Marine Helicopter Training Squadron-303 [HMT-303]
Marine Helicopter Training Squadron 303, "Atlas", was activated with four officers and three enlisted Marines on 30 April 1982. Today the squadron has grown to 597 Marines and Sailors and 39 aircraft.
Based at Marine Corps Air Station, Camp Pendleton, California, HMT-303 is a training squadron dedicated to producing AH-1W and UH-1N helicopter pilots and maintenance aircrew for the Marine Corps and Search & Rescue pilots for the Navy. Upon completion of the training syllabus, Marine Aviators and Aircrew are sent to deploying tactical squadrons. Navy SAR pilots go to various Naval Air Stations throughout the continental United States and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Replacement aircrew arrive from NAS Whiting Field as newly designated Naval Aviators. Enlisted aircrew report from all over the world to begin training in their specialty field.
The squadron conducts an extensive training syllabus to include:
- Night vision goggle flight
HMT-303 periodically deploys to Yuma, Arizona, where training efficiency is enhanced due to superb weather conditions and the proximity of ordnance delivery ranges. HMT-303 has trained Cobra and Huey pilots for the Marine Corps and Navy for more than 15 years. HMT-303 is the only Marine Corps squadron tasked with training Navy SAR pilots and newly designated Naval Aviators destined to become AH-1W and UH-IN/HH-1N replacement, refresher, and conversion pilots. Although the training mission assigned to HMT-303 requires sustained high tempo operations, the squadron has flown over 109,000 Class A and B mishap free flight hours.
In addition to flight training, HMT-303:
- Manages the fleet-wide NATOPS standardization program for the H-1(HUEY)
- Conducts Instrument Ground School for all of MAG-39 aircrew
- Is responsible for the scheduling of both the AH-1W and the UH-1 Weapons System Trainer and Aircrew Procedures Trainer
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