Back to Squawk list
  • 43

Turbulence from departing UH-60 flips landing SR20

More than 25 seconds after a departing Blackhawk Sikorsky UH-60 takes off from Runway 33 in Fort Collins, Colorado, a student pilot attempted to land a Cirrus SR20 and was tossed like a rag doll after descending through the massive rotor downwash. ( More...

Sort type: [Top] [Newest]

WtfWtf 3
Sorry meant offense.. Just was very shocked when I saw that.
Helicopters smaller than a Blackhawk can and do flip small airplanes that are stationary when hovering even at some distance.
Quackers 1
frightening, and hopeful the pilot makes a good recovery. Looks like something out of a movie
I sure do hope that student is ok!
Quackers 1
Old story but didn't a private jet crash in KSNA after taking off too soon after a 757?
Pa Thomas 2
A Westwind following a 757 back in 1993. A year or so later, the 757 was included in wake turbulence rules, like heavy aircraft.

Another link included on that page describes the results of the lawsuits, which basically called the Westwind pilots out for not handling the situation well.
bbabis 1
It looks like helicopter activity is common there. The student's plan to land long to avoid turbulence makes no sense with a helicopter departure, particularly with a quartering tailwind. If room is available, land short or delay landing is what any instructor should advocate. Also, helicopters are to avoid the flow of fixed wing traffic. That helicopter should have departed from the taxiway or ramp area into the wind eastbound below 500' until clear of the airport traffic area.
bbabis 2
A correction to my statement: The video started with what appeared to be a helicopter departure. From reading the preliminary NTSB report, the helicopter was in the pattern. Since a helicopter basically disturbs the air at all times, there is no safe place behind or in front of its arrival or departure for takeoffs and landings. Only a time period (the FAA 2min?) would be the appropriate avoidance technique. Thank goodness the student survived and hopefully makes a full recovery. Insurance takes care of the rest and may all learn a lesson on the wake helicopters put out, particularly powerful ones.
Ok WtfWtF you really don't have to swear in a way that makes people unconfortable, you are free of stating your opinions but to name our lord in that way is just not right!
30west 3
I agree, it is offensive. He apologized which is great, time to move on.
I'll be interested to see what the final NTSB report says. I'm skeptical of the Blackhawk's turbulence still being that severe after almost 30 seconds. The more likely scenario IMO is that shifting winds and/or residual turbulence caused that left wing drop, at which point the pilot panicked a bit and botched the go-around.
preacher1 2
Well, the story says that there was some wind around that kept the turbulence on the runway, rather than dissipate. As he is an experienced chopper pilot as well, I'll take WALLACE24's comment above. Student pilot may have had something to do with it that a little more experience would have gotten by but let's put in on the helicopter until something tells us different
linbb 1
I think that it was beyond what anyone could take care of no matter what the experience lever. It was very violent I have seen this happen first hand with me at the controls. It was very quick and no warning. Its no different than being behind a large AC that just took off say and calm or very light winds. Saw this at BFI one day while waiting for my AC to come back. It was a tail dragger that went onto the large runway after a heavy took off several minutes before. It did a 360 suddenly and one wing scraped,went back to the ramp.
linbb 2
Must not be a pilot with that statement. I have seen the effect of a heli taking off to even one side of the runway. It was about 30 yards or more to the right of the runway and long gone. I was the pilot but had just done a touch and go in a 150, was at about 200ft and went to about 60 or more right wing down. The pilot didn't botch anything either other than getting into the wake turbulence. It was beyond any pilots ability due to low airspeed for landing at the point he got into the wake.
Ric Wernicke 2
The article points to a tail wind "holding" the turbulence on the runway instead of allowing it to drift off.
ptrimby 2
I thought something of the same, but I noticed the slack wind (lack of trees moving, even in the potato-quality footage, and the lack of rotor motion in the idling heli). Stumbled upon this great source from UK's CAA. slash fileadmin/user_upload/SpecificWorkshop_SafetyWorkshop/Day%201%20Topic%203%20-%20Pantazopoulou.pdf has a great write up on a similar incident with a S-97 and a Piper. It notes " Light helicopters such as S-76A and UH-1H can leave active hazardous vortices for up to 90 secs" and suggests a 2.4 nm seperation for light aircraft behind UH-60A's, and shows some excellent CFD studies on page 11.
Very informative link, thanks.
BaronG58 6
Philip..I witnessed first hand back in the late 90,s the destructive power of the Black Hawk prop wash, Our home in Houston shares a fence line with a elementary school yard. One morning I heard the thump thump of a heavy helio and knew it was military, I looked out kitchen window and saw a Black Hawk at 4-500 ft headed toward school and my house. I go outside to see whats going on. The black Hawk lands in school yard prox 100ft from my house. It was like standing in a hurricane. The blade wash did $3800 damage to my house..shingles...siding. The crew got out and I gave them wtf look and they gave me the oooops..sorry look. They were there for a show and tell for the kids. I'm convinced after that experience Black Hawk turbulence can stay as long as it pleases. 8:)
azeroth2b 1
Wake Turbulence for a Blackhawk is classified as moderate (as I know it). Light following medium, 2 minutes separation required. Helicopter wake isn't the same as fixed wing wake.
WtfWtf -5
Jesus fkn Christ that's scary! Let this be a learning experience for all of us and a speedy full recovery to the unfortunate pilot.
homburge 0
I was on a 747 a number of years ago, about 10 minutes out from Narita when we went through someone's wake -- the plane rolled left about 40 degrees, then right 40 degrees, then stable again. There was a little up and down with each turn. In a 747!

Last October, same thing on the way in to Heathrow one morning in an A320, also in the maneuvering phase about 10,000 ft. A strong bump, certainly different than one created by the atmosphere itself. After landing, the captain actually announced that we had gone through the wake of the A380 ahead of us.
Victor Engel 0
I don't know that much about helicopter turbulence, so I'm trying to think this through. The helicopter essentially creates a rolling donut or torus shape of whirling air, giving an air pattern similar to what thunderstorm downdrafts like what caused the Delta flight 191 crash to happen.

The wind would be going the opposite direction from the helicopter and to each side for the most part. You can tell from the dust of the crash that there is a tail wind. That would counteract the motion of the helicopter's turbulence, causing the donut shape to expand forward but not back, so the rear part of the donut would be rolling in place until it dissipated.

From looking at the dust, the tail wind seems to be parallel to the runway, so it seems odd that the right wing seems to be lifted preferentially. I'd expect instead, to see something more akin to ground-effect, lifting the plane as it enters the donut. Then it would descend again as it crossed to the other side of the donut. Instead, though, it looks like the right wing got the worst of the turbulence. So maybe the wind was actually a bit diagonal to the runway.
Victor Engel 1
If I'm reading the weather report correctly, the wind was coming probably from ESE, and the runway is about SSE, so the wind would have been blowing mostly down the runway but slightly away from the viewer. But that's probably negligible compared to the random nature of the turbulence.
magnetoz -2
(Duplicate Squawk Submitted)

Turbulence From A Blackhawk Helicopter Flips A Cirrus While Landing

More than 25 seconds after a departing Blackhawk Sikorsky UH-60 takes off from Runway 33 in Fort Collins, Colorado, a student pilot attempted to land a Cirrus SR20 and was tossed like a rag doll after descending through the massive rotor downwash.


Don't have an account? Register now (free) for customized features, flight alerts, and more!
Did you know that FlightAware flight tracking is supported by advertising?
You can help us keep FlightAware free by allowing ads from We work hard to keep our advertising relevant and unobtrusive to create a great experience. It's quick and easy to whitelist ads on FlightAware or please consider our premium accounts.