MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif -- Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 363 supported Combat Logistics Battalion 5 during daytime external lift training aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California, Dec. 16, 2015.
The daytime external lift training prepared the Marines to attach cargo to the bottom of a MV-22B Osprey using a cargo hook.
“We were conducting single-point external-load hook-ups to a confined area,” said Capt. Jerome Miller, an MV-22B Osprey pilot with VMM-363 and a Stafford, Virginia, native. “The training helped qualify more air crew in the mission-essential task of rapid insertion and extraction for the squadron.”
Initial external flights require five pick-ups for both pilots and crew chiefs, said Miller. The crew chiefs and pilots work together to transfer the simulated cargo from one spot to another.
“For the pilots, the training involves flying a pattern to arrive at a 50-foot hover over the load to be lifted,” said Miller. “After stabilizing in the hover, the crew chiefs will call us down in a descent over the load to an altitude low enough for the helicopter support team (HST) to hook the load up.”
Ospreys are capable of lifting up to 12,500 pounds, said Lance Cpl. Aaron Brown, an MV-22B Osprey crew chief with VMM-363 and a Republic, Washington, native. Brown also said the Marines simulated lifting a cargo weighing 1,400 pounds for this exercise.
“After the load is hooked up, the crew chiefs will call us up and we will transition to forward flight once we have good tension and the ground crew is clear of the zone,” said Miller. “We come back around, drop the load and repeat the whole sequence until we have enough picks to be complete with training for all aircrew.”
According to Brown, as crew chiefs and pilots, it’s important for the unit to become proficient in all of the tasks they are capable of completing.
“The aircraft platform we have is used for passenger and cargo movements,” said Brown. “It’s important that we can proficiently and safely execute both at the same time.”
Even though this training isn’t conducted often, this training is still significant to mission accomplishment, said Miller.
“Conducting this training gives us more qualified aircrew to add more capabilities to our squadron for our upcoming deployment,” said Miller.