Fort Novosel flight school students save history from the landfill

By Leslie Herlick, Fort Novosel Public AffairsJanuary 30, 2024

WO1 Charles Niles, WO1 Sam Silva, WO1 Jonathan Sanchez, AH-64E Instructor Pilot retired CW4 Dave Culler, WO1 Matt Ulatowski, and WO1 Travis Madden from B Company 1-145th Aviation Regiment, Apache AH-64E Advanced Airframe Flight School class 23-012 volunteered with Friends of Army Aviation and the Celebrate Freedom Foundation to disassemble and repurpose an old AH-1 Cobra simulator destined for the landfill on Jan. 27, 2024 in Ozark, Alabama.
1 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – WO1 Charles Niles, WO1 Sam Silva, WO1 Jonathan Sanchez, AH-64E Instructor Pilot retired CW4 Dave Culler, WO1 Matt Ulatowski, and WO1 Travis Madden from B Company 1-145th Aviation Regiment, Apache AH-64E Advanced Airframe Flight School class 23-012 volunteered with Friends of Army Aviation and the Celebrate Freedom Foundation to disassemble and repurpose an old AH-1 Cobra simulator destined for the landfill on Jan. 27, 2024 in Ozark, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Leslie Herlick) VIEW ORIGINAL
Flight school student WO1 Travis Madden works inside the “box”, disassembling the AH-1 Cobra simulator while he volunteers with the Friends of Army Aviation and the Celebrate Freedom Foundation on Jan. 27, 2024 in Ozark, Alabama.
2 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Flight school student WO1 Travis Madden works inside the “box”, disassembling the AH-1 Cobra simulator while he volunteers with the Friends of Army Aviation and the Celebrate Freedom Foundation on Jan. 27, 2024 in Ozark, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Leslie Herlick) VIEW ORIGINAL
Flight school students WO1 Matt Ulatowski and WO1 Sam Silva guide out the screen of the old AH-1 Cobra simulator while volunteering with the Friends of Army Aviation and the Celebrate Freedom Foundation on Jan. 27, 2024 in Ozark, Alabama.
3 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Flight school students WO1 Matt Ulatowski and WO1 Sam Silva guide out the screen of the old AH-1 Cobra simulator while volunteering with the Friends of Army Aviation and the Celebrate Freedom Foundation on Jan. 27, 2024 in Ozark, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Leslie Herlick) VIEW ORIGINAL
Fort Novosel flight school students helped disassemble the old AH-1 Cobra simulator while volunteering with the Friends of Army Aviation and the Celebrate Freedom Foundation on Jan. 27, 2024 in Ozark, Alabama.
4 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Fort Novosel flight school students helped disassemble the old AH-1 Cobra simulator while volunteering with the Friends of Army Aviation and the Celebrate Freedom Foundation on Jan. 27, 2024 in Ozark, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Leslie Herlick) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT NOVOSEL, Ala. - In a throwback to flight school of yesteryear, five warrant officers volunteered their time to help disassemble Cobra cockpit simulators to be used in educating and inspiring future engineers and pilots.

Warrant Officer Charles Niles, Warrant Officer Sam Silva, Warrant Officer Travis Madden, Warrant Officer Matt Ulatowski, and Warrant Officer Jonathan Sanchez, from B Company, 1-145th Aviation Regiment in the Apache AH-64E Advanced Airframe Flight School class 23-012, participated in the community project in Ozark, Alabama Jan. 27.

Their instructor pilot, retired Chief Warrant Officer 4 Dave Culler, organized the project between the students, Friends of Army Aviation (FOAA), and the Celebrate Freedom Foundation (CFF) to rescue the cockpits from old AH-1 Cobra simulators destined for the landfill.

The cockpits will be used as hands-on learning tools, allowing students of all ages to see and touch the controls, switches, and gauges that were used to train generations of pilots. Culler said that the CFF visits hundreds of schools each year, and these cockpits will inspire thousands of students per year to consider a STEM career.

Years ago, flight school classes routinely did class projects throughout their time in training. Culler said that he asked his flight school students if they wanted to help with this project, and they enthusiastically agreed. Culler said, “It is important for the class to do something together outside the classroom. It promotes bonding and serves the community. In this case, the students are helping to save an iconic attack helicopter simulator, letting it continue its educational mission.”

Culler and retired Chief Warrant Officer 4 Vladimir Kultschizky volunteer with the CFF, based in Lexington, South Carolina. This charitable organization has the mission of honoring past aviation pioneers and inspiring future space and aviation pioneers through education, focused on science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics, primarily aimed at K-12 students.

Kultschizky said that DynaLantic owned the Cobra simulators, which over the years became obsolete. The company donated the cockpits to the CFF, but they were inside large boxes that housed the electronics, screens, and hydraulics that made the simulators move back in their prime.

Kultschizky said that the CFF is looking to start a local chapter in the Wiregrass area, and that the cockpits will be used to expose kids to all things aviation, not just about joining the military. “My push is all the things we can do in aviation,” Kultschizky said, such as connecting painting and art with the paint job on a helicopter or explaining to a student that is interested in computers that a Cobra has 23 computers on board. “We show them that there are 78 different career fields with just one aircraft.”