Coast Guard helicopter causes a stir in SSA standby

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This MH-65 Coast Guard helicopter waited in the SSA standby line Tuesday unable to fly away.

A United States Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter at the start of an unglamorous trip back to its home base on the back of a trailer in the standby line at the Steamship Authority’s Vineyard Haven terminal Tuesday attracted a considerable amount of attention from travelers happy to get an up-close look at the versatile aircraft.

The helicopter is based at USCG Air Station Atlantic City, and was on the Vineyard as part of the Coast Guard security detail for President Obama, which included two small boats and one cutter stationed in Vineyard Sound off his vacation rental.

Under normal circumstances, the crew would have flown the helicopter back to its home base, but when the aircraft developed vibrations, the wiser course of action was to truck it to Air Station Cape Cod for further transport home.

The crew assigned to the helicopter happily answered questions from passersby as they waited in standby from about 6 pm, anticipating boarding an 8:30 pm ferry.

The H-65 helicopter is certified for operation in all-weather and nighttime operations, with the exception of icing conditions, according to the Coast Guard. The H-65 has a maximum speed of 175 knots and a range of 290 miles. It carries two pilots, a flight mechanic, and a rescue swimmer.