Long-Legged Black Hawk
U.S. Army Major Rick Walker, together with Sikorsky test pilot Gary Kohler, recently showcased the long range capability of the UH-60A Black Hawk. With their mount outfitted with an extended range kit, the pair completed a continuous 6.9 hour flight, one of the longest ever flown by an Army helicopter; and, which saw the overflight of four states, New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut.
This flight proved the Black Hawk’s ability for long-legged operations; of particular importance for requirements in Europe and the Middle East. For brought forth on pages 14 and 15 of the February-March 1979 edition of Army Aviation . . .
. . . “Long range ferry of the Black Hawk is due to its efficient fuel consumption, twin engines and minimal vibration which reduces pilot fatigue. Fitted internally with long range fuel tanks, the aircraft can traverse 880 nautical miles against a 20 knot head wind, and still have enough fuel for an additional 30 minutes of flight.
“The crashworthy fuel tanks increase the helicopter’s fuel capacity from 2,350 to 7,407 lbs. If flown to Europe, the trip from Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, to Wiesbaden, Germany, could be flown across the North Atlantic Ocean in two and one-half days with crew change. The route could be flown in less than 36 hours if relief crews were pre-positioned at the refueling stops.
“The long range demonstration came as the first production helicopters are being delivered to the U.S. Army for deployment from New York State to Alaska, from Alabama to Panama—and many points in between. The new aircraft will be flown by Army pilots to confirm the over 2,000 hours of testing performed by the prototype aircraft. By mid-year Sikorsky’s direct involvement in the test program—the maturity test phase—will be completed.”
Source: See pages 14 and 15, “UH-60A Black Hawk in 880 Nautical Mile Flight,” Army Aviation, Vol. 28, Nos. 2 & 3, Army Aviation Publications, Inc., Westport, Ct., February-March, 1979.