Category Archives: Helicopters

Check Out This Mind-Blowing Photo Of A CV-22 Osprey Tilt-Rotor aircraft at Night

This photo is really awesome. And here’s what makes it so spectacular.

The photo above shows a CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft performing a routine formation flight while en route to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., Jan. 9, 2017.

The 1st Special Operations Wing conducted a flyover for the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship game featuring the Clemson Tigers versus Alabama Crimson Tide.

The photograph is made particularly awesome by the Osprey’s typical glowing rotor tips.

Indeed, to help at night during formation flights as well as on the ground to show personnel the position of the blades and guide them to the safe areas and to the ramp, the tilt-rotor aircraft have two NVG (Night Vision Goggle) compatible dual-mode LED “tip lights” on the end of each rotor blade whose brightness can be controlled by the aircrew.

Once the rotor is working, such tip lights create a virtual disk, that make the tilt-rotor aircraft visible in the darkness.

Impressive isn’t it?

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

 

In a massive exercise HMLA-369 launched a unique assault formation of AH-1Z Viper and UH-1Y Venom helicopters

During Flying The Barn exercise U.S. Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 369 launched a unique assault formation made of AH-1Z Viper attack and UH-1Y Venom tactical transport helicopters.

On Nov. 4, 2016, U.S. Marines from Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron (HMLA) 369 took part in an exercise known as “Flying the Barn” on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California.

The video below is titled “Flying the Barn” in reference to the slang used for putting every aircraft “in the barn” up in the air at once, a rare sight at any military installation.

During the Exercise, U.S. Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 369 launched a unique assault formation of their advanced version AH-1Z Viper attack helicopter and their UH-1Y Venom tactical transport.

The formation is interesting since the U.S. Marines are the only operators of the “Viper” and “Venom” advanced helicopter variants. These aircraft are descendents of the legacy AH-1 Cobra and UH-1 Huey helicopters. The continued operation of these two greatly evolved platforms seems at odds with new aircraft now in use by the U.S. Marines, the MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft and the F-35B Lightning II V/STOL variant of the Joint Strike Fighter.

Despite the long history of their predecessors, the original Huey and Cobra, the highly evolved AH-1Z Viper and UH-1Y Venom are very advanced combat aircraft that are easily contemporaries of the newer MV-22 Osprey and even the F-35B Lightning II.

The AH-1Z Viper flies on a new carbon fiber composite four-blade rotor system with 75% fewer moving parts in the vulnerable rotor mast despite having two additional blades compared to early Cobra gunships. The “Zulu” gunships have larger winglet weapon stations that can mount AIM-9 Sidewinder infrared guided air-to-air missiles in addition to air-to-ground rockets and guided missiles. The AH-1Z also has reshaped engine cowling and exhaust to reduce infrared signature for evading heat-seeking anti-aircraft missiles. Viper flight crews wear an advanced flight helmet integrated into aircraft avionics and equipped with recently enhanced night vision and target queuing.

The heavily updated four-bladed UH-1Y Venom is an adaptation of the legacy Huey platform but with massive upgrades making it essentially a new helicopter.

Also updated to a large four-blade rotor as with the AH-1Z Viper, the Venom has battle-damage resistant composite rotor blades and a new, simplified mast system. The rotor upgrades provide significantly greater lift, range and speed on the Venom. Although usually operated in formation with its Marine companion, the AH-1Z Viper, the UH-1Y Venom can transport Marines and also carry its own ground attack weapons. The Venom can mount 2.75-inch rockets on each winglet including the newest “smart” Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) laser-guided rocket from BAE Systems.

U.S. Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 369 has an impressive legacy that includes being the first Marine Corps unit to fly the Cobra attack helicopter in a combat operation back in 1972 during the Vietnam conflict.

Both of these aircraft are common sights around the massive Camp Pendleton Marine Base in southern California. If you are driving between San Diego and Los Angeles on the Interstate 5 coastal highway it is common to see the aircraft flying, but not in the numbers seen in this video. Seeing these unique variants of both aircraft is a treat since the U.S. Marines are the only service to fly them and employ unique tactics with the aircraft making them interesting.

 

Salva

Incredible footage shows MH-60 Seahawk helicopter attempting to land on the pitching deck of a warship in rough seas

Watch this intense video of a new Danish MH-60R Seahawk landing on the small pitching and rolling helicopter deck of a patrol vessel.

The following video was released by the Danish Air Force on Facebook last week.

It was filmed during a recent test of the new Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk off the Faroe Islands, between Norway and Iceland.

The multi-mission naval chopper was involved in sea trials with a Danish and an Australian test pilots called to explore the aircraft’s flight envelope and landing restrictions in the very same extreme conditions Danish warships can find operating in the North Atlantic Ocean.

As you can see, landing a (modern) helo on the small, pitching deck of an ocean patrol vessel requires skills, coordination and some bravery.

The Danish Air Force has received three of eight MH-60R Seahawks ordered in 2012, last June.

H/T Lasse Holmstrom for the heads-up

 

U.S. Army National Guard AH-64D Apache flying in Utah’s Supermoon

“My wingman was about 1 mile out my right in perfect position when I grabbed the shot with a zoom lens.”

The stunning photo in this post depicts an AH-64D Longbow Apache with the 1-211th ARB (Army National Guard) returning to base in Salt Lake City after completing a training mission.

The 211th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion (ARB) is an Apache National Guard unit based out of West Jordan, Utah, that has performed the Attack and Scout mission for over 40 years and during three recent deployments: Operation Desert Spring (2001-02) in Kuwait, and OEF V (2004-05) and OEF XII (2012-13) in Afghanistan.

The photo was taken by Rob Williams during a night mission over Utah.

Here’s what Rob wrote to The Aviationist in an email:

“The moonshot represented a rare “target of opportunity”, so we took the shot! We were fortunate in having the timing work out so well. To get the scale right, the camera was positioned about a mile away from the inbound bird.”

The Supermoon on Nov. 14 was the closest a Full Moon has been to Earth since Jan. 26, 1948.

“My wingman was about 1 mile out my right in perfect position when I grabbed the shot with a zoom lens.”

So, take a look at the crazy cool shot in this post, taken with a bit of preparation on the aircrew’s side and then check out the one of an F-15E against the Supermoon we published few days ago taken by a photogrpaher from the ground in UK. Who wins? Leave a comment below and let us know.

Many thanks to Rob Williams for sharing the photo with us!

Here’s what U.S Marine Corps Urban Close Air Support at a fake town in the Arizona desert looks like

Some stunning photographs show U.S. Marine Corps UH-1Y Venoms engaging targets at “Yodaville” during an urban close air support exercise.

The shots in this post were taken on Sept. 30, 2016, during an Urban Close Air Support exercise held during the Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course (WTI) 1-7 hosted by Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1).

Urban Close Air Support Day & Night

The WTI is a seven-week course was held at “Yodaville” near Yuma, Arizona, within the Urban Target Complex or R-2013-West, a “fake” town surrounded by terrain similar to that you can find in the Middle East or Asia that provides the most realistic target environment for pilot and ground controllers to improve their skills in CAS conducted in urban area.

Urban Close Air Support Day & Night

As the images show, the layout of Yodaville was designed in such a way it appears to be similar to villages in Iraq, Syria or Afghanistan.

Urban CAS (UCAS) is a specific kind of mission flown by fixed- and rotary-wing assets with the aim to assist friendly ground forces in contested urban areas. UCAS sorties are also launched as part of MOOTW (Military Operations Other Than War) to assist civilians during NEOs (Non-combatant Evacuation Operations), as happened in the past, in Saigon or Tirana.

A U.S. Marine Corps UH-1Y Venom assigned to Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1) engages targets during an urban close air support exercise at Yodaville, Yuma, Ariz., Sept. 30, 2016. The urban close air support exercise was part of Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course (WTI) 1-17, a seven-week training event, hosted by MAWTS-1 cadre, which emphasizes operational integration of the six functions of Marine Corps aviation in support of a Marine Air Ground Task Force. MAWTS-1 provides standardized advanced tactical training and certification of unit instructor qualifications to support Marine Aviation Training and Readiness and assists in developing and employing aviation weapons and tactics. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Danny Gonzalez 1st MARDIV COMCAM)

Training like WTI prepares aircrews to operate at low altitude in a small, possibly highly lethal airspace while cooperating with JTACs (Joint Tactical Air Controllers) that provide guidance to the helicopters so that these can properly engage the enemies, preventing blue-on-blue incidents.

A U.S. Marine Corps UH-1Y Venom assigned to Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1) engages targets during an urban close air support exercise at Yodaville, Yuma, Ariz., Sept. 30, 2016. The urban close air support exercise was part of Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course (WTI) 1-17, a seven-week training event, hosted by MAWTS-1 cadre, which emphasizes operational integration of the six functions of Marine Corps aviation in support of a Marine Air Ground Task Force. MAWTS-1 provides standardized advanced tactical training and certification of unit instructor qualifications to support Marine Aviation Training and Readiness and assists in developing and employing aviation weapons and tactics. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Danny Gonzalez 1st MARDIV COMCAM)

A U.S. Marine Corps UH-1Y Venom assigned to Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1) deploys flares during an urban close air support exercise at Yodaville, Yuma, Ariz., Sept. 30, 2016. The urban close air support exercise was part of Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course (WTI) 1-17, a seven-week training event, hosted by MAWTS-1 cadre, which emphasizes operational integration of the six functions of Marine Corps aviation in support of a Marine Air Ground Task Force. MAWTS-1 provides standardized advanced tactical training and certification of unit instructor qualifications to support Marine Aviation Training and Readiness and assists in developing and employing aviation weapons and tactics. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Danny Gonzalez 1st MARDIV COMCAM)

U.S. Marine Corps UH-1Y Venoms assigned to Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1) engages targets during an urban close air support exercise at Yodaville, Yuma, Ariz., Sept. 30, 2016. The urban close air support exercise was part of Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course (WTI) 1-17, a seven-week training event, hosted by MAWTS-1 cadre, which emphasizes operational integration of the six functions of Marine Corps aviation in support of a Marine Air Ground Task Force. MAWTS-1 provides standardized advanced tactical training and certification of unit instructor qualifications to support Marine Aviation Training and Readiness and assists in developing and employing aviation weapons and tactics. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Danny Gonzalez 1st MARDIV COMCAM)

Those in the photographs are UH-1Y Venom choppers, a rebuilt and highly modified version of the famous UH-1 Huey. The UH-1Y, or “Yankee”, carries 12.7-mm or 7.62-mm machine guns, or 7.62-mm Gatling guns installed in the open doors on either side of the fuselage; it can also carry Hydra 70r rockets pods or APKWS laser guided anti-armor missiles, used for self-defense to soften-up enemy defenses before landing.

A U.S. Marine Corps UH-1Y Venom assigned to Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1) deploys flares during an urban close air support exercise at Yodaville, Yuma, Ariz., Sept. 30, 2016. The urban close air support exercise was part of Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course (WTI) 1-17, a seven-week training event, hosted by MAWTS-1 cadre, which emphasizes operational integration of the six functions of Marine Corps aviation in support of a Marine Air Ground Task Force. MAWTS-1 provides standardized advanced tactical training and certification of unit instructor qualifications to support Marine Aviation Training and Readiness and assists in developing and employing aviation weapons and tactics. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Danny Gonzalez 1st MARDIV COMCAM)

A U.S. Marine Corps UH-1Y Venom assigned to Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1) prepares to engage targets during an urban close air support exercise at Yodaville, Yuma, Ariz., Sept. 30, 2016. The urban close air support exercise was part of Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course (WTI) 1-17, a seven-week training event, hosted by MAWTS-1 cadre, which emphasizes operational integration of the six functions of Marine Corps aviation in support of a Marine Air Ground Task Force. MAWTS-1 provides standardized advanced tactical training and certification of unit instructor qualifications to support Marine Aviation Training and Readiness and assists in developing and employing aviation weapons and tactics. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Danny Gonzalez 1st MARDIV COMCAM)

A U.S. Marine Corps UH-1Y Venom assigned to Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1) engages targets during an urban close air support exercise at Yodaville, Yuma, Ariz., Sept. 30, 2016. The urban close air support exercise was part of Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course (WTI) 1-17, a seven-week training event, hosted by MAWTS-1 cadre, which emphasizes operational integration of the six functions of Marine Corps aviation in support of a Marine Air Ground Task Force. MAWTS-1 provides standardized advanced tactical training and certification of unit instructor qualifications to support Marine Aviation Training and Readiness and assists in developing and employing aviation weapons and tactics. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Danny Gonzalez 1st MARDIV COMCAM)

A U.S. Marine Corps UH-1Y Venom assigned to Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1) engages targets during an urban close air support exercise at Yodaville, Yuma, Ariz., Sept. 30, 2016. The urban close air support exercise was part of Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course (WTI) 1-17, a seven-week training event, hosted by MAWTS-1 cadre, which emphasizes operational integration of the six functions of Marine Corps aviation in support of a Marine Air Ground Task Force. MAWTS-1 provides standardized advanced tactical training and certification of unit instructor qualifications to support Marine Aviation Training and Readiness and assists in developing and employing aviation weapons and tactics. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Danny Gonzalez 1st MARDIV COMCAM)

A U.S. Marine Corps UH-1Y Venom assigned to Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1) engages targets during an urban close air support exercise at Yodaville, Yuma, Ariz., Sept. 30, 2016. The urban close air support exercise was part of Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course (WTI) 1-17, a seven-week training event, hosted by MAWTS-1 cadre, which emphasizes operational integration of the six functions of Marine Corps aviation in support of a Marine Air Ground Task Force. MAWTS-1 provides standardized advanced tactical training and certification of unit instructor qualifications to support Marine Aviation Training and Readiness and assists in developing and employing aviation weapons and tactics. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Danny Gonzalez 1st MARDIV COMCAM)

U.S. Marine Corps UH-1Y Venoms assigned to Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1) engage targets during an urban close air support exercise at Yodaville, Yuma, Ariz., Sept. 30, 2016. The urban close air support exercise was part of Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course (WTI) 1-17, a seven-week training event, hosted by MAWTS-1 cadre, which emphasizes operational integration of the six functions of Marine Corps aviation in support of a Marine Air Ground Task Force. MAWTS-1 provides standardized advanced tactical training and certification of unit instructor qualifications to support Marine Aviation Training and Readiness and assists in developing and employing aviation weapons and tactics. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Danny Gonzalez 1st MARDIV COMCAM)

Image credit: U.S. Marine Corps