24 Januari 2012
ADF's Blackhawk helicopter (photo : Bruce Linwood)
Army’s Black Hawk helicopters have returned to full flying operations following the lifting of the recent suspension. The suspension was put in place on 19 January following the identification of a number of fractured bolts during a routine maintenance check.
The Commander of Forces Command, Major General Michael Slater, as the Army Operational Airworthiness Authority has lifted the precautionary suspension following airworthiness advice from the Technical Airworthiness Authority.
The suspension demonstrates Army’s commitment to safety. The temporary safety precaution was effected while a thorough engineering investigation was carried out following the discovery of the defective bolts.
The engineering investigation indicated that the defective bolts were confined to a single manufacturer’s batch and were not a fleet wide issue. The defective batch of bolts has been quarantined from use.
The Australian Army operates 34 Black Hawk aircraft. Of that fleet, three are deployed to Timor Leste, and the remaining aircraft are based in Holsworthy NSW and Townsville QLD.
The Navy Seahawk helicopters differ significantly to the Army Black Hawk and were not affected by the suspension.
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Precautionary Suspension of Black Hawk Flying Operations
21 Januari 2012
Army has temporarily suspended flying operations for the Black Hawk helicopters upon identifying a number of fractured bolts during a routine maintenance check.
Acting Director General Aviation, Colonel Stephen Evans said the suspension, which commenced on 19 January, was to ensure safety and is consistent with Army Operational Airworthiness procedures.
“The precautionary suspension will remain in place to allow an investigation into the cause of the fracture to be completed,” Colonel Evans said.
Three Army Black Hawks are assigned to Joint Task Force 631 in Timor Leste. Emergency aero-medical evacuations for International Stabilisation Force personnel in Timor Leste remain authorised during the temporary suspension.
The Navy Seahawk helicopters differ significantly to the Black Hawk in the affected area, and Seahawk flying operations have not been suspended.