If you ever thought about purchasing a Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, you may soon get a chance to bid for one.
More than 5,000 Black Hawks have been built over the last five decades in different versions, making the helicopter the backbone of the United States military rotorcraft fleet as well as that of many other allied countries.
Now, a South African firm, AOM. Digital, wants to give some of these helicopters a new lease of life by making them available to civilian buyers through an online auction process.
The first of these auctions will kick off at midnight US Eastern Standard Time on August 15, 2023, through a website called Blackhawx.com.
Pre-registered bidders will have 24 hours to submit their bids and, if their offer is accepted, they will then have another 24 hours to deposit the funds in an escrow account managed by a third party.
Replying to AeroTime, AOM. Digital’s CEO Warren Anderson
, explained that his firm works with partners across the United States to locate Black Hawk helicopters that may be available for sale. Sellers go through a qualification and vetting process before they are made available for auction.
In 2021, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) granted a type certificate to Black Hawk helicopters to operate in the civilian market under FAR 21.25. This regulation covers restricted category aircraft, which means they can perform a specific number of designated tasks.
In the case of the Black Hawk, civilian tasks include agricultural operations, external cargo lifting with a hook (for up to 4,082 kg), and forest and wildlife conservation (a definition that includes firefighting and aerial liquid dousing).
Lockheed Martin’s subsidiary Sikorsky commercialized a civilian version of the Black Hawk called the S-70M FireHawk.