It was a momentous occasion as hundreds of people gathered in Fayetteville for the rare farewell. It was likely the last flight of its kind in Army history.
Big crowd gathering at ASOM for final flyover of Kiowa helicopters. pic.twitter.com/ADOnVkgo8r— Greg Barnes (@GregBarnesABC11) April 15, 2016
At 10:45 a.m., the formation of 30 OH-58 Kiowas flew over downtown Fayetteville. It was a sight not seen there before. The 50-year-old Kiowas are mostly high-tech observation and light assault choppers. "Low and slow" is how veteran pilots describe the chopper.
It's been a mainstay of the Army fleet at Fort Bragg. Friday morning, members of the 1st 17th Calvary flew a final V formation over cheers, waves, and tears.
"It's the end of an era," said retired Kiowa pilot Kevin Palush. "But of course, everything ends, starts something new. So we move forward with the technology today, and hopefully remotely piloted vehicles can do the same thing that pilot's eyes can."
And in Air Cavalry tradition, the pilots had their black Stetson hats with them.
Students make big THANK YOU sign for Kiowa pilots when they fly over Fayetteville for last time. pic.twitter.com/mB18MsZbKf— Greg Barnes (@GregBarnesABC11) April 15, 2016
Most of the 1st 17th Air Cavalry Kiowa crews will be reassigned to flying and maintaining new remote-controlled drones.
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