First unit patch of the 271st Assault Support Helicopter Company.
Second unit patch of the 271st Assault Support Helicopter Company.
Third unit patch of the 271st Assault Support Helicopter Company.



          The Original "Christine"



             67-18510, Boeing build number B-480, was a CH-47C helicopter. The U.S. Army acceptance date was 19 April 1968. 67-18510 accumulated 4,443.0 aircraft hours. At some point, 67-18510 was assigned to B Company - "Innkeepers", 2nd Battalion, 501st Aviation Regiment, located at Camp Humphreys (near Pyongtaek - south of Seoul), in the Republic of Korea (ROK) (South Korea). At some point, B Company was re-designated B Company, 2nd Battalion, 52nd Aviation Regiment. B Company was the former 271st Assault Support Helicopter Company (ASHC). As of 28 September 2001, B Company, as well the sister unit A Company - "Blackcats", were located at Camp Humphreys, ROK. A Company was the former 213th ASHC. 67-18510 remained assigned to B Company through approximately December 1989. On 9 February 1990, 67-18510 was inducted into the D model program and converted to 90-00189. The last known location of 67-18510 was at Boeing during the conversion. Aircraft status: Converted to D model.



             Below, a photograph of 67-18510 taken during an air show at Camp Humphreys in 1986. 67-18510 performed a high speed fly-over following the completion a sling load demonstration:


67-18510 performing a high speed fly-over at an airshow in Korea.



             Next, 67-18510 prepares for engine start on a cold day in the Republic of Korea, circa 1986:


67-18510 prepares for engine start on a cold day in the Republic of Korea, circa 1986.



             The dashboard in the cockpit of 67-18510. Unfortunately, there are no surviving C models in existence, so all we have are photographs to gaze upon. Few can remember the joy of shooting an approach using the Radio Magnetic Compass (RMI) and the fun of metal rotor blades. Gee, that's one heck of a torque split. Anyone remember that instrument just above the master caution panel?


67-18510 - The Cockpit.



             The below Center Console photograph reveals some of the latest equipment (at the time) that the aircraft in Korea once had. An Omega navigation device and Satellite communication (SATCOM) radio are visible:


67-18510 - The Center Console.



             Sometime in 1983, 67-18510 experienced a major malfunction. The number 2 engine mount was severely damage due to an engine transmission explosion. The explosion was caused by incorrectly installed oil lines - they were hooked up backwards. Sounds impossible. However, during phase, the drive shaft fairing was replaced. The holes for the oil line hoses were drilled in the wrong location (backwards from the norm) in the end former on the fairing. Consequently, studious, hard working, and adaptable mechanics obtained nipple fittings for the transmission so they could hook the lines up anyway. The mistake was not discovered until the aircraft was started. At this point, the oil pressure hose going to the transmission was a larger hose than the return. The transmission couldn't take the excess fluid (and the lack of lubrication) and exploded. The forward engine mount had to be replaced and the aircraft was down for some time. When SGT Ralph Wood arrived in Korea and assumed the position as 67-18510's Flight Engineer, the airframe had been severely "canned" - a process where good parts are used on other aircraft to keep them flying - and had to be extensively rebuilt. It took 4 months of constant work. Below, 67-18510 is shown taxiing for take-off at Camp Humphreys, near the City of Pyongtaek, in South Korea, shortly after the rebuild, circa 1984:


67-18510 - taxiing for take-off after the rebuild in 1984.



             67-18510 at Pang Yung Do (P - Y - Do), an island in the Yellow Sea north of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), controlled by South Korea. Flying to this island was always tense and involved all of the services. A Chinook was required because of it's range and the ability to carry passengers as well as extra fuel:


67-18510 at Pang Yung Do (P - Y - Do).



             First Generation Extended Range Fuel System (ERFS) Tanks: Even with 6 fuel tanks giving the C model Chinook 1,028 gallons of fuel (3 hours of flight time), some folks wanted to extended the range of the helicopter further. A method of adapting the M-49C fuel truck's (a 2 1/2 ton truck) 600 gallon fuel pod for use internally was devised. Utilizing OV-1 Mohawk aircraft fuel pumps and configuring a wiring system to power the pumps, fuel could be pumped into the aircraft main tanks to greatly extend the range. Up to four 600 gallon tanks could be installed in a Chinook - although generally only one was used. It was smelly, messy, and nasty to fly a helicopter in this configuration. Fuel spills were quite common, usually resulting in the loss of one's personal and professional gear due to contamination. A few hours in the sky gave the crew a certain sense of euphoria, as brain cells slowly succumbed to the effects of the aromatic and highly volatile vapors. Still it worked, and worked well at the time. There was only one recorded accident involving the old style internal fuel tanks. An aircraft (68-15826) was lost in Columbia, South America, on 20 November 1987, when the crew failed to detect and purge water that had gotten into the fuel pods, which resulted in an engine flame out and the subsequent loss of the aircraft:


First generation internal fuel tanks utilized by CH-47 helicopters.

          Read more about ERFS, Click-N-Go Here to view a .pdf file.



             67-18510 hovers with a sling load somewhere in South Korea. Travel by road was difficult and arduous in Korea. Airlifting of just about everything was the best way to get around:


67-18510 with a sling load.



             67-18510 was a workhorse and achieved over 500 flight hours from 1984 to 1987. The airframe had many Avionic and electrical modifications through the many years of service. Those, coupled with the transmission failure and the extended grounding and rebuild, yielded many queer anomalies that would appear and then magical disappear. This brought on considerable frustration with the crews that flew the aircraft, and the technicians who attempted repair. For this, 67-18510 was duly named "Christine" - after the movie in which the automobile had a life - and mind - of it's own:


67-18510 - The original "Christine".



          This aircraft was crewed by:


          SGT Ralph Wood (FE), 1984 - 1987.



          The CH-47 - 40 years old and still circling the world.


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