Illustrative photo – On September 21, 2019, the two-day NATO Days and Czech Air Force Days, which are the largest security parade in Europe, began at the airport in Mošnov in Novojičínsk. Pictured is a US Army Bell UH-1Y Venom helicopter.
Prague – After seven months, the Czech pilots completed retraining for helicopters purchased from the United States. They all succeeded in it. The army announced this on its website www.army.cz. They described the training at US Marine Corps Base Pendleton as challenging. The new H1 platform helicopters, i.e. the UH-1Y Venom and AH-1Z Viper, will be delivered to the Vicar base during the spring.
Lieutenant Colonel Marcel Kica, the commander of the H-1 training group, said that the American helicopters are a classic concept, i.e. they have a main rotor and a balancing rotor, but that is where all the similarities with the Russian Mi series helicopters end. “The biggest differences are in the modern multi-function display (so-called full glass cockpit), the left-hand rotor and skid landing gear,” he described.
Pilots first underwent theoretical training completed by tests, followed by flight training in a simulator and later in a helicopter. They started with basic manoeuvres, gradually practiced flying according to instruments, in a group, at ground level and with cargo in the undercarriage. “The culmination was flights to fire on ground targets with cannon and unguided rockets, as well as flights at night with night vision goggles,” the military said. On-board technicians tried shooting from the helicopter door with mounted weapons. The group also practiced emergency helicopter abandonment and survival on the water surface in the event of a fall into the ocean.
The training took place in Southern California, but for two weeks the pilots also practiced at the El Centro desert base near the border with Mexico.
Each pilot flew approximately 80 hours. The entire group succeeded, according to the military. After returning to home base, the pilots will continue training with the US Mobile Training Team. Soon they should also receive a simulator for controlling Viper helicopters at the square base.
“The cooperation with the American colleagues was at a very high level, the instructors did their best to pass on all their knowledge and experience to our pilots on a superior scale. During the training their approach was more at the level of colleagues, not teacher-student, as they realized that they were not just starting to fly, but that it was a retraining course that they adapted to their needs,” said Kica