Boeing Celebrates 60th Anniversary of H-47 Chinook First Flight

Boeing and Chinook operators around the world today celebrated 60 years of Chinook flight as the company builds a new generation of the renowned rotorcraft. The H-47 Chinook’s prototype, known as the YCH-1B, first flew on Sept. 21, 1961. The aircraft took off in Philadelphia, the region where Boeing has built and incrementally improved every version of the Chinook rotorcraft. In the decades since inaugural flight, Chinooks have served as the backbone of combat, logistics and humanitarian missions for the U.S. Army, Special Operations Forces and 19 international operators.

Thanks to continuous manufacturing and technological advances, the aircraft is poised to serve the United States and its allies for at least another 40 years. The U.S. Army took delivery of its first Chinook in 1962, and three years later the aircraft flew into combat in Vietnam. Boeing later introduced the CH-47F, a modernization program that converted 472 earlier models into an essentially new fleet, more than doubling the lift capacity of the original CH-47A. Boeing also builds the MH-47, a modified series of Chinooks operated by the U.S. Army Special Operations Forces.

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HC-1B during in-flight evaluation
Boeing HC-1B during in-flight evaluation

Chinook is Boeing’s longest running production program and one the longest running in aviation history. In 2017, Boeing received a contract to develop the next-generation of Chinooks for the U.S. Army and Special Operations Forces. The Block II program, currently in engineering, manufacturing and development, incorporates upgrades to increase lift capability, improve commonality between U.S. Army and allied fleets, and reduce maintenance costs.

As a leading global aerospace company, Boeing develops, manufactures and services commercial airplanes, defense products and space systems for customers in more than 150 countries. As a top U.S. exporter, the company leverages the talents of a global supplier base to advance economic opportunity, sustainability and community impact. Boeing’s diverse team is committed to innovating for the future and living the company’s core values of safety, quality and integrity.

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