A lot of air traffic can be expected in the Howell Township area this week.

CHI Aviation, whose corporate office is located at the Livingston County Spencer J. Hardy Airport, is conducting training this week, utilizing Chinook 47D helicopters. The CH-47D is used for firefighting purposes and nine different pilots are participating in the training. The company currently has contracts with the U.S. Forest Service, in two fire prone areas in Oregon and Arizona. There are two other “call when needed” contracts. The company conducts two training exercises every year; one in the fall and one in the spring, which has been done the last several years. This marks the first year that training has been done in Howell. The fall training took place in Sacramento, California.

Pilot Mandy Turner is an Eastern Michigan University grad who lives in Arizona. She says their training technically started last Monday with a briefing at Crystal Gardens Banquet Center in Genoa Township involving the pilots, ground crew and support. The actual flying portion got underway yesterday. Turner says the pilots are doing “check ride” training with the aircraft, meaning no maneuvers, just training with the aircraft as a certain number of hours is required. The training will be taking place all week and possibly one more week. (JM)