SALT LAKE CITY — The investigation into a crash that involved two Black Hawk helicopters has been completed, with the estimated cost of damages totaling over $9 million.
On February 22, two UH-60 Black Hawks with the 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 211th Aviation Regiment were involved in a winter mountain training accident near Mineral Basin.
Luckily, nobody was injured in the accident.
New information from the Utah National Guard reports the investigation into the incident has been concluded.
The findings of the investigation revealed that as the two helicopters approached the landing zone the "trail aircraft" (chalk 2) entered white out conditions and the pilot could not determine his position in relation to the helicopter landing zone.
As chalk two landed, the helicopter drifted to the right, causing it to roll on it's side. The main rotor blades broke apart and a piece hit the other helicopter (chalk 1).
Chalk one went into "catastrophic mechanical failure of the tail rotor," the investigation findings explain. The pilot was able to safely land the aircraft after completing a full spin.
"The investigation board found the cause of the accident to be human error on the part of the pilot in command of chalk 2," investigation findings reveal. "The board also found the actions of the pilot in command of chalk 1 to be commendable as the pilot was able to land the aircraft with no serious injuries to any crew."
The estimated cost of damages to both helicopters is $9.23 million. Two replacement aircraft will arrive in Utah later this month from the National Guard Bureau.
The investigation was conducted by an accident investigation board with support from the South Carolina National Guard.
"The investigation board consisted of six South Carolina Army National Guard Officers: a colonel, who is a senior UH-60 Black Hawk pilot and aviation safety officer, served as president of the board," a press release from the Utah National Guard reads. "The rest of the board included a UH-60 standardization pilot; an aviation safety officer; an aviation medical officer; an aviation maintenance officer; and a recorder."