Celebrate President's Day By Watching Marine One Land In The Snow Covered Swiss Alps
Two of the world's most iconic helicopters set down in a winter wonderland during the President's visit to Davos last January.
President's Trump's visit to Davos, Switzerland for the 2018 World Economic Forum made headlines for a bunch of reasons, but for us defense and aviation geeks, it offered an incredible setting to see Marine One in action, and video and images from the President's visit didn't disappoint.
Davos is a plush ski resort set at roughly 5,100 above sea level and is located roughly 70 miles southeast of Zurich. Most people take a train, bus, or car to visit the picturesque town, but for the most powerful person in the world, that simply won't do. As such, Air Force One landed in Zurich where the President promptly boarded one of two VH-60N White Hawk helicopters—better known as "Marine One" when the President is onboard—operated by HMX-1.
On January 26th, 2016 the president's entourage, Secret Service detail, counter assault team, press pool and others were airlifted by Swiss Cougar and U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopters instead of the usual fare of "Green Top" MV-22 Ospreys that are also operated by HMX-1. This isn't unusual when traveling abroad to a very friendly country and saves massively on logistics costs of forward deploying those assets.
A secure landing zone, replete with watch tower and snipers, was setup to receive the flight. The heavy security is understandable considering the high cliffs and ample cover surrounding the landing area. The space was also likely used to shuttle other dignitaries to the summit on Swiss helicopters. Seven helicopters in total were used for the presidential airlift mission, a spectacle that made press in its own right.
Here are a number of videos detailing the incredibly seamless and but complex operation, including a unique configuration of the presidential motorcade rolling through the streets of Davos as skiers look on. There is also video of the President's departure from the alpine village:
Here are some gorgeous shots from the same visit:
Both "White Tops," HMX-1's VH-3Ds and VH-60Ns, will be retired in the coming decade. In their place will be a single unified fleet of Sikorsky VH-92s, the first of which took its maiden test flight last August. Under the plan 21 aircraft will be procured, with initial operating capability being set for 2020 if everything continues on a smooth path.
By the time they are fully retired, the VH-3Ds will have been flying the President for nearly half a century, with the Sea King in general dating back many more years than that in the vaunted role.
Contact the author: Tyler@thedrive.com