CH-47 Chinook – Military Transport Helicopter

admin December 5, 2012 0
CH-47 Chinook – Military Transport Helicopter

Since being launched introduction in 1962, the CH-47 Chinook has been known as the primary workhorse helicopter of the US Army. The CH-47 takes its name from the very strong Chinook winds that blow over the Rocky Mountain States and onto the plains. The Chinook is a fitting name for this powerful twin-rotor bladed helicopter, whose main mission is to transport troops across the battlefield, and deliver supplies and equipment.

More about theCH-47 Chinook

The CH-47 Chinook is arguably the most successful military transport helicopter to date. The Chinook is manufactured by Boeing Rotorcraft Systems at their Ridley Park plant in Pennsylvania. First test flights took place in September 1961 and production started the following year. Over 1,100 Chinook helicopters have been manufactured and the rotorcraft is still in production.

The design for the Chinook originates from the Vertol Model 107, which was produced by Boeing Vertol in the early 1960s. The Vertol was one of the pioneer twin rotor cargo helicopters developed by Boeing. Chinooks are now used in both military and civilian roles by more than 16 nations.

Service History

The Chinook was first deployed for military service during the Vietnam War. The army decided to use the Chinook as its standard medium sized transport helicopter because of its better capabilities in terms of speed and load carrying capacity.

In Vietnam, the Chinook proved its value as a cargo aircraft for artillery and logistics. The most important role it played was in installing artillery equipment at otherwise inaccessible mountain positions. The aircraft then helped keep these positions supplied and running during the course of the war.

Design and Capabilities

All variants of the Chinook have a tandem rotor configuration, where the two horizontal rotors are placed one in front of the other. This eliminates the need for a tail rotor to counter the yaw moment. The yaw angle is controlled by altering the difference between the rotor speeds. The ability to adjust the thrust of each individual rotor also helps change the centre-of-gravity of the aircraft, a feature very useful in keeping the helicopter stable while carrying loads on a sling.

Chinook helicopters have a crew of 3 people and can carry 33-55 people, depending on the variant model. The aircraft is 98feet and 10inches in length, 18feet 11inches in height and has a rotor diameter of 60feet.

Two 4,733 horsepower turbo-shaft engines power the rotors and drive electric and hydraulic systems. If one engine fails, the other can divide its power between the two rotors. With both engines working, the Chinook can reach a top speed of 196mph and has a range of 450miles. The performance facts are as follows:
Max Speed 196mph
Cruise Speed 149mph
Range 450miles
Max Altitude 18,500ft

Among medium transport helicopters, the Chinook has a very impressive load carrying capacity. It can carry a maximum of 28,000lbs of cargo in its cargo bay or using a sling. The cargo abilities of the helicopter are supplemented by the range of manoeuvres the Chinook can perform. The two factors combine to make Chinook a versatile and efficient airborne transport machine. This is why the aircraft is so popular in both military and civilian sectors. The Boeing factory is still manufacturing Chinook helicopters for both US and foreign buyers.

Value: Safety record and Cost

Each Chinook helicopter costs $35million on average. The cost may vary depending on the variant and the optional equipment requested by the buyer.

Overall, the Chinook has a very reputable safety records. Of the millions of hours flown since 1965, there have been only about 6 notable accidents. Although there have been several losses on the battlefield, these losses are unavoidable in combat situations and are hence not considered when discussing safety records.

The Chinook is therefore a good transport helicopter choice for any military or civilian air service organization.

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