24-Jan-2012 Source: Australian Dept of Defence
Armyâ€™s Black Hawk helicopters have returned to full flying operations following the lifting of the recent suspension. The suspension was put in place on 19 January following the identification of a number of fractured bolts during a routine maintenance check.
The Commander of Forces Command, Major General Michael Slater, as the Army Operational Airworthiness Authority has lifted the precautionary suspension following airworthiness advice from the Technical Airworthiness Authority.
The suspension demonstrates Armyâ€™s commitment to safety. The temporary safety precaution was effected while a thorough engineering investigation was carried out following the discovery of the defective bolts.
The engineering investigation indicated that the defective bolts were confined to a single manufacturerâ€™s batch and were not a fleet wide issue. The defective batch of bolts has been quarantined from use.
The Australian Army operates 34 Black Hawk aircraft. Of that fleet, three are deployed to Timor Leste, and the remaining aircraft are based in Holsworthy NSW and Townsville QLD.
The Navy Seahawk helicopters differ significantly to the Army Black Hawk and were not affected by the suspension.