Gilze-Rijen airbase (ICAO code: EHGR; date 2012-10-08)On 2012-10-08, the first 2 type Boeing Vertol CH-47F helicopters were delivered to the Dutch Defense Helicopter Command. Having the 298 squadron flying already with the CH-47D type, the CH-47F type will increase the number of Dutch Chinooks to 17. During the years, 2 Chinook CH-47D's were written-off. 3 CH-47F's will continuously be based at Fort Hood (Texas) for training purposes, while the remaining 3 will be based in the Netherlands with 298th squadron at Gilze-Rijen AB.
For a CH-47D pilot, 85% of the environment in the CH-47F will look familiar, but the additional 15% will be of extra value for the pilots. The new CH-47F differs from the older CH-47D models, on a number of items. The cockpit is a modern 'glass-cockpit', replacing the old dials by computer screens. Modern computers with modern software supply the pilots with a stable flight pattern in difficult flying conditions, allowing more focus on the missions itself.
In the chin of the helicopter, a pod houses an infrared camera (FLIR) and a low-light camera, allowing the pilots to perform even in nearly 100% darkness. For self-protection, several pods can be installed on the hull of the helicopter. With internal and external hoist installations, 5 fast-rope positions can be used by special forces to leave the helicopter via cables.
The commander of the Royal Dutch Air Force ("Koninklijke Luchtmacht") LtGen Sander Schnitger, accepted the 2 helicopters officially, by receiving the handbooks of the first Chinooks at Gilze-Rijen airbase. "As a commander you want one thing: that your personnel will go on a mission very well trained with the best equipment". With these new CH-47F Chinooks, a sophisticated medium transport helicopter has been added to the Dutch inventory, allowing the best support for various operations in the Netherlands and abroad.
Special thanks to PAO Gilze-Rijen.
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