Karen Croskell: Blackhawk Rotor wash

Very few updates from our pilots provide the kind of real life learning experiences as this one. Thanks, Karen, for telling your story and reminding us of the destructive forces possible with rotor-wash and prop-wash. Glad you’re both OK.

Karen Croskell is based at CO15, Kelly Air Park, Elbert, Colorado.

Jan 29, 2014 I had just soloed my student (I was a contract CFI for Doss Aviation USAF student prescreen). I was required to make the flight back to Pueblo from Butts Army base which is now a massive helicopter base. The tower cleared me for takeoff behind a Blackhawk but I was just a bit too close.


Diamond DA 20-C1 Eclipse Training Flight. Butts Army Airfield (Fort Carson) (KFCS), Ft. Carson, CO

We hit the rotor-wash at about 150′ after takeoff. The left wing hit but I kept it flying, then it hit the nose and blew off the engine. The right gear hit and catapulted us into the air and tumbled, the canopy shattered at some point, my student’s headset was 150′ from the aircraft. We ended up trapped upside down. Miraculously we both walked away with a few bruises and I got 3 stitches in my forehead!

Karen Croskell 2013

My student is now in training at the USAF to fly even bigger planes. I am now retired and get to just fly for me and enjoy our Super Cub!

As usual my life is quite an adventure! The good news is we are signing up for the LLT fly-in because I’m now retired from “commercial” flying. See you at the LLT flyin!!!

Commuting to work in the Cub!

Commuting to work in the Cub!

Fly safe!

Karen Croskell


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