In April 2012, during a training sortie, an RAF Chinook was very significantly damaged in a heavy landing. The damage sustained was such that the aircraft could well have been classified as Beyond Economical Repair (BER). However, it was decided that recovering the aircraft to service was a viable option by drawing on the extensive experience and expertise in Chinook heavy maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) vested in Boeing and Vector Aerospace. Vector Aerospace has been supporting the MOD’s Chinook fleet under sub-contract to Boeing since 2008.
A plan was duly developed and work began to bring the aircraft back to life. The extent of the damage was so great that a number of structural parts had to be replaced and these were incorporated alongside newly manufactured aircraft skins. Every component was inspected and either repaired or replaced. Whilst this package of work was being undertaken the aircraft’s avionics systems were also upgraded to bring the aircraft up to the MK4 Julius standard.
The extraordinary feat of engineering was completed on 12th February 2015, when the aircraft successfully passed flight test and was reinducted to service, a testament to the successful and productive relationship which has been developed between the UK Chinook Force, Boeing and Vector Aerospace.
This achievement benefits not only the RAF, which now has a fully operational aircraft once again ready for duty, but also the UK taxpayer, since the task was accomplished at a fraction of the cost of buying a new helicopter.
In thanking the combined Vector Aerospace and Boeing teams on the aircraft’s reintroduction to service, Wing Commander Mark Staveley from the Chinook Project Team, said, ‘The importance of these aircraft to the troops on the ground is immeasurable: when they hear that unmistakable Chinook sound the people on the ground know that help is at hand’.
Source: Vector Aerospace Corporation
Date: Mar 26, 2015