A Connecticut National Guard helicopter is back in Connecticut after a malfunctioning drive shaft forced the pilot to land in a field in Massachusetts.
The CH-47 Chinook was on a maintenance test flight Tuesday night when the drive shaft started to rumble and the crew smelled smoke, said Col. John Whitford, spokesman for the Connecticut National Guard.
At 8:45 p.m. the pilot landed the helicopter in a field in Hadley, Mass. No one was injured and the helicopter was not damaged, Whitford said. Four soldiers from the Army Aviation Support Facility in Windsor Locks were on board to check the recent work done on the helicopter and train on night flying, he added.
“The pilot took precautionary measures and landed in Hadley,” Whitford said. “They did what they were supposed to do and we immediately sent a team out there to look at the aircraft and get it back.”
The maintenance team was able to fly the helicopter back to the support facility Wednesday. Whitford said they are currently trying to determine the cause of the problem.
The last time Whitford could recall a precautionary landing of a CH-47 Chinook was in 2005, when a helicopter left Groton and landed on a soccer field at Griswold High School after an emergency light came on. Two years prior, an UH-1 “Huey” had landed on an entrance ramp to I-91 after a light came on. There were no injuries or damage in either incident.
Tuesday’s crew had planned to fly in a loop and return back to the support facility that night.