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N461WY Boeing CH-46E Sea Knight c/n 2438 - Sky Aviation - Baker City Airport, OR, USA - 10 September 2017 Grumman US-2N Tracker 160'V'

The Boeing Vertol CH-46E Sea Knight is a multi-mission; medium-lift tandem-rotor transport helicopter powered by two T58-GE-16A turboshaft engines and was manufactured by Boeing Vertol following Vertol's acquisition by Boeing. The CH-46 or Model 107M was designed by Vertol. In 1960, Boeing bought Vertol Aircraft Corporation and the helicopter was rebranded as Boeing-Vertol CH-46. At that time, the company had three tandem-rotor helicopters under production: the Chinook for the U.S.Army, the CH-46 Sea Knight for the U.S.Navy and the Marines, and the commercial 107-II for the airlines. The CH-46A, or Model 107M, is version of the basic Model 107-II for use by the U.S. Marine Corps as a medium assault transport carrying seventeen fully-equipped troops or a four thousand pounds of cargo over a range of 115 miles. A new integrated loading system permitted loading to be completed in as little as eight minutes under field conditions, and a powered blade-folding system simplified handling on board aircraft carriers and permitted the Sea Knight to use the standard elevators of LPH and LPH-4 assault vessels. The Model 107-II was a further development of Model 107, which was originally designated by the firm as the Vertol Model 107, commenced during 1956. On 22 April 1958, the V-107 prototype performed its maiden flight. During 1961, the U.S. Marine Corps, who had been studying its requirements for a medium-lift, twin-turbine troop/cargo assault helicopter, selected the Boeing-Vertol Model 107M as the basis from which to manufacture a suitable rotorcraft to meet their needs. The CH-46 Sea Knights was primarily used by the Navy and Marines. Affectionately known as the "Phrog" and formally as the "Sea Knight", the CH-46 has served in such venues as Vietnam, Beirut, Desert Storm, Iraq and Afghanistan. The Sea Knight was operated by the United States Marine Corps (USMC) to provide all-weather, day-or-night assault transport of combat troops, supplies and equipment. Additional tasks that the CH-46 was used for in USMC service included combat support, search and rescue (SAR), support for forward refueling and rearming points, CASEVAC and Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and Personnel (TRAP). The CH-46 was replaced in USMC service by the V-22 Osprey during the 2010s. In October 2014, the U.S. Marine Corps flew the last service flight of the CH-46. The Sea Knight also functioned as the United States Navy's standard medium-lift utility helicopter prior to the type being phased out of service and replaced by the MH-60S Knighthawk during the early 2000s. Export customers for the type included Canada; Japan; Sweden, and Saudi Arabia. The CH-46E continues in service in th US for the State Department as well as with civil operators like Sky Aviation. In the period 1962 - 1971 a total of 524 Boeing-Vertol CH-46 helicopters have been built in a range of variants, including the CH-46A; UH-46A; HH-46A; CH-46D; UH-46D; CH-46F. The main variant in service with the USMC was the CH-46D with 266 built and later the CH-46E when approximately 275 -A, -D, and -F airframes were updated to CH-46E standards with improved avionics, hydraulics, drive train and upgraded T58-GE-16 and T58-GE-16/A engines.

Boeing-Vertol CH-46D Seaking c/n 2438 was built in 1968 as part of a batch of 56 aircraft destined for the the U.S. Navy (c/n 2396/2451). The helicopters entered US-military service as 154789 - 154844. Boeing-Vertol CH-46D Seaking c/n 2438 entered service with the U.S. Navy as '154831'. Over the years the Boeing-Vertol CH-46D Seaking 154831 was updated to CH-46E standards with improved avionics, hydraulics, drive train and upgraded T58-GE-16 and T58-GE-16/A engines. As CH-46E the 154831 was operated by the United States Marine Helicopter Squadron One (HMX-1) headquartered at Marine Corps Air Facility Quantico, Virginia. HMX-1 is a United States Marine Corps helicopter squadron responsible for the transportation of the President of the United States, Vice President, Cabinet members and other VIPs. The CH-46 SeaKnights were operated by HMX-1 for utility purposes. After being withdrawn from military service, the CH-46E '154831' was stored at the Davis-Monthan Air Force Boneyard in Tucson and offered for sale with 12521 total hours. In March 2014, Sky Aviation purchased four CH-46E helicopters from GSA Auction, including CH-46E '154831'. On 16 May 2014, the CH-46E '154831' was registered N461WY with Sky Aviation Corp., Worland, Wyoming, a diverse company with their helicopter department specialized in Fire Fighting, Aerial Survey, Search and Rescue, External Load and Heavy Lift operations. After major maintenance and being modified for Fire Fighting services, they completed the Type Certificates for the CH-46E helicopters in July 2015, with the CH-46E N461WY declared airworthy again on 10 July 2015. In Fire Fighting service, the CH-46E uses a bucket with a capacity of 4165 liter. On 10 September 2017, the Sky Aviation Boeing CH-46E N461WY was seen at Baker City Municipal Airport, Oregon, USA.

page last updated: 13-10-2017
Photo Copyright © Jack Poelstra, the Netherlands

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