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Columbia Helicopters plans for new model of Commercial Chinook

February 27, 2024  By Helicopters Staff

Columbia Helicopters’ new 234 Special Purpose helicopter (234SP) focuses on converting existing CH-47D Chinook aircraft. (Photo: Columbia Helicopters)

Columbia Helicopters announced a new development program to redefine Chinook commercial operations worldwide. As the OEM of the Commercial Chinook, Model 234, Columbia plans to create a new model of super heavy-lift aircraft through converting existing CH-47D Chinook aircraft. Certification and market entry of the new model are planned for 2025.

Columbia explains this development program, named the 234 Special Purpose (234SP), leverages the existing Model 234 design foundation, while retaining the performance of the CH-47D. Coupled with the planned Chinook Integrated Sustainment Program (CISP), Columbia explains these programs are aimed at enhancing opportunity and support for commercial Chinook operators by providing a fully FAA-certified transport category rotorcraft and providing affordability, readiness and on-demand capabilities.

“Our introduction of the 234SP into the market marks a new chapter in Chinook commercial operations,” said Mike Tremlett, President and CEO at Columbia Helicopters. “We are thrilled to lead the way in unlocking unprecedented opportunities for operators with this ground-breaking aircraft, enabling them to optimize their fleets and achieve unparalleled performance and efficiency.”

The first customer of the 234SP is current CH-47D operator ROTAK of Anchorage, AK. “We are excited to bring this new opportunity to the industry and offer a new option for clients in the domestic heavy lift market,” said Ely Woods, President of ROTAK Helicopter Services. “Our partnership with Columbia and continued support has allowed a unique opportunity to change the industry.”


HeliSwiss International, a Swiss helicopter operator specializing in heavy-lift, long-line work and disaster relief, will also be a customer for the 234SP. “For over 60 years, Heliswiss International has developed an expertise in the construction and assembly of complex structures worldwide with the help of 10 tons category aircrafts,” CEO of HeliSwiss, Stéphane Delaye, wrote. “In the frame of its development strategy and the global development plan of the Swiss Helicopter Group, Heliswiss has assessed the European market and confirmed the need for a 20 tons category helicopter. With this further step, Heliswiss intends to operate the Chinook 234 SP as a utility – purposed Super Heavy Helicopter, and to support the ambitious development plan of Power Grids in Europe.”


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