A conversation with Maj. Gen. David Francis, U.S. Army aviation chief

The ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that stretched over the better part of the last 20 years have put tremendous strain on U.S. Army aviation. Helicopters have been and remain in high demand for counter-insurgency and search-and-rescue operations in both combat theaters, and elsewhere soldiers are deployed around the world. Aviation officials have had to deal with continually upgrading the AH-64 Apache, UH-60 Black Hawk and CH-47 Chinook to better deal with those environments, all while training enough pilots to fly them and conceiving of a future force of advanced aircraft to replace those enduring airframes.

Vertical recently spoke with Maj. Gen. David Francis, who is nearing the one year mark in his tenure as commanding general of the Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker, Alabama, about the state of Army aviation.