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At 4:30 in this YouTube video, a Chinook traverses the runway on its rear wheels. The text on the video lists "Emergency landing and take-off". Is there any reason for the pilot to do this other than "because I can and it's an airshow"?

The pilot then proceeds to back down the runway on the rear wheels, a maneuver that I can only imagine is showing off, but again, is there a legitimate flying need to do this?

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    $\begingroup$ Some BV-347's (modified from the Chinook) were fitted with a retractable rear-facing gondola which allowed the pilot to control the helicopter from underneath facing rearward. That being said I can't see a need for this type of ground maneuver other than showing off... Maybe to reduce ground speed quickly and maintain directional control? That's all I can think of. $\endgroup$ – Ron Beyer Apr 11 '16 at 15:57
  • $\begingroup$ I am not a rotocraft pilot, but I don't think helos normally "taxi" the way aircraft do. They just land and takeoff from the same spot. The maneuver shown would be relevant if for some reason you needed to take off from some other place where you are, or needed to maneuver the aircraft on the ground in some weird emergency. If you needed to get a helicopter into a shelter or building immediately (like somebody is shooting at you) and there is no time for a tow you might try something like this. $\endgroup$ – Tyler Durden Apr 11 '16 at 18:25
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    $\begingroup$ @TylerDurden Many flights and helicopters taxi, either on the ground when wheeled or in a hover taxi. $\endgroup$ – Simon Apr 11 '16 at 18:32
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    $\begingroup$ Take a look at this picture of a rooftop deployment: 379e5bfa-a-62cb3a1a-s-sites.googlegroups.com/site/… via operationhooah.com/Home/cool-chinook-stuff $\endgroup$ – Freiheit Apr 11 '16 at 21:45
  • $\begingroup$ That is not a runway. That is a cliff by the looks of things. And that would be an excellent way of offloading troops quickly without loitering for a full length landing spot, which would open yourself up as a target longer than necessary. (based on the screencap image of the video) But yes, a lot of the airshow footage is showing off lol. $\endgroup$ – NZKshatriya Feb 11 '17 at 22:43
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Ex-Royal Air Force helicopter force here, spent a lot of time around Chinooks.

I think the main answer is "because I can", but I can think of a legitimate combat use.

You are heavy, and forced to land downwind into a narrow strip because there is a hazard on the upwind side of the landing zone. There is not enough room to turn around. You could hover taxi backwards like this to pick up some inflow into the rotors from the relative airflow (and therefore increased lift), then climb away backwards until you do have enough room to transition into normal forward flight, more or less as shown in the video.

This is where team work kicks in - you've really got to trust your load master who is telling you exactly where you are.

Never seen it done though.

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  • $\begingroup$ Very interesting, thanks, Simon! That would account for the "back taxi", any legitimate reason for the forward taxi like that, beyond, "because I can"? $\endgroup$ – FreeMan Apr 11 '16 at 19:15
  • $\begingroup$ @FreeMan Sorry, I can't think of one. The first half is a "quick stop", the wheels on the ground help a little bit to scrub off the speed but the second half, I don't know. $\endgroup$ – Simon Apr 11 '16 at 19:30
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What you are seeing is whats called a Pinnacle Landing or Pinnacle Maneuver.

Why its practiced is much cleared from the below image. The Chinook has a large base that may prevent it from safely landing in circumstance that require an evacuation from a small raised area.

enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ If the Chinook in the video were standing still I would agree but the video shows it backing down at high speed. $\endgroup$ – Ron Beyer Apr 12 '16 at 1:48
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    $\begingroup$ What you're showing is, in fact, a nice match for the frame YouTube chose to use as the "cover" for the video, however, as @RonBeyer mentioned, it's not the part that I've linked to or asked about in my question. I didn't know the name "pinnacle maneuver", but I've seen it done before, so there's that. $\endgroup$ – FreeMan Apr 12 '16 at 3:29
  • $\begingroup$ @FreeMan the rolling may not be applicable in this case, but the rest of the maneuver still applies. $\endgroup$ – fooot Apr 12 '16 at 14:39
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    $\begingroup$ That's true, @fooot, but my question is specifically about rolling down the runway, then backing up again. $\endgroup$ – FreeMan Apr 12 '16 at 14:51
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    $\begingroup$ This doesn't answer the question at all. $\endgroup$ – David Richerby Apr 12 '16 at 21:39
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It looks like it's done to showcase the impressive level of skill & control that the pilot is able to achieve w/ this aircraft. Sort of like the Ken Block Gymkhana video series, where he's showing off amazing car control, but you would never want to drive like that except in a drifting contest.

Stretching the definition of 'practical', if you needed to tow something a short way & you had no pickup truck available, but somehow you did have a Chinook helicopter w/ a world-class pilot.... this would kind of be an option

Source: I just enjoyed the mental image of someone using a Chinook as a pickup truck

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    $\begingroup$ The first paragraph largely repeats the existing answer and the second is, as you say, a stretch. In fact, a huge stretch. I'm pretty sure that anything you could tow in this way could be moved easier and more safely by just getting a bunch of guys to push it. $\endgroup$ – David Richerby Apr 11 '16 at 20:47
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    $\begingroup$ You're right. I guess we could always come up semi-plausible use cases for anything, but given that my example is something that will probably never happen, do you think I should just delete this answer? $\endgroup$ – Nathan Smith Apr 11 '16 at 21:07
  • $\begingroup$ Deletion is up to you. $\endgroup$ – David Richerby Apr 11 '16 at 22:01
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    $\begingroup$ @NathanSmith No, you should not. +3-0 $\endgroup$ – CGCampbell Apr 12 '16 at 2:48
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When our CH- 46 (PHROG) pilots are moving the aircraft on the runway they were directed by ground crew like myself, there are plenty of times we would taxi them forward and backward so I don't believe it would be "just because" or "showing off". It's part of every pilots training as is the rear wheel landing or "pinnacle landing" which is used to land on rooftops and mountain tops hence pinnacle.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the input! They would taxi with only one pair of wheels on the ground, instead of all 4? What was the reasoning behind that? I could see it being practice for a pinnacle landing, but both in images (in this Q/A) the helicopter appears to be nearly horizontal (it's hard to be precise from the angles of the pictures) so the "pinnacle" portion seems to be just a regular landing on a ½ size landing pad - it doesn't seem to be in the "wheelie" position. $\endgroup$ – FreeMan Feb 10 '17 at 14:52
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    $\begingroup$ @FreeMan: With all four wheels on the ground the rotors would not create backward thrust. You need to lift the front wheels in order to move backwards. $\endgroup$ – Peter Kämpf Jan 2 '18 at 13:53
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My guess is that if you need to get into and out of a 'hot' strip this approach would minimise the time (and position in the sky) that you would be exposed to enemy fire. Just the sort of flying that might be needed on special ops.

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