Sunday, June 17, 2007

Is the Coast Guard hurting for pilots?

Air Sea Rescue
Originally uploaded by jeffclow.
(Cross posted at An Unofficial Coast Guard Blog.)
It seems that the Coast Guard might be in need of a few helicopter pilots.

Overheard recently from a Jayhawk pilot who is transferring this summer to fly out of Elizabeth City.
Pilot: I'll be flying again this summer, transitioning to the Dolphin.

Question: You okay with that?

Pilot: Sure. With the new engines.
I guess since he has to recertify, it doesn't matter what airframe he's in; the CG's going to pay for it either way.

And, the Coast Guard is going to pay for a quartet of Aussies to transition, too.

From Patricia Kime at the Navy Times, Aussie pilots to fill helicopter vacancies:
In the coming months, four Royal Australian Navy pilots will arrive in the U.S. for a new duty assignment — to serve as co-pilots aboard Coast Guard helicopters.

The Coast Guard and the RAN cemented an agreement May 24 for a unique “loaner” program, one that will put RAN pilots in cockpits in San Diego, San Francisco, Miami and Cape Cod, Mass.

The pilots will serve with the Coast Guard for three to four years. Two will fly the HH-60 Jayhawk; the other two will be assigned to the HH-65 Dolphin, officials said.

All will train to become aircraft commanders.

“We came up with a great deal. [The RAN] was looking to relieve a bottleneck in their program and, we, with our projected growth in aviation, have shortages projected,” said Rear Adm. David Pekoske, assistant commandant for operations.

All four pilots hail from the same unit, 723 Squadron based in Nowra, Australia. They are trained on the Eurocopter Squirrel and S-70B-2 Seahawk, a version of the Sikorsky H-60 Black Hawk, and normally do logistics operations.

The loaner program will allow the RAN to retain pilots and maintain their skill sets even without positions for them, U.S. and Australian officials say.
The Coast Guard has an exchange program with the Brits, trading pilots, one-for-one. There might be a program with the Canuks, too. This is is the first time I've heard of a one-way program.

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