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Helicopter flight procedure question

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posted on Sep, 6 2011 @ 08:23 AM
Hi guys (and ladies),

I hope this forum is appropriate for my query?

The other night I was outside (north of Nashville, air-traffic close to Ft Campbell) when I heard what I thought was a low flying Chinook. When it came into view though, it was actually 2 helicopters flying single file, the one in front had zero lights on, the rear had a green and a red nav light but was dark otherwise. Their silhouette was black against the gray, city lit sky so I didn't see any markings. They looked civilian in profile. Big though!

In the 90's I could tell you what kind of chopper was coming by listening to it so it bothers me a little that I don't know what they were. You learn some neat stuff in a cavalry unit. In all the flights I witnessed though I never saw two birds fly so close and in single file.

Anybody know a reason they'd do that?

edit on 6-9-2011 by TreadUpon because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 6 2011 @ 08:30 AM
reply to post by TreadUpon

Could be CH-53's/Pave lows" buddy" refuelling.I have only seen this happen once but they do get pretty close to each other.

posted on Sep, 6 2011 @ 08:58 AM
reply to post by nake13

That thing is way too bulky and military looking. I don't think I care what they were? I Google imaged helo ID and the closest was an unmanned version, but it wasn't right and I'm not claiming to have that great a memory to ID them anyways.

I want to know why they were flying like that?

A feel for the look of them here.
edit on 6-9-2011 by TreadUpon because: To add link of look-a-like

posted on Sep, 6 2011 @ 12:12 PM
reply to post by TreadUpon

That would look like a Bell Longranger pretty typical news heliocopter.

posted on Sep, 6 2011 @ 12:16 PM
reply to post by spyder550

Yeah they did look like news choppers but why were they flying single file, right on top of each other, with no lights up front and only 2 nav lights on the rear? I can't think why they'd do that in the daylight, much less at night?

posted on Sep, 6 2011 @ 01:27 PM
reply to post by TreadUpon

I have seen military aircraft that have had nav lights positioned so that they were only visible from the top. I am not sure where I saw these but I am a pilot -- I noticed they were mounted only to be seen from the top

Nav lights could have been out because of a failure
Nav lights could have been off because of some kind of training activity

In any case if two aircraft are flying in formation - and this is just theory - the lights would be less confusing to other vfr pilots if there was only one set of lights. (night time formation flying is not something a civilian pilot would be expecting to see) The reason the lights are red and white and green are to give an observing pilot information on attitude direction and speed of an aircraft, two close together planes would be confusing.

posted on Sep, 6 2011 @ 06:08 PM
reply to post by TreadUpon

Could they be a UH-72A Lakota (A recently aquired off the shelf helicopter) or maybe modified MH-6 Little bird?

As for the tight formation, it could be that they show up as one on the radar, rather than two. That would be a tactical advantage...though a dangerous one.
edit on 6-9-2011 by TDawgRex because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 7 2011 @ 07:23 AM

If they looked a bit like a Bell Longranger then they may have bee OH-58's which are essentially the military version of the Jetranger/Longranger family. And given what you described they could be it. It's unlikely that civilian helicopters would be performing the kind of maneuvers you describe but it sounds right up the military's alley.


It isn't just military aircraft that have collision beacons obscured from the ground. The Bombardier Dash-8 family are well known for their beacons being on the top and rather difficult to see on the ground during handling and movements. I should know, I almost collided with one in a tug, one night a few weeks back!

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