Western Trips

Western Trips

Monday, April 20, 2015

See the Helicopters of the USS Midway / San Diego, CA

The historic aircraft carrier USS Midway is permanently on display in San Diego Harbor, just to the west of the downtown area located alongside Navy Pier. Today, the USS Midway is a floating museum with an an enormous amount of exhibits in addition to the aircraft carrier itself.

ch-46 sea knight helicopter
CH-46 Sea Knight
The USS Midway was launched on September 10, 1945. At the time of it's launch it was the largest aircraft carrier ever built. The Midway-Class design was also one of the longest designs used. This historic vessel saw action in every major U.S. conflict over a period of nearly fifty years.

Among the exhibits aboard the USS Midway are finely restored aircraft from World War II to Operation Desert Storm. This floating living history museum makes a perfect trip stop for the entire family and if you choose can be a day long adventure. If you're visiting the San Diego area a visit to the USS Midway is one of your must stops.

Helicopters of the USS Midway

We want to highlight just a few of the USS Midway's aircraft exhibits. Among the aircraft on display on the USS Midway's deck are two interesting helicopters. One is the CH-46 Sea Knight and the other SH-60 Seahawk.

The CH-46 Sea Knight

The CH-46 Sea Knight was first procured in 1964 to meet the medium-lift requirements of the Marine Corps in Viet Nam with a program buy of 600 aircraft. The Sea Knight was built by Boeing Aircraft. This aircraft has served the Marine Corps in all combat and peacetime environments. However, normal airframe operational and attrition rates have taken the assets to the point where a medium lift replacement is required. The safety and capability upgrades are interim measures to allow continued safe and effective operation of the Sea Knight fleet until a suitable replacement is fielded.

navy helicopters
Sea Knight interior
The CH-46 was first introduced in 1964 as a dual rotor utility medium lift helicopter. Over 600 airframes were built, serving mainly with the USMC and USN, export versions were sold to Sweden, Japan and Canada, these variants differ in having larger balloon floats. Civilian versions have been operated by New York airways and PAN-A.

Some specifications for the CH-46 Sea Knight include a length of  44.82 ft. and a height of 16.70 ft. ea Knight's power plants are two General Electric T58-GE-16 turboshaft engines. The operational service ceiling is 9,498 ft. Maximum speed is 166 MPH with a range of 690 MPH.

The SH-60 Seahawk

Manufactured by Sikorsky Aircraft, The SH-60 Sea Hawk is the U.S. Navy version of the UH-60 Black Hawk and is the primarily medium utility helicopter in the Navy’s fleet. The Seahawk is a twin-engine helicopter. It's engines are specially adapted for naval use, with special treatment for use in environments with high salinity. It is used for anti-submarine warfare, search and rescue, drug interdiction, anti-ship warfare, cargo lift, and special operations.


sh-60 seahawk
The U.S. Navy uses the H-60 airframe under the model designations SH-60B, SH-60F, HH-60H, MH-60R, and MH-60S. This helicopter is able to deploy aboard any air-capable frigate, destroyer, cruiser, fast combat support ship, amphibious assault ship or aircraft carrier. The Seahawk is built to handle  anti-submarine warfare, search and rescue, drug interdiction, anti-ship warfare, cargo lift, and special operations.

Some of the SH-60's specifications include a length of 64 ft. 8 in, a height of 17 ft 2 in., and a rotor diameter of 53 ft. 8 in. Maximum speed is 168 MPH and range is 450 nautical miles. The helicopter's operational ceiling is rated at 12,000 ft. The Seahawk is powered by two General Electric T700-GE-700 or T700-GE-701C engines.

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Among the aircraft on display on the USS Midway Museum are World War Two aircraft, Korean War aircraft, Vietnam War aircraft and Desert Storm aircraft.

uss midway aircraft

Touring the USS Midway is a great adventure and there are activities for people of all ages. Some of these include climbing aboard aircraft and visiting cockpits... walk through helicopters, ride three types of flight simulators, climb in bunks, sit in ejection seat theatre and listen to real pilot conversations during Desert Storm.

Admission includes a self-guided audio tour to over 60 locations from the engine room to control tower, narrated by Midway sailors who lived or worked in each.

References include... Naval Air Systems Command, USS Midway Museum, SanDiego.org

(Article and photos copyright Western Trips)



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