Winner 2006

Defective Parts on Black Hawk Helicopters


Sikorksy Aircraft Corp.‘s Black Hawk is the U.S. Army’s primary utility helicopter. Variants are used by the Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard. Thus there is no question of the national importance of WTNH’s Team 8 unit’s investigation of rumors of quality-control problems at the Sikorsky plant in nearby Stratford, Conn. WTNH’s three-year pursuit of the story never stalled, even though Sikorsky is among the region’s largest employers. Their efforts entailed securing internal corporate documents, interviewing production employees concerned about out-sourced parts and petitioning the Department of Defense for records under the Freedom of Information Act. The investigation culminated in 2006 with Sikorsky acknowledging its problem with defective rotors, gear-box housings and other parts, taking corrective action and shaking up its corporate structure. For enterprise and persistence in reporting and helping to safeguard U.S. military personnel, Defective Parts on Black Hawk Helicopters receives a Peabody Award.


Executive producer: Kirk Varner. Producer: Virginia Fisher. Reporter/Writer: Alan M. Cohn. Editors: Thomas Parent, George Roelofsen. Photographers: Keith Porter, Thomas Parent, Kelvin Higgins, George DeYounge.