Aircraft famed for Katrina rescues
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 11/01/2012 -- The Coast Guard sent a twin-engine helicopter from New Jersey to Iowa on a mission to test an upgrade of the agency’s aircraft.
The MH-60T flew into Rockwell Collins headquarters in Cedar Rapids carrying a crew of four from the Coast Guard Aviation Logistics Center in Elizabeth City, N.J. The aircraft was one of 42 to get a new Rockwell Collins cockpit.
Commander Eric Carter said his crew’s visit would help the company’s employees “buy in” with the Coast Guard’s modernization effort. The new cockpits are replacing equipment that was more than two decades old.
“We have a very capable aircraft thanks to Rockwell Collins,” Carter told The Gazette.
The agency’s project to upgrade the 42 MH-60 Jayhawks to MH-60T aircraft began in 2007.
The cockpit’s round dials are being replaced with five color screens. Pilots will have easier access to weather data, maps, flight plans, and search-and-rescue information. That will give crew members more time to devote to their missions, Carter said.
The copters, which can carry more passengers than the Coast Guard’s H-65 model, gained fame for their rescues after Hurricane Katrina.
“I think the Coast Guard rescued over 10,000 in Katrina. After that, you get a lot of attention,” said Carter.
Rockwell Collins treated the crew members to lunch and invited them to meet employees. For some, the aircraft brought back memories.
“I’ve been out of the Coast Guard 18 years,” Bill Shepard told The Gazette, “but everytime I see one of these, I feel like a little kid.”
Shepard is a Rockwell Collins technical project manager.
The upgraded all-glass cockpit employs an open-system architecture intended to allow easy customization through software.
The helicopters also are outfitted with Rockwell Collins direction finders and radios.
The company is working with the Coast Guard on automatic position reporting known as Blue Force Tracking and on a video system that will enable helicopters to send aerial video images.
CPOLEmployment.com (http://www.cpolemployment.com/) is an online job resource for civilian personnel at CPOL. Readers can find out about career tracks for civilians in the military and how to use the Priority Placement Program. Visitors also can look for CPOL employment at CPOLEmployment.com.
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