12/31/2011. Remarks by Doug Duncan: "Similar in configuration to the
CH-54A, the CH-54B had 4,800 shp Pratt & Whitney T73-P-700 turboshaft engines (replacing the original 4,500 shp T73-P-1 engines), twin main wheels and new rotor blades.
N718HT was originally delivered to the US Army under the s/n 69-18467 in September 1969, and served with the 208th Aviation Company of the National Guard. It was transferred to NASA as 539 on March 18, 1972 and assigned to the Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. On January 15, 1974 it was transferred back to the US Army at Fort Eustis, Virginia, again as 69-18467.
On September 18, 1992, 69-18467 was purchased by Ken Guthrie of Cougar, Washington, and registered as N467KG eleven days later. On September 14, 1994 the aircraft was registered to Blue Bird Helicopters, and on April 14, 2000 it was registered to Helicopter Transport Services (HTS), Inc of Corvallis, Oregon. While still operated by HTS, ownership was transferred to US Leaseco, Inc of Baltimore, Maryland on May 7, 2001, and it was re-registered as N718HT.
N718HT is seen in the firefighter mode as Tanker number 718 being readied for another day of fighting wildfires in the nearby Marathon area. The crewman standing next to the left landing gear leg is actually in the process of refueling the aircraft. The large hose coming from the tank is the filling hose, with a large concrete weight on the end. One of the firefighters said that a big problem with this arrangement is that the body of water used to fill the tank has to be fairly large, as the CH-54 has to almost land on it to get the hose end in the water, unlike helicopters that use water buckets on the end of 200 ft (61 m) cables.
This type has always reminded me of a big six-bladed dragonfly, and even more so in this shot. It certainly looks more like one than the little Sikorsky R-5 that got the name."