Military History Books
by Harold A. Skaarup   
Canadian Warplanes 7: Helicopters, Vertol Canada CH-21, CH-125, H-44 and CH-127 Workhorse

Canadian Military Helicopters, Vertol Canada CH-125 and CH-127 Workhorse

Data current to 10 Feb 2019.

(RCAF Photo)

Vertol Canada CH-125 Workhorse, RCAF (Serial No. 9641).

The Vertol Canada Workhorse, commonly called "the flying banana", was a single engine, tandem rotor helicopter acquired by the RCAF in 1954 and used primarily for search and rescue work.  It was designed to serve as a multi-mission helicopter, utilizing wheels, skis, or floats, based on the American Piasecki H-21 Workhorse/Shawnee.  Originally developed by Piasecki as an Arctic rescue helicopter, the H-21 had winterization features permitting operation at temperatures as low as −65 °F (−54 °C), and could be routinely maintained in severe cold weather environments.

Vertol Canada CH-21A, CH-21B, CH-125 Workhorse helicopter (15), six CH-21A Workhorse helicopters, USAF (Serial Nos. 52-8487 to 52-8492), redesignated CH-125 in 1968, (Serial Nos. 9610 to 9615), and nine CH-21B Workhorse helicopters, redesignated CH-125 (Serial Nos. 9636 to 9644).

Vertol Canada H-44A, RCAF CH-127 Workhorse helicopter (5), five H-44A Workhorse helicopters came to Canada, redesignated CH-127 in 1968 (Serial Nos. 9591, 9592, 9594, 9595, and 9596), for a total of 20.

The H-21B version was virtually identical to the H-21A except for an increase in the available horsepower of the engine for take-off.  The H-44 version was equipped with metal rotor blades and an advanced transmission and could be distinguished from the earlier versions by the covered struts of its landing gear.

 (RCAF Photo)

Vertol Canada H-44/CH-127 Workhorse, RCAF (Serial No. 9639), Base-Rescue Flight, CFB Chatham, New Brunswick, ca 1960s.

 (RCAF Photo via James Craik)

Vertol Canada H-44/CH-127 Workhorse, RCAF (Serial No. 9639), Base-Rescue Flight, CFB Chatham, New Brunswick, ca 1960s.

 (RCAF Photo)

Vertol Canada CH-127 Workhorse, RCAF (Serial No. 9639).

 (RCAF Photo)

Vertol Canada CH-125 Workhorse (Serial No. 9615), RCAF, jeep lift.

 (RCAF Photo)

Vertol Canada CH-125 Workhorse (Serial No. 9636), 108 Comm Flt RCAF Station Bagotville, Quebec.

 (RCAF Photo via Chris Charland)

Vertol Canada CH-125 Workhorse (Serial No. 9611), from No. 121 Communications & Rescue Flight based at RCAF Station Sea Island, pays a viist to the USS Coral Sea during her visit to Vancouver in 1960. 

 (RCAF Photo via Fred Paradie)

Vertol Canada  CH-127 Workhorse (Serial No. 9591) hoisting CH-125 (Serial No. 9610), near Greenwood, Nova Scotia, 6 Jun 1961.

 (DND Photo via James Craik)

Vertol Canada  CH-127 Workhorse (Serial No. 9591) and (Serial No. 9592), possibly Greenwood, Nova Scotia.

 (RCAF Photo via Mike Kaehler)

Vertol Canada CH-125 Workhorse (Serial No. 9641) and Boeing Vertol CH-113 Voyageur CH-113 (Serial No. 10401) (later 11301), 1967.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4949776)

Vertol Canada H-21B Workhorse helicopter, RCAF (Serial No. 9595), Spartan Air Services, Mid-Canada line, 1959.  It was taken on strength with the RCAF on 31 March 1958.  After the helicopter received this distinct paint scheme, Dominion Helicopters assumed operational control of it for use in suporting the Mid-Canada Line.  It carried the Canadian civil aircraft Reg. No. CF-JJW.  It was returned to the RCAF, and then conversion work to bring it up to H-44B standards was completed by Vertol at Arnprior, Ontario on 17 Sep 1965.  Two days later it was flown to Mountain View for storage.  On the 4 March 1971, this helicopter was struck off strength with the Canadian Armed Forces.  It was reduced to spares and scrap on 7 March 1971.