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The CH-112 Helicopter

The CH-112 was a three place light piston engined helicopter that was in Canadian service from 1961 to 1972. The aircraft was manufactured by Hiller Aircraft Co in Palo Alto CA as a commercial model UH12E. It was similar to the US Army OH23G “Raven”. The name “Nomad” was assigned to this helicopter but the name was never in common usage.

The initial purchase of 25 aircraft with serial numbers 10261 to 10285 was supplemented by two further aircraft, 286 and 287 in 1964. Three helicopters, (261, 262 and 263) were painted in RCAF trainer yellow paint scheme with the last three numbers and RCAF in black on the tail boom. These aircraft were equipped with an artificial horizon and an ADF radio as well as the standard 10 channel ICA67 VHF radio. The remainder were painted in high gloss olive drab with the three numbers and ARMY in white on the tail boom and a yellow warning band in front of the tail rotor. This title was changed to CDN ARMY with the national flag on the baggage compartment in 1963. These Army helicopters had the VHF radio and the ARC44 FM radio for tactical communications. This radio had a built in aural homing function using the twin dipole antennas mounted on the tail boom.

The helicopters were all delivered to the Canadian Joint Aviation Training Centre (CJATC) at Rivers MB in 1961 and were used by the RCAF Basic Helicopter Training Unit (BHTU) and the Army Aviation Tactical Training School (AATTS). These units were became 4 Flying Training School (4 FTS) in 1968 after unification and as 3 FTS after being relocated to CFB Portage. One CH-112 (285) was assigned to 1 Transport Helicopter Platoon (1THP) RCASC to provide a liaison function for this CH113 Cargo helicopter unit. Nine aircraft were assigned to operational roles with Canada’s NATO Brigade Group in 1962. Seven (275 to 281) to the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps (RCAC) Helicopter Troop, 283 to 1 Transport Company RCASC and 282 to HQ 4th Cdn Inf Bde Gp (4CIBG) Liaison Flight.

The RCAC helicopter troop became the 4th troop of the Brigade Reconnaissance Squadron which was equipped with Ferret scout cars and later, the M113A Lynx tracked recce vehicle. This squadron was provided by the individual armoured regiments in rotation. The troop was part of 8th Canadian Hussars in 1962, followed by the Fort Garry Horse, 8th Hussars again and subsequently by “C” Squadron of the Royal Canadian Dragoons. The troop was absorbed into 444 Tactical Helicopter Squadron in Oct 1972.

The aircraft assigned to the Brigade were repainted in a NATO gray/green camouflage pattern with CDN ARMY in black letters in 1963. After unification the markings were changed to be Canadian Armed Forces. All the Canadian Forces Europe (CFE) CH-112’s were sold to UK agent in 1972 when the CH136 Kiowa came into service.

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10261 – Major crash in 1962 with two fatal and one serious injury while conducting cold weather trials for the Central Experimental Proving Establishment (CEPE). Aircraft was at altitude 7 miles SW of Fort Churchill when the transmission failed due to inadequate lubrication. Aircraft struck the ground upright with no forward speed at a high rate of descent. Pilot was an RAF exchange officer

10262 – 10263 – Employed in helicopter conversion courses at BHTU /4 FTS during service.

10264 – Assisted military support operations during Winnipeg floods in April 1966. –Detached to Fort Garry Horse for armoured reconnaissance training at Sarcee Barracks, Calgary during May 1969.

10265 – Detached to CFB Petawawa June /July 1965 for summer exercises.

10266 – Assigned to CEPE winter trials to test transmission oil heater modifications at Fort Churchill Jan/Feb 1967. – Destroyed on 18 Dec 1967 when aircraft burned in a post-crash fire after a hard landing on a lake 2 miles east of Rivers town. Aircraft struck the frozen lake surface when pilot lost depth perception during a practice autorotative power recovery forced landing approach. No injury.

10267 – “C” Cat accident 15 Jul 63 after striking tail rotor during low level tactical quick stop at Camp Wainwright . Aircraft had been detached to 1 Cdn Inf Bde Gp for summer exercises.

10268 – Detached to Bde Gp summer excercise at Wainwright June/July 1966

10269- “D” Cat incident on 3 Mar 65. Successful forced landing after control rods damaged when aircraft struck secondary power lines in a river valley near Rivers MA. Detached to CFB Petawawa June/July 1965. Detached to FGH at CFB Calgary April/May 1967.– Destroyed on 10 Jun 70 at CJATC Rivers with two fatalities while attempting a 180 degree turning autorotation for a practice forced landing.

10270 – Destroyed on 25 Sept 63 after collision with rural power lines during low level cross country navigation flight NW of Rivers. Minor injuries to the two pilots.

10271 - Detached to CFB Petawawa June/July 1965 and to Wainwright in summer of 1966.

10273 – Originally assigned to AATTS but transferred to the RCAC Helicopter Troop as a replacement aircraft in 1963. Sold in 1972 and registered as G-BBLB and subsequently written off in civil use.

10274 – Detached to CFB Petawawa June/July 1965.

10275 – First of the seven aircraft assigned to RCAC Helicopter Troop in for service in Germany in May 62 until replaced with CH136 in 1972. Later sold and registered as N31702, then G-BBLC and SX-HED. Written off in civil use.

10276 - RCAC Hel Tp 1962. Civil register as G-BBAZ, EC-DOR

10277 - RCAC Hel Tp 1962. Minor accident in Germany on May 16 1963 . Aircraft forced landed after canopy was shattered after a wire strike while flying at low level in a tactical exercise. No injuries. Damaged after hard landing during practice hover autorotation Jan 17 1964. Aircraft returned to Canada and reassigned to CJATC after repair

10278 – RCAC Hel Tp 1962. Minor accident May 7 1963 when tail rotor struck the ground during a steep flare on landing near Soest Germany during a tactical exercise.. Civil register as G- BBBA, EC-DOS.

10279 – RCAC Hel Tp 1962. Civil register as G-BBLE, SX-HEE.

10280 – RCAC Hel Tp 1962. This aircraft took part in a formal parade at Lahr for the Last flight of a CH-112 in CFE on June 8 1972 when the Hillers were replaced with the CH136. Civil registration G-BBLE , SX-HEE.

10281 – RCAC Hel Tp 1962. Transferred to HQ Flt 4CIBG as of Jan 1964. Registered as G-BBLF.

10282 – With HQ Flt 4CIBG 1962. Destroyed on 3 Dec 1963 near Erwitte when the aircraft nosed over on soft ground during forced landing after an engine failure. Replaced by 10281 from from RCAC Hel TP.

10283 – With 1 Transport Company RCASC Germany in 1962. Destroyed on 10 Oct 1963 when pilot lost visual reference with the ground and and struck a hill in the Teoburgerwald near Horn Germany while returning from Exercise Keen Blade. The pilot flared the aircraft and made a vertical descent into the trees on regaining visual contact. Three minor injuries. Aircraft was not replaced.

10284 - Assigned to RCAC Hel Tp in summer of 1964 as a replacement aircraft for 10277. Registered as G-BBCG on disposal.

10285 – Assigned to 1 Transport Helicopter Platoon RCASC as a liaison aircraft . Operated in Norway in Feb 1966 during NATO excercise “Winter Express and “Nimrod Caper” in Jamaica in 1969. Reassigned to CJATC when unit became 450 Sqn.

10286 – Replacement aircraft purchased in 1964 along with 10287. Major damage after an accident while low flying near Pembroke ON in July 1965. Helicopter rolled over and struck the ground after control rods were severed after striking a single wire running from a barn to a road during a Tactical exercise with 8th Cdn Hussars. Minor injuries to pilot.

10287 – A Category wire strike on 17 June 1965 during an exercise at CFB Petawawa. Aircraft skids snagged an unmarked telephone wire across a river and dragged the helicopter into the water. Minor injuries to the pilot.