My Black Hawk Story

40 YEARS OF BLACK HAWK.

THOUSANDS OF STORIES.

"Our Powerful Hawk was Able to Take Flight!"

In 2002 during a mission to capture an alleged Colombian Mafia leader, five Black Hawks deployed to Arauca, a municipality located in western Colombia. The group of five aircraft consisted of three assault aircraft and two Arpía escorts (Colombian Air Force’s version of the Armed Black Hawk). I was the gunner on aircraft #2 (Tail number FAC 4126) and was in charge of deploying the Special Forces (SF) unit aboard our aircraft. Unfortunately, the SF team was unable secure their objective as our helicopter was met by small arms fire on the landing zone (LZ); four SF commandos were killed immediately. Our Black Hawk was impacted 27 times which caused immediate electrical failure and partial loss of tail rotor authority. We were forced to make an emergency landing due to loss of aircraft power. A couple of seconds after touching down, we decided to pull power to see if the aircraft would take flight. Our powerful Hawk was able to take flight! After a few minutes and some miles traveled, we could not go any further. We had to emergency land in the middle of the jungle, leave the aircraft behind, and be evacuated by our third helicopter. After some hours we returned to the jungle site with more SF commandos and helicopters to recover our aircraft. It took us five days to repair the aircraft enough to get it to fly out of the jungle for a ferry flight. To this day we profoundly regret the loss of our men but are also grateful with our lives for being aboard this powerful aircraft which was able to stay operational and pull us out of danger in spite of multiple bullet impacts. It took almost two years to repair the aircraft at a Sikorsky facility in Corpus Christi, Texas.

~ Gustavo G.

Playing My Small Part

My Sikorsky life started 40 years ago in 1978. I spent my first eight years on the shop floor manufacturing the Black Hawk and all different derivatives of it in Final Assembly. I spent 18 years in the Product organization, then worked different engineering positions to present time. I received all my college education in 11 years (up to an MS degree) while working at Sikorsky. I am very proud to be part of the Sikorsky history and especially the H-60 family aircraft. What gives me drive every day is when I see a person on a rescue with one of our H-60 aircraft around the world. I take pride in playing a small part in manufacturing machines that save lives. This pride I will always take with me through retirement.

~ Pete L.

Aloha, Black Hawk

My first connection to the Black Hawk was on the local evening news channel on TV. I was stationed with the l-5 Inf Bn, 25th Inf Div, Schofield Barracks, Oahu, Hawaii. It was December 1976 and the announcement was made of the contract award between Sikorsky and Boeing. As soon as the winner was announced, the news feed was live from Final Assembly in Stratford and it was a time of celebration! There was just silence from the competitor side. I began working at Sikorsky in 1987. From then to today, it has been awesome to build these amazing aircraft!

~ Edwin A.

Another Piece of the Puzzle

The article brought back many memories, starting with returning from Iran in December 1976 and seeing the Black Hawk parked in front of the Stratford factory, lit up by spotlights. The opportunity to travel to China in the early ‘80s delivering S70s and visiting the Great Wall. Marveling at the exotic interiors of the Sultan of Brunei VIP aircraft. Flying into the helipad area at Argentina's Casa Rosada with the Argentine President’s new VIP Black Hawk — and then departing straight up-and-away. Supporting the Australian RAN Seahawks. The opportunity to work with so many dedicated men and women of Sikorsky within the Development Flight Center over these past 40 years as the Black Hawk continuously evolved into the machine it is today — and looking forward to tomorrow’s evolution as the CRH moves toward first flight. Thanks for running so many stories and including the old pictures — it's been fun trying to remember the names of friends and coworkers from those early days. I hope to add to the puzzle with my photo.

~ Dave C.

Proud of This Great Aircraft

I worked on production of the UH-60A Black Hawk in 1978 at Sikorsky. I spent 38 years with this occupation and worked on many models of this aircraft and other helicopters on Final Assembly. I’m very proud of this great aircraft and love seeing it fly over my home in Oxford, Connecticut. I am retired now and wish a very happy anniversary to all Sikorsky employees!

~ Frank D.

Around the Globe

Intersections in life: As I joined the Sikorsky team in May 2018, my daughter’s best friend from high school was concluding flight school and preparing to be deployed to South Korea. I’m sharing this #MyBlackHawkStory on her behalf.

2LT Lyndsie Taylor graduated from University of Tampa, where she received her commission to the Army as an aviation officer. She started flight school in June 2017 at Fort Rucker, Alabama. Her flight training in the UH-60M concluded in July 2018 and she now is stationed at Camp Humphreys, South Korea, where she will fly Lima model Black Hawks. In this picture, Lyndsie is standing next to the Black Hawk model, “Mike,” that she flew during training.

~ Karen G.

Rapid Redesign

My story relates to the frantic pace at which the YUH-60A was developed to prepare the prototypes for Army evaluation. As a flight controls and handling qualities engineer, I'll discuss two major changes to the aircraft: the horizontal tail configuration and the Stability Augmentation System (SAS) redesign. The original design for the tail configuration was a large, low, fixed, aft-swept horizontal tail. As soon as the first YUH-60 flew, a problem was identified — the downwash from the main rotor would hit the horizontal tail and pitch the nose up. This produced unacceptable handling qualities. Several tail configurations were tried (people worked around the clock to make changes) including moving half the tail up near the tail rotor (the infamous "Z" tail) and putting all of the tail opposite the tail rotor. Neither configuration solved the issue satisfactorily. Finally, the decision was made to go with a moving stabilator. While the prototypes continued development, a dedicated team designed and built the entire system — sensors, electronics, and servos — in a remarkably short time. This fixed the problem. When it comes to the SAS redesign, the proposed SAS was fluidic — it featured sensors and control laws that used the fluidic equivalent of electronic sensors and analog computers. It was remarkably reliable and durable (no moving parts), but was computationally limited and was virtually useless when the hydraulic fluid was cold. An electronic system, designed "overnight," fixed the problem.

~ Phillip G.

Bravo Zulu to Sikorsky

I have deployed with SH-60Bs, HH-60Hs, SH-60Fs, and finally MH-60Rs in my 25 years of Naval service. From destroyers and frigates to aircraft carriers, these machines were put through some of the most extreme conditions and always completed the mission. Always ready to go at a moment’s notice when the call came in for a search and rescue mission. Now working with a company associated with the new HH-60W, the next generation of Black Hawks will surely be around for the 60th anniversary. Bravo Zulu to all the men and women at Sikorsky for your dedication to building a quality product for the warfighters.

~ Jeff S.

From Infantry to Sikorsky

My connection to the Black Hawk, like many, can be found through service in the U.S. Army. After learning to work on the Black Hawk at Ft. Eustis, Virginia, I ended up serving with both the Second Infantry Division and 10th Mountain Division, working my way up from mechanic to crew chief and then maintenance team leader, which was my final connection to the aircraft before my Army career was ended way too soon by a life threatening illness.

Despite having my involvement in Army Aviation, and my association with the Black Hawk, cut short, I can look back and know that I gave all that I could, and then some, while maintaining and performing flight duties on both A & L models (including EH-60A Quick Fix versions while serving as a mechanic with D Co. 2/2 Avn. Regt. at Camp Stanley, South Korea). I had a number of great experiences during my association with the Black Hawk (including visiting the Stratford plant in June of '94 — a true high point — while on my way to serve with the 10th Mtn. Div.) but equally as important is also knowing that I was essentially part of a world-wide community, and legacy, that has included, and continues to include, some hugely talented mechanics, crew chiefs, pilots and engineers. I will always be proud of my association with the Black Hawk and Sikorsky Aircraft!

~ Michael R.

Ships, Seahawks and Stratford

My relationship with this aircraft goes back several years. USS Stephen W. Groves (FFG 29) was named for my late uncle, Ens. Stephen W. Groves, USNR. I stood on the forecastle when the ship was launched in 1981. So, how is this a Seahawk story? The ship's flight deck was lengthened by 15 feet in 1988 to accommodate the Navy's fine Sikorsky-made aircraft. Being a sponsor family allowed us to see Seahawks stored in the ship's hangars from time to time. Not allowed to ride on one, I still was amazed by these fine aircraft, and the videos and photographs of the landings and take-offs that these aircraft could do at sea while the ship was underway. I have a unit patch or two from helo aviators who were attached to the ship for duty. When the ship was decommissioned in 2012, I thought all of the fun was over with. Not so! In 2016, I was hired on full-time in Stratford as an Environmental Safety and Health specialist, working in the Blades Product Center. Never in a million years did I think that I'd be working at the factory where the magnificent aircraft that landed on my uncle's namesake ship had been built. I've enjoyed seeing them, bright and new, out in the hangar getting ready for first flight. The Seahawk variant is therefore my most favorite of the types built here in Stratford, and I sometimes wonder if the spars that I see going through O&R are from blades that belonged to aircraft that had been kept aboard ship.

~ Brian G.

Never let us Down

I deployed as a UH-60A/L pilot to Iraq in 2008-2009 with the New York Army National Guard. Flying in the most inhospitable environments, the Black Hawk never let us down. I want to thank all the folks who build this great helicopter and help keep us safe.

~ Mel A.

I Trusted That Aircraft With my Life

This is a picture of when Sikorsky started running full throttle in the late 80s/early 90s. We were building Black Hawk UH-60As and converting them to UH-60Ls. We were building the first MH-60Rs, the first Coast Guard H-60s, the Seahawks and the 53Es. The high bay was full of all new aircraft coming online and ready to serve and overcome every battle in front of them. They are the most adaptable, powerful and dependable high tech helicopters on the planet and to this day nobody can compete with their unique style. When you see these aircraft coming, it's like having a big brother and his friends coming to your aide — the best feeling in the world!

~ Jon D.

Team With a Common Goal

I was fortunate to take responsibility for the Seahawk transmissions in 1986 and then all the Hawks in 1989. It was a great design and since then, we continually enhanced the transmissions’ reliability each day. We were fortunate to have excellent relations with Army and Navy so any time we suggested an improvement, they were very responsive. Whenever they asked for an improvement, we readily responded. Our objective was to make the Hawk transmission the best it could possibly be and it eventually became the benchmark transmission for reliability and performance. It was an honor to work with the many customers and field reps knowing that so much good could come from each phone call or recommendation. I think the best part was working with so many people who had a common goal to produce the best product in the world knowing that it would serve our men and women and allow them to help so many others.

~ Tony C.

Getting my Daily Dose of Black Hawk

In 2005, I got laid off from Lockheed Martin and the union had job fair for Vought Aircraft Co. I started working on Black Hawk program, and it was a great experience building a military helicopter for my country. I worked in department 523, building the upper tail of the outside fuel cell. It was great job to have, but it was time to return back when I returned to Lockheed Martin in 2009. I am glad now that Lockheed Martin owns the Sikorsky Black Hawk.

~ Simon R.

40 Years For Black Hawk and Me

I am both humbled and proud to be sharing my 40 year anniversary at Sikorsky along with the Black Hawk helicopter. I started at Sikorsky in May 1978 as a manufacturing engineer for an amazing salary of $14,000. Everyone back then was still excited about winning the Black Hawk contract and were working hard to meet the build of the first production aircraft. I had the opportunity to work directly on UH-60A tail numbers one, two and three.

In 1999, after 20 years as an aerodynamicist, I took a position as a manager on the UH-60M Integration & Qualification (I&Q) program. I was happily surprised to see UH-60A tail number three that I worked on in 1978 return to Sikorsky to be converted to one of the YUH-60M prototypes. This says much about the durability and quality of the Black Hawk.

Since that time, I was given the opportunity to work on the YCH-53K heavy lift prototypes and now the first six CH-53K production aircraft. The first CH-53K was delivered to the U.S. Marines in May 2018 — about two weeks after my 40th anniversary at Sikorsky.

Looking back, this was not a bad career. Over the last 40 years I met and worked with some of the smartest people in the industry and took part in the design and testing of exciting and interesting aircraft — aircraft, like the Black Hawk, that I am proud to say are highly regarded and have been used to defend our nation as well as save and rescue hundreds of lives.

~ Tony S.

That Others May Live

Just an incredible machine. I am biased, but it IS the best engineered and built helicopter.

From serving in the U.S. Army to working for the old Lockheed Martin contract field teams to now working with Sikorsky, I have been part of the HH-60 for over 20 years. About 17 of those years on the medevac platform. I’m very proud of the U.S. Army units I was supporting which flew thousands of medevac missions a year.

My first Hawk was 88-26072 and her call sign in Desert Storm was “Hevy Hawg 72” as it was an external stores support system (ESSS) aircraft. Flew that aircraft beyond most tolerances and it performed beyond expectations. It brought me, my crew, and my cargo home every time. That aircraft has hauled people and cargo that you wouldn’t believe but once it delivered one of our fallen soldiers from the front lines to the rear. We talked about that flight and remembered that we couldn’t even hear the engines and blades all through that mission, silence. Last I knew in 2015, that aircraft was at an Army base in California. I was working there with Sikorsky on a different contract and she had just flown in after being transferred there. What are the odds? The pride I had to be wearing the Sikorsky logo and to see that particular aircraft was tremendous.

I thank all the men and women of Sikorsky who designed and built it. I also thank all the men and women in the world today who maintain the Black Hawk and will keep its many variants alive and well for decades to come. 

~ Ken M.

Angel of the Sky

My experience was at RAF Lakenheath UK. The sun was going down and the start up began. The engines ticking over the slow turn of the rotors starting to vibrate through the air. The noise building and the anticipation peaking. Friends saying to me, “It's only a helicopter.” But to me, it was more than that. It was the SOG Black Hawk, the work horse of the USAFE CSAR team's the combat life saver that I know have saved many lives. To me this was no normal helicopter. Yes she has the wizardry of modern avionics, yes she has all the lumps and bumps in all the right places, the fuel boom like a lance from medieval jousting tournament coming from the nose and the fire power and self defense kit you expect from such a aircraft. To me — then and now — she is the angel of the sky. Her airframe caught by the evening sun as she lifted from the "H" was like the phoenix rising from the ashes with might and strength flown by young men and women who — without a second thought for themselves — will go into a kinetic encounter to save those who need saving. This helicopter in this role is an angel of mercy with the power of brimstone. This memory is one I shall cherish for I know that helicopter when it lifts wherever in the world, will be doing the best job by the best people in the best way and always for the betterment of the people it is there to save and defend. It just leaves me to say Happy Birthday, godspeed and God bless the American people for this great aircraft.

~ Jamie R.

Still Serving Five Decades Later

My proudest moment came from a 2003 email from a National Guard Pilot which chronicled his experiences with the HH-60L MEDEVAC aircraft in Afghanistan.

The HH-60L was a derivative of the UH-60L and the UH-60Q MEDEVAC aircraft. They have Medical Interior, external Rescue Hoist, FLIR, Avionics Management System, Oxygen Generation System, Environmental Control System, Multi-Function Displays, HF radio and ASN-128C Doppler/GPS, ARS-6 Personnel Locating System (PLS) and Stormscope.

In Dec 2003, we received an email from CW4 Jeff Crandall, SIP, 126th Med Co (AA), CAARNG, deployed in Afghanistan. It described a Medevac mission with a wounded soldier where he reported, “Thankfully we had all the bells and whistles of the HH working for us, FLIR, Route lines, storm scope, HF radio all doing their part plus using our NVGs. Now all the medical improvements in the HH were in use! We were flying between mountain peaks that reached up to 14,000 feet, thunderstorms all over ... and it was really dark. Everything I have ever trained for was being put to the test. What a relief to see the lights of the base and know that we would have this young man (19 year-old private) into the care of doctors and in the best hospital in this country in just a few minutes. We had got him back alive!”

That email told us that all our work and dedication in the development and fielding of the Black Hawk resulted in saving lives in the true spirit of Igor Sikorsky. 

~ Tom D.

“We Save Many Lives”

I joined Sikorsky in 1961. In each of Mr. Sikorsky’s speeches back then, he would say, “We save many lives.” And he would report the total up to that date. Of that, he was most proud. Not flying the Grand in 1913, not creating the first four-engine aircraft in the world, not helping create Pan American Airways, not flying the President — but saving lives.

And that pride continues. From the barge off Penfield reef in 1945, to crew rescue off the Anna Christina at night — in 50 foot waves — 450 miles off North Carolina in 1991, to Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005, to the tsunami in Japan in 2011, to HH-60M Blackhawk medevacs in Iraq and Afghanistan, to today and into the future. Black Hawks, Seahawks and Jayhawks keep adding to the heroic Sikorsky lifesaving tally.

I’m most grateful to have played a small part in H-60 history. From developing UTTAS reliability growth curves and helping write the UTTAS proposal with our superb team in the Stratford factory basement in 1972, to SH-60 reliability development, to international S-70 reliability engineering work with Austria, Greece, Turkey, Taiwan, Singapore, and Brazil.

Few people get to work on something acknowledged to be the very best in the world. To do so is a very special privilege. I’m grateful to the entire Sikorsky H-60 team, our customers, and our supplier partners, all of whom made it possible for me to do so for 51 wonderful years. Hats off to all of you! What you do is very special and you do it very well. Keep it up and enjoy!

~ Jim B.

Building the Black Hawk

The UH-60 Blackhawk is the only thing I've known in my adult life. I enlisted in the Army at age 17 as a crew chief, and for the past 12 years, I've worked with them in many capacities: as a crew chief, mechanic, defense contracting overseas, fighting wildfires in California, depot repair, and now in the Sikorsky engineering lab in Stratford.

No role has shaped my view of the aircraft like that of a MEDEVAC crew chief, assigned with the 82nd Airborne in Afghanistan in 2011. As the first unit to deploy with HH-60M, I witnessed firsthand the importance of having a reliable, rugged helicopter for search and rescue. Being able to launch within 10 minutes of getting the alert, flying as fast as we could into the dark unknown, taking fire, picking up wounded men, and getting them to the surgical team within the hour was the most profound experience of my life.

I trusted that aircraft with my life, as did many others.

“We pioneer flight solutions that bring people home everywhere … every time" is a mission statement that carries weight. A weight that is immeasurable and understated.

There are countless stories of courage and loss that took place in the back of that helicopter. As I get older, knowing the branches of family trees that continue to grow because of the lives we saved while dashing from the battlefield to the hospital is something I'll carry with pride until the day I die. 

~ Adam B.

A Black Hawk Family

August marked 36 years since I began my Sikorsky journey, the vast majority of which has been on Hawks, especially Black Hawks. I've had the privilege of working on — and flying in — almost every flavor of Hawk we've made. I've flown crew for countless ships making their initial flight. I had the privilege of being one of the crewmen for the 9/11 mission to New York. I love Hawks, and, if I was a grunt on the ground, needing immediate pickup from a hot landing zone, a Black Hawk is what I would want coming for me. It's like the old Timex watch commercials: they take a licking and keep on ticking. It has been, and continues to be an honor to do my part to provide the best helicopters on the planet to our customers worldwide.

~ Robert W.

An Unexpected Call

Eight years, three deployments to Afghanistan, East Africa, and Iraq, as well as flying in rescue operations during/following Hurricanes Harvey and Irma with USAF Rescue. 85 lives saved and numerous assists, just during that time.

Not once has the Black Hawk let me or my crew down. Not in desert conditions with brownouts on landing and takeoff, overwater operations, zero illumination nights, or hovering for hoists in tropical storm force winds and heavy rain.

Now I find myself working on the HH-60W program, while still flying overseas and at home with the Air National Guard, in order to continue the legacy of Igor Sikorsky and hundreds if not thousands of Hawk aircrew members.

This image is taken from a helmet mounted camera during Hurricane Harvey rescue operations in Houston, while my crew hoisted an infant to safety along with their parents — one of 17 saves that day.

~ Sean G.

Still Serving the USA 5 Decades Later

Blackhawk 77-22718 is the elder UH-60 that continues to fly missions serving the United States and its citizens.

It was the fifth Black Hawk off of the assembly line and was transferred to the U.S. Army from Sikorsky in February 1979.

It served with the Army from then until July 1990, when it was transferred to the Customs and Border Protection Service, where it has operated in a flawless manner with only routine maintenance performed on the aircraft for almost eighteen years.

In May 2008, the aircraft encountered a hard landing in Deming, New Mexico, where it received extensive damage to the fuselage.

During this time, Customs was looking to send all their UH-60As to the A to L recapitalization program. It was recommended by the Sikorsky Field Service Representative that 718 be the first one to be inducted due to the extensive damage as of the result of the hard landing.

The aircraft was delivered to Sikorsky at Beeville, Texas, for induction into the A to L program and hard point fittings were finished being installed on Sept. 26, 2008.

This extensive upgrade allowed it to be fitted with wing stores and other equipment such as extended range fuel tanks and external rescue hoists.

The aircraft was then flown to Redstone at Huntsville, Alabama, where it was inducted by the Prototype Integration Facility which outfitted 718  with specialized mission equipment.

A little over a year later in May 2012, the aircraft was delivered to Customs and Border Protection fully operational where it has been flying ever since as a newly converted UH-60L.

This Grand Dame of the Black Hawk fleet has led from the front as one of the first UH-60A models off the assembly line, one of the first modified to become a UH-60L model and one of the first Black Hawks outfitted with mission equipment designed to enhance the operations of the Customs and Border Patrol.

I work in sustainment, as Sikorsky’s Field Service Representative to the Customs and Border Patrol.  After retiring from the Army as a Black Hawk pilot and Vietnam veteran, I continue to work with 77-22718 as the two old war horses work each and every day to keep our country safe.

Both aircraft are living the Sikorsky mission of pioneering "flight solutions that bring people home everywhere … every time.”

~ David K.

First Grade Fan

My Black Hawk story is from when I was little — attending Pumpkin Delight Elementary School in Milford, Connecticut, to be exact. I was in first grade. I can’t remember the event entirely, but what I do remember is that a Black Hawk flew over our school, turned around and landed behind the school in an open field. For a 6 or 7 year old to watch a helicopter fly and land was amazing! We were able to walk up to it. I think we were even allowed to step in, sit and step out the other side. I remember being amazed for about a week on how large the Black Hawk was compared to when it was in the sky. It is funny now that I look back and realize that this memory had an influence on some career choices. Sure I could have applied and work at P&W or Boeing but just having that memory from when I was little has always pushed me to loving Sikorsky for not only the company that I work for, but also for the community landmark that it has become in the local areas.

~ Melissa M.

Fighting Fires With Black Hawk

My first experiences with Black Hawks were during my time in the U.S. Army. By far one of the most amazing experiences was fire-fighting with the aide of a Black Hawk and a Bambi Bucket.

Any time you have an aircraft performing live fire drill at a range you run the risk of a fire, but even more so in central TX during the middle of the summer. As one of the newest members to my unit it was given that I would be assigned to the fire-fighting crew to put out any small blaze started by a hot shell, or rocket motor that hit the ground as Apache pilots got up to date on their qualifying.

Armed with only a glorified super soaker, we were cable of only putting out some small blazes. So when a large section of brush caught fire and started to spread, our only option was to call in a Black Hawk. This was the first time I got to witness how truly capable the Black Hawk could be. Two passes managed to reduce the fire to a few small isolated areas that we could finish off with our meager equipment. I had a real appreciation for the flexibility of the airframe at that point.

I had the privilege of helping to get the Los Angeles County S-70i through certification in our Flight Delivery, and it seems that my Black Hawk involvement has come full circle. Knowing how effective that aircraft can be with just a Bambi Bucket, it was a point of pride to help provide L.A. County with an effective fire-fighting aircraft that will do such an important job. 

 

~ Nick B.

We got him Back Alive!

A short but heart warming story. I hosted six Hawks from Ft. Bragg that had duty at West Point that summer. What a ballet they performed as they hit the bridge. They all went nose up, tail wheel back, and with such grace all landed in perfect form, as if I was watching Swan Lake. After everyone got settled and got their badges, we rounded everyone in the hangar. I remember one private who looked like he could barely shave, turned to me and said, "Sir, this is where my Black Hawk was born." The rest is history, I will never forget that.

~ Paul S.

Alive and Well for Decades to Come

For the past 11 years that I have worked for Sikorsky, no matter what state I am in, a Black Hawk (or two) always flies over me when I have a day off! It is actually becoming a humorous conversation topic as they coincidentally fly over, because it doesn't matter where I am or what day I have off, a Black Hawk is always there! I call it my "daily dose of Blackhawk!" On the occasional day that it isn't a Black Hawk, another variation of a helicopter flies over me! Whether it is at home in Connecticut, upstate New York, Florida or Rhode Island, it is always refreshing to see a Black Hawk on the horizon! An overwhelming and proud feeling overcomes me, and it brings tears to my eyes to think of the feeling that a soldier would get when they see a Black Hawk coming to bring them to safety, everywhere, every time!

~ Cynthia

Adaptable, Powerful, Dependable

My dad, Peter, who worked at Sikorsky for 34 years was picked as one of the aircraft mechanics to go to Edwards Air Force Base to get the prototype ready to fly to compete for the contract.  He was so honored and when Sikorsky won the contact in December of 1976, he was so proud. He continued working on the Black Hawk until his retirement in 1995.

I started working at Sikorsky in 1977.  I was hired as a secretary for Purchasing (now known as Supply Management). We only had electric typewriters back then and we typed everything. Word processing was just coming out and another girl and I got the manual, read it and taught ourselves how to use it. When computers came in, it was a blessing. When I think back, somehow we all worked as a team to make it possible for an on-time first flight in 1978.

When I see our Black Hawk in the news saving people from floods or supporting our young men and women on the battlefield, it makes me proud that my dad and I were a great part of making the Black Hawk the best helicopter in the world. 

~ Margaret M.