Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Fifty years of the Chinook

Fifty years ago today, the prototype Boeing Vertol YCH-1B helicopter made its first flight. Today it's better known as the Boeing CH-47 Chinook.

Boeing Vertol prototype during testing
(This and all subsequent images courtesy of Wikipedia)

It made its combat debut in Vietnam in 1965.

It's still in production, with almost 1,200 having rolled off the assembly lines, and is in service with the US Army and 16 other air arms. Orders are still being placed, ensuring it'll continue in production in upgraded versions for years to come. It's the premier heavy-lift helicopter of the US Army, carrying up to 55 troops and/or up to 28,000 pounds of cargo, the latter both internally and underslung.

It's the backbone of the US Army's airlift capacity in the hot-and-high conditions in Afghanistan.

Special Operations variants can fly in almost any weather conditions, at any time of the day or night, to insert operators for their covert missions.

That's a heck of a track record! Congratulations to all who build and fly the CH-47 on an anniversary that comes to relatively few military aircraft.



Anonymous said...

The first CH-47 was pretty underpowered and known as a Shithooks by most aircrews. The new versions are screamers, faster than the Apaches that ride shotgun with them.

The funny thing was if an old Chinook wasn't leaking fluids you worried. If it was leaking you still had hydraulic fluid in the system, if not it could be low. The new ones have fixed that much to the dismay of old warrant officers and crew chiefs


trailbee said...

What a great tribute to an aircraft. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Only 1200 chinooks?