US Coast Guard Air Station Sacramento
6037 Price Ave
McClellan Park, CA 95652
As one of the destinations on our nationwide helicopter tour of the US, we had the unique opportunity to visit US Coast Guard Air Station Sacramento, the west coast's only fixed-wing asset station with an AOR that spans from the Mexican border in the south, to the Canadian border in the north. What exactly is an AOR, and what does the Coast Guard do to keep all of us safe daily—all this and more in today's video.
Hello, and welcome to the Steven Carlson Show; I'm Steven Carlson, a tech entrepreneur, real estate investor, author, YouTuber, and helicopter pilot.
Leaving Reno, NV, in the morning, we flew over the Sierra Nevada mountains passing the Tahoe National Forrest on our way, and wow, was this a beautiful flight. This was my first experience flying through the mountains, we took it low and slow, and I hugged the road as we crossed the mountains and down into the Sacramento Valley, heading towards our destination McClellan Airfield.
You can only just barely see the Coast Guard station from this camera angle as we approached and landed at the civilian side of the airfield.
After landing, Public Information Officer and C-27 pilot LTJG Gunn picked us up and drove us over to Air Station.
One thing that surprised me was the vast array of missions the Coast Guard handles daily. Most of us know about the helicopter search and rescue or SAR missions; we've all seen them on the news or The Weather Channel's Coast Guard Alaska series, rescuing a boater in distress. I didn't realize all of the additional resources the Coast Guard brings to a search and rescue.
Think of this for a minute. The MH-60 Jayhawk, the Coast Guard's version of a Blackhawk helicopter, is incredibly powerful. It is limited to flying 300 miles to the scene of the distressed boater and remaining on scene for 45 minutes to rescue the survivors, then flying back to base. But what happens if the rescue is more than 300 miles out, or if they must spend an hour or two searching first? This is where the limits of a helicopter start to cause logistical problems.
Obviously, I am a helicopter guy; I love them, they are incredibly powerful aircraft, but there are times when a fixed-wing asset really shines, especially when the mission calls for longer flight time, faster speeds, and greater distances. Here is where LTJG Gunn and Air Station Sacramento's C-27 fixed-wing aircraft come in.
If a call goes out within their AOR and it is determined that a fixed-wing aircraft should be part of the mission, as the only fixed-wing station on the west coast of the contiguous US, Air Station Sacramento is placed on the call.
I've mentioned AOR a few times in this video, but what exactly is this?
This AOR encompasses over 1300 miles of coastline, including the area we flew in from Reno earlier in the day. It is comforting to know that should the worst happens, and we had an issue with the helicopter, LTJG and his crew were standing on the watch reading to respond.
While I cannot speak on behalf of the helicopter crews of the Coast Guard, at least from my perspective on a civilian helicopter, the thought of having LTJG and his aircraft above me should anything happen; must be a very comforting feeling of reassurance for the helicopter SAR crews.
But that is not the only benefit of fixed-wing; their speed adds an additional layer of safety.
It should come as no surprise; the Coast Guard takes safety very seriously. Before every mission, the crew conducts an Operational Risk Management (ORM) process where they evaluate the possible risks of the mission and the possible gains. Or, said another way, is it reasonably safe to conduct a specific mission, or are the risks far greater than the possible reward of success. Obviously, for each mission, the risk tolerance is different depending on the nature of the situation. For example, a boat in distress that is not currently at risk of sinking may not be worth the added risk of sending an aircraft out in bad weather; however, if the boat is already sinking or persons are in the water, then the positive gains of saving human life increases.
While the aircraft commander has the final say on whether to take a mission, the entire crew, both the commissioned officers and enlisted coastguardsmen, are part of the decision-making process. This way, nothing is overlooked in planning, and even a junior member is encouraged to speak out if they have a concern.
In addition to the air assets, the coast guard, of course, has multiple boats, and they all work together to accomplish the mission. Because I was at an Air Station, they did not have any boats at this base that I could checkout, but fellow YouTuber Destin from SmarterEveryDay has a great series of videos.
I really appreciate LTJG Gunn for showing us around; stay tuned for more videos where we explore the cockpit of the C27, learn about flight school, and find out some interesting ways to kick student loan debt to the curb.
Thank you for watching; please make sure you click like, subscribe, and share this video with your friends. It really helps the channel; I appreciate it. Thanks, and I'll see you on the next one.
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Steven creates video interviews with interesting people with extraordinary stories from various walks of life, sharing their successes and failures.
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For longer, multi-day, or multi-state trips, I usually fly a Bell 206L4 helicopter which seats two pilots in front and five passengers in the back.
R44 Raven II
For shorter, single-day, local 'Tampa Bay Area' videos, I usually fly a smaller R44 Raven II helicopter, which seats two pilots in the front, and two passengers in the back.
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