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Boeing’s Legendary Chinook Still Going Strong At 60

Boeing’s Legendary Chinook Still Going Strong At 60

Boeing’s Legendary Chinook Still Going Strong At 60

Passing major milestones is nothing new for the heavy-lift champion of the helicopter world, the legendary Boeing CH-47 Chinook. But we can’t let the month go by without celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Chinook’s first flight on September 21, 1961.

Despite its qualification as a senior citizen of the helicopter world, the Chinook is more relevant today than it was when the prototype aircraft, then called the YCH-1B, made that maiden flight six decades ago. For evidence look no further than the recent U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, where the CH-47 played a critical role in the evacuation of dignitaries, troops and equipment.

These kinds of missions are nothing new for the U.S. Army’s only heavy-lift helicopter, which first saw action in the 1960s during the Vietnam War. The CH-47 also served in Iran, Libya, the Falklands, Afghanistan and Iraq, excelling at its primary mission of moving equipment, supplies and personnel on the battlefield. But the Chinook’s contributions didn’t stop there. It also performed rescue, aeromedical, parachuting, aircraft recovery and special operations missions.

On the civilian side, the Chinook’s ability to carry large, underslung loads has made it a major player in disaster relief and recovery roles, as well as firefighting and search and rescue.

Even though it’s been around six decades, Boeing and the Army have made sure the CH-47 is ready and able to meet the mission requirements of the 2020s and well beyond. Improved and more powerful versions of the CH-47 have been developed since the helicopter entered service.

New-generation CH-47F models are still rolling off Boeing’s assembly line in Delaware. They feature major upgrades like digitized flight controls and Honeywell’s powerful and reliable T55-714A engines. A pair of Honeywell T55 turboshaft engines have powered every Chinook flight since that historic first one.

By 2024, Honeywell will introduce an even more powerful and reliable version of the engine – the T55-714C – which will take Chinook performance to new heights. 

Chinook Block II improvements will drive even greater performance with advanced rotor blades, redesigned fuel tanks, a strengthened fuselage and an improved drivetrain – all aimed at increasing lift capability.

We’re proud to be part of the Boeing Chinook legend and look forward to many more trips around the sun with this remarkable aircraft.  

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