Accident Sikorsky UH-60L Black Hawk 85-24416, Wednesday 15 February 2023
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Date:Wednesday 15 February 2023
Time:c. 15:00 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic H60 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Sikorsky UH-60L Black Hawk
Owner/operator:Tennessee National Guard
Registration: 85-24416
MSN: 70-895
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:Harvest, AL -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Departure airport:
Destination airport:Huntsville International Airport, AL (HSV/KHSV)
Confidence Rating: Information is only available from news, social media or unofficial sources
On February 15, 2023 at approximately 1458 hours local Alabama time, Huntsville Approach Control was giving vectors to the Black Hawk pilots flying “Guard 85-24416” and had cleared them from 4,000 feet down to 3,000 feet, to intercept the localizer for the ILS 18L approach, into Huntsville International Airport, Alabama (KHSV).

Approach control gave “Guard 85-24416” a vector to “turn left heading 270°” and the pilot responded back with a short, broken “…70”, then at this point, the Approach controller suddenly lost RADAR contact with the Black Hawk flying at approximately 2,900 feet (ASL), 12-miles from the airport. There were no more radio transmissions from the helicopter crew in response back to the approach controller’s radio calls.

At this critical point, at 1458:48 hours local time, something went horribly wrong with this ILS instrument approach, whether it was caused by a mechanical failure (ie. tail rotor failure, stabilator failure or an instrument failure) or whether it was caused by spatial disorientation during IMC conditions, with a loss of controlled flight, is yet to be determined by the NTSB and Army investigators.

The helicopter was badly burned in the post crash fire and it is unknown if its onboard flight data recorder survived. If not, the best evidence to date, to aid with this investigation has been video and audio evidence recorded from a doorbell camera, that captured the final seconds of the crash sequence.

In this grainy video footage, the Black Hawk appears to emerge from the clouds, in an inverted, upside down orientation, with its nose down and facing approximately between the 9:00 o’clock and the 10:00 o’clock position, falling from the sky at an extremely fast rate of descent, with no rotor sound (only loud engine noise) and the helicopter suddenly kicks counterclockwise with its nose rotating to about the 4:00 o’clock position.

The pilots valiantly attempted to flip the helicopter to an upright position, getting it to approximately a 120° nose down attitude with the helicopter’s nose rotating back to and stopping at about the 6:00 o’clock position.

At this point, as the airflow reverses over the rotor disc and with the pitch in the blades, there is suddenly a loud & pronounced sound of excessive blade “slapping” & then the helicopter disappears out of view, behind the tree line, in what appears to be a near vertical nose down dive, followed by a loud popping sound, immediately followed by a large plume of black smoke rising from behind the trees.

The Black Hawk helicopter crashed in the grassy median on Highway 53 in Harvest, Alabama. No motorists on the highway were injured, but tragically both of the pilots onboard perished.

Note: This investigation is in its preliminary stages and it is not yet known what caused the Black Hawk to flip upside down into its unusual attitude and its subsequent loss of control.




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