To Little Rock, Ark.

When we arrived at the Richmond airfield on Nov. 10, we learned our next stop on the way to Yuma, Ariz. would be in Little Rock, Ark.

We were able to pick up two more aircraft before departing, and took off in two flights of four, spaced 30 minutes apart. I was in the first flight.

During the trip to our first fuel stop in Greensboro, N.C., my cockpit was pretty much silent. I'd expected more chatter, but for the most part, the only words spoken came from the radio as flight alerted small airports we planned to over fly. There wasn't much talk on later legs, either, as we made our way from Greensboro to Knoxville, TN (KTYS) to Nashville, TN (KBNA) to Millington, TN (KNQA) to Little Rock.

10 NOV 05, Three of the four aircraft in the first of two flights of A Co 2/224th AVN aircraft, make their way across the usual piedmont area landscape between Richmond, VA and Greensboro, NC. (Unit Photo)
View Enlarged Photo

All together, we flew for seven and a half hours. Except for turbulence over the Appalachian mountains, the flights were uneventful. Occasionally the scenery caught my eye. One lake in particular outside of Knoxville gave us a new perspective on the Southeast's drought -- its water so low that docks and piers lay on the ground 50 feed from the shore.

The last leg of the trip from Millington, Tenn. to Little Rock was a bit hairy as the sun had set and we made the trip without the aid of night vision devices. I kept a keen eye on the maps while trying to make sure we avoided any obstacles, especially the other aircraft. We landed in Little Rock, wrapped up the aircraft and were shuttled to our hotel. With seven and a half hours of flight time and a thousand miles of travel, we were all too tired to do anything but go to bed. Report time in the morning of Nov. 11 was 10:00 hours, a late start thanks to the long day we'd just completed and our crew rest policy.

By Bert Stover |  November 29, 2005; 11:20 AM ET  | Category:  Enroute to Yuma, AZ , Ft. Dix Mobilization , Preparation for Departure
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I'm an old fixed wing avaitor (Rucker, 56-4) so am concerned that you flew for 7 and 1/2 hours. Pardon the ignorance, but do your choppers have auto pilots or do you "fly" the entire time? My limited experience is of the old birds which had no such conveniences and was wondering.
Thanks and good luck.

Posted by: Walter | November 29, 2005 02:32 PM


The BlackHawk has some fairly sophisticated flight stabilization capabilities, but no real autopilot. The Hawk is certainly less strenuous to fly than earlier Army helicopters. I wouldn't say that the pilots have nothing to do up there, but after years of crewing Hueys before crewing in Hawks, I'd have to say that the BlackHawk is an easy flying machine. Don't get me wrong, you don't step out of a Hawk after seven and a half hours feeling like going for a run, but they aren't as bad as your experience might lead you to imagine.

Posted by: chemlite | November 29, 2005 05:46 PM

You are either spoiled, incompetent or both. Flying at night with out NVGs is not "a bit hairy'. It is fun, beautifil, and easy. But then, you are also very new, and part of the new generation of letting equipment and technology do the majority of your workload.

Posted by: | December 3, 2005 11:21 AM

Regarding your flight over Knoxville, TN., and "drought," what you saw was winter pool stage of a TVA lake. In the fall, TVA lowers the water level substantially to expand reservoir capacity for winter rain, snow and spring rains. Summer levels do not return until late spring. Honest misunderstanding on your part.

Posted by: Ron Patton | December 5, 2005 01:06 PM

Thanks for the story Bert, I can remember flying SH-2F's many years ago and the thrill of helo aviation. I can appreciate the feeling after 7 hours in a helo. We felt as if we had been beat after our normal 3.5 hour flights. I later flew in P-3's and missed the excitment of flying low and hovering in them ole Kaman's. Good luck with your transit and your tour.

Posted by: Alvin Williams | December 6, 2005 12:22 PM

hello from Woodbridge VA
This is Marumsco barbershop talking to Bert Stover hope you are doing fine and hope you are keeping safe.
Wanted to drop you a line. my wife says hello and hurry back to Woodbridge.
Take care and GOD speed Bert Stover.
Wayne and Sun Marumsco Barbershop.

Posted by: Kim marumsco barber shop Woodbridge VA | January 17, 2006 10:01 PM

Keep the moving parts up and the greasy side down, boys. Glad to hear you made it in county without incident. Sounds like the trips to NTC was a good orinetation to the travel and accommodations you are now experiencing. Brewster, myself and LTC Ben have you in our thoughts.Any of you wanting some direct conversation can get in touch with me and others stateside through Ringo.

Posted by: Clavin | February 16, 2006 11:19 AM

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