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Boeing Vertol HLH - XCH-62
The US Army Heavy Lift Helicopter or HLH specification was approved in May 1971 for a 22
tonnes payload class helicopter in an attempt to match the top russian models: the Mi-26 and the much bigger Mi-12.
Boeing proposal wins over the Sikorsky S-73 which was not built.
The XCH-62 prototype was in an advanced state of assembly, with a expected initial flight in 1975, when
the program was cancelled in October 1974.
The only aircraft built (Serial number 73-22012) was put into storage at the US Army Aviation Museum at Fort Rucker
Alabama until scrapped in 2005. Some parts were sent to the british Helicopter Museum at Weston-super-Mare.
In 1983, NASA and DARPA ( Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency ) plans were initiated to resume the test programme but was cancelled again.
The XCH-62 (background) is shown in comparison with a CH-47A Chinook
in this 1975 photograph :
Engines: 3 x Allison T701 turboshaft of 5945kW
Gross weight: 60 Ton
Length: 27 m
Height: 10 m
Rotor diameter: 28 m
Rotor Area: 1200 m2
The following photos are from Frank White 's Collection
Contribution: Boeing Defense & Space Group
|kenneth evans ( enterprise al u.s. ) |
Although the only produced XCH-62 was at Ft. Rucker, it is no longer here. Not because it changed locations, but because it was destroyed while trying to move it on Ft. Rucker. It either buckled under the stress of the cranes or else they intentionally destroyed, or some other mishap. I am not sure the reason, but I did see a heap of scrap metal and the twisted rotar blades littering the ground. Bottom-line; it is no longer in existence. Too bad, because I actually enjoyed looking at it.
michael pettit ( montgomery al united states )
The Boeing HLH was intentionally destroyed in 2005. According to an aviation museum exec, the HLH was simply a non-flying incomplete proof-of-concept mockup. Since it never achieved flight under its own power, it was not considered an \
Pete Lancashire ( Portland, Oregon )
My father was a sr. structural engineer on the HLH program at Vertol. One of his side jobs was building wooden models for the project. I had one of those model for years but sadly it to got destroyed. When it was canceled he burned what I believe to be a couple more that were for wind tunnel testing. It hit him pretty hard.
Richard Koehnen, CW5 ret ( Minnesota )
Michael Petit s comments above are incorrect. The airframe at Ft Rucker was the first prototype and intended to fly. Aviation Week and Space Technology ran a picture of the finished aircraft. It utilized DC-9 wheels to expedite completion and was awaiting the brand new T701 engines when the program was terminated by the Department of Defense. Since the airframe was cutting edge technology and the rotor heads the largest titanium structures ever milled in the USA, Boeing manufactured non structural replacement heads, the original components remaining at the factory. Other critical components such as the blades were replaced for display in the museum. The appearance of these “fake” components has lead many to state the airframe was a mock up. It wasnt, it was intended to be the first flight prototype. Ft Rucker was being cleaned up for its 100 year anniversary and the post commander wanted it destroyed or repainted. It was determined that since its was terribly corroded inside from pooled water that it could not be moved. He inquired to Ft Eustis which “owns” all the aircraft in Army museums, its historic value, which they determined was nil since it never flew. Hence it was quicker to bulldoze it down and haul it away for scrap than repaint it. Look at how many rocks lining the road could be painted white in the time it would have taken to repaint the CH-62.
Joseph A. Burke ( Milton, FL )
I have a pic of the Ft. Rucker XCH-62. It was then the closest aircraft to the Daleville gate. Only reason I looked this site up, I just at my advanced age, went to work for a company that works on current CH-47s. And was asked to bring this pic in. If it was destroyed in moving, then Ft. Rucker needs to hire guys like us. I live near NAS Pensacola, if they can dredge up a crashed WWII plane out of the ocean, We can restore this. Added note, FTRKR has a XUH-61, and several modified (one-offs) CH-47s in there bone yard. I care, not sure I can help now, But lets not allow bulldozed parts be sold for cash. Joe Burke, 9 years, 101 AAslt Div
Michael Sherburne US Army Ret. ( Maine )
I m a little upset That this helicopter one of a kind, was
intently destroyed. Cause I was on one of the crews that helped bring this aircraft to Fort Rucker, Ala. Back in the
late 1980s, I would like to know what is being done to
restore this aircraft? Which is part of our helicopter
Richard Koehnen is correct. I was in command at Fort Rucker and witnessed the destruction. Sad day for aviation to destroy historical artifacts just to clean the post for a celebration.
Jason ( CA )
I was saddened to hear about this aircrafts fate.
For a short time as a SPC, I worked for the museum at Ft Rucker. It was a fun, but kind of depressing job, since it seemed that so many examples of aviation history were being left outside to rot. There was no coordinated program to even attempt to keep these aircraft from corroding away.
One aircraft did escape this fate. There was a Lockheed Constellation that was made flyable and took off from Guthrie field in the nineties. It sure was a site to see them running up the engines right next to the road!
There are a lot of historic aircraft at Ft Rucker. I hope they re doing a better job at attempting to preserve this history now. If I was in the area, I would gladly volunteer some of my time to help out.
Rob Payton ( Placerville California )
I helped unwrap and move the XCH62 after it was airlifted up from Florida where it had been shipped to. I have many pics and some Boeing drawings that would be great to use in building a flying model. I was stationed at Rucker for almost 10 years. I also helped get the Connie cleaned, defueled, refueled, interior stripped in prep for her flight out of Gutherie field where I was stationed with the 2/229th at the time. She also received new props as the originals were corroded. What a sight to see her leave like a beast that yearned to be airborn again.
James Mike Reed ( Texas )
At an old Dynalectron pals house this last weekend. He and I overhauled Chinooks in Vietnam in 1970/71. Got to the subject of the HLH. Since I want to stop and see Guns at Huntsville in June on way to 147th reunion, I wanted also to go and see the HLH monster. He informed me the idiots at the museum, and base commander scrapped it. I was furious. I am a school trained A&P have repaired severe corrosion on MD-80s, and Sikorskey S-6ls and S64s. When at Evergreen on the S-64 fire ship, I went to the Evergreen Museum and saw the Spruce Goose, which had went thru hell, and deterioration, and was restored. They rebuilt Guns-a-go-go from a corroded hulk. Keep it at Huntsville. The Rucker climate is obviously salt air, and some idiot there may decide to scrap Guns, because its too intimidating looking.