Most Navy officers agree that building the first series of Arleigh Burke destroyers (DDG-51s) without facilities for embarking helicopters was a serious mistake. Old wooden fishing boats often have a small helicopter for scouting, yet these billion-dollar destroyers have nothing. The easiest and fastest way for the Navy to enhance its capabilities is to buy tiny two-seat helicopters.



    The Navy often uses $40 million dollar anti-submarine helicopters with three crewmen for basic "milk run" missions; like moving personnel and spare parts between ships and shore installations.  Using expensive helicopters which cost $2000 an hour to operate is a waste of resources and detracts from training missions.  Ships are so dependent on their  LAMPS helicopters that a Fleet Admiral reviews a daily report about their status.

     Recent advances have made it possible to produce tiny, reliable, low-cost helicopters, such as the ASI Ultrasport 496  This helicopter can shuttle parts and personnel and a perform a myriad of other utility missions. They will prove superior for many daytime combat missions since they have a tiny radar, heat, and noise signature. Sea rescue is easy since their low rotor downwash allows them to pluck people directly out the water.

     The Navy should put at least one of these helicopters on all of its ships, including small Patrol Coastal (PC) ships.  They take up little space, the Navy could even weld small platforms on the bow of ships for them. They do not require million-dollar aviators, enlisted men can fly them after a couple months of training.  At a cost of only $50,000 each, the Navy could buy one for all 300 of its combat ships for less than a single anti-submarine helicopter. The cost of sending a few of these on test deployments aboard Burke destroyers is small, and ship captains would quickly affirm their value.

                                                                             Carlton Meyer


The Ultrasport 496 was designed to meet the FAA regulations as an amateur built kit (FAA 21.191(g)). A Special 495 lbs. empty weight ultralight trainer version is available by special order. The ultralight trainer can be exempted under part 103 for two seat ultralight instruction. The Ultrasport 496 can be registered and outfittd for either VFR or IFR flight. The first flight of the 496 was completed in July, 1995. It has since undergone complete flight trials and features a powerful 115hp engine, replacing the 55hp powerplant in the single seaters. The 496s include dual controls as standard equipment. A ballistic parachute may also be installed as an added safety feature later.

Type:Two Seat Ultralight Helicopter
Empty Weight * : 540 lbs. (245 kgs.)
Max Useful Load: 590 lbs. (268 kgs.)
Max Gross Weight:1130 lbs. (514 kgs.)
Fuel Tank *:16 gal. (60 liters)
Endurance: 2.5 hours
Minimum Speed: Hover
Cruise Speed: 61 Knots (69 mph) (112 km/h)
Vne *: 91 Knots (104 mph) (167 km/h)
H.I.G.E.: 10,800 ft.
H.O.G.E: 7,000 ft.
Transmission:11:1 Helical Spur Gears
Horsepower: 115hp (Hirth F-30) with 4 carburators.
Main Rotor Blades: 23 ft. dia., 6.7 in. chord
Tail Rotor Blades: 2.6 ft. dia., 2 in. chord
Width: 8 ft. (2438 mm)
Height: 7 ft. 10 in. (2388 mm)M
Length: 19 ft. 2 in. (5842 mm) with blades folded.

*Special 495 lbs. empty weight ultralight version available by special order