Combat Rescue Helicopter achieves first flight with Air Force pilot

By Sara Sirota  
July 17, 2019 at 2:29 PM

An Air Force pilot for the first time flew Sikorsky's HH-60W Combat Rescue Helicopter on July 11, marking an important milestone as the service moves toward the program's production phase.

The 413th Flight Test Squadron conducted the test at Sikorsky's facility in Florida, according to an announcement posted today on the service's website.

"The crew performed an instrumentation and telemetry checkout with the control room, gathered basic engine start data and flew referred gross weight level flight speed sweeps between 40 knots and maximum horizontal speed," the notice states.

CRH achieved its first flight with a Sikorsky pilot in May and until now, had only undergone tests with the company's personnel.

Per today's notice, the 413 Flight Test Squadron's HH-60W operations are expected to begin at Eglin Air Force Base, FL, this fall. It does not say when a milestone C decision is scheduled, but as of May, the program anticipated a review in September.

The Air Force intends to procure 113 HH-60W helicopters through 2026 to replace the legacy HH-60G fleet, which supports personnel recovery.