|An MH-53 Pave Low helicopter, tail number 5-790, from the 20th Special Operations Squadron (SOS) at Hurlburt Field, Fla, 1st Special Operations Wing (SOW). (Source)|
I don't know if The Nuke has ever ridden in a helo. In her travels for the Navy she has been in many different types of transport. From riding a RHIB* guarding oil platforms in the Northern Arabian Gulf (or NAG as she calls it) to landing on a carrier via the COD** or departing a carrier via the COD she has certainly gotten around. (Not to mention the destroyers, carriers, and submarines she's been on!)
Now The Naviguesser has indeed ridden the mighty SH-60 Seahawk when he was a midshipman. One of these...
|SH-60B Seahawk (Source)|
On one of his summer cruises he and a number of other young officers-to-be were shipped off to the
|USS ARTHUR W. RADFORD (Source)|
Seems the midshipman arrived to find that their ship was out at sea. Too far out to get there by helicopter. So they would have to wait. The Navy put them up at a rather nice 5-Star hotel in this exotic foreign locale where they would have to entertain themselves until the ship got within helicopter range.
Eventually that day came to pass and the midshipmen (no doubt sated from their stay in Manama, Bahrain) boarded a Navy helo to head out to their home for the next four weeks. Did my son and heir enjoy the experience?
No, not at all.
Seems he feels that helicopters are one loose nut away from turning into an aviation disaster. (That nut is often known as the Jesus nut - If the Jesus nut were to fail in flight, the helicopter would detach from the rotors and the only thing left for the crew to do would be to "pray to Jesus.")
Of course as a shoe, er I mean Professional Surface Warfare Officer, he was (as his cognomen might suggest) a navigator and spent many a happy hour on the bridge of one of this nation's mighty destroyers. Want to get him spun up? Pretend to be talking on the radio demanding that the ship be conned in such a way as to place the wind "abaft the beam." I can see why an aviator might be a tad picky as to the wind direction when trying to land on that wee postage stamp that a destroyer man calls a "flight deck."
So The Naviguesser does not care for rotary wing flying vehicles, or "fling wings" as I have heard them referred to. Now as I have friends who fly helicopters for a living (now, now, don't judge them just because they fly helos, I mean someone has to, right?) I won't pick on the mighty rotary winged beast. I mean, I may want to go up in one some day. (Maybe this summer, I know a place that will fly you around Newport for a few shekels.)
Now The WSO, being a zipper suited sun goddess, that is, a Naval Flight Officer, doesn't mind helicopters at all. In fact, her first experience at the controls of a flying machine was, indeed, a helicopter. One of these...
|The mighty CH-46 Sea Knight, affectionately known as the "Phrog." (Source)|
Seems that at CORTRAMID*** she was with a group of midshipmen slated to get an orientation flight in the mighty Phrog, flown by a crusty Marine major from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. This august gentleman polled the young'uns to discover where they were going to school.
The WSO answered, "Holy Cross!" (Which is in Massachusetts, if you didn't know.)
With that the Major informed The WSO that, being a fellow New Englander, she would get to fly first. Turns out she also flew the longest, 20 minutes or so. She really enjoyed it. (The others all had to be satisfied with 10 minutes, or less if they proved particularly ham-handed. Which some were...)
The WSO also got to ride on a helicopter out into the Gulf Of Mexico with a few classmates from NAS Pensacola (Home of Naval Aviation). There they were unceremoniously dumped and told to just "hang out" until another helo came to pick them up. Or maybe it was a boat that picked them up, I don't recall the details of coming back, just the going out.
Anyhoo, the youngest doesn't mind helos at all. So I guess that will go on the "list of things to do." (No, I don't call it a "bucket list," too morbid for my tastes, and I don't believe in tempting fate. Knock on wood, [Said whilst tapping the side of my bald noggin.])
If I could choose a helicopter to ride in? It would be this beast...
|AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopter from 1st Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment. (Source)|
Yes please, front seat, down in the weeds.
Yeah, that would be great...
*RHIB = Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (One of these.)
**COD = Carrier Onboard Delivery (One of these.)
***CORTRAMID = Career Orientation and Training, Midshipmen (See this.)