As part of a civilian/military training exercise, a U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopter based at Fort Riley, Kansas, made two landings on the hospital’s newest helipad, built especially to handle such big aircraft. The Sikorsky Black Hawk helicopter weighs about 18,500 pounds fully loaded, and the helipad can handle more than 30,000 pounds. The hospital’s other helipad has a 9,000 pound limit. The aircraft was piloted by Soldiers assigned to the Co. C, 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 1st Aviation Regiment, 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division.
As the only nationally accredited Level 1 trauma program in the area, The University of Kansas Hospital must be ready to treat high profile patients, many of whom would be flown in on larger helicopters, such as the Black Hawk. Without the larger helipad, big helicopters would have to land at a nearby park and transfer their patients by ambulance.
The video below includes shots of the Black Hawk landing and taking off, plus sound from Dr. Lee Norman, chief medical officer at The University of Kansas Hospital. He talks about why the hospital does drills like this, what’s different between this and the regular helipad, and why practice is so important.