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Dolphin or Jayhawk (H-65 or H-60?)?
Last Post 25 Jan 2016 04:50 PM by mkelly. 5 Replies.
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na7cwUser is Offline
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na7cw

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14 Jan 2016 07:14 PM
    I am acquainted with an HH-65 pilot who obviously claims that the HH-65 is the best outfit in the Coast Guard's rotor force. (Just a wee bit of Dolphin pride, maybe?) 

    I doubt that anyone has ever served on both platforms and could offer an unbiased perspective, but it's worth a shot. Which is the better platform? I'm not just asking about flight ability and operational ability, I'm wondering about the differences in where these helicopters are stationed, the lifestyle impacts, and the mission sets. For example, a Dolphin might be stationed in Port Angeles (air station closest to home) or maybe in Atlantic City (and so on) while a Jayhawk might be stationed in Sitka or Astoria. A Dolphin might be deployed on a cutter while a Jayhawk obviously won't (that I'm aware of, at least). The Jayhawk is better suited to flying greater distances and has a greater hoist capacity while the Dolphin doesn't have as long of a flight range and is just smaller. Therefore, since their abilities are different, they are stationed in different areas with different needs. One is better suited to "long-range" SAR while the other is limited to short-range work. Since I was young, I have been fascinated by the operational flexibility of the Jayhawk and the ability to carry out long-range (in helo terms) missions. It seems that many of the greatest and largest rescues in history have been carried out from the MH-60 Jayhawk (if you have a different perspective, I'd love to hear about it). Though there are fewer air stations with Jayhawks, they seem to be more able to respond to SAR cases since they don't reach "bingo fuel" nearly as quickly as a Dolphin when fully fueled. Obviously this all has serious geographical implications, but a Dolphin in Port Angeles would not have as much hover time (or plain flight time, for that matter) as a Jayhawk, possibly limiting its operational abilities. A Jayhawk might be better suited to a mountain rescue for the simple reason that it's likely to take place further from the coast where an air station might be.

    What are the lifestyle impacts of flying 60's versus 65's and how are the mission sets different? Is a Jayhawk more likely to be dispatched on a SAR case than a Dolphin simply because of the range and hoist capacity? I know that air station Kodiak staffs both types of aircraft, and I wonder how their missions sets in Kodiak differ. And now for the clincher... Which one is more fun to fly?

    Sorry if the questions seem ambiguous. Any feedback is greatly appreciated.

    Regards,
    Christian
    Ocelot JonesUser is Offline
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    Ocelot Jones

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    16 Jan 2016 02:24 AM
    You have a ton of questions here, so I'm gonna try to do everything in your original post
    I am acquainted with an HH-65 pilot who obviously claims that the HH-65 is the best outfit in the Coast Guard's rotor force. (Just a wee bit of Dolphin pride, maybe?)   This is posted in the officer forum, so I am thinking you might want to be a pilot? I'll answer to the best of my ability from my experience (not a pilot).
    I doubt that anyone has ever served on both platforms and could offer an unbiased perspective, but it's worth a shot. ASTs aren't attached to a specific airframe, so it's not uncommon to fly in both. AMTs and AETs also have the ability to switch, but it is pretty difficult. Which is the better platform? Pretty much like asking people in New York and Boston which is the better baseball team. I'm not just asking about flight ability and operational ability, I'm wondering about the differences in where these helicopters are stationed, the lifestyle impacts, and the mission sets. For example, a Dolphin might be stationed in Port Angeles (air station closest to home) or maybe in Atlantic City (and so on) while a Jayhawk might be stationed in Sitka or Astoria. For a detailed (slightly dated) idea of which air station has what, check this out:  http://i.imgur.com/MoudI6M.png  A Dolphin might be deployed on a cutter while a Jayhawk obviously won't (that I'm aware of, at least). The Jayhawk is better suited to flying greater distances and has a greater hoist capacity while the Dolphin doesn't have as long of a flight range and is just smaller. Jayhawks have a higher fuel capacity, so they can fly longer. They have the same hoist capacity. Dolphin just can't fit as many people inside. Therefore, since their abilities are different, they are stationed in different areas with different needs. One is better suited to "long-range" SAR while the other is limited to short-range work. Since I was young, I have been fascinated by the operational flexibility of the Jayhawk and the ability to carry out long-range (in helo terms) missions. It seems that many of the greatest and largest rescues in history have been carried out from the MH-60 Jayhawk (if you have a different perspective, I'd love to hear about it). Though there are fewer air stations with Jayhawks, they seem to be more able to respond to SAR cases since they don't reach "bingo fuel" nearly as quickly as a Dolphin when fully fueled. Fortunately for the 65, SAR doesn't only exist 2 hours off the coast. Obviously this all has serious geographical implications, but a Dolphin in Port Angeles would not have as much hover time (or plain flight time, for that matter) as a Jayhawk, possibly limiting its operational abilities. A Jayhawk might be better suited to a mountain rescue for the simple reason that it's likely to take place further from the coast where an air station might be. At my air station, if I look one way, I can see the ocean. If I look the other way, I can see snow-capped mountains.
    What are the lifestyle impacts of flying 60's versus 65's and how are the mission sets different? Is a Jayhawk more likely to be dispatched on a SAR case than a Dolphin simply because of the range and hoist capacity? I know that air station Kodiak staffs both types of aircraft, and I wonder how their missions sets in Kodiak differ. If I'm not mistaken, the 65s in Kodiak are deployed on the 378s, they don't really operate from Kodiak.  And now for the clincher... Which one is more fun to fly? From what I hear, the 60 is simple to fly compared to the 65, just based on it's size and overall durability. The 65 requires a lot more finesse
    You already seem pretty set towards the 60, but I applaud you for seeking advice to aid your decision. My 65 unit gets calls for sinking boats in the ocean, people caught in a raging river, and hikers caught in the mountains. The airframes are totally different and if you plan on becoming a pilot, I can't really advise you on which is better. But as far as the missions, you'll be happy wherever you go. 
    AirDale13User is Offline
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    AirDale13

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    16 Jan 2016 12:54 PM
    I've flown with a few pilots that have flown both airframes, not uncommon to switch from what I've been told. You wanna drive a corvette or a bug? 60's all the way!! I like the 60 airframe, although 65's have a lot more choices for assignments. In the end I wouldn't mind either one.
    na7cwUser is Offline
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    na7cw

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    17 Jan 2016 04:40 AM
    Thanks for the feedback. I'm primarily asking from the perspective of a pilot (my career goal). I've got my sights set on the 60 right now simply because I'm hoping to shoot for a land-based Alaska tour sometime after my first tour of duty. My current understanding is that Alaska tours are typically only two years (for pilots, at least) while a normal tour in the lower-48 is about 4 years. If I remember correctly, Alaska tours aren't generally possible as one's first tour of duty (maybe they prefer more experienced pilots?).

    My primary interest in the 65's come from the fact that the air station nearest my home services 65's. I see them regularly and thought it would be interesting to serve as a 65 pilot in my home region. It probably isn't likely that I'd be sent to my home air station, but would be a fun tour of duty if so. Do pilots often end up at air stations they request, or is that uncommon? Can you even request a specific station or district?

    If the 65's are primarily/only dispatched from the 378's in Alaska, then maybe 60's would fit what I'm looking for. That said, I'm about 2 years away from my OCS application, so I've got other things to focus on first.
    sardaddyUser is Offline
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    sardaddy

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    25 Jan 2016 11:18 AM
    Let's start off with the first item to consider. You won't have much of a choice which air frame you will fly. So you end up flying what they tell you to fly. Once you are flying that air frame you will stay with that air frame until you are more senior and happen to become the EO, OPS, XO or CO of an air station with a different air frame. If that doesn't happen you will be in the same airframe the whole time. 

    With all of that said, sometimes you do get the opportunity to choose which airframe to fly out of flight school so let's go with it. Regardless of what you fly, you will go through the exact same flight training right up to your transition course. Oh, yes, you can request a specific air station on your dream sheet. You might not get it but you can ask. 

    Your logic on why one aircraft is better than another is yours alone so I won't say it is wrong. I will say it is a bit misguided though. H65s have done many mountain rescues because those are the type of aircraft stationed near mountains. In fact, Air Station Port Angeles has one of the highest mountain rescue altitudes recorded in the Coast Guard and that was with an H65.

    Both air frames respond to rescues when called and have the same hoist capacity. There is more room in an H60 though. Most rescues are less than five people so that is not always a great advantage. H65s have jammed many survivors into the aircraft when needed. 

    The aircraft are stationed where they are based on past needs in the area.  Because of that, crews are only capable of launching on what happens in their area. That means that who gets the big rescues are based on luck. As for who has the biggest rescues, let's just say that one group is a little more eager to make sure their big rescue makes the news.

    Only Kodiak has both air frames at the same place operationally. As noted earlier, those particular H65s and H60s have very different missions at that location. Everywhere else, it is one type or the other. They can't choose which type of aircraft to send on a particular SAR case because they only have one.

    Both aircraft are great for what they were designed for. The Dolphin for short range SAR (100-150 miles off shore) and the Jayhawk for medium range (150-300 miles off shore). Long range is left to the AF para rescue since they can refuel in flight. Those are just basic parameters of course. Many H65s have done rescues much further by hopping from oil rigs across the Gulf of Mexico or refueling enroute, especially in the Great Lakes.

    Beyond that, what makes an aircraft better? Personal choice or how it completes the desired mission? Both now have about the same electronics package and they both do rescues in all sorts of environments.

    The H65:

    Smoother ride and drives like a Ferrari. If you think about moving, it will turn. In fact we used to take gunners who couldn't pass in the H60 and put them in the H65 so they would have a better chance at hitting their target.
    Very maneuverable.
    Higher power to weight ratio than the H60
    Far more air station choices than the H60
    Can deploy to all ships with a landing deck in the CG.

    limited to less than three hours flight time
    Often flying right at rotor head torque limitations. 
    More rescues are made in the H65 by far. Of course there is about a 3 to 1 ratio of airframes.  

    H60:

    Bigger than the H65
    Six to eight hours of flight time
    fewer duty station choices
    High maintenance requirements
    Lots of available power
    flies like a cement truck
    strong as a cement truck
    can only land on a couple of ships in the USCG but never stay on the ship. Pro or con depending on the person.
    Huge rotor wash signature more of a challenge for survivors.



    You said you have other things to focus on first. Absolutely correct. If you will be applying for OCS in two years, you have at least three to four years before you will even get a chance to think about which airframe you want to fly. that is after getting accepted to OCS and flight school and then getting through those programs. Many things can change in that time. 

    Good luck.

    mkellyUser is Offline
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    mkelly

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    25 Jan 2016 04:50 PM
    Well, I'm not a pilot but for me it comes down to one thing....How often do I have to pee?! I have a 65 bladder. As an AST I have flown on both and I prefer the 65. Sometimes I wish we had the power of the 60 but I prefer the mission and flight time of the 65. There are a lot of small differences but like others have said, its all preference really. SARdaddy did a great job explaining things. I just always bring up the bladder because thats what I think about as I'm sitting in the back of the helo after 1.5 hours and a steady vibration.
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