HTU-1 HTG-1 HT-8 HELICOPTER TRAINING SQUADRON NAAS/NAS ELLYSON FIELD, PENSACOLA, FLORIDA 1950-PRESENT
NAAS Ellyson Field, Pensacola, Florida, Late 1950s, William Fury Photo
HTU-1 BECAME HTG-1 IN 1957
HTG-1 BECAME HT-8 IN 1960 AND REMAINS SO TO THE PRESENT
HTU-1 NAVY HELICOPTER TRAINING UNIT ONE NAAS ELLYSON FIELD, PENSACOLA, FL 1950-1957
Click on the heading and read the NAVAL AVIATION NEWS April, 1952 article about the one year old Helicopter Training Unit ONE (HTU-1) Squadron stood up at Ellyson Field, Pensacola, Florida to train new Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard Helicopter Pilots. Please notice on the first page of the article the picture of the schedule board which listed names of instructor and student pilots. The listing includes CAPT Chuck Smiley, USN (Ret.), then a student pilot and one OF the Founders of the Naval Helicopter Association (NHA) in 1971, along with RADM John J. Higginson, USN (Ret.), former CO of HS-2 and HS-10, also a student naval aviator in HTU-1. He would become one of several of Navy Rotary Wings earliest Flag Officers. CAPT Mark Starr, USN (Ret.), another one of the founders of NHA was one of the instructor pilots in HTU-1. On page five of the article in the middle bottom, there is a cartoon on Low Frequency vibration which was drawn by LTJG Mark Starr. LT Starr became one of four pilots selected in HTU-1 to form the Rotary Wing Angels, Navy Helicopter Precision Team, which flew displays in Michigan and New Orleans during 1952 and 1953. Read about them below and enjoy a very rare formation picture of the “Angels” uncovered and shared with NHA by Brian Miller.
HTU-1-THE ROTARY WING ANGELS, NAVY HELICOPTER PRECISION TEAM
The Rotary Wing Angels; January 22, 1953, New Orleans, LA. Formed in May of 1952, this team of four instructors from HTU-1 (now HTG-1 and then HT-8) at Ellyson Field first performed at the Fifth International Air Exposition at Detroit Michigan in late August of 1952. According to the papers, they performed choreographed precision helicopter maneuvers in the form of square dancing and waltzing to live band music along with some other maneuvers. The team consisted of LT Mark Starr, LT John Mullen, LT Scotty Matthews, and LT W.G. Pledger and are seen here flying what I believe are Bell HTL-4 trainers. As fast-paced and action-packed as it sounds, square dancing helicopters were apparently narrowly edged-out by the screaming jets of the Blue Angels who usually performed the same day. As far as I can tell, the Rotary Wing Angels only did two shows. Contributed by Brian Miller, NHAHS Secretary based on a original photo including a copy of the New Orleans newspaper article giving all the particulars.
LT Mark Starr became CAPT Mark Starr, USN (Ret.) an original Founding member of the Naval Helicopter Association in 1971 and the namesake of the CAPT Mark Starr Award given by NHA/NHAHS at symposium annually
Contributed by Brian Miller, NHAHS Secretary member based on a original photo including a copy of the New Orleans newspaper article giving all the particulars.