NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) — The UH60 Black Hawk is the Army’s utility tactical transport helicopter. This new addition to their arsenal has enhanced the military’s overall mobility due to its improvements in both troop and cargo lift capacity — and this Memorial Day, two of them took a flight through our state.
As part of Memorial Day celebrations at the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery, a pair of Black Hawks performed a flyover of the area. However, this trip is more than just a gesture of respect to those who have been lost in the line of duty — it’s also a training opportunity for North Dakota’s military aviators.
“Going to a time on target, they are getting to a specified point at specified times,” explains Company Commander Stephen Schaffner. “So for our aircrews and crew chiefs, there is some integrated training,”
The crew hit their mark by flying over the cemetery at 12:03.
“We have 11 seats in the back,” Schaffner says. “It’s designed to move a squad was the army’s demand in the ’70s — moving a squad of soldiers. We can swing load things, which we have done in the past.”
For the Memorial Day Flyover, crews performed a Staggered air formation. This is just one of the many patterns and flight formations that members of our air forces need to master to be effective in the line of duty.
“Our most common one is Staggered, which is what we will be demonstrating today,” said Schaffner before the flyover. “Staggered left or right depends on what side the aircraft is on. There are also diamond formations. There are different kinds for different types of events, and different kinds of transportation you are trying to do. The Staggered ones are easy because you can have better control. So, your entire formation is spread out to one side — as you look back from the lead aircraft, which, this one will be the lead aircraft today, you can see every other aircraft behind. So, you have better command and visibility of each.”
Although the flyover provided a perfect training opportunity, Schaffner says that despite everything, today is all about honoring our fallen soldiers first and foremost.