Feature story In the spotlight: The U.S. Navy’s H-72A training helicopter

November 16, 2009

The first two H-72A versions of EADS North America’s UH-72A Lakota are now in the U.S. Navy inventory, having been formally accepted at a ceremony this month at Patuxent River Naval Air Station.

These aircraft have joined the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School, where they will be used in the training of rotary wing test pilots from the U.S. military and allied nations.  The H-72As are nearly identical to the UH-72A Lakota, which is in wide use by the U.S. Army and National Guard throughout the U.S. and in Puerto Rico as a multi-role light utility helicopter. 

Our “walkaround” of the first two H-72As after their acceptance ceremony in Patuxent River Naval Air Station’s Hangar 110 details the helicopters and highlights some of the system and hardware additions for their role in training a new generation of test pilots:

Based on the same robust airframe as the U.S. Army’s Lakota, these new H-72A training helicopters benefit from many of the UH-72A’s key features – including its large cockpit and cabin windows, which provide excellent visibility.

The H-72A’s modern glass cockpit enables pilots to better synthesize flight, navigation and vehicle information – increasing their situational awareness. Elements added for the helicopter’s use at the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School are voice and flight data recorders, as well as a Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS).

For its new training role, the H-72A incorporates mission-specific systems and hardware – including jettisonable cockpit doors for rapid egress, a cargo hook weighing system, an underwater locator beacon, and an enhanced mast moment indicator.

The five H-72As are being acquired by the U.S. Navy to replace its Test Pilot School’s aging, Vietnam-era TH-6B Cayuse helicopters. These new aircraft are being painted in the Navy Test Pilot School’s distinctive white and orange high-visibility color scheme.

> For additional information on the milestone H-72A deliveries to the U.S. Navy:

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