RAF Chinook after landing in Wales 290720 CREDIT BFBS
Aircraft

How Could The Chinook Stranded In Wales Be Moved?

The RAF Chinook was forced to land in a field in Wales after an "incident" during a training sortie.

RAF Chinook after landing in Wales 290720 CREDIT BFBS

A Chinook which was forced to land in a field following an incident is still awaiting recovery in south-east Wales.

The Royal Air Force pilot carried out an emergency landing on Tuesday evening, after what the Ministry of Defence described as a 'wire strike'.

The helicopter needs to be transported back to RAF Odiham for repairs and personnel are busy working out a way to get it out of the Welsh countryside as quickly and efficiently as possible.

"There is a specialist aircraft recovery transportation team that is based at Boscombe Down, in Wiltshire," John Sneller from Jane's Defence said

"They will go across, make sure the area is secure.

"They will gather the evidence for what has actually happened to the helicopter and then they will decide on how to recover the helicopter back to a flying condition."

The Chinook is an essential part of the Royal Air Force's helicopter fleet and it is worth £25 million, meaning it cannot be left in a field for long.

Smashed window on RAF Chinook in Wales 290720 CREDIT BFBS
The Chinook will need to return to RAF Odiham.

By road

One of the options is to transport the Chinook by road, something has been done before.

In 2018, in fact, Odiham High Street was closed for two hours while a stripped-down Chinook was moved on a transporter.

However, in this specific instance, the location of the damaged aircraft is problematic as the surrounding roads are country lanes characterised by tight bends and the nearest road is half a mile away.

Air-lift

The other option is to air-lift it as an underslung load.

Chinooks are normally used by the British military as the heavy-lifting workhorses.

Thanks to its tandem rotors, the aircraft has an impressive lift capability which allows it to transport weight in the main fuselage or underslung loads.

While lifting heavy equipment is common, lifting another helicopter is far from common, but it has been done before.

In Afghanistan there were incidents where helicopters were recovered from remote and hostile areas.

While Chinooks are heavier than most other helicopters, they have been used to lift other Chinooks in the past.

The RAF Chinook was forced to land in Wales after an incident on Tuesday evening (Picture: Ben Turner).

To make this possible, the helicopter would need to be stripped down to its skeleton first.

This process would involve removing the two set of rotor blades, both engines and anything removable inside the fuselage.

It would bring down the weight by five or six tonnes, making it light enough to be lifted by another Chinook.

This route would mean a lot of work and a delay by 10 days of the recovery.

In-situ Repair

Another possible option is potentially for the Chinook to be mended in situ and then fly back to base.

"The rotors look OK from the photographs and it managed to land normally," Mr Sneller said.

"It would appear that it's just damage to the structure, the front structure, of the aircraft.

"It might be that they would be able to get it back as it is at the moment. It's a very sturdy helicopter."