As helicopters roar overhead en route from Pohakuloa to Wheeler, I received this article about a helicopter crash in Colorado from Shannon Rudolph in Kona. The Army is proposing to do High Altitude Mountainous Environment Terrain Training (HAMET) helicopter training on the slopes of Mauna Kea, which is a bad idea all around. Mauna Kea is a sacred site to Native Hawaiians, an ecologically sensitive and protected area, and a poor location for the Army to meet its own training objectives.
The article cites an investigation of the crash that says “The investigation was also critical of the training program, designed to prepare Army pilots for Afghanistan… the program “focuses almost exclusively” on landing at high elevations even though helicopters have little need to do that in Afghanistan.”
Colorado Helicopter Crash Cost U.S. Army $25.8 Million
By Dan Elliott, AP
DENVER — An Army helicopter that crash-landed during a high-altitude training mission in Colorado last year suffered $25.8 million in damage, officials revealed this week.
The replacement price for the AH-64D Longbow helicopter from the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, N.Y., is between $25 million and $30 million, the Army said. It wasn’t immediately known whether the Army would try to repair the aircraft.
The helicopter was attempting to land at about 12,200 feet above sea level June 30 when it crashed.
Two pilots were aboard. One suffered two broken legs, a broken nose and internal injuries. The other was treated and released.