The second week of Hot Blade 2013 Helicopter Exercise is now close to its conclusion. This week offered some new and challenging missions testing the capabilities of the involved military and allowing European helicopters crews to train and qualify in complex scenarios, similar to real operations theatres, as well as to improve the interoperability among the participating Nations.
Formation flight session
To fly in formation was on one of the possibilities that the HB13 provided to its participants during this week of exercise. Formation flight means the disciplined flight of two or more aircraft under the command of a flight “Leader”. All the other aircraft involved are called "wings."
There are several possible formations and the 751 Squadron, EH-101 Merlin already had the opportunity to flight in formation with the Dutch and the Austrians in this edition of HB13. The Austrian OH-58 KIOWA and the Dutch CH-47D CHINNOOK joined the Portuguese EH-101 Merlin and put into practice the theory gained.
The military use this kind of flight for mutual support training and for capabilities sharing. It is a type of flight that increases the capabilities of the aircraft involved: greater security and the possibility of more cargo and personnel transport.
Furthermore, the flight formation can significantly increase the overall aerodynamic efficiency. It can also reduce drag, increasing the flight range. This fulfills one of the objectives of HB13: to increase the participating forces interoperability.
Aviation aficionados 1st visit
Tuesday 23 July was the day dedicated to aviation enthusiasts, either professionals or amateurs. There were sixty people who assured their place at Ovar Air Base with a prior registration. The objective was to capture the aircraft best moments and images.
These aviation experts had the opportunity to go through several observation points which were set up for this purpose, a privileged access to all air operations.
At the end of the day, a closing briefing took place where an overall opinion about the day was collected. The enthusiasts said they had enjoyed each moment and the exercise had surpassed their expectations.
EDA’s HTP Project Manager interview
The EDA Helicopter Training Programme Project Manager Andrew Gray explains the importance of the exercise and the reasons that led to the success of Hot Blade in Portugal.