Phrog in Europe! Heliswiss is the European launch customer for Vertol 107, the commercial model of the military variant, CH-46 Sea Knight

Phrog in Europe! Heliswiss is the European launch customer for Vertol 107, the commercial model of the military variant, CH-46 Sea Knight

By Dario Leone
Feb 6 2023
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The Columbia Model 107-II Vertol helicopter is the commercial model of the military variant, CH-46 Sea Knight.

Columbia Helicopters, the world’s leading heavy-lift helicopter OEM, MRO, and operator, announced today it sold and has delivered a Columbia Model 107-II Vertol to Heliswiss International AG (HSI). The sale makes HSI the official launch customer for the aircraft in Europe.

Due to the uncertain future of the Ka32 and the imposed sanctions by European countries and Canada, HSI sought a long-term comparable and trusted workhorse for medium external load operations. With full OEM support, the standard category Columbia Model 107-II Vertol features a 22,000-lb (9,979-kg) lifting capability, internal and external cargo lift options, and 17-seat passenger capacity.

“The addition of the Columbia Model 107-II Vertol expands our fleet of heavy-lift helicopters, allowing us to better serve our existing clients and open new market segments in alignment with our business strategy,” says Ralf Walser, CEO of the Swiss Helicopter Group, parent company of HIS, in a Columbia Helicopters news release. “Working directly with Columbia, the aircraft’s manufacturer, provides us with the remarkable advantage of unique availability with extremely short downtimes.”

HSI will use the aircraft in its partnerships with governmental and private institutions for forest fire fighting, external load lifts, and rapid disaster response. The company plans to send the aircraft to Chile to fight fires and perform external load operations during the European winter season.

“We are pleased to support Heliswiss and the Swiss Helicopter Group as the European launch customer of our Columbia Model 107-II Vertol,” says Michael Tremlett, President of Columbia Helicopters Inc. “This partnership truly demonstrates Columbia’s dedication as an OEM to support international partners seeking highly capable heavy-lift solutions that can operate year-round.”

The Columbia Model 107-II Vertol helicopter is a tandem rotor, twin engine turbine powered, transport category helicopter originally FAA type certificated by Boeing Vertol in 1962. The type certificate was transferred from Boeing to Columbia Helicopters in 2006.

This aircraft is the commercial model of the military variant, CH-46 Sea Knight (affectionately known as the “Phrog”). The Columbia Model 107-II Vertol has the ability to be configured for multiple uses, including commercial passenger transportation, internal and external cargo transportation, aerial firefighting operations, charter support operations, helicopter logging operations, oil and gas exploration, and infrastructure support.

The Columbia Model 107-II Vertol has a maximum gross weight of 22,000 lbs (9,979 kgs). A large ramp area allows cargo and personnel to be loaded efficiently. With no tail rotor obstruction, fork lifts can pull up to the back of a running helicopter and load cargo as large as 6 x 6 x 20 ft (1.82 x 1.82 x 6.1 m). The maximum range of the Columbia Model 107-II Vertol is 358 nautical miles with auxiliary tanks.

The Columbia Model 107-II Vertol is equipped with two General Electric CT58-140-2 engines with a maximum speed of 148 knots and a cruising speed of 120 knots.

Photo credit: Columbia Helicopters

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Dario Leone

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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