CH-21C “Workhorse”

News, Plane of the Week May 31, 2017

Vertol CH-21C-VL “Workhorse”
S/N 56-2142

Crew:   Three
Engine:   One Wright R-1820-103 radial; 1,425 hp
Rotor Diameter:   44 ft 0 in
Length:   52 ft 7 in
Height:   15 ft 4 in
Weight:   13,500 lbs max; USAF-set limit: 11,500 lbs
Speed:   cruise: 90 mph; max: 132 mph
Range:   450 miles
Service Ceiling:   19,200 ft
Armament:   None
Cost:   $406,000

The CH-21C “Workhorse,” also known as the Flying Banana, was built as a H-21C Shawnee by Vertol Aircraft Corporation for service in the United States Army. After being retired from military service, the aircraft was obtained by Aero Union Corporation of Chino, CA. It was traded to the United States Air Force Museum system in June 1987 and assigned to the the Hill Aerospace Museum for static display. It arrived at the Aerospace Museum in July 1987 and it was repainted to resemble a H-21B.

The aircraft was originally a H-21B manufactured by Piasecki Helicopter Corporation. It was delivered to the United States Air Force in August 1957, then it was assigned to the 20th Helicopter Squadron of the Tactical Air Command at Sewart Air Force Base. While serving with the 20th, the aircraft was briefly deployed to Myrtle Beach Air Force Base and Cuba.

In January 1960 the aircraft was transferred to the 4510th Combat Training Wing (TAC) at Luke Air Force Base. The aircraft was then passed to the Ogden Air Material Area at Hill Air Force Base. In July 1962 it was handed over to the 2849th Air Base Wing at Hill Air Force Base. The aircraft was redesigned to a CH-21B in 1962 and was operated to support the Utah Testing and Training Range until it retired at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in April 1971. The CH-21B was dropped from the United States Air Force inventory in November 1971.

During restoration of the CH-21B, the rotor blades were refurbished by members of the former 419th Combat Logistics Support Squadron (CLSS) from Hill Air Force Base and reattached in May 2006.

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