By Ms. Christy Barnett (ATEC)November 28, 2017
Two Army Civilian pilots at the U.S. Army Redstone Test Center, or RTC, are now enjoying their much deserved retirements.
Under a beautiful blue sky on September 28, Jim Correia and Marty Anderson both conducted their 'final flights' at Redstone airfield. Anderson piloted a Chinook Helicopter (CH-47F) and Correia flew in a Lakota Utility Helicopter (UH-72A). Collectively these two pilots have 92 years of aviation experience.
Upon landing, the two were sprayed with water, an aviation tradition, symbolizing the pilot's final successful flight.
Correia retired from active duty service in the Army as a Colonel with 30 years of experience, and Anderson retired as a Chief Warrant Officer 4 after 25 years active duty in the Army. Both men became Army Civilian pilots shortly after their military retirements. Anderson has been an Army Civilian standardization instructor pilot for 23 years. Correia has been an Army Civilian experimental test pilot for 16 years.
Correia joined the U.S. Army as a 2nd Lt. upon graduation from The Citadel, located in South Carolina, in 1970. In July 1983, then Maj. Correia, graduated from the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School and served as the branch chief at the Aviation Development Test Activity at Ft. Rucker, Alabama, for the development of the AH-64A Apache attack helicopter. From 1983 until June 1986, he was responsible for the evaluation of all of the systems on the Apache.
Rising to a Colonel, Correia served in the Pentagon until his retirement from the Army in 2000.
After his military retirement, Correia was hired as an Army Civilian Experimental Test Pilot at the Aviation Technical Test Center, or ATTC, at Fort Rucker, Alabama. Eventually ATTC would be combined with testing capabilities at Redstone Arsenal to form RTC.
"Someone asked me which helicopters I flew… I flew them all. Some are in museums now," said Correia. The only one I didn't fly was a Chinook -- the only time I was in a Chinook, I was jumping out of them."
Piloting those Chinooks since 1970, was his good friend Anderson. Anderson entered the U.S. Army after being drafted during the Vietnam War in November 1969. He was accepted to Warrant Officer Flight Training and became a pilot, serving for two years in Vietnam. He became a Developmental Test Pilot in 1979.
During his military career, he served in Germany, Korea, and Japan. Upon his retirement as a Chief Warrant Officer 4 in 1994, he became an Army Civilian standardization instructor pilot, a position that allowed him to mentor fellow pilots at ATTC.
Like many of his fellow Army Civilians, including Correia, he too made the move to RTC in 2011.
Asked of his proudest career achievement, Anderson replied, "I worked on the CH-47D program. That was huge. I've flown Chinooks since I came into the Army in 1970, and it's really the Army's workhorse aircraft, but it was getting kind of old," said Anderson.
Anderson explained when the D-model was introduced, that was when they got involved in the testing. "The Army Special Operations wanted to fly night vision goggles in their aircraft, but the Chinook never had a cockpit that was compatible with it, so while we were doing that D-model testing, we developed, tested and fielded a NVG cockpit for it," said Anderson.
"That was quite a project. They gave us 20 days, and we did it," explained Anderson. "I've enjoyed testing because you have an idea of what the kids out there need in order to do their job. And I'm incredibly proud that we've had an incredible safety record for the past 25 years."
As for Correia, he responded similarly, stating, "When I was an armored troop commander for 18 months in Germany… that was fun. That was the one time I was in control to a certain extent of what I was doing and what my subordinates were doing."
"Second to that was the flying. The A-model Apache - we conducted a first article production test, they had to go back and fix it, and they did. One of my proudest accomplishments was not getting anyone killed in the units I commanded. In particular, during Desert Storm with 1,000 air movements, not having any mid-air collisions," said Correia.
During their time at RTC, both Anderson and Correia supported a number of test projects including ice protection system certification programs using the Helicopter Icing Spray System, a DOD-unique asset for in-flight icing tests of rotary-wing and low-speed fixed wing aircraft. For the past nine years, they have spent three to six months in Michigan or Minnesota, testing a variety of aircraft from DOD and from around the world.
As for retirement, Anderson has a small farm along the Elk River in Tennessee to occupy his time along with work on his house in Ozark, Alabama. He may fly helicopters for the Dale County Sheriff's Department in the future.
Correia plans to rebuild a 1965 GTO that he's had since 1969.
Both men will spend time with their families, each grateful for marriages that have lasted since the beginning of their Army careers.
These two long-time aviators, leave behind a legacy of experience and safety at RTC.