USS NIMITZ, At Sea (NNS) -- The "Indians" of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) 6 reached a new milestone Feb. 8 by achieving 19 years of flight operations without a class "A" mishap.
The squadron is embarked aboard the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) as part of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11.
A class "A" mishap is considered any loss of equipment or damage to the aircraft that totals or exceeds $1 million dollars, or a mishap that occurs that results in a loss of life.
The squadron flew more than 62,000 flight hours during the 19-year stretch that included a platform change from the H-3 Sea King to the SH-60 Seahawk in the late 1980s. The most impressive statistic is HS-6 was able keep the streak alive the last few years with an aircraft that requires between 25 to 30 maintenance hours per flight hour.
Capt. Thomas M. Downing, commander, CVW 11, congratulated HS-6 for its long standing accomplishment.
"The hard work, dedication and teamwork of every 'Indian' was instrumental in achieving this exceptional milestone," said Downing. "Your unremitting professionalism continues to place Carrier Air Wing 11 at the pinnacle of Naval aviation. Every member of your team is to be congratulated on this outstanding achievement."
Lt. Cmdr. David Burke, HS-6 maintenance officer, said he believed HS-6 has been able to keep its streak alive by performing by-the-book maintenance as well as having talented people in the squadron taking ownership for the work they do.
"The publications are there to tell you exactly what to do and sticking to them and not taking shortcuts keeps us flying safe," said Burke.
Burke also said that constant training by the pilots and aircrewmen has also played an important role in flying safe.
"We train on NATOPS [Naval Air Training and Operational Procedures Standardization] tactics, publications and exchange lessons learned on a weekly basis," said Burke. "Training and standardization are important to help build an effective system."
Aviation Machinist's Mate 1st Class (AW) Bruce Wooten, quality assurance leading petty officer, said that the senior leadership of HS-6 has traditionally played an important role in the squadron with regard to safety and training.
"Good training comes down from the leadership," said Wooten. "Our first classes and LPOs [leading petty officers] teach our junior guys how to do things right the first time."
Cmdr. Michael Baratta, HS-6 commanding officer, said the streak is very impressive, but he is more concerned with maintaining a high standard and continuing to fly safe missions.
"Day by day we need to stay focused and stay safe regardless of what we have done in the past," said Baratta. "However, I am impressed that from way back then to now people have been able to maintain such a high standard."
For more news from USS Nimitz, visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn68/.