History
Minnesota National Guard
Aviation Brigade Strengthens Force with Chinook Upgrade

Minnesota National Guard The Minnesota National Guard's Bravo Company, 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 211th Aviation Regiment - the Chinook outfit famous for taking the "All Night Long" moniker after their latest deployment - recently sent more than 80 percent of its pilots, flight engineers and crew chiefs to Fort Stewart, Ga., to become proficient on the upgraded model "F" CH-47 Chinook cargo helicopter.

"We started in the fall of 2012 by sending certain aviators to the "F" model qualification course," said Army Capt. Charles Eslinger, B Co. commander. "The remainder of our force left on Jan. 8 to complete the Net Fielding Training on our five new Chinooks."

The two-month qualification course, wrapping up March 8, is conducted by a mobile training team that moves the upgraded helicopters to the training site and oversees the hands on training, Eslinger said. The unit personnel have signed for the aircraft at the training site and are now becoming familiar with the equipment. They will ultimately fly the upgraded Chinooks back to the Army Aviation Support Facility in St. Cloud.

"It's pretty neat because they're getting flight time, signing for and inventorying the Chinooks and doing maintenance training on them," Eslinger said. "Most units, when they get new aircraft, they don't get the opportunity to train in an organized training environment."

One of the largest differences between the two models is the cockpit's new multifunctional display, which consists of five 8-inch by 5-inch monitors, Eslinger said. The digitalized system, which replaces all old gauges and systems information displays found in the "D" model, shows advanced avionics and navigations systems and allows the pilots to page through different information displays.

"It's almost information overload at first when going from the 'D' cockpit to the 'F' cockpit, but overall it enhances the pilot's situational awareness" Eslinger said.

Another upgrade is the addition of the flight director system, which can be coupled with the aircraft systems to take control and execute the flight plan while the pilots manipulate and monitor the aircraft's performance, he said.

"Essentially, we enter the information and the system takes these parameters that we want on the flight - altitude, airspeed, waypoints, etc. - and flies these parameters when the system is engaged," Eslinger said. "It is an incredible capability to see the aircraft respond to the digital inputs right before our eyes without us directly changing the controls."

The "F" model also boasts several significant structural upgrades, Eslinger said. In addition to enhanced engine mounts and sheet metal features, the Chinook's rear pylon has been upgraded to shorten the disassembly and reassembly time required to move the Chinook helicopters to theaters around the world.

"Normally when we move and ship the aircraft, it takes us almost a full day," Eslinger said. "Now we can do it much faster - within hours."

Though the two-month school will make all of the unit's Soldiers proficient and qualified to operate and maintain the "F" model, training won't stop when they return from Fort Stewart, Eslinger said.

"After spinning up our guys, we're going to start flying on a regular basis to completely transition from 'D' to 'F,'" he said. "Our mission will be to become proficient with the Foxtrot, which will take some time. We'll have to come up with different operating procedures and learn how to utilize the different features of the aircraft."

Eslinger said he anticipates comprehensive training flights to take place during the unit's 2013 annual training at Camp Ripley in June.

By Army Sgt. Patrick Loch
34th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs
Feb. 13, 2013



Download photos





Articles archive

In The News archive

Media Advisory archive

Latest News

First Female Takes Command of Previously All-Male Unit

Posted: 2014-09-18  09:30 AM
Minnesota National Guard ST. PAUL, Minn.- "I'm just another Soldier; it doesn't matter that I'm a female," said Capt. Tara Robertson.

Robertson's soft-spoken words were amplified by her appointment to command an all-male combat engineer unit.

On September 14, the 849th Mobility Augmentation Company, a Minnesota Army National Guard unit based in Litchfield, not only received its first female commander, but it also officially cased its colors, signifying its separation from the 682nd Engineer Battalion. With new colors and new leadership, the 849th has been restructured into Company B, 334th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 34th Red Bull Infantry Division.



MNARNG wins top environmental award

Posted: 2014-09-17  01:17 PM
Minnesota National Guard Little Falls, MN (mcrecord.com) --- Pitted against every branch of the U.S. Department of Defense, the Minnesota Army National Guard's (MNARNG) environmental team won the top environmental award, Aug. 27. The team was presented the 2014 Secretary of Defense Environmental Award for Environmental Quality by an Individual Team.

The Honorable Katherine Hammack, the assistant secretary of the Army, installations, energy and environment, and Adjutant General Richard Nash presented the award to the team.



Minnesota brothers reunite in Kuwait

Posted: 2014-09-16  12:00 AM
Minnesota National Guard CAMP BUERHING, Kuwait- "I didn't know if our paths would cross," said Sgt. 1st Class Lowell Laudert as he sat with his brother, Spc. Cameron Laudert.

The brothers, both from Monticello, Minn., are deployed together in support of Operation Enduring Freedom-Kuwait. They serve in separate units and components of the U.S. Army.



Article archive
 
top