The Colorado Army National Guard High-Altitude ARNG Aviation Training Site (HAATS) was established in 1985 to provide "graduate level" training to military helicopter pilots flying in mountainous terrain and/or high temperatures. The HAATS training program is unique, and attracts students from around the world for 1-2 week training sessions at the HAATS facility in Eagle/Gypsum, Colorado, a small town 126 miles West of Denver, Colorado and 31 miles West of Vail, Colorado. Like the HAATS program, the HAATS facility is a unique blend of an Army Aviation Support Facility (AASF), with training and billeting functions.
The school offers a unique training methodology based on aircraft power that is designed to dramatically increase individual and crew situational awareness. Known as Power Management, the training process requires power accountability of the pilots in all flight regimes. This accountability produces insight to every situation to include multi-ship operations. The mountainous training area enhances the Power Management process and also provides the additional benefit of high altitude/rough terrain training. HAATS is the only DoD Aviation Training site for high altitude power management environmental training. HAATS trains over 400 aircrews annually from all branches and components for NGB and Ft Rucker as well as active Army, Army Reserves and International military aircrews. With recent military actions in mountainous regions such as Afghanistan and Northern Iraq, the demand for the HAATS training program has increased dramatically.
- Colorado aviators begin training mountain flying techniques to Colorado aircrews.
1986 - Training began as the Colorado High Altitude Training Site (CHATS), commanded by CW4 Jim Owens flying OH-6 Cayuse helicopters.
1987 - CHATS begins mission of conducting Search and Rescue with local agencies in the mountainous regions of Colorado by finding a plane crash. Other states facing deployments in Honduras request assistance from CHATS to train crews prior to deployment.
1988 - Programs of Instruction approved by the US Army Aviation Center, Ft. Rucker and formalized training begins. CHATS trains Active Component and ARNG in first formalized class. CHATS acquires the Mountain Flying Service properties and occupies their existing facility.
1991 - CHATS becomes a Federal Training site and renamed HATS under the command of the Western ARNG Aviation Training Site (WAATS) and began to receive NGB directed funds.
1995 - HATS becomes HAATS (High-Altitude Army National Guard Aviation Training Site), and receives a stand alone TDA. Falls under the command of the TAG-Colorado, with direct funding from NGB. MAJ Joel Best assumes Command of HAATS. HAATS conducts first Wildland Firefighting Operation and begins training with local agencies on a routine basis.
1997 - HAATS finds a missing A-10 crash site after weeks of multi-agency searching. Air Force recognizes skills of the pilots and chooses to have HAATS conduct the flights for wreckage recovery and search for missing ordinance. HAATS flies 750 accident free hours during the summer months to support the recovery effort in high country. The small landing zone, labeled “Ouch Pad” because of the proximity to the cliff wall, is the backdrop for HAATS Graduation Certificates today.
2004 - Plans begin to build a new HAATS facility that is truly “World Class.”
2005 - MAJ Josh Day assumes Command of HAATS. The start of modernizing the fleet of helicopters at HAATS sees the arrival of the first two UH-60 Blackhawks permanently stationed at HAATS.
2007 - After repeated requests from the field to expand training, HAATS and COARNG conduct an Environmental Impact Study at a cost of nearly one million dollars. Though there is a finding of no significant impact, the training levels remain the same in an effort to maintain the pristine nature of the local area.
2008 - HAATS receives two more UH-60 Blackhawks and modernizes its manning document.
2009 - HAATS turns in its final five UH-1 Hueys, the work horse of the schoolhouse for over two decades.
2010 - HAATS becomes a Joint Schoolhouse with the addition of a full time United States Coast Guard Instructor Pilot position.
2011 - Construction on a new HAATS facility begins.
2012 - Two CH-47D Chinooks are permanently stationed at HAATS. HAATS supports the 5th Brigade of the Canadian Army and the Air Expeditionary Wing of the Royal Canadian Air Force in a month long exercise in Canada called Operation Maple Resolve.
2013 - HAATS receives two UH-72 Lakotas permanently stationed and MAJ Tony Somogyi assumes command. HAATS gets a new building, similar to Colorado's Army Aviation Site Facility (AASF), and major upgrade into a multi-million dollar facility just down the road from their current hangar. Grand opening took place on April 26, 2013.