I’m 65 and I’m a Legend
I’m 65 and I’m a Legend
Let me introduce myself. My name is T55 and even if my name could sound like a character from a Terminator movie, I’m actually a member of the T55 family of military turboshaft engines at Honeywell. If you look for me, you will find me on the Boeing CH-47 Chinook and MH-47 helicopters.
So, as you can tell, I’m far from being a Hollywood movie celebrity, but I’m a key player in enabling the helicopter to carry out a full spectrum of operations including homeland defense and security, heavy construction, medical evacuation, firefighting as well as search and rescue to disaster relief.
When I started my life in 1955, I was producing 1,600 shaft horsepower (SHP), and since then my performance has continued to improve. Today, after several decades of development and thanks to the great care of my “trainers,” the engineers, I produce 4,800 SHP and power the CH-47 Chinook to a maximum speed of 196 mph (170 knots).
Over the years, I’ve earned a reputation as an engine that is reliable, time-tested, and an engine that requires less maintenance due to a simple, rugged design created to withstand harsh environments.
Since I was born, more than 6,000 of my T55 family members have been produced, logging some 12 million hours of operation on the Boeing CH-47 Chinook and MH-47 helicopters.
My newest upgrade offers over 20% more power at sea level, nearly 10% more power at high and hot altitudes, and I use 9% less fuel than in the past. Furthermore, my new variant greatly reduces ownership costs.
I could continue talking about my benefits for hours, but I think nothing speaks better than “real life examples.”
As such, I recently served in a firefighting mission with the defense helicopter command of the royal Netherlands air force. The Dutch air force had to deploy its Chinook helicopters to help firefighters battle wildfires in the Deurnese Peel nature reserve in Noord-Brabant province and De Meinweg in Limburg province as it was difficult to reach certain areas with small fires.
Equipped with water-bombing equipment – orange bamboo buckets -, four Chinooks with me on board were deployed five days in row and discharged more than three million of water. As a solid workhorse, the Chinooks focused on large burning surfaces and helped extinguish the fires. You can see us in action here.
I’m proud of my achievement as I know I played a key role in assisting the local fire brigade to tame the flames.
My trainers, the engineers, are continuously improving the performance of my T55 engines family so I can increase my mission readiness, reduce my fuel burn, decrease maintenance hours and continue to efficiently operate on the fleets where I’m present.