Armed Forces News

Since taking delivery of six UH-60V Black Hawk helicopters this summer, one Pennsylvania Army National Guard unit has certified more than 20 instructor pilots to operate the aircraft. Key to the process is becoming accustomed to the significant technological advancements the V series has over the UH-60A and L fleets it is replacing.

“For the Guard, it’s going to be a big upgrade because of the digital interface,” said CWO4 Frank Madeira, an instructor pilot with the Eastern Army National Guard Aviation Training Site at Fort Indiantown Gap.

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Displays are all on screens, Madeira said. Gauges are digital, and no longer resemble traditional steam gauges or those common to automobiles. Adjustment is not immediate for most students, Madeira said.

“After a few flights, I think everyone feels fairly comfortable flying the aircraft,” Madeira said.

The upgrade includes “time ahead-time behind” capability – commonplace on smart phones but heretofore unavailable on older versions of the Black Hawk.

“You can actually see every leg of your flight and how long it’s going to take you to get there,” Madeira said.

The Pennsylvania Guard is scheduled to receive 10 more UH-60Vs. They likely will be assigned to C Company, 1-230thAssault Battalion, based in Johnstown.