|National origin||United States|
|First flight||22 April 1958 (V-107)|
|Status||In limited service|
|Primary users||US Marine Corps (historical)|
|Number built||H-46: 524|
|Developed into||Boeing CH-47 Chinook|
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. 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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The civilian version, designated as the BV 107-II Vertol, 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. Among the diversity of tasks was pulling a hover barge, and constructing transmission towers for overhead power lines.
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
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.