The important training qualifies pilots and crewmen to operate the helicopter on operations within the UK and overseas
A huge RAF Chinook helicopter was spotted flying over North Wales as crew members embarked on an important training mission. The 98-foot chopper was seen flying low over coastal communities on Wednesday afternoon before heading towards Snowdonia, flight tracking data showed.
The RAF recently said there was a continuing requirement for UK Armed Forces to operate successfully in the low-level environment, as low flying was a skill that could only be perfected and maintained through rigorous training and continuous practice in a realistic environment. The mountains of Snowdonia are often used by RAF and other aircraft to sharpen their skills.
The exercise is the final part of the operational flying phase of the Chinook training course run by 28 Squadron based at RAF Benson.
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They are easily recognisable because of the distinctive sound caused by their twin rotor blades and are affectionately known as Wokkas. Increased sightings has led to unconfirmed speculation that training exercises have been stepped up in the light of the war in Ukraine.
Speaking about the current ongoing exercises, the RAF said: "The course qualifies pilots and crewmen to operate the Chinook helicopter on operations within the UK and when deployed overseas.
"This is essential training providing key skills that will be required when they graduate from the Operational Conversion Unit and are posted to a front-line helicopter squadron.
"The operational phase of the course is the culmination of months of training by the students and, all being well, will see them return to RAF Benson ready to graduate."
The Chinook is an extremely capable and highly versatile support helicopter that can be operated from land bases or ships across a range of environments, from the Arctic to the desert or jungle. The aircraft may be armed and is fitted with a suite of self-defence equipment. Chinooks are primarily used for troop movement, resupply and battlefield casualty evacuation.
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With its triple-hook external load system, internal cargo winch, roller conveyor fit and large reserves of power, the aircraft can lift a wide variety of complex underslung or internal freight, including vehicles. It can carry up to 55 troops or up to approximately 10 tonnes of mixed cargo.
Secondary roles include search and rescue (SAR), and supporting a wide variety of specialist tasks, including the Military Aid to the Civil Authorities (MACA) commitment. A Chinook crew comprises two pilots and two crewmen, supplemented by specialists dependent upon mission requirements.