Helicopters have captured man’s imagination as far back as Leonardo da Vinci, when it only existed in the form of daydreams. Today, its effect has not worn off.
Helicopters have been featured in theme parks, national and state parks, recreational events, television shows, and probably the most distinguished: movies. Two hundred different movies and films feature helicopters. Helicopters have also become a critical component in the practice of filmmaking.
However, one helicopter has risen above the rest. It has risen from just being a toy featured in movies, to being a legitimate star. In fact, it has become the most commonly recognized helicopter, and has single handedly changed the traditional perception of helicopters. Its dramatic performance has raised the level of respect and admiration for copters. This famous helicopter is none other than the legendary Black Hawk.
Sikorsky Aircraft, an American based company, manufactured the Black Hawk which sports four rotor blades, two engines, and brand new avionics technology. It is also armed with a M60 machine gun. Sikorsky designed the Black Hawk to be versatile vehicle. It would be able to complete various missions, tactfully move troops, and perform evacuations. The Black Hawk can carry up to 1,170 kg, fly up to 152 knots, rise 19,151 feet, and weight 11,516 pounds. The Black Hawk was first scheduled for production in 1976, and just three years later, it was already being used for military missions.
Mark Bowden wrote a book in 1991 called Black Hawk Down, and it was from that book that a move was filmed in 2001 using the same name. The movie takes place in Mogadishu. Delta force soldiers, Special Operations, and Army Rangers team up in order to raid and detain a pair of subsidiaries under Mohammad Farah Aidid. The mission was only supposed to take 60 minutes. Delta Force capture their targets and everything was going as planned. However, the Somali, loaded with RPGs, shot down two Black Hawks. A mission that was only supposed to take an hour turns into an all out rescue mission that takes fifteen.
Black Hawk Down was the recipient of two Academy Awards: Best Film Editing and Best Sound. When the movie first opened to theaters, it made $108,638,745 and finished first in the box office for two straight weeks. It stirred up a lot of attention, both positive and negative, from fans and critics around the world.
One of the most famous scenes in the movie is when the Black Hawk is hovering over the ground. Dirt and dust is blowing and the sound of the rotors spun by two powerful engines is humming loudly. The sight of the Black Hawk hanging just above the rooftops is stunning. Its grace and power are both clearly evident as it commands the attention of the audience. At that moment, the Black Hawk became more than a prop in a movie or an extra visual effect, but a dazzling image that would remain in the minds of the audience for a long time… and the Black Hawk became a movie star.