A HH-60 Black Hawk Helicopter owned by Arista Aviation based in Enterprise, Alabama, was en route to an industry trade show in Atlanta last week when it crashed near Tullahoma, Tennessee. The two pilots, Jack Cook and Larry Cornell, both former Army Aviators from Alabama, were injured but were reported to be recovering in stable condition at Vanderbilt University Hospital. They are Arista Aviation employees.
The helicopter went down on private property in a rural area around 3 p.m. local time last Thursday. The pilots were able to crawl out of the aircraft and one called 9-1-1. Tullahoma Police Sgt. Cody Brandon was on foot when he located the pilots and their downed aircraft. One pilot suffered head and neck injuries and was transported to Vanderbilt University Hospital by Life Flight. The other pilot was taken by ground EMS to the hospital
A statement by Arista Aviation noted that “the incident… occurred in degraded weather conditions as the helicopter approached the airport.” The cause of the crash is under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Arista Aviation’s president and CEO, Rich Enderle, thanked local first responders for their rapid response and credited their actions with saving the pilots’ lives.
“Although this crash occurred in degraded weather conditions, preliminary indications are the pilot was trained in proper operation of this aircraft” said Mike Andrews of the Beasley Allen Law Firm where he handles complex litigation including aviation cases. “Crashes like this always prompt investigators to look into any special circumstances including pilot inattention, control tower errors and aircraft maintenance issues that may have played a causal role”.
The HH-60 is manufactured by Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, a Lockheed Martin company and is described as a multirole helicopter that was first launched 40 years ago. Currently, there are more than 4,000 Black Hawk aircraft of all types in service throughout the world.
A lawsuit against the company was filed last December over an alleged defectively designed tail rotor system of a similar helicopter that crashed in April 2017. The widow of an Army helicopter crew chief filed the lawsuit along with the survivors of the crash. Her husband was killed, and two pilots were seriously injured when their UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crashed on a Maryland golf course.
The Moore County News
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