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Gazette Premium Content Kansas chopper crews to train at Fort Carson

JAKOB RODGERS Updated: March 29, 2013 at 12:00 am

The skies above Fort Carson and the mountains west of the post will be a little more crowded over the next two months.

Hundreds of troops and about 60 helicopters from the 1st Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team of Fort Riley, Kan., are expected to cycle through Fort Carson in April and May, the post announced on Friday.

The rotation is the latest high altitude training exercise hosted by the post — which features conditions that are very similar to those found in Afghanistan.

It’s typically viewed as critical flight time for pilots unaccustomed to the thin air and turbulent winds of the Rocky Mountains, which can leave helicopter controls feeling loose and unresponsive.

Similar rotations for other units were held in 2011 and 2012.

When Fort Riley crews arrive on Monday, they’ll join an increasingly busy airspace over Fort Carson.

The post’s own helicopter brigade — the 4th Combat Aviation Brigade of the 4th Infantry Division — has received a little less than half of the 2,700 soldiers planned for the unit.

The new Carson helicopter troops have also begun training flights over Fort Carson’s ranges, as well as the same high-altitude landing zones that will be used by the 1st Infantry Division’s soldiers, said Maj. Jason Davis, the brigade’s acting commander.

By the end of summer of 2014, the 4th Combat Aviation Brigade will boast 113 helicopters — about a quarter of which have arrived so far at the post.

Contact Jakob Rodgers: 476-1654

Twitter @jakobrodgers

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