FT. CAMPBELL, Ky., December. 8, 2009- Soldiers of Company B, 6th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment, 101st Airborne Division ("Pachyderms"), completed a training program that allowed them to receive 12 new Ch-47F Chinooks.
"Pachyderms, you now have the aircraft you deserve," said Cpt. Christopher C. Getter, Bravo Company commander. "The most elite, conventional, heavy lift helicopter is now flown by the most elite, conventional, heavy lift company."
Battalion Commander Lieutenant Col. Brad Ninness said it took the company more than eight months to complete the training.
"I would like to thank and congratulate the Pachyderms," said Ninness. "I'm extremely proud of you for completing this program."
The company completed their training just in time as they prepare for an upcoming deployment to Afghanistan in March 2010.
Instructors from Boeing worked with the company to ensure they were properly trained on the latest upgrades to the Chinook. The training time varied between the pilots, crew chiefs, and mechanics.
"The trainers were highly experience," said Chief Warrant Officer Michael D. Slangle, a pilot from B Company, 6 Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. "One pilot has been flying the Chinook since Vietnam."
Staff Sgt. Jeremy D. Hendrix, crew chief for B Company, 6th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, said crewmembers required approximately one month of training to learn the new aircraft. After two weeks in the classroom, the crewmembers were able to start the hands-on portion, he said.
Once Boeing had evaluated and qualified them the crew members advanced to flight training, Hendrix said.
Slangle has flown the Chinook helicopter for three years, and said he is very pleased with the new addition of the aircraft. He also said he believes that 12 Chinooks will absolutely be a sufficient number for the success of the overall mission of the brigade.
The new systems add increased situational awareness, elevating mission safety and proficiency, Slangle said.
The CH-47F Chinook cockpit includes a digital map feature, and a tracking system which allows the battalion's Tactical Operation Center to track the aircraft's whereabouts. The aircraft can also send and receive text messages from the TOC, Slangle said.
"The moving map display combined with latest storm scope allows for terrestrial, environmental and tactical situational awareness," he said.
Slangle said the feature allows the pilot to see current weather conditions, such as thunderstorms, on the other side of a mountain they are approaching, increasing their safety.
Another feature includes the Digital Advanced Flight Control System. With the touch of a button, Slangle said the pilot will now be able to hold the Chinook's altitude and position before landing automatically instead of doing so manually.
"This improvement allows us enhanced control of the Chinook to better serve the mission on hand," Slangle said.
The new Chinook provides the unit with less maintenance work and more flight time due to the improved airframe structure, therefore providing more support to the troops on the ground, said Casillas.
The stiffened airframe causes less vibration and less maintenance work for the crew, explained Slangle. "Less maintenance means less downtime," he exclaimed.

Page last updated Tue December 22nd, 2009 at 10:59