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Marines with Combat Logistics Battalion 26, 2nd Marine Logistics Group prepare to connect a metal beam to a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter during external lift training aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., Aug. 27, 2014. Marines with Helicopter Support Team, CLB-26 partnered with Marine Heavy Helicopter Training Squadron 302, Marine Aircraft Group 29, 2nd Marine Air Wing, to practice single and dual point cargo lifts.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Preston McDonald

Super Stallion pilots sharpen skills in external lift

27 Aug 2014 | Lance Cpl. Preston McDonald

Marines with Helicopter Support Team, Combat Logistics Battalion 26, 2nd Marine Logistics Group partnered with Marine Heavy Helicopter Training Squadron 302, Marine Aircraft Group 29, 2nd Marine Air Wing to practice single and dual point cargo lifts at Landing Zone Albatross, aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Aug. 27, 2014.

During the training exercise, student pilots were coached and monitored on their ability to successfully maneuver the CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter into position for the ground team to attach heavy loads of cargo. The task requires precision and care, as the large aircraft hovers less than 30 feet above the HST.

Cargo lift techniques are just a few of the many flight operations student pilots must be proficient in before they are assigned to an operational squadron. The training tests the pilots’ ability to manage their crew during a complicated maneuver.

“This sort of training helps cement the crew-resource management that is instrumental to conducting flight operations on our aircraft,” said Capt. Jonathan Williamson, a CH-53E pilot with HMHT-302.

The value of external lift operations, and the training to complete them, is shown in the wide array of scenarios that they have been used for.

Major Matthew Weaver, a pilot instructor, says that the real-world application of external lift training applies to almost any support request, including: Troop emplacement, resupply missions, humanitarian operations, and many other strategic operations.

“The training easily demonstrates the relevance to real-world scenarios to the student pilots,” said Weaver. “We’ve seen multiple major operations in Afghanistan that have relied on the 53’s external capabilities to succeed.”

The pilots conduct training anywhere from 12 to 20 hours per week, where they perform various troop delivery, equipment emplacement and HST operations based on the required curriculum.

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