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Oldest Flying Chinook Helicopter Facing Retirement After Decades Of Flight

STOCKTON (CBS13) — The oldest flying Chinook helicopter in the world is in Stockton, and it has earned a well-deserved retirement.

The California National Guard is getting a brand-new fleet of Chinook helicopters they say will help them save lives.

Capt. Ben Bowman of the California National Guard in Stockton gave us a guide on a tour of the old, then the new.

First, a Chinook CH-47D...that's historic. It's logged more than 10,000 flight hours, including missions in Vietnam, Korea, Iraq and Afghanistan. One of the 47Ds being replaced is the oldest flying Chinook in the world.

"We've got steam gauges for all our flight instruments," he said.

As Bowman shows us, the cockpit is old school, with a dizzying array of gauges and switches. But as the aging copters are phased out, that's all about to change.

The fleet of factory-new Chinook 47Fs may not look so different at first, but the biggest change is up front where the cockpit has gone high-tech. Gone are all those gauges.

For the digital demonstration, auxiliary power and earplugs are needed. It's a small jet engine in the back that powers the displays, giving the pilots the power to put in a detailed flight plan in a matter of seconds.

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