One of the Navy’s most time-honored traditions crossed paths with one of its newest and most advanced technologies last month when a group of newly pinned Chief Petty Officers from Naval Test Wing Atlantic (NTWL) were flown in the Navy’s first CMV-22B Osprey, courtesy of Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (HX) 21.
Cmdr. Daniel Short, HX-21’s commanding officer, and Maj. Nathaniel Ross, the squadron’s operations officer, flew seven of the new Chiefs from Naval Air Station Patuxent River to the training area at Fort A.P. Hill, an Army base in Virginia where the Chiefs finished the final phases of their months-long initiation process.
“The idea was to introduce Naval Test Wing Atlantic’s newest leaders — freshly pinned Chief Petty Officers — to the newest fleet capability and community,” Short said. “These Chief Petty Officers will lead naval aviation for the next decade and beyond, and will have opportunities to join and shape the new VRM community as the CMV-22 replaces the C-2 across the fleet.” VRM is the abbreviation for the new Fleet Logistics Multi-Mission Squadrons, the type of unit that will operate the CMV-22 in its Carrier Onboard Delivery (COD) role.
Short said that it seemed fitting to demonstrate the capabilities of the CMV-22 to NTWL’s new Chiefs in the first Navy V-22 ever to roll off the line, N1, which first flew last year and is currently a test aircraft at HX-21. Last year, N1 conducted the first shipboard landings of a CMV-22B when it flew personnel and equipment to the amphibious transport dock USS New York (LPD 21) in support of MV-22 Osprey landing and ship compatibility tests.
“I thought the transition between helicopter mode to airplane mode was pretty cool,” said Chief Aviation Machinist’s Mate Steven Burling. “Feeling the aircraft speed up for takeoffs and then slow down and come to a hover for landings was unique compared to any other flight I have been on.”
“The way it felt while flying was like I would imagine it feels like to sit on the top of a remote controlled drone,” said Chief Aviation Electronics Technician Lance Ducote. “For me, the most memorable part of the flight was during the banks, watching the horizon tilt to the side through the open back hatch.”
“It was an enjoyable experience to do with the rest of the guys I was selected to Chief with, and I wish that it was something that more junior Sailors could take part in,” Ducote added.
Short said that it was an honor to pilot the flight with Maj. Ross, an experienced V-22 test pilot.
“For me,” Short said, “the best parts of the event were speaking with the new Chiefs before the flight about their goals for the future with the new VRM community and the excitement they have for it, seeing their huge wide eyes as they felt the CMV-22 convert from a helicopter into airplane mode and pour on the speed — which it does quite well — and the big grins and thumbs-up as we crossed the landing zone and they experienced the full capability of the V-22!”