R&W’s Question of the Month

What do you think of the U.S. Air Force’s choice of the Chinook as its next-generation combat search-and-rescue helicopter?

Let us know, and look for your and others’ responses in a future issue. You’ll find contact information at the bottom of the page.


Is the West at War?

Thank you for the essay on the public attitude toward combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan ("Is the West at War?," November 2006, page 4). Such thoughts as you wrote come to mind every time I get on highways and observe the traffic!

I am disappointed that, in my opinion, a majority of American citizens who make an effort to vote do so out of emotion rather than on the basis of knowledge of facts and candidates’ stands on issues.

Charles Nicholson


Aviation Safety Counselor

Senior Aviation Medical Examiner

Concord, N.C.

Combat Search and Rescue?

Nice cover pick for the November 2006 issue, but this is a real combat search-and-rescue (CSAR) helo! U.S. Navy MH-60S, two M240 7.62mm machine guns from the gunners window, two GAU-21.50-caliber machine guns from the cabin doors and eight Hellfire missiles. Missiles are targeted with the AN/AAAS-44C Infrared Multispectral Targeting System Detecting Set, which also has low light-level TV, color TV and fused imagery.

Ken Caniglia

Navy H-60 Deputy Program Manager

PMA-299A Multi-Mission Helicopter Program Office

NAS Patuxent River, Md.

Breeze is Tough, Too

In his recent article on search-and-rescue gear, James Careless briefly mentions several of the many equipment options available to SAR crews ("Tough Enough," November 2006, page 41). His caveat, "Here are some of the SAR products available today," necessarily implies that there are other products as well. This is certainly true. However, I’d like to make two observations.

First, Breeze-Eastern was building and supplying rescue hoists to military and civilian operators long before Goodrich bought Lucas-Western to become their competitor. Today, each company makes fine products and in some applications their hoists are interchangeable (as on the H-60). To preclude any hint of bias by Rotor & Wing, it would seem prudent to list them both.

Second, most ancillary equipment available on the market requires a certain level of familiarity and training. Some is, at best, a last resort.

Conducting hoist missions can be quite challenging, so anyone considering acquisition and use of new equipment has a responsibility to both research and train appropriately. Having been part of the premier Air Force test and evaluation organization at Nellis AFB, Nev., I learned this firsthand.

Senior Master Sgt. Steve Nelson, U.S. Air Force (retired)

Pelican Rapids, Minn.

Common Mistakes

I have very much enjoyed reading your articles on the common mistakes of flying helicopters in the "Helicopter Training" special reports of the April, June, September, and November 2006 issues of R&W. In fact, I have cut them out and use them as references for what we teach.

I am one of the instructor pilots at the High-Altitude Army Aviation Training Site (HAATS) in Eagle, Colo. The things you have written about and have researched through other qualified CFIs are the very foundation of what we teach here in the mountains.

We have pilots from all branches of military services and foreign services that come here for 1-2 weeks to learn how to read the winds, control their sink rate, decide on approach angles, manage the power that they have available in high density-altitude/high-temperature conditions, and acquire other mountain techniques taught by some of the most experienced mountain instructors around.

We are the only schoolhouse that the U.S. military has that teaches these principles. We take the basics of flying a helicopter and do them in the most demanding place for a helicopter pilot, the high mountains. These are all things I’ve noticed addressed in your articles and thought you might be interested in coming here and seeing firsthand our training program.

CW4 Mark Grayson, U.S. Army

Eagle, Colo.

Do you have comments on the rotorcraft industry or recent articles and viewpoints we’ve published? Send them to: Editor, Rotor & Wing, 4 Choke Cherry Road, Second Floor, Rockville, MD 20850, fax us at 301-354-1809 or email us at rotorandwing@accessintel.com. Please include a city and state or province with your name and ratings. We reserve the right to edit all submitted material.

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