A Night Vision Labs twin-engine airplane crashes into a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter on the runway at Davison Army Airfield – that was the scenario of a full-scale exercise, August 14 as numerous agencies tested their readiness to respond in a life-and-death situation. 

According to Davison Army Airfield Safety Manger John Redmond, the exercise was a multi-agency effort involving The Army Aviation Brigade; 12th Aviation Battalion; Fort Belvoir Fire Department; Fort Belvoir EMS; Fairfax County Emergency Services; Night Vision Lab; D.C. National Guard; and U.S. Park Police. 

Fort Belvoir Fire and Emergency Services Battalion Chief Chris Craft said his team arrived at the crash site and noted two fatalities and several critically injured people. There was an immediate focus on extricating all seven Soldiers from the two aircraft. After assessing injuries, the call was made for outside assistance from Fairfax County and U.S. Park Police to fly out two victims in critical condition, while the rest were transported to local hospitals. 

Dale Walters, manager, Air Traffic Control Systems for Davison Army Airfield, said these exercises test readiness and keep skills sharp while also coordinating with neighboring agencies.

“Working with Fairfax County and U.S. Park Police is a part of continuity of government and part of the National Capital Region cooperation initiative, so we can all be aware what’s going on, and support each other. We’re all working together with the other governmental agencies to make sure everything’s done right,” said Walters. 

Redmond said exercises like this test the assumptions that agencies have made in their pre-accident planning. 

“The objective for today was to test the response time for all the emergency vehicles, and to also validate our pre-accident plans for Airfield Division, 12th Aviation and for TAAB. This was a great exercise, and we are learning a lot from it.”