Montana's Billings Flying Service, Inc. owns and operates a fleet of Boeing CH-47D Chinooks among its Bell Helicopter rotorcraft. The Chinooks are now nearing maximum flight hours allowed before service is needed, according to local news reports. Billings Flying Service would like to build its own hangar to perform services, but have been met with hurdles.
After a lawsuit was filed and settled by surrounding property owners who feared too much noise and one zone change was approved earlier this year, a second zone change was required. It has recently been approved and should allow Billings Flying Service to proceed with construction and operation of its hangar. The company became the first civilian operator to type-certify the Chinook with the FAA in 2014, using them for firefighting and construction projects. Since then, the Chinooks have been fighting fires in multiple states. Widespread need for its capabilities this past summer led to the need for service.
The Boeing CH-47 has the ability to lift up to 26,000 pounds. Billings Flying Service has its fleet fitted with three cargo hooks and a fire bucket, among other configurations.
Photo courtesy of Montana's Billings Flying Service