Aircraft Type Index

Military Helicopter Index



Vertol CH-21B Workhorse Military Helicopter

Commonly known as the Commonly called the "flying banana" the H-21 Workhorse/Shawnee was designed and built in the early 1950's by Piasecki Helicopter as a tandem rotor Arctic rescue helicopter it soon evolved in to a multi-mission military helicopter, notably by the USAF and the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) to supply their Artic Distant Early Warning radar installations (DEW line). It is of note that Piasecki Helicopter was renamed Vertol in 1956 and subsequent helicopters produced being re-branded as the Vertol CH-21.

Vertol CH-21B Workhorse Military Helicopter


The YH-21A Workhorse, powered by a 1425 hp Wright engine, was used by the USAF in transport and med-evac roles, it was also used by the U.S. Army as the H-21C Shawnee but when used in Vietnam proved to be impractical in the hot climate and far too vulnerable to ground fire, as soon as practical (1964/1965) it was replaced by the UH-1 Huey and the CH-47 Chinook helicopters.

Vertol CH-21C Specifications:

  • Crew: Pilot, co-pilot, crew chief (plus one or two gunners in Vietnam)
  • Capacity: 20 troops or 12 stretchers
  • Length: 52 ft 6 in (16.0 m)
  • Rotor diameter: 44 ft 0 in (13.4 m)
  • Height: 15 ft 9 in (4.80 m)
  • Empty weight: 8,950 lb (4,058 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 15,200 lb (6,893 kg)
  • Engine: Single 1,425 hp (1,063 kW) Wright R-1820-103 Cyclone radial engine
  • Maximum speed: 127 mph (110 kn, 204 km/h)
  • Range: 265 mi (230 nmi, 426 km)
  • Service ceiling 9,450 ft (2,880 m)


  • One or two .50 (12.7 mm) machine guns (or)
  • One or two 7.62 mm M60 machine guns

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