US Army grounds non-critical mission aviators following two fatal crashes

The US Army has grounded all of its non-critical mission aviators in the wake of two helicopter crashes that killed two servicemen.

The move was announced by the service’s chief of staff and came the day after the mid-air collision of two AH-64 Apache helicopters in Alaska that killed three soldiers and wounded another.

All of the aviators will remain grounded “until they complete the required training”, the Army stated on Friday evening.

“The safety of our aviators is our top priority, and this stand down is an important step to make certain we are doing everything possible to prevent accidents and protect our personnel,” Army Chief of Staff James McConville said in a statement.

Army pilots will “focus on safety and training protocols to ensure our pilots and crews have the knowledge, training and awareness to safely complete their assigned mission.”

In March, nine soldiers were killed when two HH-60 Blackhawk helicopters collided during night training near Kentucky’s Fort Campbell.

Both fatal incidents are the subject of investigations but the Army has said “there is no indication of any pattern” between them.