The snow provides an important training scenario for the pilots as the tandem rotor design and lift capacity of the Chinook is particularly useful in the mountainous terrain of Afghanistan where high altitudes and temperatures limit the use of other military aircraft such as The Hawk. The primary roles of the Chinook include troop movement, artillery emplacement and battlefield re-supply, and therefore both hovering and landing in poor conditions are essential skills required by the pilots.
Dunsfold Aerodrome is used regularly as a training venue for the RAF and on 1st December 2010 it welcomed the Chinook and its crew, who performed a few passes of the Aerodrome and surrounding snow covered landscape before completing both hovering and landing manoeuvres along the runway.
Dunsfold Park’s Development Director Jamie McAllister comments; “The snow which had built up on the runway throughout the day was swept into the air upon the arrival of the Chinook and created a snow storm surrounding the aircraft until it was completely concealed as it landed. We’re extremely proud to be supporting our troops in their training and it was a pleasure to watch the crew’s skill as they handled the Chinook along the runway.”
Dunsfold Park will endeavour to remain operational throughout the winter, not only for military training, but in order to keep the resident Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance service airborne.