The "Golden Eagles" of Patrol Squadron (VP) NINE recently completed a successful six-month aircraft transition, from the P-3C Orion to the P-8A Poseidon. They are the ninth squadron to successfully transition to the Navy's newest maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft.
Cmdr. Jeffrey Bowman, VP-9 commanding officer, announced the Golden Eagles are "safe for flight" in the P-8A Poseidon.
"Throughout the past six months, our Sailors' hard work, dedication, positive attitude and willingness to learn have been astounding, and as a result we have been praised by both VP-30 and Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing TEN as the best transitioning squadron to date," said Bowman. "We are more than ready to rejoin the fleet as an operational squadron and are excited to continue our legacy of superior performance in this new aircraft."
Pending the retirement of the P-3C, the Golden Eagles began their three-phase indoctrination into the P-8A Poseidon. Phase one began in Nov. 2017, during which the Golden Eagles conducted initial classroom and simulator training in Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island. Phase two took place onboard NAS Jacksonville, Fla., during which training continued with simulator, flight, and maintenance instruction by Fleet Reserve Squadron VP-30. Phase three brought VP-9 back to NAS Whidbey Island where the Golden Eagles completed their advanced tactical aircraft employment training.
The culminating days of the squadron's transition included the combat air crews and maintenance personnel completing their final tests and evaluations under the supervision of Patrol Squadron 30's instructor cadre. The combat air crews executed five tactical flights, during which they were evaluated on their ability to safely operate and employ the mission systems onboard the P-8A. Additionally, maintenance personnel completed an intensive series of tests, drills and inspections. Ultimately, the Golden Eagles passed all inspections with flying colors and were deemed safe for flight.
Following the safe for flight inspection and certification completion, the Golden Eagles will continue to train and prepare for future combat operations.
VP-9 originally commissioned in 1952 at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, and recently returned home to Whidbey after many successful years' operating from Kaneohe's Marine Corps Base Hawaii (MCBH). In Feb. 2017, VP-9 began its historic final P-3C deployment out of MCBH to the SEVENTH Fleet area of operations. Their seven-month sundown deployment concluded in Oct. 2017, when the squadron executed a home port shift back to its original duty station of NAS Whidbey Island.
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