ROTC students practice aviation with Black Hawks

Two Black Hawk military helicopters descended from the sky Feb. 16 for Reserve Officers’ Training Corps aviation training exercises.
The purpose of the exercise was to familiarize Tech cadets with aviation by boarding, flying and dismounting a UH-60 Black Hawk Helicopter piloted by the Tennessee Army National Guard.
“It was an exciting and great experience,” cadet Sam Dickson said. “It was a very fast vehicle. It’s going about 125 mph. You feel a lot of force on you because it moves more than a plane. Some were scared.”
Dickson signed a contract with the United States Army and plans on being an officer in the infantry.
The cadets were in full camouflage uniform with helmets for protection. They met up at President’s lawn, devised a mission and dispersed into the massive, ear-splitting helicopters.
“Most have never ridden in a helicopter, much less a military helicopter,” Major Mark Tyndall, assistant professor of military science, said. “They get to plan the air mission, execute the plan, and finish it out.”
When the Black Hawk military helicopter took off the wind from the blades created enough wind to blow people backward.
Tyndall said that ROTC plans the helicopter exercise at least once a year and it is a lengthy process to get the helicopters approved for arrival.
He said ROTC has to meet the requirements of and get approval from Tech, the University Police and the Tennessee Army National Guard.
He also said there are other aspects considered such as mechanical malfunctions and weather issues. One helicopter had a mechanical malfunction with the starter before takeoff and did not complete the planned flight. The National Guard flew a crew out to fix the issue. This event has been rescheduled once due to fog this year. Tyndall said that it is all about visibility.