So well-established is the Boeing Chinook in RAF service that it’s almost easy to forget the time when, to Britain’s armed forces, it was new and unproven. This was how the Chinook force went to war in the Falklands, where the twin-rotor transport helicopter more than demonstrated its worth. In an exclusive account, the then CO of No 18 Squadron, Tony Stables, describes how it came about
In August 1981, five Chinook crews each comprising a captain, co-pilot and two crewmen graduated from No 1 Chinook Conversion Course to create the nucleus of the re-forming No 18 Squadron. Equipped with three metal-bladed aircraft and having a small number of technicians and support personnel, we began very limited flying operations, including a deployment to Denmark.