Military History Books
by Harold A. Skaarup   www.SilverHawkAuthor.com   
 
Canadian Warplanes 7: Helicopters, Vertol Aircraft (Canada) H-21/CH-125 and H-44/CH-127 Workhorse

Vertol Canada

H-21/CH-125 and H-44/CH-127 

Workhorse Helicopters

Data current to 20 May 2020.

(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 H-21A, CH-21A, H-21B, CH-21B, RCAF 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, 9611, 9612, 9613, 9614, and 9615), and nine CH-21B Workhorse helicopters, redesignated CH-125 (Serial Nos. 9636, 9637, 9638, 9639, 9640, 9641, 9642, 9643, and 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, via RCAFA)

Vertol Canada CH-125 Workhorse, RCAF (Serial No. 9638), Air Transport Command.

 (RCAF Photo)

Vertol Canada CH-125 Workhorse, RCAF (Serial No. 9639), Base-Rescue Flight, CFB Chatham, New Brunswick, ca 1960s.

 (RCAF Photo via James Craik)

Vertol Canada CH-125 Workhorse, RCAF (Serial No. 9639), Base-Rescue Flight, CFB Chatham, New Brunswick, ca 1960s.

 (RCAF Photo)

Vertol Canada CH-125 Workhorse, RCAF (Serial No. 9639).

 (RCAF Photo)

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

 (Canadian Pacific Railway Photo via Benoit Thibeault)

Vertol Canada CH-125 Workhorse (Serial No. 9615), RCAF, over Chateau Frontenac,  Quebec City, 10 Dec 1954.

 (RCAF Photo)

Vertol Canada CH-125 Workhorse (Serial No. 9615), No. 102 Communications and Rescue Unit at RCAF Station Trenton, Ontario.  It struck a street light shade with two blades of the rear rotor while attempting to land on a road runway at Moosenee, Ontario on 16 August 1956.  It was destroyed by fire after carrying out a forced landing at Bancroft, Ontario on 6 March 1957, when the engine failed on take off.  (Chris Charland)

 (RCAF Photo)

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

 (RCAF Photo)

Vertol Canada CH-125 Workhorse (Serial No. 9636), RCAF Station Winnipeg, Manitoba, 1965-1971.

 (RCAF Photo via Mike Kaehler)

Vertol Canada CH-125 Workhorse (Serial No. 9611).  This helicopter served with No. 121 Communications and Rescue Flight – RCAF Station Sea Island, British Columbia, No. 121 Composite (K) Unit, RCAF Station Comox, British Columbia, and No. 111 (K) Unit, RCAF Station Winnipeg, Manitoba.  9611 is hovering while doing float tests.  Note the crewman on the floor in the door calling the height for the pilot.  This particular aircraft was in RCAF service from 1954 to 1966.  In the background you can see two Cansos, two Sabres, two CT-133's, two Dakotas and possibly a Harvard.

 (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. 

 (DND Photo via Benoit Thibeault)

Vertol Canada CH-125 Workhorse (Serial No. 9611).  This helicopter served with No. 121 Communications and Rescue Flight – RCAF Station Sea Island, British Columbia, No. 121 Composite (K) Unit, RCAF Station Comox, British Columbia, and No. 111 (K) Unit, RCAF Station Winnipeg, Manitoba.  The helicopter went to Skyrotors Limited in Arnprior, Ontario for disposal action on 21Sep 1966.  They ended up purchasing it on 21 Aug 1967.

 (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), Greenwood, Nova Scotia.

 (RCAF Photo via Mike Kaehler)

Vertol Canada CH-125 Workhorse (Serial No. 9641) and Boeing Vertol CH-113 Voyageur (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.  Conversion of these helicopters was carried out by Vertol Aircraft (Canada) of eight RCAF H-21s for civilian use.  They were equipped to carry 19 passengers or 2,820lb (1,279kg) of internal cargo or a 5,000lb (2,268kg) slung load.

 (DND Photo via Francois Dutil)

Sikorsky CH-126 Choctaw Helicopter, RCAF (Serial No. 9632) and Vertol Canada CH-125 Workhorse, RCAF (Serial No. 9639).