View Full Version : Blackhawk crew

03-30-2012, 05:59 AM
How many soldiers typically man a blackhawk helicopter, and what are their functions? (it's crazy the level of detail I want for such a small moment in a story that takes place in all of two sentences!).

03-30-2012, 08:09 AM
What do you mean by "man"? You mean to fly a blackhawk? Or how many fit inside of one? As far as I know, it is possible for one to fly it, but the few times I've been in one there have always been two. As far as dismounts go, I think around ten...I'm sure there are a dozen different modified versions of this helicopter, though.

There are others poking around here with more expertise in this than me...this is just a taste to hold you over.

03-30-2012, 08:03 PM
Normal compliment for a utility helicopter in the US Army is three. Two pilots, one designated as PIC (Pilot in Command), and one just designated as pilot, and one crew chief. The "crew chief" name is a misnomer in the Army since they guy typically works alone and is generally of lower rank, PFC, SP4, or SGT. The crew chief is responsible for aircraft maintenance and also has crew duties in flight.

In combat, there will often be a door gunner assigned to the aircraft as well. The door gunner could be a junior mechanic, or an infantry soldier assigned from a garrison unit. The crew chief will man the second machine gun when necessary.

03-30-2012, 08:04 PM
There's a three-man crew actually flying the craft (memory, from 1986). Pilot, co-pilot, crew chief. It can take a twelve-man load of soldiers (infantry, engineers, special forces types) The hook on the bottom can carry 10k pounds with the bird empty (we had a 9600 pound load once)

It may have been upgraded since 1986 (I sure hope so!), but I think the manning is still the same.

Richard White
03-30-2012, 08:40 PM
Speaking of that hook, I still remember watching a Chinook have to cut load in mid-air. A cable had come loose and the 105mm Howtizer it was hauling had started shifting beneath it.

That howitzer hit the ground from about 75' in the air nose first. It was buried all the way up to the front of the wheels. The maintenence guys came out, grabbed a blow torch, cut the cannon off at ground level and hauled the rest of the howitzer back to 3rd Shop.

I suspect it's still buried out there on West Ft. Campbell.

03-31-2012, 06:16 AM
Thanks, everyone! That's perfect. I was thinking a crew of four, which seems right. I was looking for what might be a typical crew operating a blackhawk during active engagement. (I got to ride in one once at Fort Bragg, I can't remember why. We barely got in sight of what was rumoured to be the Delta Force compound --we spotted the floodlights-- before we turned around. The most boring, level flight ever. But with the training accident rates, I can understand them not f***ing around).

Best flight ever was in a twin otter, on a brass jump, where we got to sit in the door and scoot out, we even got the fancy 'chutes that actually were steerable.

Noah Body
04-05-2012, 09:07 PM
Three guys, as Hallen said. Unless it's with the 160th, then it's four, as they provision another aviation soldier as a gunner for the other M134.