☷Connecticut Guard completes Black Hawk fleet conversion
National Guard ( By Press Release office)
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WINDSOR LOCKS , Conn . – Soldiers from the Connecticut National Guard’s Charlie Company , 3rd Battalion , 142nd Aviation Regiment , retrieved a new UH - 60M Black Hawk helicopter from Joint Base McGuire - Dix - Lakehurst , New Jersey , and delivered it to the Army Aviation Support Facility in Windsor Locks April 28 . This new airframe completes the conversion of the unit’s five helicopters from the legacy L - model to the most modern M - model . Army Capt . Andrew Maher , commander of Charlie Company , said most new aviators come out of the schoolhouse trained on this new M - model , so converting the fleet creates a seamless transition from training to operational environments . While the Army’s newest helicopter pilots come out of training well - versed on the M - model aircraft , the legacy pilots had a big learning curve . To become more familiar with the new airframe , the L - models pilots attend a five - week training course and maintain their certifications with at least 96 hours of flight training every year , including 18 in a flight simulator . The new helicopter has wider blades for more lift capacity , an auto - pilot feature , a more rigid frame , more crash and electromagnetic protection , more vibration absorption in the seats , a rotor break , and fully digital displays and navigation . “Everyone loves [the new model] , ” said Maher . “The upgrades give us more situational awareness , reduce our workload , and allows us to complete more complex missions with less stress . ”The upgrade is more than just a convenience . Since the conversion process began , the unit’s M - model craft have acquired no more than 100 total flight hours , compared to the more than 9 , 000 hours on the L - models . That reduces required maintenance , allowing the unit to keep more helicopters ready for missions . The old frames were transferred to other state National Guards and civilian organizations . The Theater Aviation Sustainment Maintenance Group in Groton also received one . The UH - 60 Black Hawk has been the primary multi - mission rotary aircraft since Sikorsky developed it in 1978 . The new helicopter was constructed at the Sikorsky plant in Stratford , Connecticut , and outfitted with additional modifications at the U . S . Army Communications - Electronics Research , Development and Engineering Center Flight Activity at Joint Base McGuire - Dix - Lakehurst .
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