first published on March 29, 2020 by Will
Great video by an Air Force Combat Rescue crew shows a “Nap-of-the-Earth” NOE low level Pave Hawk helicopter training flight over California.
Besides being super hardcore, NOE flight courses have a practical application to avoid enemy detection and attack. The technique keeps the aircraft below radar detection altitudes and uses terrain features as cover and concealment from enemy ground troops.
I was aboard a Blackhawk during a nape-of-the-Earth flight. It was awesome, at first. We had balled up some foreign fighters and their facilitators on the north side of Mount Sinjar during a raid, and I had to sign for them and escort them to Mosul for further interrogation via direct helo flight.
I decided I would put them all in a row in front of me, instead of across from each other, thinking this would keep them from being able to communicate, even though they were blind folded. This was likely the first flight they had ever taken in their lives, and it was an intense one.
The Blackhawk twisted and turned, rapidly changing elevation, staying just a few meters off the ground. I think the pilots were trying to impress me. Very soon the entire row of jihadist detainees had their cheeks puffed up, trying to hold in vomit. I sat there just waiting for the prisoner across from me to blow chunks all over me. Thankfully he didn’t. This video brings that memory to a boil in my mind.