Storm of the Chinook


Click an image to see it full-size.

The helicopter in these pictures is the CH-47 Chinook. To me it is an ungainly looking; flying bus that seems like it shouldn’t be able to fly.

I am not a big fan of flying. I am not afraid of flying and over here I will take a flight over hours in the back of a MRAP any day. But I have never enjoyed it, especially in this day and age of all the wasted time one must spend in the airports. I would much rather drive.  I think it is a control thing.  I do not enjoy being cooped up in the airport or the airplane.

Another problem I have with small airplanes and helicopters is I have a tendency to get a little queasy in them, especially when it is hot, stuffy and crowded.  It helps me to be able to sit by the window or door, especially if it is open so I can get fresh air.  Chinooks are my least favorite helicopter to ride because you sit in them sideways with your back against the wall and unless you have the seat next to the door gunners it quickly becomes stuffy.  They are also noisy and reek of exhaust gas, hydraulic fluid and everything else stuffed inside of it.

But even though they are not my favorite mode of transportation, I like them as a modern marvel of machinery.  I think they are a miracle of modern engineering and love watching them fly.  They are huge, they are noisy and they create an incredibly powerful windstorm that his hard to fathom.  I have seen people knocked off their feet because they had underestimated the force of the air blast created by those two monstrous rotors.  In fact one of the guys standing with me when I took some of these pictures lost his footing and fell into the concertina wire as the aircraft flew over us.

The pictures of these Chinooks were taken on different days.  They were recovering an AH-64 Apache that had landed just short of the FOB.  The first shots of the aircraft bring in the recovery team were taken late in the day and I was far enough away that I was able to get some great shots of the thick brown dust cloud.  The others were taken early in the morning as the extracted the aircraft from the site.  I positioned myself in what I thought would be a great spot to get some clean shots, but I badly miscalculated.

As the aircraft came in to pick up the recovery team before hooking onto the Apache I was quickly engulfed in dust so thick I could scarcely see 10 feet in front of me.  I quickly scrambled further down the embankment attempting to escape the dust cloud, while avoiding becoming entangled in the concertina. As I got to the edge of the swirling dust, I noticed my camera was covered in a thick blanket of dust and of course I had the lens cap off prepared to take pictures.  I quickly wiped it off with my fingers as best I could, hoping to get some decent shots when the Chinook emerged from the dust.

The dust thinned out as the aircraft lifted back into the air and into position to hook up to the grounded Apache.  Between the haze of dust in the air and the film of dust on my lens I wasn’t able to get a great shot of the Apache slung below the Chinook, but it was an impressive sight in real life.

Thanks for looking!

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18 responses »

  1. Fantastic! I thought I had subscribed to your blog….anyway, glad I’m getting your updates…Thanks for sharing:)

  2. Reggie says:

    Good grief, that must have been a sight – and an experience! Is your camera okay, Dan? Why did the Chinook have to retrieve the Apache? Did the Apache have technical problems, is that why it landed short? I somehow cannot picture a helicopter being powerful enough to pick up another helicopter! Wow!

    • danbohmer says:

      The camera is fine, Nikon builds them tough. It is looking well used though. I clean it as best I can and will have if cleaned professionally when I get home or maybe get a new camera…they will do a complete investigation on the aircarft problem & I will likely never know why it ended up outside the FOB.

  3. Marianne says:

    The Chinook looks about as aerodynamic as a wardrobe attempting to fly!

  4. amazing – you are bringing us to a place most of us have only read about and made the whole thing very real – I have a better understanding because of you and your “journal” of happenings and amazing photos

  5. oh man my Hubby is a rookie Helicopter Pilot and is fighting so hard to get a job in the field which is crazy difficult as a rookie. he would love to fly these…just for the record, i’ve been up a couple times in an R44 and i get really queezy too! and a little or a lot scared! nice shots.

  6. Audrey says:

    These are such great photos! Thanks for sharing them.

  7. Love these…just finished a book on Charles Lindbergh….your helicopters reminded me of what I’ve just read.

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