BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. (5/17/13) – Colorado Army National Guard pilots flew in four new Boeing CH-47F Chinook helicopters May 17 at the Army Aviation Support Facility here.
The four Chinook crews returned to Colorado with the new helicopters after attending a seven-week training course at Hunter Army Airfield, Ga.
A few of the CH-47 pilots from the COARNG still require the training, which consists of a CH-47F simulator and hands-on aircraft training.
One more F model will join the fleet after the remaining pilots complete the seven-week training period.
The new CH-47 F models replace the D models. The transition from the D to the F models allows the Chinook aircrews to better perform their missions.
One of the biggest enhancements is the improved avionics, which enables safer take-offs and landings in low-visibility situations such as dust storms and blizzards.
“The new CH-47F enhances our mission with the level of safety that we didn’t have before, especially with dust white-outs and brown-outs. Before it was all about the how the pilot handled it. Now it’s about the avionics,” said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Ellis Beach, COARNG AASF instructor pilot.
These modifications significantly enhance the Chinook’s strategic deployment capability, according to the Department of the Army website.
Another major change is the new digital displays in the flight deck compared to the D model’s gauges. One of the more visible changes is the aircraft’s color; the new aircraft are now dressed in desert sage green.
“The purpose of the CH-47 is to haul personnel and cargo for service and combat support during combat operations,” said Beach.
The twin-engine, tandem-rotor Chinook helicopter was introduced to the U.S. Army in 1962 as a heavy lift operations and personnel transport helicopter.