Losses and Aviation Safety

US Army Black Hawk helicopter makes emergency landing in downtown Bucharest, Romania’s capital

A US Army Black Hawk helicopter made an emergency landing at Charles de Gaulle Square, Bucharest, tearing down two public street lights and stopping traffic but making no casualties.

A US Army Black Hawk helicopter belonging to the 3rd Battalion, 1st Aviation Regiment, 1st Combat Aviation Brigade made an emergency landing at Charles de Gaulle Square, Bucharest, Romania’s capital on Jul. 15, 2021 tearing down two public street lights and stopping traffic but making no casualties.

The helicopter was part of a group of six which were rehearsing ahead of events to mark Romanian Air Force day and the end of Romanian military presence in Afghanistan on Jul. 20-21, Reuters says. The Black Hawk suddenly lost altitude and flew low above cars until landed nearby in a downtown roundabout which traffic police had cleared.

According to traffic police, the helicopter signalled it was having technical difficulties.

As reported by Stars and Stripes, the site has been secured by police and the aircraft moved to the side of the road. The US is coordinating with the Romanian air force and other authorities to remove the helicopter.

“We are working with our Romanian partners to resolve the situation and we will provide more information as it becomes available,” the US embassy said in a statement.

“Due to the expertise of the crew, and the Romanian police officers on the ground, the helicopter landed safely,” USAREUR-AF said.

Military prosecutors were at the site of the landing and investigating the causes.

The defense ministry has cancelled participation of all aircraft in the two planned ceremonies, ministry spokesman Brigadier General Constantin Spinu told Reuters.

“Both ceremonies will be held but without any participation of military aircraft,” Spinu said.

Romania, a NATO member since 2004, hosts NATO command centres and a US ballistic missile station.

The Black Hawk (UH-60) is the US Army’s utility tactical transport helicopter. A single Black Hawk can transport an entire 11-person, fully equipped infantry squad faster than predecessor systems and in most weather conditions. The aircraft’s critical components and systems are armored or redundant, and its airframe is designed to crush progressively on impact, thus protecting crew and passengers.

A US serviceman inspects the blades of an U.S military Black Hawk helicopter following an emergency landing on a busy boulevard in Bucharest, Romania, Thursday, Jul. 15, 2021.

Photo credit: Andreea Alexandru/AP via Stars and Stripes

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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