CCAD Brings Special Ops Bird Back to Life

by Nicole Plascencia, CCAD Public Affairs

CCAD workers install roof on MH-47

Corpus Christi Army Depot riggers prepare to install a full cabin roof kit on an MH-47G for the first time in the depot's history. Courtesy photo (RELEASED).

Corpus Christi, TX (March 5, 2012) – Corpus Christi Army Depot artisans are pumping life back into a damaged MH-47G.

The second Special Ops bird to come through the depot is seeing success, as depot artisans turn a structurally unsound 47 into a brand new advanced heavy lifting machine.

This particular aircraft had an in-flight incident where the rotor blades physically contacted the refueling hose, shaking the aircraft violently and causing severe damage to the roof section. At one point, the bird was forced to make an emergency landing, damaging the landing gear.

The roof section and landing gear were damaged during the shutdown sequence after the "hard landing," initiating an emergency landing and grounding.

The 47 teetered on being completely scrapped but was instead sent to CCAD where artisans hope to have the bird in like-new condition by the end of the summer.

One of the biggest challenges yet has been installing a roof-kit, a first at the depot.

An entire cabin crown kit, being housed at Tinker Air Force Base, was procured from AMCOM for the helicopter.

Artisans cut the roof off the damaged 47 and prepared the kit.

“Anytime you take a new part and put it on an old bird they’re not going to match up,” said Greg Lincoln, Chinook field service representative for the Boeing Company.

The original manufacturer, Boeing, no longer makes components for this aircraft, creating a unique need for parts. Lincoln compared it to fixing a car.

“It’s like buying a car from the 80’s. They don’t make a lot of parts for the 80’s anymore. They make it for the current generation.”

The new roof had to be modified to specifically fit this G model. It was then physically installed on the aircraft.

“It’s got a lot of blood line to it. It’s built from several different models of aircraft. It’s all ‘Frankensteined’ together to make a G model.”

This particular aircraft was initially a C model in the 1960’s but has since then been converted into a G model to serve on Special Ops missions.

Since the bird is an older model a lot of references aren’t available or are very limited. This is where Boeing; the Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM) and CCAD personnel work together to make it happen.

“It keeps you on your toes because not all aircraft are the same. This aircraft, even though it’s a G model, is not made from the same year group. It’s a completely different design and has a different background,” said Lincoln.

“Working as a team, it took us about an hour to actually put the kit on the aircraft,” said Sheet Metal Mechanic Ovidio Trejo.

The bird is part of the elite TF 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) and with a small fleet to support the regiment, this aircraft is significant to the Special Ops community.

“We really have accomplished something,” said Trejo.

Depot artisans make use of a full cabin roof kit on an MH-47G, the first time CCAD uses a full kit on an assembled aircraft. Courtesy photo (RELEASED)


Designated a Center of Industrial and Technical Excellence for rotary wing aircraft, Corpus Christi Army Depot ensures aviation readiness through overhaul, repair, modification, retrofit, testing, recapitalization, and modernization of helicopters, engines and components. This effort includes world-wide on-site field maintenance teams, analytical crash investigations and chemical material process facilities. CCAD serves as a depot training base for active duty Army, National Guard, and reserve units. CCAD, as South Texas' largest industrial employer, employs more than 5500 personnel and contractors providing an overall economic impact of more than $1.14 Billon to the local community.