HAI reports: Columbia reveals new 234SP Chinook & cockpit partnership


Columbia Helicopters plans to build a new model its CH-47D Chinook aircraft to be designated the 234SP Chinook.

Heavy-lift specialist Columbia Helicopters has revealed plans to build a new model of its CH-47D Chinook aircraft to be designated the 234SP Chinook. The new helicopter is set for launch in 2025.

The 234 Special Purpose (234SP) helicopter will build on the existing Model 234 design, while retaining the performance of the CH-47D, according to the manufacturer.

Launch customer for the 234SP is current CH-47D operator ROTAK of Anchorage, Alaska. Ely Woods, president, ROTAK Helicopter Services looked forward to offering the new tandem-rotor, heavy-lift helicopter to clients. “Our partnership with Columbia and continued support has allowed a unique opportunity to change the industry. We are proud to be the launch customer for this new endeavour,” he said.

Coupled with the planned Chinook Integrated Sustainment Program (CISP), the development programme is intended to enhance opportunity and support for commercial Chinook operators by providing a fully FAA-certified transport category rotorcraft with “unparalleled affordability, readiness, and on-demand capabilities,” according to the company.

Meanwhile, Columbia has also revealed at HAI Heli-Expo a partnership with Genesys Aerosystems to develop and certify a new digital cockpit for the Model 234 Chinook. The collaboration aims to introduce a modern, Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) capable cockpit said to significantly enhance the multi-mission capabilities of the Model 234 Chinook.

The digital cockpit upgrade is intended to offer customers improved standards of safety, efficiency and situational awareness. Key features of the digital cockpit upgrade are said to  include: advanced avionics systems, intuitive interfaces, and the latest navigation equipment, which provides pilots with enhanced control and precision for safer flight operations.

The digital cockpit upgrade will be fitted as standard equipment on all new-build Model 234 Chinooks. Model 234 Chinook operators will have the option to retrofit their aircraft with the digital cockpit upgrade.