Summit Aviation prepares ex-US Army Chinook for firefighting role

Summit Aviation, a Greenwich AeroGroup company, has recently converted a Boeing CH-47D Chinook helicopter into a firefighting aircraft.

Late last year, the US military began to sell surplus CH-47D Chinook for civilian use.

CHI Aviation of Howell, Michigan has bought three of the 12 auctioned so far and Summit Aviation began to ‘depopulate’ the helicopter.

Ralph Kunz, general manager of Summit Aviation, says: “We’re pleased the Summit team can take all the experience we’ve gained from our military work to help prepare these Chinooks for a new and productive civilian life.”

The military is steadily replacing CH-47D models with newer Chinook CH-47F models. Some of the helicopters are being sold to overseas militaries, while parts are being collected from others for use on the CH-47F and other models.

Summit Aviation recently ‘depopulated’ its 200th CH-47D and expects to harvest parts from nearly 100 more Chinooks in the next few years.

Kunz says: “These helicopters have served our nation well, and they’ll provide great service fighting fires and performing other heavy-lift operations.”

Summit Aviation has more than two decades of experience working on the twin-engine Chinooks for Boeing and the Department of Defense. The Chinook that Summit prepared is entering CHI’s firefighting fleet, with service expected on an as-needed basis in the western United States.


Terry Spruce

Terry is Senior News Editor and writes for both Corporate Jet Investor and Helicopter Investor. He is also responsible for our helicopter guides. Terry has been an aviation enthusiast since the early 1970s. He is a lapsed Private Pilot and ex-Piper Cherokee owner. He has flown a number of light aircraft and is comfortable sitting in the co-pilot's seat or the back of any aircraft. Before moving to journalism he was a banker for 20 years. You can contact him at: or follow him on twitter @Terry_Spruce

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