Army's Workhorse Copter Fleet Is Grounded

400 Chinooks are grounded after engine fire risk is uncovered
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 31, 2022 7:35 AM CDT
After Fires, Army Grounds Helicopter Fleet
Soldiers and National Park Service personnel offload equipment and supplies from a U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter on Kahiltna Glacier on April 27, 2022.   (John Pennell/U.S. Army via AP, File)

The US Army has grounded all of its 400 CH-47 Chinook helicopters after uncovering a risk of engine fires. The grounding of the entire fleet of Boeing workhorse copters—which CNN describes as "the Army's only heavy-lift cargo helicopter supporting combat and other critical operations"—was ordered in recent days after officials became aware of fuel leaks triggering what an Army spokesperson described as "a small number of engine fires among an isolated number" of copters. The fires, occurring in models with engines made by Honeywell International, did not result in injuries or deaths, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Working with the Army, Honeywell determined O-rings installed in some T55 engines during routine maintenance at an Army depot failed to meet design specifications, per Bloomberg. A rep said the O-rings were not part of any Honeywell production and the company would provide replacements. The Journal notes the grounding "could pose logistical challenges for American soldiers" depending on when replacement parts can be installed. The Army rep said the Chinooks would be grounded "out of an abundance of caution until those corrective actions are complete," adding "the safety of our Soldiers is the Army's top priority." (More US Army stories.)

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