One after another, Marines from Marine Light Attack Helicopter Training Squadron (HMLAT) 303, Marine Aircraft Group (MAG) 39, lined up on the flight line at Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton, California, to send off the last 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (MAW) AH-1W “Super Cobra” as it departed on its final flight, Feb. 6, to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base’s Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG) in Arizona.
Since its activation on April 30, 1982, HMLAT-303 has trained Cobra and Huey pilots for the Marine Corps and Navy in an extensive training syllabus including: familiarization, navigation, ordnance, terrain, formation, instrument and night vision goggle flight.
While HMLAT-303 doesn’t deploy as a training squadron, the AH-1W has a long history of deploying with other HMLA squadrons in support of Operation Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom and is currently still operational with MAG-29 on the East Coast. Until the recent completion of the AH-1W transition to the AH-1Z, HMLAT-303 maintained the last AH-1Ws within 3rd MAW to train refresher pilots for MAG-29.
“The majority of the Cobra instructor cadre at HMLAT-303 grew up with the AH-1W at their first squadron and deployed with it,” said Capt. J. J. Pierce, HMLAT-303 adjutant and transitioned AH-1Z “Viper” pilot. “Having known that the AH-1W was going to be phased out for a while now, the cadre are excited about the new capabilities with the AH-1Z and welcome the change. It’s been special flying the legacy AH-1W, and they definitely played a huge part in the Marine air-ground task force.”
In addition to flight training, HMLAT-303 is the only Marine Corps squadron tasked with training newly designated Naval Aviators destined to become AH-1W, AH-1Z, and UH-1Y replacement, refresher and conversion pilots while simultaneously managing the fleet-wide Naval Air Training and Operating Procedures Standardization (NATOPS) standardization program for the H-1.
According to Capt. John T. Fischer, an AH-1Z Weapons and Tactics Instructor with HMLAT-303, the AH-1Z Viper has a significantly higher maximum gross weight due to the improved engines and four-bladed rotor system when compared to the AH-1W; meaning more power available. This increase in power available permits the AH-1Z to carry an increased ordnance payload to the fight.
- EASA SIB 2020-13 Provision of ground handling services at aerodromes following COVID-19 outbreak
- Lydd SAR base passes 1,000 taskings milestone
- Boeing Receives $265 Million Chinook Helicopter Order
- Churchill Navigation and Shotover Camera Systems Merge
- USAIG expands safety collaboration with Airbus
- Airbus Fleet Master presents uninterrupted data chain
- EHang Launches Intelligent Aerial Firefighting Solution
- VHA Receives TIA on 206B Version 2 Main Rotor Blades
- Lifeflight’s AW139 fleet marks milestone
- Bristow to close two Lousiana bases with 350 job losses, claims union
- Eight Air Evac Lifefteam bases in Arkansas now carry blood
- Malaysian Ministry of Health outsources EMS helicopter service
- Metro Aviation delivers first of two helicopters to HealthNet
- Apollo Air Services to promote Aviation Clean Air purifier units in Europe
- 06-Aug-20 N911EP Hughes OH-6 Chesterfield, US-Missouri
- Kaman Recognized by Sikorsky as Elite Supplier
- Maelstrom AFB opens Helicopter Operations Alert Facility
- EHang to Expand Production Facility
- Rotor Accessories produces tear-resistant R44 sun shades
- HeliSpeed signs SAR support agreement with British International