Nevada Guard welcomes state’s 1st F model Chinook as fleet upgrade
Rotors thrummed within the CH-47 F model Chinook as the 23,400-pound helicopter ascended above the Nevada Army Aviation Support Facility March 15 with five civilians and six military personnel aboard.
The orientation flight of the Silver State’s new military aircraft flew over the countryside of Stead and Pyramid Lake with ease, illustrating its capabilities to hover and land in nearly any conditions, including snow and gravel.
“We illustrated how the rotors allow us to execute the landing without real input,” said Warrant Officer Pilot Juan Ramirez. “It helps us maintain situational awareness and increase our awareness of what’s going on around us so we can be more focused on the flight, the mission and safety.”
The arrival of B Company, 1/189th General Support Aviation Battalion’s first CH-47 F model Chinook marked the beginning of a new era for the Nevada Army National Guard Aviation Control Element, which will eventually house and maintain six F model Chinooks that were previously in the active duty fleet. The initial frame acquired by the Nevada Army Guard was previously based at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
“It’s a new generation. Instead of having our old D models that date back to Vietnam (War era) which were modified in the early 1990s, we will now be working with much more modern aircraft,” said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Joseph “Seppl” Baumann, the unit’s pilot in command who flew the Chinook from Kentucky.
Manufactured in 2008, the F models set to arrive in Nevada have between 2,000 and 3,000 flight hours, mostly recorded in Afghanistan.
The main difference between the F and D models is visible in the cockpit, where glass controls — including digital controls with five multi-functional displays resembling iPads — help pilots control the aircraft. The system replaces the old steam gauge cockpit.
“Almost everything in the back is almost exactly the same,” Baumann said. “Everything forward, with more electronics, is different.”
Only two D models are left at the Nevada Army Aviation Facility which will soon be phased out by the F models.