methodical design and build stage of the program, structured to launch flight testing early and on the right foot. The Chinook’s performance in flight test shows the payoff of teamwork between Boeing Military Aircraft’s Chinook team in Ridley Township and Boeing Test & Evaluation’s rotorcraft flight-test team in Mesa, according to Steve Parker, director of the H-47 Chinook Canada program. That collaboration led to an earlier-than-expected completion of major flight testing and has helped this complex developmental program meet an aggressive production schedule. The first of Canada’s 15 Chinooks was delivered on schedule last month to the Canadian Air Force customer. Six more Chinooks are expected to follow by the end of 2013. “Our people in Ridley Township and our colleagues in Mesa and from across the enterprise worked together to rise to the challenge, and I know our customer appreciates it,” Parker said. The Canadian Chinook is significantly advanced, compared with its predecessors. It offers improved capabilities such as a new electrical system, extended range tanks, upgraded electronics, a Digital Automatic Fight Control System and a Directional Infrared Countermeasures system. “There are differences between this Chinook and the ones I’ve flown before, but flying this helicopter is like putting on my best pair of boots,” said Bender, who has been flying Chinooks for 24 years. “It just feels right to me and it’s ready to go to work.” Discovering and fixing unexpected issues during flight test can be costly and time-consuming. But to meet the first-delivery 34 BOEING FRONTIERS / JULY 2013 The target, the Chinook testing program had to be completed on time. To a flight-test planner, testing the aircraft’s new features presented a mountainous challenge of more than 200 hours of flight testing. Due to production learning curves, aircraft test programs occasionally begin with an “immature” aircraft requiring unplanned modification during the testing period. But the Chinook that rolled out of the Ridley Township facility was a “mature” aircraft ready to go test immediately, without the threat of delays down the road, Parker said. Early and constructive coordination with the Canadian customer led to getting the right requirements and engineering in place before a single rivet was bucked on the CH-147F, Parker explained. It also led to increases in first-time quality and reduction of traveled work. The factory team, for example, completed initial electrical testing without a single installation error. This customer coordination allowed rollout of the first CH-147F in time to make its first flight days ahead of schedule, Parker said. As head of the Canada Chinook Program, Parker established a clear policy: Stay open to new ideas, even if they challenged long-held program assumptions, and build a no-surprises culture across the program. That expectation carried through to flight-test procedures. Although the Mesa site has successfully tested the AH-64 and AH-6 models for decades, never before had a Chinook been tested there. By combining experienced H-47 teams from Ridley Township and around the enterprise with the seasoned test teams in Mesa, the program was able to bring together a trove of rotorcraft testing first of Canada’s 15 Chinooks was delivered on schedule last month. Six more are expected to follow by the end of 2013.
Frontiers July 2013 Issue
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