Army National Guard Hit With “Aviation Safety Stand Down” After Two Crashes

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The director of the Army National Guard ordered an “aviation safety stand down” of all helicopter units until a safety review is completed following two deadly crashes involving rotary wing aircraft.

The decision for the grounding came after two crashes of AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopters, one near Salt Lake City during a training exercise on Feb. 12, killing the two pilots aboard, and the other during a Feb. 23 training exercise in Mississippi, with both pilots surviving.

The stand-down to “review safety policies and procedures” went into effect on Monday, the National Guard said.

“We are a combat force with helicopters training or on mission worldwide every day,” said Lt. Gen. Jon A. Jensen, director of the Army National Guard.

Jensen continued: “Safety is always at the top of our minds. We will stand down to ensure all of our crews are prepared as well as possible for whatever they’re asked to do.”

The causes of both crashes have not been publicly released, but the Army’s Combat Readiness Center is investigating the incidents.

One of the deadliest training incidents in the service’s history occurred about one year ago when two Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters collided near Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

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