The Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk is a medium lift aircraft that was selected by the U.S army to begin replacing its fleet of UH-1 Iroquois (Hueys) in 1979. The Black Hawk is used in military and commercial applications around the world. But when they aren’t flying in critical missions, we wanted to explain a little bit about how to transport a Black Hawk on the road.
There are numerous variants of this aircraft, including the newest UH-60M model Black Hawk. Along with the standard models there are a number of special purpose Black Hawks that have been heavily modified, the HH-60M for example which has been outfitted with medical equipment.
The export version of this aircraft has been given the designation S-70, these models can been seen in other countries serving the military or commercial purposes.
The Black Hawk is an amazingly versatile aircraft that is capable of troop transport, electronic warfare and a medical evacuations. In addition to its combat effectiveness, a number of older model Black Hawks have been de-commissioned by the Air Force to be sold off to commercial operators. These aircraft can be used for any number of commercial applications, including: freight hauling, charter, fire suppression, sling and long line work.
The Black Hawk is definitely a favourite of the IMT drivers, likely due to its iconic status and easily recognizable lines. Pulling into a truck stop with a Black Hawk on your trailer is sure to be a conversation starter.
When learning how to transport a Black Hawk on the road, the first thing a driver has to do is become familiar with the IMT UH-60 securement equipment. The Black Hawk’s landing gear is wider than the width of a standard commercial trailer and requires proper support. IMT’s Black Hawk landing gear stands are designed specifically for that aircraft and uses cradles for the wheels to rest in.
After the fuselage is secured, the blade boxes and horizontal stabilizer need to be positioned on the deck. IMT has developed a custom blade box securement system specifically for the Black Hawk. This allows us to transport all four blade boxes along with the fuselage on the same trailer. This eliminates the need for a second support truck that you will commonly see with Black Hawk shipments.
Since this is an oversized aircraft, we require permits and escort vehicles through most states in the U.S. In addition, regional travel restrictions apply during certain times of the day and certain parts of the week. As with most oversized shipments (expect in California), no travel at night is allowed, no travel on national holidays and limited weekend travel.
Also weather can become a factor when transporting over long distances and varying differences in elevation. However, transporting on the ground in adverse weather is much safer for both the aircraft and flight personnel. In addition, it is cheaper to transport this aircraft on the ground versus a ferry flight. Valuable component time is better used when the aircraft is generating revenue, instead of using up precious hours on an empty flight.
If you would like to learn more about how to transport a Black Hawk on the road, we encourage you to contact one of our aircraft transport experts.