The Royal Moroccan Air Force had a good problem. They had just acquired three Boeing CH-47D Chinook helicopters from the US Army, the Moroccan’s had a requirement to bring the aircraft to an almost new condition before they could begin to operate them. The answer came from just under 6,000 miles away, in Aurora, Oregon.
Columbia Helicopters is the largest commercial operator of Chinook helicopters in the world. The company first operated the commercial Model 234 Chinook and more recently the Boeing CH-47D. The company’s extensive experience in maintaining these heavy-lift helicopters made the company a strong contender for the work.
“The US Army awarded Columbia Helicopter this contract based on our Qualifications and on our past performance,” said Scott Ellis, Director of Business Development for Columbia Helicopters. “So far, everyone involved has been pleased with our work. We are confident this will lead to more of these
types of contract in the future.”
The $6 million contract calls for the company to refurbish the newly purchased Moroccan aircraft. Columbia’s highly-skilled maintenance technicians conduct the work inside a separate, secure military maintenance hangar that is still a part of the company’s FAA-licensed Maintenance Repair Overhaul (MRO) facility. The helicopters arrived at Columbia’s facility in November, and are expected leave in
“The work involves inspecting every part of the helicopters, then repairing, overhauling or replacing any parts or components as needed,” added Ellis.
Part of the process also includes repainting the aircraft in Morocco’s desert camouflage pattern, and adding their military crests, flags and registration information. Specific attention was made to ensure that the paint colors and crest sizes were exactly as they should be on the finished helicopters.
As the maintenance project finishes up, plans are already underway to airlift the helicopters to Morocco. “We’ll put them on a ship or plane for Morocco,” said Ellis. “Our crews will meet the aircraft there to finish putting them into flight-ready status, and then we’ll present the aircraft to their military
“By the time we’re finished with the helicopters and present them to Morocco, they’ll look just like brand new helicopters,” finished Ellis.
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