Heavy lifter prototype finds a home in the UK

 - February 22, 2009, 3:50 PM

The largest helicopter ever built by a Western manufacturer and the world’s largest tandem-rotor helicopter never flew, but it dominated the outdoor collection at the U.S. Army Aviation Museum in Fort Rucker for almost 20 years after its program was canceled in 1975. But by October 2005, the sole prototype of the Boeing XCH-62 Heavy Lift Helicopter had deteriorated so much that the museum decided it could no longer maintain it.

In stepped the Helicopter Museum at Weston-super-Mare in Somerset, England. With additional support from Boeing, Columbia Helicopters, the Libraries & Archive Council PRISM fund and Avia Press (publisher of Helicopter International and HeliData), the helicopter was shipped in parts from the U.S. to the Helicopter Museum.

Said Elfan ap Rees, founder and chairman of the Helicopter Museum, “This was the biggest helicopter development to date in the West. It was a great shame that the development was never completed, especially as even today the U.S. Army still has a requirement for a heavy-lift helicopter in this capacity.”

The XCH-62 was designed to carry loads up to 45,000 pounds. Its fuselage measures 89 feet and each rotor spans 92 feet.