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An Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter from Camp Zama, Japan, made a precautionary landing in a sports field outside Tokyo on Tuesday after a sensor detected a faulty part, according to U.S. Army Japan spokesman Lt. Col. John Amberg.

The helicopter, from the 78th Aviation Battalion, was flying Tuesday morning during routine training when the pilot saw a warning sensor. He looked for a safe place to land, choosing an open sports field at Seijo University in Isehara City, about 30 miles southwest of Tokyo, Amberg said.

The helicopter did not have what’s termed an unscheduled or unplanned stop, which implies immediate or emergency conditions. For a precautionary landing, pilots have time to scout out the safest place, Amberg said.

A precautionary landing is “when the pilot suspects a mechanical difficulty and lands to maintain safety,” Amberg said. “[It] doesn’t mean anything is wrong. An indicator light comes on and says something could be wrong.”

The landing, around noon, caused no injuries, Amberg said, to the three crewmembers in the helicopter or to anyone on the ground. There also were no damages, he said.

Once on the ground, the crew called for a second Black Hawk and crew from Camp Zama to come examine the aircraft. Both helicopters returned to Camp Zama around 2:30 p.m., Amberg said.

The chopper with the faulty part will undergo a thorough maintenance inspection.

Officials at the college confirmed the landing and confirmed that there were no injuries or damages.

“We are just glad that there were no students [on the field] at the time,” a spokesman said.

The battalion had a similar incident in May 2003, when a helicopter made a precautionary landing at Sophia Junior College in Hadano City, near Camp Zama.

No one was injured in that incident, news reports said.

In August, a Marine Corps CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopter clipped a university building in Ginowan, Okinawa, during a crash landing.

The building sustained minor damage and no one on the ground was injured, reports show. However, two nearby residents this week were awarded claims for mental anguish as a result of the crash.

The 78th Aviation Battalion has five Black Hawks for aviation support for U.S. forces in Japan and provides passenger transportation, disaster relief and cargo and medical patient transfers.

Hana Kusumoto contributed to this report.

Juliana Gittler/Stars and Stripes

An Army Black Hawk UH-60 from the 78th Aviation Battalion at Camp Zama, Japan, similar to the one shown above, made a precautionary landing on a Tokyo sports field Tuesday after the pilot saw a warning sensor.


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