Village, Coast Guard continue training partnership

By: 
Dennis Mansfield, Contributing Writer

Courtesy photo

Kalkaska village officials, including members of the Kalkaska Department of Public Safety, gather together with the crew of a U.S. Coast Guard Black Hawk helicopter after a recent training visit by the Coast Guard out of the air station in Traverse City on March 7. In partnership with the village, the Coast Guard has been using the airport on Island Lake Road for training purposes for over a year.

 

Courtesy photo

Harley Wales, Kalkaska village president, takes an opportunity to sit in one of the pilot seats of a Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter operated by the U.S. Coast Guard, during a March 7 training exercise in Kalkaska. 

 

KALKASKA - They’re back!

That might the thoughts of some Village of Kalkaska residents as they watch a red and white Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter fly over their homes on a regular basis.

According to village manager Scott Yost, the specially modified Black Hawks are from the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City that are flown over to Kalkaska to use the village airport for training purposes.

“They come in weekly,” Yost said.

On Thursday, March 7, Yost and several other village officials attended the training session to get an up-close look at the training exercise.

“I asked them to come over and make a static display,” he said.

The partnership between Kalkaska and the Coast Guard goes back over a year, when officials from the federal agency tasked with maritime and coastal law enforcement duties requested to use the airport on Island Lake Road.

“They perform practice lifts of a buoy that was trucked down from the Soo,” Yost said. “It is quite a site to watch a shipping channel buoy spiral around beneath a helicopter a few hundred feet off the ground.”

While the relationship is generally positive, Kalkaska Village President Harley Wales said he has received calls from village residents about the helicopters flying low over their homes.

Wales added that the Coast Guard has worked with the village to alter the route of the helicopters in hopes of making less of a disturbance during the training exercises.

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