Avionics News January 2021 - 44

series

B Y

TRACY STAPLETON

A

C H R I S T I N E

Vice president of business development for Ace Aeronautics

master Army aviator, experimental test pilot and
former Army flight instructor, Tracy Stapleton
is a true aviation ace in every sense. He served
nearly 15 years in the U.S. Army with the 160th
Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne). He spent
multiple tours of duty as an assault and attack helicopter
pilot in command in Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq when the
war on terror was at its peak. His missions into rough terrain
and hostile territory are the stuff of breaking news stories
and classified briefings.
" When I graduated from U.S. Army Flight School, I was
given a UH-60 Black Hawk transition prior to reporting
to my first duty assignment, " Stapleton said. " I flew the
UH-60L in Bosnia and the MH-60L in Afghanistan and
Iraq. "
As most in aviation know, the Black Hawks are renown
for their robust platform and versatility across a wide range
of environmental conditions. The 160th SOAR (A) rely on
Black Hawks for overt and covert infiltrations, exfiltrations,
reconnaissance, combat search and rescue, medical
evacuations and resupply of special operations forces.
Military pilots often fly them at night, at low altitudes and
under extremely challenging circumstances.
" I loved my time in the 160th SOAR (A), " Stapleton
said. " We were such a band of brothers. No time in our
44

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2021

K N A U E R

nation's history has a group of individuals been so constantly
deployed. We are a small, close-knit, highly trained group
of special operations personnel. We all know each other,
and everyone pulls on the chain in the same direction. It's
all about a common goal. That doesn't happen every day in
many organizations. "
Stapleton flew flight test missions on the MH-60L
Assault and Defensive Armed Penetrator, MH-60K Assault,
MH-60M Assault and MH-60M DAP. The armed versions
feature a variety of offensive weapons systems for area fire
or precision guided munitions. He also test flew the Boeing
A/MH-6M Mission Enhanced Little Bird. If it's beginning to
sound like Stapleton has flown a good many of the models
on that helicopter identification poster hanging in your
office, the lobby or hangar, you'd be correct.
" I flew flight test on the UH-60A, UH-60L, UH-60M,
HH-60L/M and the Bell 407, " said Stapleton. " I've flown 23
different rotary-wing platforms and 15 different fixed-wing
platforms, from a single-engine Cessna to high-performance,
complex jet fighter aircraft. "
After the military, Stapleton served as experimental test
pilot and program manager for the U.S. Army Redstone Test
Center in Huntsville, Alabama, and later as the director of
Army aviation business development for FLIR Systems, also
in Huntsville.



Avionics News January 2021

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Avionics News January 2021 - Intro
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Avionics News January 2021 - Cover2
Avionics News January 2021 - 1
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