MKRUG chairman, Wayne Blyth, participated in the Army’s demonstration of the proposed HAMET training on Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea this past Tuesday, July 26th. There was a briefing and question and answer period by Col. Frank Tate, commander of the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, Peter Peshut, PTA Natural Resources Office, and others. Following the briefing two Black Hawk helicopters flew the approximately 20 participants on a simulated training flight. One aircraft stayed above photographing the other which set down at each one of the six LZs (landing zones) proposed to be used for training purposes. Three LZs are on Mauna Kea, mauka of R10 (skyline road), and three on Mauna Loa.
The aircraft to be used in the training:
A portion of the executive summary of the EA:
The U. S. Army Garrison-Hawai‘i (USAG-HI) prepared this environmental assessment (EA) to publicly disclose the results of an environmental impact analysis of High-Altitude Mountainous Environment Training (HAMET) for the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB), Hawai‘i. If approved, HAMET would train 90 helicopter pilots and crew for high-altitude missions in preparation for deployment to Afghanistan and to satisfy mandated annual training requirements.
The need for well-prepared aviation brigades to conduct combat operations in Afghanistan led the U.S. Army Forces Command to prioritize the development of standardized training for high-altitude (up to 14,000 ft [4,267 m]) mountainous conditions. HAMET was developed to ready experienced helicopter pilots for success in combat operations as part of their train-up for deployment under Operation Enduring Freedom. HAMET adapts the National Guard’s school for individual mountain helicopter training taught at the National Guard’s High-Altitude Aviation Training Site in Gypsum, Colorado, with helicopter training that individual Army CABs have been conducting as part of their regular training operations for the past several years.
Six alternatives are evaluated in this EA…
A map of the proposed flight path and LZ:
Similar training has been done previously in 2003, 2004 and 2006. Although some of the previous training exercises involved land closure, the Army is not proposing that this time.
A video by Big Island Video News on Tuesday’s flight: Army Black Hawks over Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa
An earlier video: Military was high altitude training on Mauna Kea in 2003
The draft EA was published July 23, 2011. The public comment period is until August 23, 2011.
Comments can be made to:
NEPA PROGRAM USAG-HI,
Directorate of Public Works
Environmental Division (IMPC-HI-PWE)
948 Santos Dumont Avenue, Bldg. 105, Wheeler Army Airfield
Schofield Barracks, HI 96857-5013
Phone: (208) 419-4176
Fax: (208) 523-8860
You can download the draft EA at: 2011-07-23-DEA-High-Altitude-Mountanous-Environment-Training
MKRUG will be reviewing the proposal and preparing comments. Your input will be greatly appreciated.
firstname.lastname@example.org or Mauna Kea Recreational Users Group, 447 Kalanianaole Ave, Hilo, HI, 96720