posted on Jun, 18 2011 @ 02:07 PM
I served six years in the Army as a UH-60A/L mechanic and Crew Chief. I turned wrenches for about six months before being selected for a flight
company. I was on flight status for roughly 5 years (factor in basic training, advanced training, PCS moves, etc. and what’s left is the time left
for being a solider).
Couple of things: depending on the ground commander's wishes, we could (and did) simply remove the seats (except the two pilots and two Crew Chiefs)
and show horn as many soldiers as possible into the aircraft. As long as power required didn't exceed power available - confirmed by a hovering TGT
check & a graph that uses air temps, altitude and torque required - we were good to go. If memory serves me right, I want to say the most we ever
stuffed in was 18 PAX + 4 crew. Don't misunderstand me: these were scout guys. That means no mortar base plates, ammo cans, huge rucks, etc. I am
guessing the operators who went in to UBL's 'compound' were heavy on ammo and personal weapons, light on rucks, etc. In other words, they packed
for the mission at hand, not an extended stay. Does that make sense? So, the idea that a Blackhawk might have more than 11 PAX is not at all
far-fetched. Admittedly 24 would pose a physical space issue as well as aircraft performance limitation issues. I am not familiar with MH or DAP
versions of Blackhawks; how much they weigh, how much the extra gear affects performance, if they have higher rated engines, etc. I just don’t know.
24 pax possible? I’d bet yes. Preferable, easy or safe? No, absolutely not.
Secondly, it was widely reported that several (2?) CH-47's were involved as backup/on call aircraft. These are very large (for helicopters), heavy
lift aircraft. Without question, one of these birds could lift every single person involved in the operation.
Does that answer your main question about the airlift capabilities of the aircraft involved?