US Army, June 13, 2014 - HUNTER ARMY AIRFIELD, Ga. by Sgt. William Begley – Army Black Hawk pilots with 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade have been undergoing instruction on the new M Model UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter—which nine Army Aviation CABs have already received—over the past several weeks on Hunter Army Airfield.
The new digital platform replaces an older analog control system. Gauges and dials have been replaced by four large digital screens, or multi-functional displays. The Black Hawk M Models also have advancements that allow the aircraft to automatically adjust speed in flight to arrive at a location at a time specified by the pilot.
Rotor brakes, changes in rotor blades, and exhaust orientation will be the biggest changes the pilots will face, along with adjustments in cockpit management.
Army Lt. Col. Bradley Bruce, product manager for UH-60M Black Hawk, arrived to 3rd CAB from Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. He says that the fielding of aircraft in an aviation brigade is similar to the block of instruction a pilot would receive in pilot training at Fort Rucker.
“The advantage to the CAB is based on the multiple deployments we have been through; it allows the CAB to get their UH-60M qualification at their home station. They get to go home to their Families. They also get to train on their own unit’s aircraft and airspace,” said Bruce.
Chief Warrant Officer 3 Dennis Snyder, a standardization pilot with Company B, 4th Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment is excited about the upgrades to the aircraft.
“You have the computers working for you,” said Snyder. “It’s a wonderful thing to be a part of.”
Snyder said he was initially worried about the system being digital, but said there are backup systems that are engaged should there be a failure. He adds the instructors conducting the training did a great job presenting the material in methodical demonstration.
Bruce said the contractors conducting the training are Soldiers, noncommissioned officers, and Instructor Pilots who first fielded the M Model and have since gotten out of the Army to work for contracting, or retired and are now supporting the government.
One of the pilots going through training was Chief Warrant Officer 2 Denise Griffie, Company B, 4th Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment. She said learning to fly the aircraft was relearning the aircraft and that for many pilots, who are set in their ways of the analog aircraft, it was not without transition.
“There’s so much new stuff in this aircraft; it’s all digital. It’s like learning a new aircraft, it really is,” said Griffie.