Pima Air & Space Museum CH-46 Sea Knight on Display

Boeing Vertol CH-46E Bu.156469 as she looked earlier this year at the Pima Air & Space Museum prior to her refurbishment. (photo via PASM)
Aircorps Art Dec 2019

The Pima Air & Space Museum near Tucson, Arizona has just finished refurbishing Boeing-Vertol CH-46F Sea Knight Bu.156469 and placed it on display outside.

This Sea Knight actually rolled off the production line in Morton, Pennsylvania during the summer of 1969. The military formally accepted her on August 12th, 1969, and the United States Marine Corps assigned the helicopter to her first unit, HMM-261 – then known as the Bulls –  just a few days later on August 15th. Her time with the Bulls was short though, as HMM-365 Blue Knights received the aircraft at their home base, MCAS New River in North Carolina, on December 10th, 1969. ‘469 left the Blue Knights on February 4th, 1971 when she joined Headquarters and Maintenance Squadron 26 (H&MS-26), also at MCAS New River. A few months later, following maintenance, she joined the Black Knights of HMM-264 on June 10th, 1971, moving quickly to HMM-263 on August 12th that year at Turner Field, MCAF Quantico, Virginia. The Sea Knight moved back to H&MS-26 for another period of maintenance on March 14th, 1974, before returning to HMM-261, now named the Raging Bulls, on May 30th that year. ‘469’s history is a little vague over the following three decades, but at some point she received an upgrade to CH-46E status. She is at least known to have been with HMM-261 during January, 2008. Her final operational squadron was HMM-163, the Ridge Runners. She went into storage at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base on September 2nd, 2010, before finally being struck off charge three months later on December 2nd. Once the Marines finally retired the remainder of their Sea Knights in 2015, their stock of mothballed aircraft at Davis-Monthan began thinning out. Pima Air & Space Museum received Bu.156469 on loan in March, 2017, when she joined the queue for refurbishment and formal display. The following gallery shows how her refurbishment progressed from this summer until today.

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