Helicopter Flight Training by ROTC
[by CDT Greg Wellman '09] 500 feet above Boston with two MIT Deans.
[by CDT Greg Wellman ’09]
For the second time in my life, I had the chance to ride in a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter. My first experience was nothing short of incredible, so I jumped at the opportunity. Before I knew it I was 500 feet above Boston catching a glimpse of the Red Sox practice. Pretty damn cool if I may say so.
I was acting as an escort to Dean of Student Life Benedict and Dean of Undergraduate Education Hastings, Distinguished Visitors (DV) for the event. Lieutenant Reyes and I picked up the Deans and drove them to Briggs field where the flight demonstrations were already underway. As we approached the landing zone, the Blackhawks were coming in low over New House. It was an awesome sight; definitely not something that I ever expected to see at MIT.
Tagging along with Distinguished Visitors has a number of benefits, to include skipping the long line of students who had signed up to fly. The Deans were given a short safety brief and we were on our way. We were all strapped in by the flight chief and the door was shut. While closed doors don’t impede the view, it is truly another experience to fly with them open (as I did on my first flight).
As a Blackhawk revs up for takeoff, you can feel the power surge through you. It’s fantastically loud – the kind of stuff that gets your adrenaline pumping. It’s not hard to get caught up in this experience and miss the whole takeoff. I, however, was not going to let myself miss anything. The pilot brought it up slowly off the ground, got level and then let it rip. Strapped in, looking out the window, you get the sensation of flight, like you are a part of the aircraft. It can really feel like you are flying.
We came up over Killian court and then crossed the Charles in Beantown. Not many people ever get that view of Boston, which is a shame. We could see everything: the Constitution, Fenway, the Hatch Shell, Fanuiel Hall, the State House, the Commons, the BPL, MIT, everything. After flying around for a bit we came back down over New House and touched down on Briggs field. We unloaded, and I thanked the Deans for coming out. After a few quick pictures (which found their way into The Tech – booyah), Deans Benedict and Hastings went on their way. I stuck around to watch the Blackhawks take off a few more times.