The Australian Army has suspended flying operations for its Sikorsky S-70A-9 Black Hawk trooplift helicopters following the identification of a number of fractured bolts during a routine maintenance check.
Acting Director General Aviation COL Stephen Evans said the suspension – which took wffect from January 19 – 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,” COL Evans said.
Three Army Black Hawk aircraft currently deployed to Timor Leste as part of Joint Task Force 631 remain available to fly in case of emergency aero-medical evacuations for International Stabilisation Force personnel.
Navy Seahawk helicopters differ significantly to the Black Hawk in the affected area, and therefore Seahawk flying operations have not been affected.