The Chinook helicopter may not, at first glance, appear to be an aircraft that would be at home at Blackpool Air Show, it is in fact a very popular performer.
The Chinook displaying at Blackpool Air Show is operated by the Royal Air Force (RAF) Chinook display team and the performance is breathtaking, this large heavy transport helicopter can perform incredible aerobatics in the hands of the superb RAF crews.
The Boeing Chinook in service with the RAF is a version specifically designed for the UK and is used as a heavy lift and troop carry aircraft, at air shows we see its manoeuvrability on display but let us not forget this is a serious military aircraft. Just last week three Chinooks flew over my house in the Yorkshire Dales at very low altitude, below the level of the surrounding hills, the Chinooks were in very close formation with each other with a lead aircraft a second Chinook to its stern and starboard with the third astern of the lead aircraft then immediately behind, one to port and one to starboard, were two Apache helicopters. The five were probably practising an airborne troop landing.
The RAF Chinooks have seen active service with the British armed forces in many conflicts around the world, one aircraft in particular during the Falklands conflict of 1982 was the only aircraft to leave the Atlantic conveyor transport ship and also saw active service more than twenty years later in Afghanistan. A testament to the durability of the machine.
I have some experience of the civilian version of the Chinook as it was used to transport oil rig workers to and from Aberdeen airport in Scotland to the Brent Oilfields my last trip was on 5th November 1986 from the Brent Alpha platform to Aberdeen, the next day the helicopter crashed when approaching Sumburgh airport in the Shetlands on its way back from the Brent oilfields and forty five were killed with two survivors. I never flew on the Chinook again and when I see the RAF Chinooks at Blackpool Air Show it reminds me of those days in the early eighties and those that we lost on that tragic day.
For more detailed information on the RAF Beoing Chinook (variant) Helicopter we recommend Wickipedia.
Information on this years Blackpool Airshow here.
Tower Festival Headland Promenade Blackpool Lancashire FY1 4BJ Tel: 01253 478222.
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