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UH-72A Lakota Marks A New Milestone With The U.S. Army As A Single Airframe Surpasses The 1,000 Flight Hour Mark

A U.S. Army UH-72A

Lakota Light Utility Helicopter operated at Fort Eustis, Va., is the first Lakota to log 1,000 flight hours, underscoring the growing operational tempo of the rotary-wing aircraft in serv- ice with Army and National Guard units.

Built at the company's

American Eurocopter facility in Columbus, Miss., the mile- stone Lakota is used for VIP and logistics missions and was the seventh UH-72A built for the U.S. Army. It is based at Fort Eustis along with the eighth Lakota, which is approaching its own 1,000 flight hour mark. These helicopters are flown by the U.S. Army's Training and Doctrine Command's (TRADOC) Flight Detachment in support operations for the U.S. Army Transportation Center, the U.S. Army Transportation School, NCO Academy and Army Aviation Logistics School -- all of which are based at Fort Eustis in Newport News, VA. "The real proof of a military system's effectiveness is the capabilities it brings in opera- tional service -- which is being demonstrated daily by the Fort Eustis UH-72As, along with Lakota’s at a growing number of bases across the U.S. and overseas," said EADS North America Chairman Ralph D. Crosby, Jr.

EADS North America has delivered 125 Lakotas to date,


all provided on time and on budget. This fleet, which con- sists of 120 UH-72As for the U.S. Army and five H-72As for the U.S. Navy, has accumulated nearly 40,000 flight hours at an operational readiness rate greater than 90 percent. The U.S. Army plans to

acquire 345 UH-72As through 2015 and the service has ordered 187 of these helicopters so far including five for the Navy. UH-72As are operated throughout the United States, as well as in Puerto Rico, Germany and at Kwajalein Atoll by active duty Army and Army National Guard units. They are used for missions that include medical evacuation (MEDEVAC), search and rescue, homeland security, VIP transport and general avia- tion support.

Deliveries of Lakotas to National Guard units allow aging OH-58 and UH-1 rotary- wing aircraft to be retired, while UH-72As assigned to the U.S.


Need Money To Fly?

Army's active component free up UH-60 Black Hawks for war fighting missions.

In addition to the Army air- craft, the Navy has based their five H-72As at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md., where they are used to train test pilots from the U.S. military and allied countries.

The UH-72A is a Defense Acquisition Category (ACAT) I major defense acquisition pro- gram for the U.S. Defense Department, and this twin- engine helicopter's service entry in 2007 marked one of the most rapid introductions of a new aircraft in the U.S. Army's his- tory. ◆

In aviation today, it is finan- cially difficult to fund advance- ment in the helicopter industry. However, there are opportuni- ties out there. These opportu- nities can be found through the Whirly-Girls Organization. The Whirly-Girls Organization is a non-profit organization of International Female Helicopter Pilots. The organization is a charitable organization that is dedicated to advancing women in helicopter aviation through the industry’s largest pool of annual scholarships, while pro- viding women helicopter pilots a forum for the exchange of information and opportunities. Each year, the Whirly-Girls Organization attends the HAI conference and awards these scholarships .

So women, get your pencils sharpened! It is that time of year to apply for Whirly-Girls

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