Oregon National Guard pilots to conduct high-altitude flights in Deschutes area

Oregon Army National Guard aviators with Charlie Company, 7-158th Aviation, are scheduled to conduct high-altitude survey flights with HH-60M Blackhawk helicopters near the summits of Mt. Bachelor, Tumalo Mountain and Kwohl Butte on February 11, 2016. The purpose of the flight is to conduct reconnaissance of some potential landing zones for future high-altitude training.

The Oregon National Guard is working in conjunction with the U.S. Forest Service to identify possible locations in Oregon between 6,000 and 9,000 feet for Blackhawk pilots to conduct training in support of the search and rescue program. Reconnaissance flights in other high-altitude locations throughout the state will take place later this spring and will be announced when scheduled.

Oregon Army Guard pilots currently use an approved training area that only has terrain up to approximately 3,500 feet. Pilots must travel to training sites in Colorado in order to receive the flight certification required to perform high-altitude search and rescue missions.

Working with the U.S. Forest Service to establish high-altitude helicopter training sites in Oregon will enable the Oregon National Guard to reduce the overall training cost, allowing more pilots to be certified and ready to rescue their fellow Oregonians.

This exercise should have minimal impact on recreation users. If anyone should encounter a helicopter landing in these areas, be advised to stay clear of the area as rotor wash will be strong with blowing snow and possible debris.