RAF Chinook HC.4
The huge twin-rotor Boeing Chinook first flew in prototype form way back in 1961, but modernised versions are still being produced - there is little else that quite matches up. The RAF is the type's biggest operator outside the US Army, its fleet comprising a mixture of variants - the HC2, HC2A and HC3 models are undergoing an upgrade programme which will see them becoming the HC4, HC4A and HC5 respectively, joined by new-build HC6 versions. The Chinooks make for a potent heavy-lift helicopter force, able to transport up to 10 tonnes of freight - internally or underslung from hooks - or 55 troops. They have been worked particularly hard in Afghanistan, providing outstanding support to British and other coalition troops on the ground. No 27 Squadron at RAF Odiham provides the Chinook display for 2015, a performance that must be seen to be believed. For the first time, the updated HC4 version will be used. The Captain for 2017 will be Flt Lt Andy Smith, supported by Co-Pilots Flt Lts Ed Peverell and Ryan Stowe and the all-important Rear Crew will be Sgts David Middlemas and James Ashwell.