MILTON — Lt. Ryan Kilway had the opportunity to fly fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters when he was training to be a pilot. He found that helos were a perfect fit for him.
That is what the Navy intended by having Fleet Fly In week.
Training Air Wing Five at NAS Whiting Field hosted portions of the Naval Helicopter Association Gulf Coast 2019 Fleet Fly In the week of Oct. 21-24.
“I love to fly everything, but helos - helos got me, that’s all I wanted to fly,” Kilway said about his indoctrination flight over eight years ago.
Kilway was back in his MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter to provide the same experience to student pilots this week.
The Fleet Fly In is designed to provide a week of training and knowledge sharing with student aviators so they can make informed decisions as they move forward in their aviation careers.
It took Kilway two years to earn his wings. After he became a Naval aviator, Kilway picked the H-60 because of its mission - anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare.
The Navy sent the MH-60R and S versions, MH-53, MH-65 and the MV-22 for student pilots to fly and familiarize themselves with the missions of each helicopter.
The unique MV-22 aircraft participated in the fly in.
“It is in a class all by itself,” said Lt. Maria Regis, an instructor pilot from HT-8 Squadron at NAS Whiting Field.
Regis said the MV-22 Osprey is a tilt-rotor aircraft that can fly like a fixed-wing airplane or a helicopter.
“Its mission is passenger and cargo transport,” Regis said.
The MV-22 replaced the CH-46 Sea King helicopter to be the primary assault support aircraft for the U.S. Marine Corps. The Navy started transitioning to the Osprey in late 2018 according to a Navy Times article from Nov. 15, 2018. The Navy’s version of the Osprey will be designated CMV-22B and will replace the C2A Greyhound by late 2020.
As groups of student pilots made their way to the various helicopters there was a sense of excitement and anticipation in their expressions.
“Being up there is a lot of fun, it’s an amazing experience,” Regis said with a big smile.