Super Stallion hits the air in Hawaii

Super Stallion hits the air in Hawaii

13-Nov-2011 Source: US Marine Corps

As the sun began to set behind the Ko’olau Mountains, pilots and crewmembers of Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463 witnessed its future — a CH-53E Super Stallion flying at Landing Zone Westfield, Nov. 7.

The Super Stallions were sent to Marine Corps Base Hawaii from Marine Heavy Helicopter Training Squadron, Marine Corps Air Station, New River, N.C., as part of the initial phase out of the CH-53D Sea Stallion.

Approximately 70 Marines spent the last month and a half assembling the new aircraft, and the new addition to the squadron is bigger, faster and stronger than its predecessor. The new features include an extra rotor blade, mid-air refueling probes, which gives the helicopter a longer-range capability, an in-flight hydraulic servicing system, an advanced radar system and a 72,000 pound lift capacity. The previous model’s weight capacity could not exceed 42,000 pounds.

Along with the high tolerance for weight, the Super Stallion is also faster than the older models by 20 nautical miles per hour because of the additional third engine.

“This is a huge capability increase for Marine Aircraft Group 24,” Lt. Col. Jeffrey Davis, commanding officer, HMH-463, said. “The III Marine Expeditionary Force now has it’s own organic heavy lift capabilities. This is as proud of a day for me as it is for our Marines who have been working on it since early September. When this helicopter gets off the ground, your going to see a lot of Marines coming out of their offices and cheering.”

The squadron now has four Super Stallion helicopters they’re working on and are hoping to have them up in running soon.

“We conduct inspections to make sure we have the right procedures to fly,” Maj. Joseph P. D’amico, aviation maintenance officer, HMH-463, said. “We have completed the majority of the ground work, and now all we have left to do for this particular helicopter is to fly it for a functions check.”

Currently only one of the four new helicopters is assembled and ready for test flights. Mechanics and crewmembers continue to work on the remaining Super Stallions so the squadron can ultimately employ the helicopters in real world operations.

According to Davis, the Marines working on these helicopters deserve all the praise for the project. From sunrise to sunset Marines worked together to get the helicopters up in the air.

“There was a lot that went into this,” D’amico said. “These helicopters don’t just fly by themselves. Getting them prepared and ready to actually take off takes a lot of hours out of you. It’s a big day for everybody.”

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