28 March 2014
Columbia Helicopters said it is expanding its fleet of heavy lift, twin-rotor aircraft with the acquisition of five Boeing CH-47D helicopters, formerly operated by the US Army.
The helicopters, originally manufactured in the early 1970s as CH-47C models, but upgraded in 1988 to the D-model configuration, will join the operator´s fleet of six Columbia model 234 Chinooks, and 14 Columbia Vertol 107-II.
According to Todd Petersen, Columbia´s vice-president, marketing, the company has already taken delivery of the first one.
“We have been considering the purchase of surplus CH-47D Chinooks for the past several years, but had to wait until the aircraft were made available for auction,” said Petersen. “We purchased them in order to increase our presence in our current markets–specifically construction, the oil and gas industry, and aerial firefighting.”
As former military aircraft, they will be operated by Columbia Helicopters under FAA Restricted Category regulations, Petersen explained. “As such, we won´t be permitted to use them in a passenger transport role, but we should be able to deploy them to meet our other project requirements.”
Columbia Helicopters is a member of AHSAFA, the Washington-based trade association representing the commercial operators of helicopters and fixed wing aircraft engaged in aerial wild land firefighting.