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UH-1Y
The Marine Corps’ newest utility helicopter prepares to land Wednesday on the Robins flightline. It’s the first of four set to be stationed here. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Leach)
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First UH-1Y arrives here

Posted 6/13/2014   Updated 6/13/2014 Email story   Print story

    


by Jenny Gordon
Robins Public Affairs


6/13/2014 - ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- It's finally here. The long-awaited arrival of the Marine Corps' newest Huey utility helicopter occurred at Robins early Wednesday afternoon.

Hovering in the skies just before 12:30 p.m., the four-bladed, UH-1Y's two pilots conducted a flyby of Bldg. 2071, much to the delight of crews on the ground.

"We are all very excited," said Lt. Col. David Steele, Marine Aircraft Group 49 Detachment A commanding officer. "These are brand new - straight from the factory. This is its first flight coming across country."

UH-1Y co-pilot Capt. Jared Housand, along with a pilot representative from the aircraft's manufacturer, Bell Helicopter, flew about six hours since Tuesday from the assembly plant in Amarillo, Texas, with a stopover in Arkansas. Referred to as the 'Yankee,' it had less than 10 flight hours recorded at pickup time.

"It was bittersweet to see the legacy model go. It's been around since the early-to mid-70s. But we knew the day would come when we would get our new aircraft," said Housand, who recently joined the squadron to assist with the UH-1Y transition. "We've been looking forward to this for a long time."

Housand is one of the only pilots here qualified to fly the UH-1Y, although training is currently being provided to other Reservists and an active duty member in Camp Pendleton, Calif. Housand has logged some 800 hours on the model and has flown it for two years.

"The instrumentation is amazing," he said, referring to its upgraded glass cockpit avionics. "The situational awareness has increased tremendously."

Compared to the older UH-1N it replaced, the newer variant can fly at 150 knots, compared to 100 knots. The helicopter can also fly greater distances without stopping as much for fuel, said Housand, who has flown both aircraft.

"Having flown both in combat, I can tell you with 100 percent confidence that the capability of this aircraft is many times over what it was in the older model," he said. "Not only are the engines and the rotor systems complete upgrades, but the air speed, capabilities of lift, troop cargo and providing of close-air support have increased at least ten-fold."

As part of the Marine Corps modernization program, the new aircraft is replacing the Corps' fleet of UH-1N Hueys. The first of these departed Robins on April 25, destined to be retired to the 'boneyard' at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona.

The UH-1Y's utility role includes deployment of weapons, and it also provides command and control and aerial reconnaissance. It is currently serving in Afghanistan.

Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 773, which falls under the command of Marine Aircraft Group 49, is the Marine Corps Reserve's only attack helicopter squadron. The Red Dogs squadron includes members and aircraft at sites in Louisiana and New Jersey.

The unit is the final squadron in the Marine Corps to receive the UH-1Y. It will receive an additional two this year, and a fourth in fiscal 2015.

For more photos and to view a video of the UH-1Y's arrival, visit www.robins.af.mil or the official Robins Facebook page.

Other Changes

A change of command ceremony for Marine Aircraft Group 49 Detachment A will be conducted Monday at 3 p.m. in the hangar of Bldg. 2071.

Lt. Col. David Steele, who arrived at Robins in 2012, will relinquish command to Lt. Col. Philip Eilertson, an AH-1W Super Cobra pilot, who comes to Robins following a deployment to Afghanistan.



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