Two military helicopters drew quite a crowd to the Utah State University HPER field on Thursday.
For an hour, The Utah National Guard and the Utah State Army ROTC program gave the public a chance to get inside the cockpit of the UH-60s or black hawk helicopters.
But the helicopters weren’t just for show. At one pm this afternoon the ROTC cadets went through training with the Utah National Guard to familiarize themselves with the aircraft.
Major Matthew Badell was a helicopter pilot during his tour in Afghanistan. He also oversees the cadets in the Utah State ROTC program. Badell says it’s quite an opportunity for his cadets to be training on such an expensive piece of equipment. Each rotor blade of the UH-60 costs $100,000 and the estimated value of the Blackhawk is $13 million.
But unlike other helicopters, the Blackhawks have numerous capabilities. For example, says third year pilot Lt. Barrington, the "sling-back" feature. That means additional cargo can be carried underneath the helicopter’s fusel lodge.
There are about 100 cadets currently in the Utah State ROTC and Major Badell says this year, 18 of the cadets will be receiving Lt. commissions. Badell says that’s more than any other ROTC program in the state.