Bell CH-136 Kiowa
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The Kiowa was tactically deployed as an LOH or Light Observation Helicopter, performing duties
such as artillery and fighter fire direction or spotting. In combat, a helicopter's surival is
directly related to how low it flies, and "nap of the earth" flying (NOE) is what makes the Kiowa so much fun to fly.
10 Tactical Air Group's (10 TAG) Kiowa helicopters by and large worked very closely with the troops
in the field whom they supported. Shown here is the Kiowa flying over two Grizzly Armoured Vehicle
General Purpose (AVGP) and their supporting troops. The Kiowa was retired as of 31 March 1996.
In 1970, 74 Bell CH-136 Kiowas were ordered to replace the Canadian Forces' 44 remaining Nomads and L-19s.
Although the CH 136 is similar in appearance to the CF's Jet Ranger, the two are not versions of the same aircraft.
The major differences are in the main rotor blades and dynamic components. Perhaps the most identifiable visual
clue between the two is the Kiowa's angled lower edge of the rear door window, which the Jet Ranger lacks.
The Kiowa is a small, single-engine, single-rotor (two-bladed) helicopter acquired to fill the roles
of observation, reconnaissance, command and liaison, target acquisition, and adjustment of fire.
This particular 403 Squadron Aircraft has been fitted with the Mini-Tat GAU-2B/A 7.62mm Aircraft
machine gun which it is firing at the ranges in CFB Gagetown.
In the mid to late 70's, NATO forces had reported numerous wire strikes which killed 56 personnel.
An investigation by the Canadian Forces concluded that, in a helicopter wirestrike, there is a 70-80%
chance the wire will ride up the nose towards the rotor mast and controls and entangle or sever the rotor system.
The end result of this research was the Wire Strike Protection System (WSPS). Tests on the new system were
carried out by AETE, NASA and the US Army, leading to the installation of the WSPS on CF Kiowas being
completed in the early 80s.
A Kiowa, in formation with a pair of Dutch Army Allouette helicopters,
flies past the Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany.
Kiowas 208, 212, and 204 were photographed flying in formation near Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1978,
resulting in this much-publicized photo. During this period all three Aircraft were on strength of
No. 3 Canadian Forces Flying Training School's (3CFFTS) Basic Helicopter School flying out of CFB Portage
la Prairie, Manitoba. 204 suffered major damage on 16 June, 1979 but was repaired and was chosen to
wear a special "Canada Goose" commemorative paint scheme to celebrate the retirement of the fleet.
All three Aircraft were subsequently retired with the remainder of the fleet as of 31 March, 1995.
Bell Helicopters delivered a total of 74 COH-58A (later known as the CH-136) Kiowas for the ground
element of the Canadian Armed Forces between December 1971 and the end of 1982. Kiowa 136271 served
with 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron of the Canadian Forces operating out of CFB Edmonton,
Alberta until the fleet's final flight on 31 March, 1995 and subsequent retirement.
The winter camoflage scheme in use here is an example of units in the field introducing temporary
modifications for specific short-term requirements and was never an official Air Force paint scheme.
The Hiller UH-12E Nomad served from 1961 to 1972, primarily with the Air Observation Post (A.O.P.)
troops in Petawawa, Shilo, Gagetown, and Germany. The Army Aviation Tactical Training School at Rivers,
Manitoba was the other notable user of these Aircraft where Army personnel were trained in the use of
the helicopter. Seen here with its replacement in the A.O.P. role, the CH-136 Kiowa which began service
in 1971 and ceased operations in 1995 to be supplanted by the new CH-146 Griffon.
The Kiowa and Twin Huey, seen here against a backdrop of British Columbia's Rocky Mountains, made up the
backbone of the Air Force's 10 Tactical Air Group and were used primarily to support Army operations.
Both Aircraft have been phased out as the Air Force receives more of its replacement tactical helicopter,
the Bell CH-146 Griffon.