The Maine Army National Guard’s Charley Company is going through annual helicopter training.
This year, a big part of the exercises are taking place on a screen.
Joy Hollowell got a chance to take the controls.
“In Medevac, you have the golden hour,” explains CWO-2 Tysen Ober with the Maine Army National Guard. “You get the call. You got to be off the ground in 15 minutes, have that patient within another 1/2 hour and another 15 minutes to get to your destination.”
Training for that scenario and others like it is going on at the Maine Army National Guard’s Bangor facility these next two weeks. But with approximately 120 soldiers, and only a limited number of birds, time in the air can be limited.
That’s why the army arranged for the Aviation Combined Arms Tactical Training Simulator, otherwise known as AVCATT.
“We simulate them actually doing their jobs,” explains Barry Lill, an instructor pilot with AVCATT and retired CWO-5. “Out there, they’re either picking up troops, see them wandering across the scene there, or doing a Medevac type mission. We control all the problem play here. I’m called the Battle Master Controller. The guy behind the scene that pulls the strings.”
“It’s fun, it’s definitely good training,” says First Lt. Benjamin Paradis. “They can link all the different units together and we can do multi-shop operations.”
“They say a Black Hawk runs about $6,000 an hour to operate,” says Lill. “This, the electricity for a month is $7,000 and we can operate 24-7. Everybody that I’ve taught through all these years, never had an accident and none were shot down.”
It took the Charley Company about 6 months to get the Bangor facility ready for the AVCATT program.