The Boeing Vertol CH-46 Sea Knight is a medium-lift tandem-rotor transport helicopter powered by twin turboshaft engines.

Boeing Vertol CH-46 Sea Knight "1958"

RoleCargo helicopter
National originUnited States
First flight22 April 1958 (V-107)
StatusIn limited service
Primary usersUS Marine Corps (historical)
Number builtH-46: 524[1]
Developed intoBoeing CH-47 Chinook

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Boeing Vertol CH-46 Sea Knight

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Boeing Vertol CH-46 Sea Knight

The Boeing Vertol CH-46 Sea Knight is a medium-lift tandem-rotor transport helicopter powered by twin turboshaft engines. It was designed by Vertol and manufactured by Boeing Vertol following Vertol’s acquisition by Boeing.

Development of the Sea Knight, which was originally designated by the firm as the Vertol Model 107, commenced during 1956. It was envisioned as a successor to the first generation of rotorcraft, such as the H-21 “Flying Banana”, that had been powered by piston engines; in its place, the V-107 made use of the emergent turboshaft engine. On 22 April 1958, the V-107 prototype performed its maiden flight. During June 1958, the US Army awarded a contract for the construction of ten production-standard aircraft, designated as the YHC-1A, based on the V-107; this initial order was later cut down to three YHC-1As though.


The Boeing Vertol CH-46 Sea Knight is a medium-lift tandem-rotor transport helicopter, furnished with a set of counter-rotating main rotors in a tandem-rotor configuration. It was typically powered by a pair of General Electric T58 turboshaft engines, which were mounted on each side of the rear rotor pedestal; power to the forward rotor was transferred from the rear-mounted engines via a drive shaft. For redundancy, both engines are coupled so that either one would be capable of powering both of the main rotors in the event of a single engine failure or a similar emergency situation. Each of the rotors feature three blades, which can be folded to better facilitate storage and naval operations.[7] The CH-46 features a fixed tricycle landing gear, complete with twin wheels on all three legs of the landing gear; this configuration results in a nose-up stance, helping to facilitate cargo loading and unloading. Two of the main landing gear were installed within protruding rear sponsons; the free interior space of the sponsons are also used to house fuel tanks, possessing a total capacity of 350 US gallons (1,438 L).

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Boeing Vertol CH-46 Sea Knight "1958")


Columbia Helicopters BV 107-II in Papua New Guinea

The civilian version, designated as the BV 107-II Vertol,[34] was developed prior to the military CH-46. It was operated commercially by New York Airways, Pan American World Airways and later on by Columbia Helicopters.[34] Among the diversity of tasks was pulling a hover barge,[35][36] and constructing transmission towers for overhead power lines.[37]

In December 2006, Columbia Helicopters purchased the type certificate of the Model 107 from Boeing, with the aim of eventually producing new-build aircraft themselves


  • Crew: 5: two pilots, one crew chief, one aerial gunner/observer, one tail gunner
  • Capacity: 24 troops or7,000 lb (3,200 kg)
  • Length: 44 ft 10 in (13.67 m) (fuselage))
  • Height: 16 ft 9 in (5.11 m) to top of rear rotor head
  • Empty weight: 15,537 lb (7,047 kg) [117]
  • Gross weight: 24,300 lb (11,022 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 24,300 lb (11,022 kg) [117]
  • Powerplant: 2 × General Electric T58-GE-16 turboshaft engines, 
  • Maximum speed: 144 kn (166 mph, 267 km/h) at sea level
  • Cruise speed: 143 kn (165 mph, 265 km/h) maximum at sea level
  • Range: 550 nmi (630 mi, 1,020 km) with 2,400 lb (1,100 kg) payload
  • Ferry range: 600 nmi (690 mi, 1,100 km)
  • Service ceiling: 17,000 ft (5,200 m)
  • Hover ceiling IGE: 9,500 ft (2,900 m)
  • Hover ceiling OGE: 5,750 ft (1,750 m)



Guns: Two door-mounted GAU-15/A 0.500 in (12.7 mm) machine guns (optional), one ramp-mounted M240D 0.300 in (7.62 mm) machine gun (optionail

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In 1960, Boeing bought Vertol, a helicopter manufacturer in Philadelphia, Pa. The company had three tandem-rotor helicopters under production: the Chinook for the U.S. Army, the Sea Knight for the Navy and the Marines, and the commercial 107-II for the airlines.