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Thursday, September 1, 2005

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Whose MH-53Es?

Your item on an MH-53E unit being readied for a combat theater states the unit, Helicopter Support Sqdn. Four (HC-4), is a U.S. Marine Corps squadron ("Saved From Extinction, USMC's MH-53E Squadron Gets New Mission," August 2005, page 19). It is, in fact, a U.S. Navy squadron. Marines fly CH-53Es; the Navy MH-53Es.

Lt. Anthony Schwarz, U.S. Navy
N78 Air Warfare--Helicopter Requirements
The Pentagon
Washington, D.C.

Also, I believe the picture you've got on there is a H-53D, not an MH-53E.

LCDR Brian Coxson, U.S. Navy
SH-60B Seahawk Pilot
Jacksonville, Fla.

Thanks. We certainly should have caught those errors.

Name That Helicopter

Rotor & Wing readers offer U.S. Navy's VH-71 program officials more suggestions for naming the next presidential helicopter, the US101 version of the EH101, to be flown by the USMC's HMX-1 squadron. If you have suggestions, send them to the address below. For a list of names suggested to date, see Rotorcraft Report, page 14.

Why not call it Merlin as in the United Kingdom? It is a bird of prey with a virile image, but it is also the name of a famous, semi-mythical man of wisdom associated with the Court of King Arthur, which legend has it was not far from Yeovil, England, home of AgustaWestland's factory.

Ian Shuttleworth
London, United Kingdom

Regarding names for the VXX/VH-71, the United Kingdom's Royal Navy had a difficult time deciding on a suitable name for the EH101 before eventually settling on Merlin, which of course then became the name for the Royal Air Force Support Helicopter variant on which I instruct at the Medium Support Helicopter Aircrew Training Facility.

You will no doubt be aware that the EH101 name itself is a supposed mistake in that the aircraft was originally named the EHI (European Helicopter Industries) 01, but that was then misinterpreted as the EH101. A Royal Navy document shows that the name of Merlin was itself also a mistake from the chosen name of Marlin. Perhaps the White House may like to choose one of the other suggestions from the Royal Navy competition? Lets hope that they don't follow the Royal Danish Air Force competition winner selection of "Merlin Joint Support Supporter."

Incidentally, have the Japanese or Portugese named their aircraft?

Damian J. Steel
Merlin Instructor
Serco Defence and Aerospace
CAE Aircrew Training Services
Medium Support Helicopter Aircrew Training Facility
RAF Benson
Wallingford, Oxon
United Kingdom

As far as we know, neither Japan nor Portugal has named its EH101s.

Call it the Sea Eagle.

Lee Fuller
AED-E3 Electromagnetic Environmental Effects Branch
Aviation Engineering Directorate
U.S. Army Aviation
Redstone Arsenal
Huntsville, Ala.

I am in favor of Patriot for the name of the EH101 for use by the president. Semper Fi.

Steve Wellman
Ellenton, Fla

How about Poseidon, who was the Greek god of the sea?

Marc Ledwidge
Banff, Alberta
Canada

The legendary flying horse, Pegasus, fathered by Poseidon, might be a fitting name for the Marines' US101.

Dr. A. M. G?i
President & CEO
ASTEK Ltd.
Ankara, Turkey

What about a name like "Freedom"? It is also the name of the first U.S. Navy Littoral Combat Ship, but a lot of ships and aircraft have the same name, such as Black Hawk, Falcon, and Osprey.

Not all the names of Navy helicopters are "nautical"-sounding except for the "Sea" in front of their names, such as Sea King, Sea Stallion, Sea Dragon, Sea Knight.

Another possibility could be "Defender" (also the name of a ship).

Lt. Cdr. Sara Santoski
N802 Airborne Mine Countermeasures
U.S. Navy Mine Warfare Command
Corpus Christi, Texas

My suggestion? Sandpiper.

Gary T. Blakely
Staff Engineer and Black Belt
AIR-5.1--Integrated Systems Evaluation
Experimentation and Test Dept.
U.S. Navy Naval Air Systems Command
NAS Patuxent River, Md.

(Editor's Note: Mr. Blakely's department will flight test the VH-71 when it is ready for technical evaluation.)

The VXX presidential helicopter should be called the VH-71 Sea Raven.

Lawton Baker
CWO (ret), U.S. Army Reserve
EMS Helicopter Pilot
Burlington, N.C.

Why call it a nautical name? The past presidential helicopters were all specifically helicopters in the U.S. Navy fleet that were transformed into the VH community. The US101 does not have any such U.S. military fleet history or background. Therefore, it does not need to reflect a nautical sea bird's name. A fitting name would be Night Hawk (I am not sure if this is the correct way of spelling the call sign) after HMX-1 since that is the squadron's official call sign when they are not flying the president.

Maj. Steven R. Girard, U.S.M.C.
Administration Officer
Marine Light Attack Helicopter Sqdn. (HMLA) 169
Oceanside, Calif.

The "Peregrine" (Irish; Seabhac), found in coastal areas.

Paul E. Finkenkeller
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Coast Guard C-130J Aircraft Project Office
Elizabeth City, N.C.

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