|History of the|
|CH-47F Chinook helicopter Ferry Flights|
|from Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia to|
|Ladd Field, Fort Wainwright, Alaska|
|Flight crews and maintenance personnel ready the fleet for the ferry flight from Hunter Army Airfield to Ladd Field, Alaska on 9 April 2012. Above, Chinook pilot CW4 Bruce Linton prepares to stow some gear aboard 08-08771. Click-N-Go Here to view a larger image.|
|Saturday, 7 April 2012:
Today is a rest and relaxation day or DONSA (Day of No Schedule Activity).
While not a particularly historic mission - as this type of trip has been accomplished in all models of this aircraft - preparations are nearly complete to move 12 CH-47F Chinook helicopters from Hunter Army Airfield, Fort Stewart, Georgia to Ladd Field, Fort Wainwright, Alaska.
|For the past 90 days, members of the CH-47F New Equipment Training (NET) Team along with personnel from active and guard components have, under direction of the Aviation Missile Command (AMCOM) Project Manager Office - Cargo, assembled maps, flight information publications and other pertinent data. With these items in hand, a suitable route was selected and the monumental task of planning such an extensive aircraft delivery operation was conducted. Fuel for the mission, hotels for overnight layovers, lunch meals and passage through Canada were all orchestrated by numerous NET Team personnel. A difficult logistical task accomplished well.|
|Personnel involved have packed their gear and loaded the aircraft for the 3,400 nautical mile trip. Each 32,000 pound Chinook helicopter has been fitted with an internal Extended Range Fuel System II (ERFS - II) tank holding an additional 5,000 pounds (746 gallons) of JP-8 fuel. This gives the aircraft a total fuel capacity of 11,300 pounds (1,686 gallons) of fuel at engine start.|
|Some of the load that CH-47F Chinook helicopter 08-08771 would transport on the flight to Alaska. Click-N-Go Here to view a larger image.|
|Also loaded aboard each aircraft is the 780 gear (covers, tie downs, blade ropes and other gear delivered with the aircraft), tools and parts for enroute maintenance, oil and fluids, as well as delivery and maintenance team members personal luggage and professional gear. The average weight of the aircraft is estimated at 48,000 pounds - 2,000 pounds under its maximum certified gross weight.|
|It will require approximately 27 flight hours and 9,000 gallons (60,300 pounds) of jet juice per airframe to make the journey.|
|A total of 12 airframes have been reassigned to B Company - "Sugar Bears", 1st General Support Aviation Battalion (GSAB), 52nd Aviation Regiment, located on Ladd Field, Fort Wainwright, Alaska.|
|The aircraft, made by Boeing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, were flown first to Millville Municipal Airport (KMIV), New Jersey, in 2011 for the application of various modification work orders (MWOs), and then on to Hunter Army Airfield, in Savannah, Georgia.|
|While at Hunter Army Airfield, the aircraft were utilized to conduct qualification and training of active duty Army and Army National Guard flight crews in the F model. Dozens of pilots, flight engineers and mechanics honed their skills over a period of several months.|
|The training of personnel was a combined effort involving LSI from Jacksonville, Florida (providing classroom academics and simulator support), S3 Incorporated from Huntsville, Alabama (the New Equipment Training Team (NETT) providing flight crew instruction), and Boeing (providing a most welcome and unbelievable amount of administrative and maintenance support). Select active duty Army and Army National Guard personnel augmented the NET Team in conducting training of flight crews.|
|The first four airframes (in chalk order) will begin their ferry flight on 10 April. These have been identified as:|
|The next four (in chalk order) will follow in the shadows of the previous flight on 11 April. They are:|
|The final four (in chalk order) will depart Hunter Army Airfield on 24 April:|
|The general plan for the flight route is the same for all aircraft, taking them through the states of Georgia, Tennessee, Missouri, Iowa, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana. From there the route proceeds north into Canada via Edmonton, Alberta, west to Fort Nelson, British Columbia, then Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, and finally arriving at Ladd Field on Fort Wainwright, Alaska.|
|Barring any weather or maintenance delays, the trip should take 7 days.|
|Sunday, 8 April 2012:
Today is a rest and relaxation day. All personnel are off duty for crew rest purposes until Monday.
|Monday, 9 April 2012:
The day started out with everyone completing a last minute cargo load. Extra parts, survival gear and personal bags were added.
|CH-47F Chinook helicopter 08-08777 receiving a final load of cargo the day before departing on the ferry flight to Alaska. Click-N-Go Here to view a larger image.|
|Flight crews preflighted the aircraft and performed power on checks to ensure all the aircraft systems were operational. Kevin Ivey built an extensive electronic flight route from Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia, to Fort Wainwright, Alaska, and loaded all of the pilot's mission cards. Then each pilot loaded that data into the aircraft and verfied the electronic maps and data cartridges checked out. Kevin has done a stellar job.|
|A weather check completed just before the 1500 EDT Air Mission Brief indicated good conditions north westward at least to Rapid City, South Dakota. After that, it is expected to worsen as we approach Montana, but we won't know for sure until we get closer. Too far out to tell when it comes to the weather.|
|At 1500, the crew of all three sorties were present to receive the extensive and long (2 hour) Air Mission Brief. The entire plan, including aircraft movement, lodging, fuel and food was discussed.|
|Tim McCall coordinated the brief and did an excellent job of covering everything. He has S3 Inc. personnel prepositioned at all the over night stops to assist in coordinating food, lodging and ground transportation upon our arrival.|
|It's now 1930 EDT, time for all of us to get a little shut eye before the real fun begins.|
|Tuesday, 10 April 2012:
After a lovely breakfast at the hotel we are off to the airfield. Still dark outside. An 0900 launch window requires us to get up at 0500.
|10 April 2012: Sunrise begins to strike the CH-47F Chinook helicopters as the time for engine start approaches at Hunter Army Airfield. Click-N-Go Here to view a larger image.|
|After a lovely breakfast at the hotel eaten in about 10 minutes, we are off to the airfield. Still dark outside.|
|The plan this morning is to get 20 people staying at several hotels in the area shuttled to the flightline and then get the birds in the air by 0900 EDT. Easier said then done, but we are used to doing it that way.|
|Our route today will take four aircraft flying in loose trail formation to Campbell Army Airfield (KHOP), Fort Campbell, Kentucky, for a desired quick turn in the fuel pit. Then it's off to Spirit of St. Louis Airport (KSUS), Missouri. A 12 hour day that should net 5.5 hours of blade time.|
|The flight crews generally arrived at 0600 and went straight to the aircraft. Everyone loaded their overnite bags and we stripped the covers and blade tie down ropes off in short order. Weather was checked and the flight plan filed. A last minute flight and crew brief was conducted on the flight line.|
|Flight crews took seats at 0750 and engine start was initiated. Chalk 2 broke. Another day in the Chinook neighborhood. They got left behind as briefed - you break, try to get fixed and catch up when you can or wait till the next day and fly out with the second sortie.|
|CH-47F Chinook helicopter 10-08083 over Statesboro, Georgia after departing Hunter AAF. Click-N-Go Here to view a larger image.|
|Chalks 1, 3 and 4 lifted off at 0840 and departed Hunter Army Airfield for Fort Campbell, Kentucky.|
|On the way, Chalk 3 experienced a generator burp. Apparently it flashed off and then back on all by itself. The only issue was the electrical hiccup seems to have induced a FADEC Fox Echo code on the number one engine. But it was self correcting and there were no other issues.|
|Pictured in reverse Chalk order, Sortie 1 CH-47F Chinook helicopters arrive at Fort Campbell Army Airfield for fuel. Click-N-Go Here to view a larger image.|
|Back to Chalk 2. The number one hydraulic pressure control module pressure switch failed and had to be replaced. It was accomplished quickly and chalk 2 was able to rejoin the flight just as 1, 2 and 3 were shutting down at Fort Campbell.|
|Meanwhile, Chalk 1 was experiencing bus controller issues the entire flight. The result was this irritating EGI swap back and forth.|
|However Chalk 4 - the maintenace aircraft with all the parts and people - had the most fantastic day with the flight crew simply being satisfied to look out the window and gaze at the world below. No issues what so ever.|
|The team preflights and refuels the CH-47F Chinook helicopters at the Spirit of St. Louis Airport to ready them for the next day's flight. In the foreground is 10-08083. In the distance sits 08-08764. Click-N-Go Here to view a larger image.|
|We end the day with a preflight and refuel so we are set to take off early tomorrow morning.|
|Wednesday, 11 April 2012:
Another 4 AM wake up call. We stayed at the Double Tree Inn and Resort near the Spirit of St. Louis Airport. Nice place.
|The moon transits CH-47F Chinook helicopter 08-08771 at sunrise on the ramp at Spirit of St. Louis Airport, Missouri. Flight Engineer Andrew Manuel opens the door and begins to prep the aircraft for the day's flight. Click-N-Go Here to view a larger image.|
|Breakfast at 0600 CDT, then get to the aircraft for the next leg.|
|Our destination is Rapid City, South Dakota. Weather is good between here and there, but we might not get any further as conditions change. We see what it looks like in a few hours.|
|The departure from Spirit of St. Louis was rather uneventful. The were a few issues that cropped up.|
|771's left proximity switch would not position itself correctly. The ground contact light would not extinguish, hence CAAS reported the DASH 1 as failed. Numerous attempts to bang it into position failed to solve the issue.|
|The decision was made to continue on with it as is and hope for the better. There was positive stick gradient through out the airspeed range so we continued on to Sioux City (KSUX), Iowa for the next fuel stop.|
|Flight Lead's aircraft, 764 continued with its irritating EGI cross swapping. Seems like the bus controllers (1 and 2) are arguing for control. Any attempt to rectify the issue only resulted in more and more Master Caution and Caution Light illumination. Some things are just better left alone. We continued on for the 2.9 hour flight to the refuel point.|
|Refuel at KSUX was superb. For the first time in our lives, four fuel trucks showed up similtaneously and we turned the aircraft in about 30 minutes.|
|Godfathers Pizza appeared and presented us with more pizza than we could consume. They were excellent pizzas!|
|082 required a 25 hours inspection before departure and it was completely in about 20 minutes.|
|Departure from KSUX was routine. The flight quickly turned on course and we picked up a sweet tail wind. Before we knew it, we had a 169 knot ground speed.|
|The two hour flight to Rapid City (KRAP - I don't make up these identifiers), South Dakota was pleasant. The route took us along Badlands National Park. It was pretty scenery. The skies began to darken a wee bit enroute, but cleared up once we arrived at KRAP. Along the way, 771's proximity switch issue magically resolved itself.|
|At Rapid City we parked on the National Guard Ramp and into the wind which was blowing head on at 35 knots. While shutting down, 083's ramp would not come down. Later it was discovered the drive chain had broken. It was fixed in about an hour by the Boeing Maintenance Team.|
|The aircraft were preflighted for the next days trip and put to bed.|
|We headed off to our hotel - The Adoba in the downtown area - at 1700 MDT in real need of food, shower and a bed.|
|Thursday, 12 April 2012:
Another 4 AM wake up call with breakfast at 6. The destination for today is Helena, Montana.
|A weather check upon arrival to the airfield showed decent enough conditions to depart for Billings, Montana, for fuel and another weather check. Weather beyond that was forecasted as iffy, so continuing to Helena might not be possible.|
|Right after departure, 083 reports the ERFS won't feed. Fuel consumption calculations indicate they can make Billings at reserve (840 pounds remaining). So we decided to press on.|
|Numerous suggestions are offered to help get 083s ERFS to function. However, nobody suggests to check circuit breakers in the cockpit. The circuit breaker for utility power is in the back on the Auxilliary Circuit Breaker Panel and it is in.|
|A view of Devils Tower in Montana from CH-47F Chinook helicopter 08-08771 while enroute on the ferry flight to Alaska. Click-N-Go Here to view a larger image.|
|Our flight route took us slightly north of Devils Tower in Montana, made rather famous in the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It is pretty tall. We were flying at 1,500 feet above ground level (AGL) and we were level with it as we passed.|
|About 30 minutes outside of Billings, 083 reports problem solved. Somehow, someway, at some point, the Auxilliary Gang Bar on the Number 1 Power Distribution Panel (PDP) tripped. Stuff happens I reckon.|
|A view of Custers Last Stand on the Little Bighorn Battlefield though the right chin bubble window of CH-47F Chinook helicopter 08-08771 while enroute on the ferry flight to Alaska. Click-N-Go Here to view a larger image.|
|Our straight line course to Billings would have us cross the Little Bighorn Battelfield where General Custer got his clock cleaned. We flew almost directly across the place where the his last battle was fought and where his men died.|
|Ceilings and visibility began to deteriorate as we approached Billings. Then the rain started. There was a howling 29 knot headwind as we approached the field.|
|After landing, taxiing along the 2 degree upslope into the wind on the taxiway Alpha was fun. The aircraft were in effective translational lift (ETL) and going uphill. Even with minimum power applied, all of the helicopters kept coming off the ground making it hazardous for personnel on the ground as well as the numerous parked general aviation aircraft. However, we eventually wrestled them onto the pads.|
|While taxing in, 771's left ground proximity switch failed again causing the DASH 1 Fail caution to illuminate. We suspect it is a ghost issue in CASS as we continue to have positive stick gradient to VNE.|
|Also while taxing in, 771's Number 2 Multifunction Display (MFD) failed. Well, son of a gun - what next?|
|Cycling of the power switch on the MFD corrected the problem (for now).|
|After all of the aircraft get into parking it really starts raining and the high wind is not helping. We managed to power through refuel and go into Edwards Jet Center to check weather and file the flight plan for the next leg. Weather is not real great, but it's good enough.|
|Back in the saddle again, we begin our prestart checks. Son of a... - 771 has a D1 P3 Sensor Soft Fault - an Abort Mission code - on the Number One Engine Control Unit (ECU). This is not good for continued flight.|
|Thorough troubleshooting and ECU cross swapping confirms a bad ECU. We don't have one so we are stuck here in Billings for at least one night as we await a part, a computer to program it, mechanics to change the part, and the envitable test flight.|
|Lead and the other two aircraft leave us behind and press on to Helena, Montana. Ba Bye.|
|Meanwhile, the crew of 771 heads off to the hotel - the Crown Plaza - in downtown Billings. Nice place. Worth staying at if you are in town.|
|Friday, 13 April 2012:
Friday the Thirteenth - maybe we should stay in the hotel.
|When your aircaft is broke and you have neither the parts or the tools to fix it, its like having the day off. Except we are up early as usual and sitting around waiting for things to come together.|
|Lead reports they are stuck in Helena as the weather is too poor for the flight to Edmonton, Canada. More to follow later...|
|Weather is stunningly beautiful in Billings. Breakfast was served on the 20th floor with an excellent view of the northern snow covered Rocky Mountains.|
|At about 10 AM MDT, a new (?) Electronic Control Unit (ECU) for the Number 1 Engine arrived via Federal Express. Still without a SPORTS Computer, tools, and mechanics there was not much we could do except wait.|
|A text message came in at 10:30 indicating the rescue bird would arrived at approximately 11:30. Bill Graham arrived with his aircraft and the Sortie 2 Boeing Maintenance Team at approximately 12:00.|
|The remaining three aircraft of Sortie 2 continued on to Helena and we never caught sight of them as they passed Billings.|
|Maintenance folks quickly changed out the ECU, uploaded the required data into the unit and everything appeared to pass the required checks.|
| It was decided to verify the unit was operational and perform the maintenance test flight enroute to Helena, Montana - 173 miles away. Everything checked out on the ground as expected. However, when the attempt to perform the Power Assurance Check (PAC) was made, the SPORTS Computer would no longer communicate with the ECU. Several reboots and cabling checks proved fruitless.
Oh, yea - that frigin ground proximity switch issue is back.
|The old method of PACing engines was conducted and the engine/ECU checked out.|
|After landing in Helena, the digital display was blank. Numerous attempts to complete the baseline Power Assurance Test (PAT) was attempted to no avail. We had 88s on all of the DECU checks, but it would not PAT. Friday the 13th was rearing its ugly head. We installed a bad ECU and would have to replace it.|
|Fortunately, the Sortie 2 folks have another ECU. Since we are out of crew rest (and bloody tired) will replace it in the morning and try to test fly if the weather allows.|
|At 6 PM, we drug our gear off the flight line and headed to the Residence Inn.|
|Saturday, 14 April 2012:
Is this really a work day? We just went to bed didn't we... And it's 32 degrees here.
|CH-47F Chinook helicopter 08-08771 and the Sortie 1 aircraft. 771 was being such a pain on Friday and Saturday, but the weather was fantastic. Click-N-Go Here to view a larger image.|
|Our circadian rhythm is adjusted to eastern time, so sleep is getting to be an issue. Since we normally get up between 4 and 5 AM, that's when we wake up no matter where we are - and it's 3:30 AM MDT.|
|One just has to experience Montana in the middle of the night to fully appreciate why the motto is Big Sky Country. There is none of the usual city light contaimination and air pollution clouding the night sky here. One can see millions of stars with the naked eye. Impressive!|
|At 10 AM, the flight crew and the maintenance team went to the airfield to solve 771's issues.|
|The first PAC went well and the SPORTS computer functioned just fine. However, after landing at Helena to complete the PAT we discovered the digital display gave us some odd codes none of us understood.|
|Luckily Jack was able to contact the fellow responsible for fielding this new version of the ECU and the Maintenance Pilot had a long conversation with him and received a plethora of instruction.|
|So we fired up the bird for another PAC and PAT test in accordance with the instructions. Wouldn't you know it, the Mass Memory Server (MMS) failed and we lost both Map Channels. Oh well, a minor problem but none-the-less irritating. Then Control Display Unit (CDU) 2 locked up. Heck we need that to fly this beast - its required equipment.|
|After much (too much) circuit breaker cycling we managed to get both the maps and the CDU working again.|
|Off we went to conduct the test flight. The PAC procedure went just fine. It gave us the numbers we expected and we returned to the airfield for the PAT.|
|As for the PAT - not so good. The display read 1B. Although it was possible, it's hard to imagine we burnt up two ECUs trying to fix this thing.|
|While the flight crew went to lunch, the maintenance team was kind enough to stay and work on the problem.|
|Upon our return, maintenance informed us they stuck the first replacement Number 1 ECU (the one after the D1 code from back at Billings) in the Number Two Engine position and it functioned normally. Then they stuck it back in the Number One position and it function normally. He He He - don't ya just love it...|
| Off we went to do another test flight. The PAC went just dandy and on our retun to the airfield, the PAT went as advertised. All issues just up and disappeared. Hey - not even a ground proximity switch problem.
My job is done here. All is well...
|Colonel Robert Marion, Cargo Helicopters Project Manager from the Program Executive Office (PEO Aviation, located at Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville, Alabama), joined us today to participate in the flight to Alaska.|
| 2100: Tim just called. Breakfast at 7, flightline at 7:30, departure for Canada at 10.
I'm going to bed.
|Sunday, 15 April 2012:
Last we heard, we are supposed to leave as two flights of two 15 minutes apart and head to Edmonton, Canada, via Calgary this morning. Yesterday the forecast was dismal - snow, rain, and freezing temps so we stayed in Helena, which was clear and a pleasant 58 degrees.
|It's 5 AM now - 38 degrees and snowing in Helena. Calgary - 27 and cloudy with snow flurries. Edmonton - 25 degrees and cloudy.|
|Rob Simpson, NET Team Standardization Instructor and Lead Man for the Flight Engineers prepares CH-47F Chinook helicopter 08-08764 for flight at Helena Airport, Montana. The inclement weather made for a let's see and wait snow day. Click-N-Go Here to view a larger image.|
|Weather was up and down all day. Skies would tease us with occassional sun light and then it would snow hard for several minutes and the mountains would disappear.|
|We discussed the weather situation and flight routing with several pilots from the Montana Army National Guard, who are hosting us while we stay in Helena. They indicated that the Sleeping Man formation was 10 miles to the north of the airfield. If we could see the top of it then the pass was safe to fly through, otherwise we should stay on the ground. With the intermittent snow flurry conditions and rapid ceiling changes, it was best just to go back to the hotel and wait until tomorrow.|
|We watched the weather until 1 PM then called it day and went to the hotel.|
|Matt Nimmo did a superior job of making all the hotel and ground transportation arrangements. Unless one does this thing for a living, you have no idea how exhausted the flight crews are upon arrival. To have someone there on the ground coordinating all the non-flight related items makes them the most appreciated person in the world. Most of us were lucky and got last nights rooms at the Residence Inn back - that is a great place ot stay - quiet and spacious, but unfortunately no restaurant in or near the hotel. They serve a great breakfast in the morning. The hotel is about 2 miles from the aircraft.|
|The plan for tomorrow is to take 8 aircraft to Edmonton and stay at two different airports.|
|There is an interesting geologic formation 10 miles to the north of Helena called the Sleeping Man. In the center of the photograph above one can see the head of the man with his nose pointing up. To the left is his chest and body. Click-N-Go Here to view a larger image.|
|Monday, 16 April 2012:
Too early to tell what the weather will be, but some of us are up at 3 AM and the sky is clear. We'll see if 8 aircraft can get into Edmonton by nightfall.
|16 April 2012: A group photograph with most of the members of Sortie 1 and 2 at Helena, Montana. Click-N-Go Here to view a larger image.|
|Turns out the weather was just peachy. Folks were in a hurry to crank and go before something changed. We took a quick group photo with most of team huddled together then scrambled to start the aircraft and head to Canada.|
|16 April 2012: Sortie 1, Chalks 1 and 2, pass by the Sleeping Man north of Helena, Montana. Click-N-Go Here to view a larger image.|
|The flight north out of Montana and into Canada was uneventful, except for a few small issues. 083's heater began spitting flames about 90 miles north of Helena. That was neat - like roman candles being shot out of the exhaust with sparks and flames. 771 got the DASH 1 Fail caution as usual. 764's heater spit fuel down the side of the fuselage and made a nasty mess. All and all, a pretty good day for the flight. Nobody was hard broke.|
|16 April 2012: Sortie 1 crosses the border north of Cut Bank, Montana at approximately 10 AM MDT. If one looks closely at the above photograph, the border is two parallel barbed wire fences that appear as a thin dark line running left to right in the lower portion of the image. Click-N-Go Here to view a larger image.|
|16 April 2012: Sortie 1 Sortie 1 passes over Drumheller, Alberta on the way to Edmonton. The Red Deer River area is well known for the dinosaur discoveries. The city of Drumheller is slightly to the left of this photo. Click-N-Go Here to view a larger image.|
|Sortie 1 landed at Noon at the Edmonton City Center Airport (CYXD) in the downtown area. About an hour after Sortie 1 departed, Sortie 2 left Helena and landed an hour after Sortie 1 at Edmonton International Airport (CYEG). Now there are 8 CH-47F Chinook helicopters in Canada.|
|After shutdown, two gentlemen were at the fence near the helicopters and were very interested in seeing them. I offered a tour of the birds if they could convince security to let them inside the fence and they jumped at the chance. Getting in didn't seemed to be a problem once they flashed their Royal Canadian Mountain Police (RCMP) Badges. I think they were impressed by the Chinooks. Cool, we made friends on the first day.|
|Tuesday, 17 April 2012:
It's been week since we left Savannah. My how time flys when you are having the fun.
|Many of us are still waking up on Georgia time - mainly 3 AM local time for where we are at. So the day gets extra long for us. It makes for a generally 18 hour long day by the time we bunk down for the night. 771's crew has worked everyday, except for Bruce Linton, due to test flight requirements on Saturday even when others were fortunate to get a day of rest in when the weather was bad at Helena. Tim McCall flew for Bruce on Saturday. Sunday was watch it snow all day, so 771's PC and FE hasn't had any time off. We are beginning to feel it.|
|Weather permitting we are off to Fort Nelson Airport (CYYE), British Columbia, for fuel and overnight stop.|
|We departed at 08:10 AM. Ceilings and visibility were down a tad upon departure from Edmonton City Center, but they met the minimums for visual flight rules (VFR). The rain cleared up about 25 miles down the road and the sky completely cleared up after 100 miles. It was smooth sailing with some wind at our back giving us a 143 knot ground speed. We arrived at Fort Nelson at 12 noon.|
|CH-47F Chinook helicopter 10-08083 flies along the Alaska Canada Highway (ALCAN) north of Fort St. John, British Columbia. In the background is the northern end of the Rocky Mountains. Click-N-Go Here to view a larger image.|
|Refueling the birds took awhile as only one truck was available and it had to go to the other end and fill up a commercial airliner before he could finish us off. We made it to the hotel by 1:30 - the Woodlands Inn and Suites right on the Alaska Canada Highway (ALCAN).|
|We could only do one leg today as the next leg on the trip is too long to add to this one and remain in any kind of crew rest.|
|Wednesday, 18 April 2012:
Today is the last day we think. The plan this morning is to head to Whitehorse for a quick fuel stop and then then complete the final leg into Fairbanks. Looks like it will be a 7 flight hour day.
|Weather was picture perfect as we headed to Whitehorse for fuel. The leg time was 3.4 hours. The refuel was quick and easy, then we inhaled our lunch.|
|18 April 2012: Mark Morgan, Pilot in Command of CH-47F Chinook helicopter 08-08771 stands on the ramp at Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. Click-N-Go Here to view a larger image.|
|From Whitehourse to Ladd Field was a tad longer - 3.6 hours. Again the weather was fantastic, except for an occassional snow or rain shower. Funny to encounter rain at 6,500 feet MSL with a temperature of -4 degrees Celsius. But it didn't stick to the airframe.|
|We were met on the ground at Ladd by about 50 people eager to gaze at the new airframes. We let them look while we drug our bags off the ramp and awaited transportation to the rental car companies and our apartments. It was a 14 hour day and we just wanted to sleep.|
|18 April 2012: CH-47F Chinook helicopters arrive at Ladd Field, Fort Wainwright, Alaska. D model 86-01665 is in the foreground. Click-N-Go Here to view a larger image.|
|Thursday, 19 April 2012:
Sortie Two arrived at Ladd Field at 1550 hours Alaska time (that's 3:30 PM for you non-flyers). They made a wonderful formation flyover down Runway 25 with a left turn to downwind followed by a landing mid field. Ah, it just brings tears to your eyes watching these magnificent machines come thundering in after a hard days flight. They logged 7.8 hours today.
|19 April 2012: Sortie 2, flight of four, CH-47F Chinook helicopters arrive at Ladd Field, Fort Wainwright, Alaska. The formation was very pretty with the aircraft properly spaced. They made a 10 second break to the right for the downwind and turned final in trail. The landing to mid-field and a right turn onto taxiway Charlie for parking was well thought out and executedly perfectly. Nice job guys! Click-N-Go Here to view a larger image.|
|A mix of flight crews from Sorties 1 and 2 must fly back to Savannah, Georgia, over the weekend to be joined with some new additions to the ferry crews in order to bring the remaining four aircraft to Alaska. It will be another 10 to 15 days before we close out this adventure.|
|Tuesday, 24 April 2012:
Sortie 3 departed Hunter AAF today enroute to Spirit of St. Louis Airport. One of the aircraft experienced phantom Debris Screen latches on the combining transmission. The screen is clean so it looks like it's a bad screen. Another aircraft - Lead - has hydraulic fluid dripping from the Utility Pressure Control Module Filter Bowl. It's described as a bad O-ring that they will replace at the next stop.
|Wednesday, 25 April 2012:
Sortie 3 departed Spirit of St. Louis enroute to Rapid City, South Dakota. No issues have been reported and the flight went smoothly.
|Thursday, 26 April 2012:
This morning, Sortie 3 is on their way to Helena, Montana. There are some thunderstorms popping up, but it would appear the flight can manuever around them.
|Sortie 3 made it just fine to Helena. However, dark horizons and bad weather has them on hold for now.|
|Friday, 27 April 2012:
Reports indicate one aircraft is down for a maintenance issue and another will remain with it as two airframes head to Edmonton.
|By the end of the day, all four aircraft of Sortie 3 were in Edmonton.|
|Saturday, 28 April 2012:
Sortie 3 is heading to Fort Nelson for for fuel and an overnight stay.
|Sunday, 29 April 2012:
Sortie 3 should be heading to Whitehorse for fuel and then on into Ladd Field by 1530. We are still waiting to hear from them.
|Received at text message from Dave - they are heading to the airport to depart Fort Nelson.|
|Called Fairbanks Flight Service at 1430 local and they have the flight inbound to Ladd Field and landing at 1607.|
| 1515: Dennis texted us, they are 10 minutes out.
Customs is here waiting to check them as they land.
There is plenty of transportation to haul the aircrews and Boeing personnel to pick up rental cars and head to their hotels or apartments.
| Sortie 3, flight of four, landed at Ladd Field at 1525 local time having logged 7.3 hours for the day.
Ferry Flight Mission Complete.
|1530 hours, 29 April 2012: Sortie 3, flight of four, CH-47F Chinook helicopters park at Ladd Field, Fort Wainwright, Alaska. They are spaced equally on either side of 08-08774 which arrived earlier in the month. Click-N-Go Here to view a larger image.|
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