The Israeli Air Force (IAF) has blocked its Black Hawk helicopter fleet from all non-operational flights, a month after one of the choppers missed hitting the ground by a whisker.
“The commander of the Air Force, Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin, decided to ground the fleet of Yanshuf (Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk) helicopters from training and transport activities following a number of technical malfunctions that occurred in the helicopters’ motors in the past two months. Until the end [of the investigation], the fleet will be grounded, save for operational activities,” an IAF statement said.
In July, a Black Hawk experienced a mid-air technical malfunction and nearly crashed while transporting IDF Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kohavi from the Knesset to an undisclosed military base. The chopper’s crew initially struggled to recover, resulting in the aircraft plummeting to just 100 feet (about 30 meters) above the ground before they corrected the aircraft’s error.
Black Hawks were being used by the military for routine transportation missions and similar shuttling. They will now undergo inspection so that IAF technicians may come to a better conclusion on the recent motor issues, Israeli media reported Monday.
In November 2019, Norkin ordered a similar grounding of the IAF’s Yasur (Sikorsky CH-53) heavy transport helicopter fleet after a chopper carrying 14 soldiers experienced a technical issue that triggered an engine fire.