Boeing Model 234
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The idea for the Boeing Model 234 dates back to the late 1970's when plans for the helicopter took shape. It is the civil aviation version of the military model CH-47 Chinook.
The helicopter could be configured to carry all passengers, passengers and cargo, or all cargo. There were long range and extended range versions of the Model 234, depending on the fuel tank sizes.
Innovative for the time, the Boeing Model 234 features tandem three bladed rotors of fiberglass reinforced construction. The nose of the commercial helicopter version protrudes beyond the cockpit to house the weather radar. The radar together with advanced avionics enables use of the helicopter day and night, in virtually all weather conditions.
The first three Model 234 helicopters were used as transports starting in 1981. They carried freight and passengers from Scotland to off shore North Sea oil platforms.
We received the following email from Neil Gaunt: "In fact British Airways Helicopters bought six BV234LR aircraft, but two crashed. The second crash killed 45 people and the type was withdrawn. I was a design engineer on the project."
"Final comment on the 234 - When it was built, the company was Boeing-Vertol as Boeing kept the Vertol name for many years. So to be correct your index page and 234 should read Boeing-Vertol 234 Commercial Chinook." - Neil Gaunt
The Boeing Model 234 can carry up to 44 passengers. It is fitted with a rest room and small kitchen. Fuel tanks were originally fitted into the fuselage fairings. For long range helicopters, passenger seats were removed for additional fuel tanks. Cargo versions of the helicopter could carry up to 20,000 lbs. internally or up to 28,000 lbs. from a sling beneath the helicopter.
To allow for heavier payloads, the long range fuel tanks have been removed from the fuselage sides of helicopters used for logging operations.
Unlike their military models, Boeing Model 234 helicopters were built in limited quantities. Six went to British Airways, three to Helikopter Services, Norway, one to ARCO, Alaska, and three to Taiwan, for a total of thirteen in all.
Columbia Helicopters has now acquired eight of the Model 234 helicopters built. They are used primarily for logging and for fighting blazes. One helicopter was damaged beyond repair, and three are being operated in Taiwan.