The commander of the Army has ceased all non-essential aviation operations after the second midair collision of Army helicopters within a month. Two Apaches collided near Fort Wainwright, Alaska, on Thursday, killing three soldiers and injuring one. It came after a collision between two Blackhawks on a night training mission near Fort Campbell, Kentucky, in late March that killed nine soldiers. The Army said there is “no indication of any pattern” between the two accidents, but Army Chief of Staff James McConville ordered a break that includes supplemental training for all flight crews.
McConville ordered Army pilots to “focus on safety and training protocols to ensure our pilots and crews have the knowledge training and awareness to safely complete their assigned mission.” He said crews will be grounded until the training has been completed. Thursday’s crash occurred near Healy, Alaska, about 100 miles south of Fort Wainwright, where the helicopters are based with the 11th Airborne Division.