NJ. This event marked the culmination of a naval helicopter development process that had started in the early 1940s. During those years a small group of rotorcraft pioneers nurtured the new flying contraptions from experimental machines to practical aircraft capable of performing valuable missions in support of fleet operations. In 1946 the Navy took a step toward the consolidation of air development work, until then being performed at various air facilities and fleet units. Four new air development squadrons were established. The third squadron, VX-3, the Helicopter Development Squadron, was established at NAS New York (Floyd Bennett Field) on 1 July 1946. Its mission was to continue the helicopter development work that the Coast Guard had started in 1943 under the leadership of CDR Frank Erickson, to develop the tactical employment of helicopters, and to train new helicopter pilots and mechanics. VX-3 moved to NAS Lakehurst on 10 September 1946. The success of VX-3 in demonstrating the new capabilities that helicopters could bring to the fleet convinced Navy leaders that it was time to create operational helicopter units. Thus, in that historical event on 1st April 1948, VX-3 was disestablished and

its personnel transferred to the two new operational squadrons. As soon as organized, HU-1 moved to the West Coast. HU-1 and HU-2 were soon proving their value by performing a wide range of missions, which included personnel and cargo transfers, icecap reconnaissance, radar calibration, torpedo tracking, aerial photography, and many others. The “signature” helicopter mission, however, was search and rescue. Ever since CDR Erickson had flown the first helicopter mission of mercy on 3 January 1944, helicopters had proved again and again to be uniquely capable of rescuing people in distress. In 1947 Dimitry Viner, Sikorski’s chief test pilot, had proved to the Navy the value of helicopters in the plane guard role during carrier air operations. It was the search and rescue mission that gave the two new squadrons their moniker as “Fleet Angels.” In 1965 Navy helicopter utility squadrons were redesignated helicopter combat support (HC) squadrons. HC-2 moved to NAS Jacksonville, FL, late in 1973. In her engaging book, Barbara Marriott gives the reader a captivating year-by-year account of the most significant events and achievements of HC-2 during the squadron’s twenty-five and a half years at NAS Lakehurst. Her collection of anecdotes runs the gamma from easy and uneventful rescues, to humorous stories, to gripping narratives of dramatic, sometimes tragic events. She tells the story of LTJG John W. Thornton, an HU-2 pilot who received the Navy Cross for his heroic deeds in Korea in 1950. He was the first U.S. Navy helicopter pilot to become a prisoner of war. Two of the most hazardous environments that HU-2 crews faced in their deployments were the Arctic and the Antarctic. The ice pack presented a constant hazard to the icebreakers. When damaged, a ship ran the risk of being trapped in the

Rotor Review # 120 Spring ‘13


Book Review

The Fleet Angels of Lakehurst

icecap for a winter with limited resources and without the possibility of rescue until the following summer. Thus, a damaged ship could quickly evolve into a dire situation requiring extreme efforts to bring relief before the winter set in. Additionally, the notorious North Atlantic storms could make ship transits extremely difficult. These scenarios forced the crews of the small HU-2 detachments to perform their duties under highly stressful situations in a very unforgiving environment. Some aircrews paid the ultimate price for their efforts. In several segments in her book, Marriott vividly and eloquently tells the story of these HU-2 detachments deployed at the very extremes of the world. In some segments Marriott deals with the lack of understanding of the operational envelope limitations and unique requirements of helicopters exhibited by many fixed wing aviators and surface sailors, and the difficulties and hazards that this lack of appreciation imposed on the helicopter crews. She also anecdotally illustrates the keen sense of humor that helped these helicopter crews cope with the aggravations that came with their jobs. The majority of the segments in her book deal with rescues, both at sea and on land. Many of these rescues went smoothly, and the survivors were brought to safety in a short time. Other segments, however, recount very difficult, dramatic, and sometimes tragic search and rescue efforts, the combat search and rescue episodes in Vietnam particularly, where the aircrews had to display extraordinary airmanship and perform heroic deeds to complete their mission. She also tells the story of many medical evacuations, both at sea and on land, performed under extraordinarily difficult conditions. In her prose, Marriott very skillfully captures the drama in these events. Her narratives are moving and compelling. In June 1972 hurricane Agnes moved into New York. It became a tropical storm that stalled over central Pennsylvania and dropped torrential rains over the region. In Pottstown the Schuylkill River rose and flooded the town. For four days, flying day and night nonstop Continue on page 73

Book Review

Continued from page 72

under the most adverse conditions imaginable, HC-2 flight crews responded to the calls for help from citizens stranded in their houses, many times on the rooftop, watching the strong river current rising and threatening to grab and wash them away. The HC-2 crews rescued a total of 611 people during those four days. Marriott’s recount of this event is a powerful and gripping narrative that clutches the reader’s attention. It is impossible to read this segment and not feel proud of these men and our Navy. As Marriott tells us, a Pottstown resident put it succinctly but very eloquently, “Thank God the Navy was here.” A tribute to the officers and enlisted men of HU-2, this enjoyable and inspiring book is an easy read that will delight readers who are interested in the history of helicopter naval aviation and want to absorb the essence of helicopter combat support duty in the U.S. Navy.

The Fleet Angels of Lakehurst. Author: Barbara Marriott

Loose Leaves Publishing, LLC, Tucson, AZ 2012, soft cover, 193 pages, illustrated


The Navy Helicopter Association, Inc was founded on 2 November 1971 by the twelve rotary wing pioneers listed below. The bylaws were later formally written and the organization was established as a nonprofit association in the State of California 11 May 1978. In 1987 the bylaws were rewritten, changing the name from Navy to Naval to reflect the close relationship of the rotary wing community in the Coast Guard, Marine Corps and Navy, from initial training to operating many similar aircraft. NHA is a 501 ( C ) (7) nonprofit association.

NHA Founding Members CAPT A.E. Monahan CAPT M.R. Starr CAPT A.F. Emig Mr. H. Nachlin

CDR H.F. McLinden CDR W. Staight Mr. R. Walloch CDR P.W. Nicholas

CDR D.J. Hayes CAPT C.B. Smiley CAPT J.M. Purtell CDR H.V. Pepper

Objectives of NHA Provide recognition and enhance the prestige of the United States Naval vertical flight community. Promote the use of vertical lift aircraft in the U. S. Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. Keep members informed of new developments and accomplishments in rotary wing aviation.


Rotor Review # 120 Spring ‘13

The newest naval helicopter pilots going to the fleet

WINGING CLASS 14DEC12 Third Row: CDR. Paul D. Bowdich, USN; 1st Lt. Christopher Troke, USMC; ENS Alexander Zaccaria, USN; ENS Amy E. Davis, USN; ENS Austin J. Lugo, USN; 1st Lt. Timothy S. Meldahl, USMC; CAPT James Fisher, USN. Second Row: LtCol. Robert S. White, USMC; CAPT Sarah K. Horn, USMC; ENS Claire M. Calaway, USN; ENS Ryan D. Jarvis, USN; LT Kelly A. Winslow, USCG; 1st Lt. Kyle A Whitlock, USMC; CDR Timothy Kinsella, USN. First Row: CDR Christopher L. Pesile, USN; LTJG Christina M. Carpio, USN; ENS Alvin J. Bueno, USN; ENS Alicia R. Willms, USN.

WINGING CLASS 11JAN13 First Row: LTJG Thomas Madson, USN; ENS Timothy Musmanno, USN; LTJG Eric Ruby, USN; ENS Kerry Brady, USN; 1st Lt. Andrew Duwell, USMC; 1st Lt. Kahleel Richards, USMC; 1st Lt. Patrick Mchugh, USMC; ENS Tony Leguia, USN; Lt. Jason Joll, USCG; 1st Lt. Erich Dehart, USMC; ENS Andrew Powanda, USN; LtGen. Robert Milstead, Jr., USMC, Deputy Commandant Second Row: CDR Christopher Pesile, USN, CO HT-28; 1st Lt. William Wilhite, USMC; LTJG Aaron Stroud, USN; LTJG. David Blue, USCG; ENS Jordan Dennis, USN; ENS Christopher Hoffmann, USN; Capt. Genevieve Studer, USMC; ENS Zachary Bauer, USN; ENS Nore Habib, USN; 1st Lt. Gregory Rollins, USMC; ENS Wesley Sterrett, USN; ENS Ian Flowers, USN; LtCol. Robert White, USMC, CO HT-18. Third Row: CDR Paul Bowdich, USN, CO HT-8; ENS Brian Paskey, USN; ENS Robert Review 120USN; Spring 76 Fleischer, USMC; Ensign Brendan Hinz, USN; ENS Michael Cofsky, King,Rotor USN; ENS Brian # Kidd, ENS ‘13 Francis Atkinson, USN; 1st Lt. Kevin USN; ENS Bryan Collins, USN; 1st Lt. Branden Mcgaha, USMC; ENS Matthew Weber, USN; LTJG Michael Watson, USN; 1st Lt. Jonathon Bouska, USMC; Col. James Grace, USMC, CO CTW-5.

Continued from page 74


First Row: 1st Lt. Michelle Shoenberger, USMC; ENS Jeffrey Ouimette, USN; ENS Ryan Stewart, USN; 1st Lt. Tyler Mcguire, USMC. Second row: CDR Christopher Pesile, USN, CO HT-28; CDR Paul Bowdich, USN, CO HT-8; CDR Richard Hancock, USCG, OPSO, USCG Air Station (HITRON) Jacksonville, FL; LtCol. Robert White, USMC, CO HT-18; Col. James Grace, USMC, CO TW5


First Row: CDR Christopher Pesile, USN, CO, HT-28; 1st Lt Christopher Mulattieri, USMC; 1st Lt. Madison Stumpp, USMC; LTJG Lamont Earnest, USN; ENS Brittany Gilmartin, USN; Lt Col. John Payne II, USMC, FITU OIC. Second Row: LtCol Robert S. White, USMC, CO, HT-18; ENS Tracy Fridye, USN; 1st Lt Derek Munoz, USMC; LTJG Daniel Efinger, USN; 1st Lt Thomas Dudro, USMC; LTJG John Post, USCG. Third Row: CDR Paul Bowdich, USN, CO, HT-8; Lt. Matthew Diiulio, USCG; 1st Lt Chad Mckie, USMC; ENS Austin Wood, USN; ENS Clinton Ramsden, USN; ENS James Helvey, USN; Col. James Grace, USMC, Commander, TW-5. 77 Rotor Review # 120 Spring ‘13

Continued from page 75


First Row: CDR Christopher Pesile, USN, CO, HT-28; ENS Danielle Redmond, USN; ENS Sonia Herrera, USN; ENS Paul Ellison, USN; LT j.g. Emilie Torielli, USCG; LT j.g. Andrew Snyder, USCG; ENS Ameer Mulcahy, USN; 1st Lt Peter Schrader, USMC; ENS Rebekah Alford, USN; LT j.g. Megan Dillon, USCG. Second Row: LtCol. Robert S. White, USMC, CO, HT-18; ENS Bruce St. John, USN; Lt. Jesse Keyser, USCG; ENS Matthew Vanlandingham, USN; 1st Lt Jason Constance, USMC; ENS Bernard Picha, USN; 1st Lt Preston Curry, USMC; ENS Clayton Shaw, USN; 1st Lt Dominic Iacopino, USMC; RADM. Mark H. Buzby, USN, CDR, MSC. Third Row: CDR Paul Bowdich, USN, CO, HT-8; ENS Warlin Marte, USN; 1st Lt Randy Sample, USMC; ENS Ian Thamm, USN; Lt. j.g. Zachary Brown, USCG; ENS Samuel Calaway, USN; Lt. j.g. Jason Maddux, USCG; ENS Allan Lutz, USN; ENS Cody Monroe, USN; Col. James Grace, USMC, Commander, TW-5.


First Row: CDR Christopher Pesile, USN, CO, HT-28; LTJG Margarete Groll, USN; ENS Katherine Quail, USN; ENS Jessica Maxwell, USN; ENS Kathleen Andrews, USN; 1st Lt Cristina Polley, USMC; Lt. j.g. Rachel Kuffel, USCG. Second Row: Lt Col Robert S. White, USMC, CO, HT-18; ENS Hector Colunga, USN; 1st Lt. Anthony Ciochetto, USMC; 1st Lt. Christopher Green, USMC; 1st Lt. Vincent Jochen, USMC; Ensign Jason Falk, USN; 1st Lt. Colum Dunleavy, USMC; CAPT Richard Catone, USN (Ret).Third Row: CDR Paul Bowdich, USN, CO, HT-8; 1st Lt# Andrew Taulbee, ‘13 78 Rotor Review 120 Spring USMC; ENS Clinton Brown, USN; Lt. j.g. Jared Hylander, USCG; ENS Travis Boller, USN; 1st Lt Timothy Haynes, USMC; ENS Michael Holl, USN; Col James Grace, USMC, Commander, TW-5.

Colonel James D. Grace, USMC Commissioned August 1982 - Retired March 2013

Colonel Grace was commissioned a Second Lieutenant through the Officer Candidate Course in August 1982 and became a a Naval Aviator in June 1984 after finishing first in his Naval Flight Training class and subsequently appointed to the Commodore’s List with distinction. He flew UH-1N Hueys doing his tour with HMT-303 and was promoted to First Lieutenant. He did two tours in Okinawa, Japan with HMA-369 where served in the Operations and Logistics Departments and later promoted to Captain. After six months in Okinawa, Colonel Grace cross-decked to HMLA-267, Detachment A, remaining as their Operations Officer. After eleven consecutive months in Okinawa, Colonel Grace was transferred to 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division, Camp Pendleton, California for duty as a Forward Air Controller for this special operations capable, infantry battalion. In October 1989, Colonel Grace was transferred to HMT-303 where he served as Flight Instructor for newly designated UH-1N pilots. And during his fourth tour in Japan, Colonel Grace performed duties as the Group Aviation Safety Officer and Assistant Group Operations Officer and later he was promoted to Major. His other tours of duty were Logistics Officer, Aircraft Maintenance Officer, and Executive Officer of HMLA-167. He participated in NATO’s OPERATION JOINT ENDEAVOR, in Bosnia Herzegovina during his tour with HMM-266 and OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM (OIF) as Commanding Officer of HMLA-167. Under his leadership, HMLA-167 became the first Marine helicopter squadron to enter Iraq during OIF. Later he was transferred to the Joint Chief of Staff Office as the Joint Staff J3 Division Chief for Central Command where he responsible for facilitating U.S. Central Command’s operations in IRAQI FREEDOM and ENDURING FREEDOM. In June 2007, Colonel Grace was selected to become HQMC’s Director of Safety. He was then assigned to Training Air Wing FIVE as Deputy Commander in March 2010, where he later became Commander of TRAWING FIVE in September 2011.

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Rotor Review # 120 Spring ‘13


Perspective From NATOPS

Using Command Climate and Safety Culture (C3) to Maintain Readiness Article by LCDR Ryan “Gassy” Hayes, USN

Readiness and Risk


he extent to which Naval Aviation will be impacted by sequestration has yet to be determined. Whether your squadron is ramping up for deployment, maintaining the “tactical hard deck”, or temporarily shutting down, you will undoubtedly face new challenges and risks in the new fiscal environment. Both an increase and decrease in OPTEMPO introduce risks to flight operations and daily squadron life. In the recent Aviation Safety message from Commander, Naval Air Forces, VADM Buss asks the Fleet to take a mental pause to reflect upon the risks that we face in Naval Aviation. Every aircraft mishap is a reminder that aviation is inherently unforgiving. Recent mishap rates are trending higher than in previous years, and this is before the effects of sequestration are realized. From a TYCOM perspective, understanding the causal factors behind mishap trends is a key element to reducing mishaps. The FY 2012 Top 5 Unit Self Assessment inputs collected across Naval Aviation identified high OPTEMPO as the primary known risk to squadron operations. The increased operational pace that squadrons are maintaining now is resulting in fatigue of both personnel and material resources. Manning shortfalls, specifically in journeymen and supervisors, compound these challenges.

For deploying squadrons, it is imperative that you continue to identify and manage these known risks. However, understanding the unknown risks associated with lower operational tempos is a new challenge to Naval Aviation. Non-deploying squadrons may be reduced to a low level known as the tactical hard deck. The tactical hard deck is the minimum monthly flight hours per crew required to maintain a baseline of safety and proficiency in the aircraft. Squadrons funded to this level are expected to maintain basic mobility readiness for all assigned aircrew. The focus of these precious flight hours must be on familiarization maneuvers, emergency procedures, crew resource management and risk management. Avoid the temptation to train beyond tactical proficiency, but instead emphasize maintaining core competency in the basics, to include NATOPS and instrument qualifications. Any squadron funded to tactical hard decks or required to stand down will be provided with the necessary resources and time to safely increase operations prior to re-entry into the FRTP cycle. Regardless of the impacts of sequestration, all squadrons can expect to continue doing more with fewer resources (manning, flight hours, simulator availability, parts, TAD funds, etc.). Squadrons need to find ways to maximize the value every precious flight and simulator

hour allocated. Efficient use of available simulators and robust ground training will help mitigate risks associated with lower flight hours. Every maintenance action needs to be a training evolution that reinforces established procedures. Adherence to NATOPS, SOP, 4790.2 and other governing policies is more important than ever. Commanding Officers need to make objective assessments of the unit’s readiness and conduct proper risk decisions prior to commencing any operation. Truth in readiness reporting and open dialog about safety concerns with leadership is vital to keep the chain of command appraised of the challenges you face. The long and short term impacts to individual pilots and aircrew, if any, are not yet known. Policies governing minimum flight time, instrument rating requirements, and NATOPS checks may need to be revisited for units operating below tactical hard decks. Career progression and reaching milestone qualifications need to be carefully managed by Commanding Officers. It will take the combined effort of the Fleet, Type Wings, and TYCOMs to develop a road map that maintains the highest standards for Naval Aviation as we proceed further in this unprecedented fiscal climate.

Command Climate and Safety Culture (C3)

Safety statistics have clearly highlighted a direct correlation between a squadron’s Command Climate and Safety Culture (C3) and mishap rates. This fact cannot be overstated. While Class A and B mishaps Continue on page 79

The Next Issue of the

focuses on "Ready Warfighters... 2013 Symposium Highlights of the Employment of Rotary-Wing Strike Capabilities." All photo, video, and article submissions need to be sent no later than June 13, 2013 to your Rotor Review community editor or NHA Design Editor. Any further questions, please contact the NHA National Office at 619.435.7139 or

Rotor Review # 120 Spring ‘13


Perspective from NATOPS

An HSC-28 MH-60S conducting air operations with USS Kearsarge (LHD 3). Photo by MC3 Sabrina Fine. Continued from page 78

tend to get most of the attention, they are just the tip of the iceberg. The Class C mishaps, HAZREPs, and countless near-mishaps that go unreported are caused by the same causal factors seen in flight related mishaps – and most are absolutely preventable. Creating a healthy climate and culture is the first line of defense against mishaps. Squadron morale plays an important role in maintaining the highest standards across Maintenance, Operations, Safety and Training. It is accepted that 80% of mishap causal rates have elements of human error, particularly lack of communication, inadequate supervision, and failure to follow existing procedures. A strong Command Climate and Safety Culture (C3) will create an environment that fosters communication up and down the chain of command, promotes synergy in all squadron operations, and reinforces by-thebook practices. Affecting culture requires human interaction. There is no substitute for personal attention and engagement of officers and supervisors – this is the quintessential role of leadership. Although Naval Aviation faces new challenges in this uncertain fiscal environment, there is no need to create new

safety programs. The Safety Tools available to you now will help you identify and manage risks within your command if properly employed. The Safety Survey systems (ASAP, CSA/ MCAS, Cultural Workshop, and NSC Safety Surveys) will help you better understand and develop your command climate and safety culture. ASAP provides the unit CO with timely, actionable feedback from aircrew and maintainers to address issues at the lowest level. MCAS/CSA surveys provide an in-depth assessment that can identify trends and provide leadership with necessary inputs to improve the safety climate. NATOPS Evals, CRM assist visits, cultural surveys, and Safety Center Inspections provide additional objective reviews of squadron operations and policies. Safety does not exist in a vacuum – it exists to increase readiness and effectiveness across all aspects of the unit’s operations. Each safety program will enable leaders to identify and manage risk in order to provide the warfighters with the necessary resources


to accomplish the mission. The demand signal for naval rotary wing aviation will continue to be high in every theater of operations, regardless of the fiscal challenges we face. Take the necessary pause now to focus on your Command Climate and Safety Culture. Review your current policies and find ways to improve upon the existing safety tools readily available. Be ready when called upon, and never compromise safety.

Fly, Fight, Win. LCDR Hayes is the Force NATOPS Officer, Commander, Naval Air Forces Pacific and the Membership V.P. of Naval Helicopter Association. Read his column on page 7.

Rotor Review # 120 Spring ‘13

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Rotor Review # 120 Spring ‘13


(version 2013 rev 2)


CAE is the prime contractor responsible for providing the United States Navy with comprehensive MH-60S and MH-60R training systems. For almost a decade now, CAE has worked closely with the Navy as its helicopter simulation partner. As the Navy prepares to increase the level of simulation-based training for aircrews and perform a technology refresh on its helicopter training systems, trust a company with the flexibility and proven commitment to working with the Navy as a true partner. Our capacity, experienced resources, and technical approach will all add up to lowering risk and minimizing simulator downtime so the Navy can continue to prepare its helicopter aircrews for mission success.

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one step ahead

83 Rotor Review # 120 Spring ‘13

Time Flies When You’re Leading a Revolution. Sikorsky’s X2 Technology™ Demonstrator has earned the company its second Collier Trophy in less than a decade. We are honored, and more inspired than ever to continue the Sikorsky legacy of game-changing breakthroughs in performance, innovation and safety.


Rotor Review # 120 Spring ‘13

RR120 digital  

RR120 focuses on a highly debated topic “Doing More without More.” It is about the naval helicopter community finding ways to cope with toda...

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