CAMP PENDLETON - About a dozen Marine aircraft will make a commemorative fly-over during a graduation ceremony for the final class of CH- 46E Sea Knight helicopter crew chiefs Wednesday at Camp Pendleton's Air Station, Marine officials said.
The venerable Sea Knights have two sets of rotors -- forward and back -- and have been a familiar sight in San Diego skies since the Vietnam War era. But they will soon will be gone from the skies.
They are being replaced phased out and replaced by the MV-22 Osprey, which has rotors on wing-like supports. Those blades rotate Advertisement
[ The Tutoring Center ] from helicopter- like orientations to airplane-style configurations while in flight.
Despite some publicized crashes, Popular Mechanics magazine calls the Osprey the safest Marine attack helicopter in combat operations.
At Wednesday's ceremony, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 164 will graduate the final class of personnel trained to operate the old choppers, according to the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing's Public Affairs Office.
That squadron deployed the first squadron of CH-46E Sea Knights in Vietnam in 1968, and the helicopters have been flown since, earning a reputation as a workhorse, officials with the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing Public Affairs Office said.
Comment #2 | Monday, Feb 18, 2013 at 11:00 pm
The 46's are also called "Frogs", as well as "whistling xxxxxxx of death." The airframe is so old, there are recent instances of it breaking in two after lifting off a ship at sea.
Not to be a Debbie downer, and in spite of Popular Mechanics pronouncement that the MV-22 Osprey is the safest helicopter in combat operations, it is a known fact that the Osprey can't fly in "hot", and thus is limited in it's combat effectiveness. It is also known that flight in the helicopter mode for more than 10 minutes causes the engines to overheat.
But at least it's new, and is an improvement over the 46.
Comment #3 | Tuesday, Feb 19, 2013 at 12:36 am
I lived aboard Tustin Airbase for over 12 years. Fell asleep to the CH-46's musical noises. My belated husband served as a crew chief for many years, and respected those he trained, worked and flew with. I miss him. Have all these wonderful memories, and now these wonderful helicopters will be greatly missed overhead from the sky as they will no longer be flying over my house :o( I feel as if a big part of my heart is being torn apart yet again. Their rotor whop whops are such a comfort. Sad am I, along with feeling extremely old and tired, as that I remember these helicopters from the beginning of my husband's career, and now they too are going to be gone. God Bless, and thank you for all the memories of being part of the CH-46 community.
In loving memory of SSgt James L. Graves
Comment #5 | Tuesday, Feb 19, 2013 at 7:22 pm
Hey Bill, ummm thats totally wrong about the engines over heating. I work at Miramar and they sit on the ground turning in Helicopter mode over 15 minutes before launching, then taxiing to the run way, then zipping down the runway and flying race track patterns. So that info is bogus. But they are a piece of crap and high maintanence aircraft
Comment #7 | Wednesday, Feb 20, 2013 at 12:01 am
God bless you and your husband whom served our beloved country. Yes I too, will miss the 46's as well. Even though I never served, I do love the sound of freedom that they would rain through the sky, you always knew they were there even on a cloud covered day. Guess I'll have to get use to the newer sounds of freedom brought with the Osprey's. Thanks for the story FBN.