Authorities in northern Alabama say everyone aboard a Tennessee National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter died when it crashed onto the median of a freeway near Huntsville. It’s not known how many crew were on the helicopter. The helicopter was on a routine training mission according to CBS. It’s not believed that anyone on the ground was hurt or killed.

The accident happened about 3 p.m. on Highway 53 about 10 miles northwest of Huntsville. Doorbell video shows the helicopter dropping vertically before dense black smoke rose from the impact site. Rotor noise can be heard as the aircraft appears to dive out of control from at least 1,000 feet.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.


  1. This tragic mishap occured just as another Army Guard Blackhawk [ not Tennessee or Alabama/ and far from it ] was also on a TRNG Mission shooting RNAV approaches to my Airport located not 1/4 mi from my home….

    Made me stop and think as he announced ” Rogue…..established on…”…

    Looking closely at the ring door bell video that from afar captured the incident; the TNANG Blackhawk appeared to seem as if it had a puff of smoke or shed some parts at the beginning of the incident — main rotor strike on tail boom ? ….or tail rotor failure?

    Let the Army Guard and NTSB determine that…

    • The Helo was going straight down at high speed before that smoke came off. Whatever happened it happened above the camera angle. It was already doomed.

    • Back in the 80’s while in the Army at Fort Richardson we called these “crash hawks”. Hated the aircraft when they started to arrive. It was always to do with the chip detectors that caused us the biggest issue. But like you we had a full down stabilizer issue on one flight but luckily we were just at a close hover and able to drop to the tarmac without any further issue. We were plain lucky. So no more flying in the Blackhawk instead I went back to the Huey’s crew.

  2. For most helicopters (don’t know specifically about a Blackhawk) if recognized and acted on quickly enough, tail rotor failure can typically be countered by sufficient forward motion. So to see it plummet from that altitude I’m guessing it was something else.

  3. Only 2 souls? I’ve spent a lot of time riding in Blackhawk helicopters. I’ve never been on one without a crew chief onboard.