I can’t say I’m thrilled about the occupant of this aircraft, but it’s always a treat to see these flying around.
This is one of several Sikorsky VH-3D Sea King helicopters that serve as Marine One when the president is on board. Living in the D.C. area, I often see these helicopters flying around. This one was flying alone over Roosevelt Island on March 22, so it would not have been carrying the president or designated Marine One.
Marine One is the call sign of any United States Marine Corps aircraft carrying the president of the United States. It usually denotes a helicopter operated by Marine Helicopter Squadron One (HMX-1) “Nighthawks”, consisting of either the large Sikorsky VH-3D Sea King or the newer, smaller VH-60N “White Hawk”. Both helicopters are called “White Tops” because of their livery. Any Marine Corps aircraft carrying the vice president has the call sign Marine Two.
Newer helicopters that serve as Marine One are usually the Sikorsky VH-60N. I think the new ones are definitely sleeker, but I really prefer the chunky 1960s look of the VH-3D.
I also posted a version of this on Instagram.