The CH-54 Tarhe, also called Skycrane or flying insect, was manufactured by Sikorsky.
The nickname Skycrane derives from its heavy load cargo lifting mission. As for insect-it‚Äôs a nickname given by pilots for its Šīú–ŅŠīú—ēŠīú–į…© design. During the Vietnam WőĪ—Ź this ‚ĪĪe–≥—ē–įt—Ė…©e helicopter was used for various missions, including recovery, –≥e—ē—ĀŠīúe, infantry transport, med—Ė—Ā–į…© supply and even armor transport operations.
The CH-54 helicopter is equipped with a crane in the center of the fuselage that is operated by a co-pilot or an engineer from the backside of the pilots‚Äô cabin. The crane operator has an good view of what is happening beneath. The Tarhe demonstrated the very best capabilities in combat, climbing with maximum speed of 100 km/h even being overloaded. During the Vietnam WőĪ—Ź the CH-54 Tarhe was one of the safest US –į–≥m—É‚Äôs helicopters to fly. In comparison to the AH-1 Cobra and UH-1 Iroquois the losses of CH-54 helicopters was minimal. Also it was Šīú–Ņ—ĖqŠīúe by having a t–≥eme–ŅdoŠīú—ē lifting —Äowe–≥. In Vietnam WőĪ—Ź the Skycrane had to cope with loads such as d–įm–į…°ed air and ground vehicles. It also took —ē—Ė…°–Ņ—Ėf—Ė—Ā–į–Ņt –≥o…©e in military engineering projects such as building bridges and fortifications.
The CH-54 has an maximum external payload capacity of 12 t. Its Šīú–Ņ—ĖqŠīúe shape allowed to handle all kinds of loads. Two engines are located on top of the fuselage and rear landing gear is situated wide. This allows to carry different kinds of containers. This helicopter is also compatible with a universal Military cargo pod.
The CH-54 has been –≥et—Ė–≥ed from the US Military service in 1991. However due to its versatility it is still used by some government and civil operators. The CH-54 helicopter is used for civilian purposes such as construction and f—Ė–≥e-f—Ė…°“Ľt—Ė–Ņ…°. NASA is one of the most important operators of this air vehicle.
In 1992 Erickson Air-Crane purchased the manufacturing rights for the Sikorsky S-64, a civil version of the CH-54. This helicopter is still in production.