Pictured above, Nicole Barrett an aviation student from Starkville, takes a seat in the cockpit of the Black Hawk helicopter.
Students in the Aviation Maintenance Technology program at Hinds got quite the unique hands-on experience to end the spring semester, thanks to the Mississippi National Guard.
The guard flew a Black Hawk helicopter into John Bell Williams Airport for an hour of demonstration and instruction for program instructor Bryan Spurlock and his Airframe & Powerplants class. Student coursework deals primarily with airplane engines, but the visit from the military’s main utility helicopter served an important purpose.
“Pilots with the guard did flyarounds and showed three types of maneuvers – a roll-on landing, a visual reference landing and an auto-rotation,” Spurlock said. “It was incredibly beneficial to them to see this. First, it gave them a chance to see a helicopter, then it serves as a recruitment tool for the National Guard.”
Those in the class were in various stages of preparation to take the federal exams necessary to obtain Airframe and Powerplant ratings as Aircraft Maintenance Technicians. Students like Demetri Dixon got a look-see at the aircraft’s engine and got a feel for the cockpit and cargo areas.
“I just like being around helicopters and I’m fascinated by them,” said Demetri Dixon, 23, of Utica, also a six-year member of the Guard. “I’m a Chinook mechanic, but I’ve ridden in Black Hawk helicopters a number of times.”
Previous interest in smaller engines such as motorcycles spurred a desire to learn about the bigger machines for Nicole Barrett, 28, of Starkville.
“I’ve always been a mechanic, but I’d love to learn more about these,” Barrett said. “So I thought I’d ‘go big’ and attend the program here.”