The U.S. Air Force’s newest helicopter, the MH-139A Grey Wolf, completed its first combined test flight here Feb. 11.
With a Boeing pilot in command, this test flight allowed the Air Force its first in-flight look at the capabilities of the aircraft. The flight also made Maj. Zach Roycroft, 413th Flight Test Squadron lead test pilot for the program, the first Air Force pilot to fly the MH-139A.
“This first flight with Boeing was a critical step for the MH-139A program and allows us to establish a foundation for government testing,” said Roycroft.
Boeing completed extensive flight-testing on the MH-139A to satisfy FAA requirements prior the introduction of mixed contractor/Air Force crews. The MH-139A program should complete initial military ground testing later this month.
“This flight represents a tremendous amount of work and we are all very excited to see it happen,” said Andrew Whitten, the MH-139 flight chief, who was also on the flight.
Staff Sgt. Alex Graves, Air Force Global Strike Command Det. 7 special mission aviator, was also on board for the historic flight.
The MH-139A is set to replace the Air Force’s aging UH-1N “Huey” fleet. The new helicopter closes the capability gaps of the UH-1N in the areas of speed, range, endurance, payload and survivability in support of the command’s ICBM missions. Other mission capabilities include civil search and rescue, airlift support, National Capital Region missions, as well as survival school and test support.