18 September 2014
UH-1H Huey tactical utility helicopters from the 205th PAF Tactical Helicopter Wing (photo : Mack Milay)
The seemingly never breaking sound at night brought about by Philippine Air Force (PAF) helicopters patrolling around the city of Zamboanga, perhaps, makes the residents to speculate.
It may be disturbing to some as it shatters the serenity of the night. For others, it may be perceived as another firefight somewhere between the government troops and the armed threat groups. But people should not be worried about flying at night especially in the vicinity of Zamboanga City. Here are some facts to know about helicopter flying at night.
Night Visual Flight Rules (NVFR) Proficiency or Night Flying is one of the flying proficiency programs of the 205th Tactical Helicopter Wing (THW), a unit of the Philippine Air Force tasked to conduct heli-lift operations in support of ground units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP).The proficiency program aims to prepare pilots and aircrew of the 205th Tactical Helicopter Wing for night flying missions using UH-1 helicopter popularly known as Huey. This is the time when civilians are most vulnerable.
The Night Flying Proficiency is being conducted within and outside an aerodrome upon approval of the Commanding General of the Philippine Air Force and after proper coordination with concerned units or agencies. This is conducted using Night Vision Goggles (NVG) among aircrew every three days when no night mission has been performed. That’s the twice-a-week neverberating sounds you hear within Zamboanga City, but those sounds assure our peace and order.
The helicopter proficiency sound you hear assures necessary skills and expertise among aircrew for critical night flying missions such as Air Reconnaissance, Troop Insertion and Extrication, Limited Close Air Support (CAS), Resupply, Medical Evacuation (MedEvac), Casualty Evacuation (CasEvac) and other support to AFP and PNP forces. Also, it serves extra dimension in security as this aerial flight jibed with aerial patrols deter possible attempts of more chaos from among perpetrators.
As gallant vanguards of our precious skies, the airmen must undergo hard training to be always ready when aggression comes and Night Flying Proficiency being performed by the airmen of 205th THW is a testament of cognizance and readiness for war anytime, even at night.