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Sikorsky CH-54 Tarhe

Flying crane

CH-54 Tarhe

The Sikorsky CH-54 Tarhe heavy load cargo carrier was widely used during the war in Vietnam

 
 
Country of origin United States
Entered service 1962
Crew 3 men
Dimensions and weight
Length 26.94 m
Main rotor diameter 21.95 m
Height 7.75 m
Weight (empty) 8.98 t
Weight (maximum take off) 21 t
Engines and performance
Engines 2 x Pratt & Whitney T73-P-700 turboshaft engines
Engine power 2 x 4 800 shp
Maximum speed 240 km/h
Maximum speed with external payload 185 km/h
Service ceiling 5.6 km
Range 390 km
Combat radius ?
Payload
Payload capacity 9 - 12 t

 

   The CH-54 Tarhe, also called Skycrane or flying insect, was manufactured by Sikorsky. The nickname Skycrane derives from its heavy load cargo lifting mission. As for insect-itís a nickname given by pilots for its unusual design. During the Vietnam War this versatile helicopter was used for various missions, including recovery, rescue, infantry transport, medical supply and even armor transport operations.

   The CH-54 helicopter is equipped with a crane in the center of the fuselage that is operated by a co-pilot or an engineer from the backside of the pilotsí cabin. The crane operator has an good view of what is happening beneath. The Tarhe demonstrated the very best capabilities in combat, climbing with maximum speed of 100 km/h even being overloaded. During the Vietnam War the CH-54 Tarhe was one of the safest US Army's helicopters to fly. In comparison to the AH-1 Cobra and UH-1 Iroquois the losses of CH-54 helicopters was minimal. Also it was unique by having a tremendous lifting power. In Vietnam War the Skycrane had to cope with loads such as damaged air and ground vehicles. It also took significant role in military engineering projects such as building bridges and fortifications.

   The CH-54 has an maximum external payload capacity of 12 t. Its unique shape allowed to handle all kinds of loads. Two engines are located on top of the fuselage and rear landing gear is situated wide. This allows to carry different kinds of containers. This helicopter is also compatible with a universal military cargo pod.

   The CH-54 has been retired from the US military service in 1991. However due to its versatility it is still used by some government and civil operators. The CH-54 helicopter is used for civilian purposes such as construction and fire-fighting. NASA is one of the most important operators of this air vehicle.

   In 1992 Erickson Air-Crane purchased the manufacturing rights for the Sikorsky S-64, a civil version of the CH-54. This helicopter is still in production.

 

Zaal Tchkuaseli

   Article by ZAAL TCHKUASELI

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CH-54 Tarhe

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CH-54 Tarhe

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CH-54 Tarhe

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CH-54 Tarhe

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CH-54 Tarhe

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