Following Deadly Helicopter Crashes, Army Grounds Most Aircrafts Until Units Complete Safety Training

On Friday, the Army’s top officer ordered a safety stand-down and grounded all non-critical helicopter units.

AP reports, “The suspension of air operations was effective immediately, with units grounded until they complete the training, said Lt. Col. Terence Kelley, an Army spokesperson. For active-duty units, the training is to take place between May 1 and 5. Army National Guard and Reserve units will have until May 31 to complete.”

The decision comes after several deadly incidents in recent months.

On Thursday,  two AH-64 Apache helicopters crashed into each other near Fort Wainwright, Alaska leaving three soldiers dead and another injured.

In March, nine soldiers were killed in a crash involving two Black Hawk helicopters from Fort Campbell in Kentucky during a training accident.

In February, a Blackhawk military helicopter crashed near Huntsville, Alabama, killing two Tennessee National Guard soldiers. reports:

Gen. James McConville ordered a safety stand-down, directing all aviation units to go over the maintenance of their aircrafts, pilot training and safety precautions. The grounding includes aircraft overseas in Europe and combat zones such as Iraq and Syria, but an officer at the rank of two-star general or above can disregard the stand down in emergencies such as medical evacuations, one Army official told

“The safety of our aviators is our top priority, and this stand down is an important step to make certain we are doing everything possible to prevent accidents and protect our personnel,” McConville, who has a background as an aviator, said in a statement. “During this stand down, we will focus on safety and training protocols to ensure our pilots and crews have the knowledge, training and awareness to safely complete their assigned mission.”


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