Today in Coast Guard History – February 8th

  • 1958-A U.S. Navy P5M aircraft enroute from San Juan to Norfolk lost one engine and changed course to the island of San Salvador, British West Indies, to attempt a night ditching. AIRSTA Miami sent up a Coast Guard UF amphibian plane, later reinforced by a second amphibian. After contacting the disabled US Navy plane, the pilot of the first amphibian talked the Navy pilot out of attempting to ditch without benefit of illumination and alerted the commanding officer of the Coast Guard LORAN station on San Salvador for assistance after ditching. In true Coast Guard tradition, the LORAN station’s CO borrowed a truck and an 18-foot boat to assist. The commanding officer managed to be on the scene 1 1/2 miles offshore, when the Navy P5M landed with two minutes of fuel remaining. While one of the amphibians provided additional illumination, the Navy plane was guided through a dangerous reef to a mooring, using her operative port engine. There were no casualties.
  • 2003- Bell Helicopter, a subsidiary of Textron, Inc., announced that its tilt-rotor, Vertical-launch Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), the “Eagle Eye,” received a letter contract to commence concept and preliminary design work for the first phase of the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle portion of the Coast Guard’s Integrated Deepwater System (ICGS) Program. The contract calls for Bell to design, develop and build three prototype Eagle Eyes for testing by 2005. LCDR Troy Beshears, the Coast Guard’s UAV Program Manager, confirmed that the fleet plans to buy 69 Eagle Eyes if the aircraft meets the requirements and capabilities determined by the ICGS and the Coast Guard.

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