***image1***“Sandy” was recently able to return to her unit after eight months of reconstruction work.
Sandy was the first aircraft to be shipped to the 21st Theater Support Command as part of the Army’s aviation reset program.
The UH-60 Black Hawk was nicknamed Sandy by the 29th Support Group, 21st Theater Support Command members who repaired her broken tail and bent frame as well as conducted the reset because she was so full of sand when they got her, said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Bob Morrill, 29th Support Group’s Production Control Officer for 2nd 502nd Aviation Intermediate Maintenance.
Sandy could be every aircraft’s nickname.
“A lot of people don’t know how badly sand treats a Black Hawk,” said Chief Warrant Officer Morrill.
“Sand plays a part in certain electronic and flight control components. The units down there are doing a great job in maintenance,” he said.
But there is only so much unit level maintenance can do for an aircraft with the current infrastructure in places like Iraq.
This is one reason the Army implemented the Reset program.
The Black Hawk was sent to the 21st TSC because the Army has mandated that all equipment coming back from Southwest Asia will be fully operational within nine months of their return.
With a third of its Soldiers down range and having taken part in the largest military movement since World War II, the Soldiers and civilians of the 21st Theater Support command are helping units meet that deadline.
Aviation reset is basically an inspection and repair program. It is called “Reset” because aviation parts are tracked by hours of operation and maintenance and inspection are scheduled by how many hours the aircraft has flown. When those inspections and maintenance are performed, the plane and its parts are now “reset” meaning the aircraft restarts its inspection cycle, said Chief Warrant Officer Morrill.
Some inspections are more critical to mission accomplishment than others. The work “resets” the clock to that critical-level of inspection. A critical inspection for a Black Hawk is the 500-hour inspection. The reset turns back the clock on the 500-hour inspection for the Black Hawk. For example, once a Black Hawk has flown 500 hours it cannot be flown until it has undergone the 500-hour inspection.
The only exception that will allow a Black Hawk to fly after it has flown it’s 500th hour and not been serviced is when it needs to fly in support of an emergency where loss of lives is imminent.
The Black Hawk is not the only type of aircraft for which the 21st is conducting resets. Other aircraft such as CH-47s and AH-64s and OH-58Ds have different inspection intervals.
Sandy crashed in Baghdad serving the 159th Aviation, but today thanks to Soldiers, civilians, local nationals and contractors of the 21st Theater Support Command, she is back with her unit in Wiesbaden.