Inside the Gates: Spectators get a close-up look at CH-47 Helicopter during Artic Thunder Open House
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson is turning into an aviation amusement park for aircraft lovers starting Friday morning during the Arctic Thunder Open House events.
On Friday, activities take off at 9 a.m. with an exclusive Arctic Thunder Open House rehearsal event tailored for specific community members. However, starting Saturday morning at 9 a.m. both the Fort Richardson and Boniface gates will open. The public will be welcome to view a variety of air shows and explore over 30 static aircraft.
One of the aircraft that participants will be able to see — both in performance in the air and on the ground this weekend — is the CH-47 helicopter. Spectators will be able to tour the inside of the CH-47, which can hold up to 33 combat-ready troops.
Observers will be able to find out how this type of helicopter is able to travel 170 knots per hour due to its turbo engines.
“That helps us complete and accomplish all the sorts of mission sets that we’re able to perform,” U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jeremy Maddox said.
According to Maddox, CH-47s in Alaska are primarily used for search and rescue missions in high-altitude areas that certain aircraft are not able to reach.
“Not only do we have over a thousand gallons of fuel on the main tanks on the side, we can also put in these extended-range fuel systems. This is actually a smaller one — this one holds 500 gallons,” Maddox said.
According to Maddox, spectators can see parts of the aircraft, which allows them to have a better understanding of how these aircraft are able to function during missions in Alaska. The public will have the chance to see parts that have been adapted to make the helicopter able to handle the Alaskan elements, and how it is different from an aircraft someone might see in the Lower 48.
“We fly around with skis all year round not only because of the snow during the winter, but Alaska is so wet and marshy, in some of the tundra muskeg, it is extremely soft,” Maddox said. A lot of the surface area that we have for these skis really helps us to stay on top of it.”
Officials hope the public can gain a better understanding of how CH-47s impact the state. Spectators can also learn about the type of missions the Alaska military community deploys on and the obstacles they face, building a new group of aviation enthusiasts.
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