Army returns some Chinooks to flight

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Aug. 27, 1999) -- The Army announced today that half of its previously grounded CH-47D "Chinook" helicopter fleet will return to limited flight.

The decision was based on an inspection of the records of all forward and aft transmissions for specific part numbers, according to Army officials. A Safety of Flight message, explaining the procedures, was transmitted to all Army aviation units.

The Army grounded its entire fleet of 466 Chinooks Aug. 9, following the discovery of a cracked transmission gear during an aircraft overhaul. No accidents or mishaps have been attributed to these suspect gears.

Army aviation units worldwide, working with the Boeing Company in Philadelphia, are seeking to locate all gears of the suspect type and design.

The Army is conducting a records check and is analyzing the cracks' likelihood for spreading or enlargement. Based on records checks and research thus far, the Army determined that aircraft with certain gear and bearing assemblies can continue training and perform operational missions that are limited to 80 percent, dual-engine torque.

The Program Executive Office for Aviation, with Boeing and the Army Aviation and Missile Command, are continuing to work toward getting the entire fleet back into full flight operations as soon as all records checks, inspections and replacements are completed.

For more information, call Army Public Affairs at (703) 697-4739 or the Program Executive Office, Aviation Public Affairs, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., at (256) 876-4162.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: Information provided by a Headquarters, Army Public Affairs news release.)