Georgia Army National Guard CH-47F Chinook
US Army, December 11, 2013 - Georgia National Guard - SAVANNAH, Ga - While some people are figuring out how to make one more sale, these Georgia Guardsmen of are figuring out how to fly their Chinook helicopter in the most demanding of conditions, to land in the most precarious of places, while carrying while often carrying our most precious cargo.
Georgia Army National Guard’s Detachment 1, Bravo Company , 1-169th General Support Aviation Battalion (B/1-169th GSAB) flew Tuesday and Wednesday near their Headquarters in Savannah in preparation for their upcoming deployment to Afghanistan in the spring of 2014.
This will be the third time many of these crew members have deployed to Afghanistan with this unit since 2005. But it will be the first time they have deployed with the CH-47F Chinook Helicopter. Georgia recently received the newest Chinook model, the CH-47F, which is an advanced multi-mission helicopter that contains a fully integrated digital cockpit and advanced cargo-handling capabilities.
“While the aircraft flies the same as a CH-47D model, it gives the crew an amazing amount of situational awareness through the moving map display in the cockpit,” said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Billy Johnson, Standardization Officer for B/1-169th GSAB. “The automation that was built into this helicopter significantly reduces pilot workload in the cockpit.”
These crew members are training for missions they will be tasked with once in Afghanistan.
“The Chinook was made to move things like troops, supplies, and equipment. If you can fit it in a Chinook, I have probably moved it,” said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Duane Sandbothe, Maintenance Test Pilot for B/1-169th GSAB. “The Chinook was designed for high, hot and heavy missions.”
The power available, engineering and cargo carrying capacity make the Chinook a versatile platform capable of taking personnel and cargo where other U.S. military helicopters simply cannot go. The newest model has many automated safety features built in as well.
“Our pilots are trained to fly the CH-47F model without any of the automation, but the built in safety factors, like a hover hold can assist the crew to keep from drifting while in a dust cloud or brown-out conditions,” said Sandbothe.
Afghanistan is not known for its level terrain, in fact it’s home to the Hindu Kush Mountain range with peeks over 25,000 ft high. The crew members know this all to well and are conducting mission specific training to prepare for it.
“We conduct pinnacle landing training to prepare for mountain or ridge line landings where we will let troops off in Afghanistan. Sometimes there simply is no other place to drop the troops and equipment off at,” said Sandbothe.
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