GYPSUM, Colo. -- The Colorado Army National Guard is celebrating the 30th anniversary of its High-Altitude Army National Guard Aviation Training Site (HAATS) in Gypsum.
The facility trains about 300 pilots annually from Colorado, the United States, and parts of Europe and the Middle East how best to fly in daunting conditions.
“What we do here is save lives. And that’s the bottom line. Whether we’re doing that in the classroom environment and teaching folks on how to best fly in the mountains. We put everything we teach, we put to use on search and rescues within the state of Colorado,” said Captain Shane Tracey of the Colorado Army National Guard.
“We get the call from the Army National Guard headquarters and we’re out executing those missions, saving folks that are lost hikers, lost hunters, they’re hurt, they’re injured,” said Tracey.
The unit uses a variety of helicopters including the trustworthy Blackhawk. The aircraft can be configured in many different ways depending on the mission, including a special device to hoist injured hikers.
Training typically lasts about one week, making it a 30-year tradition unique to Colorado.
If you'd like to learn more about HAATS, click here.