RICHMOND, Virginia –
Phillip Brashear, who is a weapons systems program manager for Defense Logistics Agency Aviation, and an Army Chief Warrant Officer 4 and pilot in the U.S. Army Reserves, graduated from the two-month CH-47F Aviator Qualifications/Instructor Pilot (Transition) Course at Fort Rucker, Alabama, Dec. 15, 2015.
He now flies the Army’s newest generation of digitized CH-47F Chinook helicopters when serving with the Army Reserves. This computerized aircraft has the newest technical and digital upgrades and is capable of being programmed to fly a route without pilot assistance, Brashear said.
Chinooks are considered the workhorse of Army helicopters and have been heavily used by the military since the 1960s in an array of missions including transportation of supplies and equipment, artillery and troops on and off the battlefield; medical evacuation; aircraft recovery; parachute drops; and search and rescue. They are used by state and local governments for disaster relief, fire-fighting and transporting heavy equipment.
Brashear said the CH-47F Chinook has a triple hook system, providing stability to large external loads or even multiple loads at once. Multiple external loads can be delivered to three separate destinations in one sortie. “The central hook is rated to carry up to 12,000kg and the other two hooks 16,534 pounds each. Large external loads, then, such as a 155 millimeter Howitzer, can be transported at speeds up to 260km/h using the triple-hook load configuration,” he said.
The unit cost of a CH-47F is $37.94 million, according to the U.S. Department of Defense. The CH-47F can reach speeds greater than 175 mph and transport payloads weighing more than 21,000 pounds. Chinook helicopters were first introduced in 1962, and this is the sixth Chinook type designed for the U.S. Army, said Brashear. Since then 1,179 of the aircraft have been built, he said.