Helicopters roared to life on the flight deck of the amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans (LPD 18) as crew members went to work qualifying and passing the Afloat Training Group (ATG) Pacific Aviation Readiness Qualification (ARQ) 1.4 Bravo, April 23.
The crew demonstrated proficiency in flight deck operations, commonly called “Helo Day,” by conducting flight operations with MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopters. The event marked the first time New Orleans had landed aircraft since their 2014 deployment.
The ARQ required the crew to conduct several drills, including firefighting on the flight deck and hangar bay. The air department underwent a team evaluation at the firefighting school in San Diego to prepare for the drills.
Before the ARQ, the ship was required to pass the aviation certification (AVCERT), an event designed to ensure required shipboard aviation facilities and equipment are installed and functioning properly. Representatives from the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) inspected New Orleans following months of preparation and a variety of work projects to meet the requirements.
The projects included installing a new non-skid surface on the ship’s 202-foot flight deck. The hangar bridge crane and folding boom crane were also repaired during the maintenance availability.
With certification behind them, the New Orleans crew can move forward to fill their role as a launching platform for an embarked Marine Air Combat Element.
Image: US Navy