Short Final: Hood Up


In the early 1970s, I was a captain in the Kansas Army National Guard flying a CH‑54 Sky Crane helicopter IFR north bound off of Forbes Field, Topeka, Kansas. We were headed to annual training with Jeep on a four point load hung under the CH‑54 for ground transportation upon arrival. We were level at 4000 in the clouds on a Victor airway when over the intercom, our flight engineer advised that the hood was loose on our Jeep. We had entered the clouds at about 3000 feet. I had the following exchange with Kansas City Center:

Me: “Kansas City Center, Guard 435, request.”

Kansas City Center: “Guard 435, say request.”

Me: “Guard 435 the hood is up on my Jeep. Request immediately landing, block altitude to 4500 to allow me to land for 20 minutes to secure my Jeep.”

Kansas City Center (after a long pause): “Roger, 435, uh … eh … say type aircraft?”

Me: “Guard 435, CH‑54 helicopter.”

Kansas City Center: “Guard 435, cleared to land as requested, call climbing to 4000 on my frequency.”

Me: “Guard 435 cleared to land, out of 4000. Will call you coming back out on this frequency.”

We broke out at about 3000, landed and went to ground idle on both engines. The flight engineer and crew chief let the Jeep down, turned it around and hooked it back up on the four points, and tied the hood securely down. We did an instrument take off.

Me: “Kansas City Center Guard 435 climbing to 4000, thanks for your help.”

Kansas City Center: “Guard 435 climb to and maintain 4000 and cleared on course.”

The rest of our trip was uneventful and as always thankful for the able help of ATC, which continues to this day.

Charles R. Rayl

Strong City, KS

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  1. I was in the Chinook unit at Fort Hood when the KS Guard unit converted from CH-54s to Cobras and OH-58s.

    We delivered new rotor blades for the old aircraft they inherited from the Cav…

    That was a pretty big (no pun intended) adjustment for those guys…