In regards to an article that appeared on Aviation Today [www.aviationtoday.com] on Oct. 16, “Prelim on Fatal HEMS Crash,” which discusses the NTSB report on the Sept. 25 helicopter EMS crash in South Carolina, I’d like to note that all night HEMS operations [should] be conducted under IFR with a two pilot crew. This recommendation was made several years ago to the FAA, and until this is changed, the night accident rate for HEMS operations will not decrease.
I’d like to ask a question about the “Last U.S. Army Operational UH-1 Huey Gone” story (see Rotorcraft Report, November 2009). In the article, LTC Maureen Bellamy stated that the last operational Huey in the service was 0-21776. If that is the case, then I would like to know what the seven Hueys at the National Training Center in California are used for. There are also others on active duty that are operational as well.
I just wanted to make a comment regarding the “Last U.S. Army Operational UH-1 Huey Gone” article. While it’s quite a momentous occasion to mark the departure of the UH-1 as an operational aircraft from the inventory, please bear in mind that the medevac unit of the 5th Aviation Battalion at Fort Polk, La. is still using this aircraft. Currently, it actively serves here in the Fort Polk area, as well as supporting USMC medevac operations at Eglin AFB in Florida. We have started to receive our UH-72 helicopters, like the DC National Guard has, but since we’re not complete yet, we operate a mix of both in that company. Something that might have been nice to know was who the crew was that flew the last one away from the guard. We’d be happy to let you know when our last UH-1 goes away so that an accurate tally can be maintained as the last ones disappear from service. Thanks for allowing us the opportunity to comment.
CW4 Mark C. Mestre
5th Aviation Battalion
Aviation Safety Officer
Douglas Nelms, writer of the above mentioned article, responds:
The October 2 “Fly Away” ceremony for the U.S. Army’s last UH-1 Huey was actually for the last Huey assigned to an operational, or TOE (Table of Organization and Equipment) unit. There are still UH-1 Hueys flying in non-operational, or TDA units, although those are also scheduled to be phased out soon. The Army classifies TOE units as tactical units directly involved in war-fighting activities, such as infantry, artillery, armor, engineer, etc. TDA, or Table of Distribution and Allowances, units are primarily fixed facility non-tactical support elements, such as security and support (S&S) Bns or training units.
Douglas W. Nelms
Rotor & Wing
In response to a Nov. 6 news brief on Rotor & Wing’s website [www.aviationtoday.com/rw] titled “Senior Officials: No VH-71 Helicopter Funding,” I’d like to say that it’s a shame that the Obama Administration only looks to say things that they believe will improve their image instead of doing what is right for the country. There’s no reason to cancel the current program. If the cost is too high, then change the current requirements. If the requirements are not going to change, then there is no other aircraft that can meet the current requirements without substantially costing more then the existing program.
On page 33 of our HTAWS article in the November 2009 issue, pricing for the Honey- well Mk XXI EGPWS and Mk XXII EGPWS were listed at $25,000 and $125,000 respectively. Although fact-checked prior to publication, Honeywell informed us the pricing for the Mk XXI is $16,889 and for the Mk XXII is $51,593—considerably less than what was published. To Honeywell, and anyone who may have experienced sticker shock, please accept our apologies.
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R&W’s Question of the Month
Will the helicopter business bounce back in 2010? How do things look for your operation going into a new year?
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