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CH-113 Labrador
CH-113 Labrador 11301 in the Canada Aviation Museum
Role Medium helicopter
Manufacturer Vertol Aircraft
Boeing Vertol
First flight August 1962
Introduced 1964
Retired 2004
Primary users Canadian Forces
Canadian Army
Royal Canadian Air Force
Produced 1962-1971
Unit cost CH113 Labrador $948,000
CH113A Voyageur $1,020,000 (1963)[1]
Developed from CH-46 Sea Knight

The Boeing Vertol CH-113 Labrador was the Canadian version of the US CH-46 Sea Knight. It was a twin-engine, twin-rotor, helicopter used in search and rescue operations from 1963 until 2004.[1][2][3]


Design and development

The Royal Canadian Air Force procured six CH-113 Labrador for the SAR role and the Canadian Army acquired 12 of the similar CH-113A Voyageur for the medium-lift transport role. The RCAF Labrador's were delivered first with the first one entering service on 11 October 1963.[1][2][3][4][5]

At the time of the Canadian Forces acquisition of the CH-147 Chinook in the mid-1970s, the existing Army Voyageur fleet was converted to Labrador specifications for use in the SAR role. The refurbished Voyageurs were then designated as CH-113A Labradors. This resulted in a total of 15 Labradors in service.[1][3][4]

The Labrador was fitted with a watertight hull for marine landings, a 5,000 kilogram cargo hook and an external rescue hoist mounted over the right front door. It featured an 1,110 kilometer flying range, emergency medical equipment and an 18 person passenger capacity. By the 1990s the heavy use and hostile weather conditions of air-marine rescue were taking their toll on the Labrador fleet, resulting in increased maintenance costs and a replacement was required.[1][3]



In 1981 the fleet commenced a mid-life upgrade carried out by Boeing Canada in Arnprior, Ontario. The refit scheme was known as the SAR-CUP (Search and Rescue Capability Upgrade Program) and included new instrumentation, a nose-mounted weather radar, tail-mounted auxiliary power unit, an improved high-speed rescue hoist mounted over the side door and front-mounted searchlights. A total of six CH-113s and five CH-113As were upgraded with the last delivered in 1984.[3][5]


In 1992 it was announced that the Labradors were to be replaced by a version of the AgustaWestland EH101 to be called the "CH-149 Chimo", with 15 on order. This was subsequently cancelled by Jean Chrétien Liberal government in 1993, resulting in cancellation penalties, as well as the prospect of another decade of service for the Labrador fleet.

In 1998 a CH-113 from CFB Greenwood crashed on Quebec's Gaspé Peninsula while returning from a SAR mission, resulting in the deaths of all crewmembers onboard. It was very evident that the fleet required replacing, therefore the same government, under extraordinary political pressure, returned to the EH101 manufacturers and placed an order for 15 aircraft to be called the CH-149 Cormorant.

Delivery of the new aircraft began in 2003 and the last CH-113 was retired in 2004.[1][3]

In October 2005 Columbia Helicopters of Portland, Oregon purchased eight of the retired CH-113 Labradors. This added to their complement of 15 Vertol 107-II Helicopters.[6]


CH-113 Labrador 11301 showing rear ramp.
CH-113 Labrador
Search and Rescue version for the RCAF. 6 built.[5]
CH-113A Voyageur
Assault and utility transport version for the Canadian Army. 12 built.[5]


 United States

Specifications (CH-113)


Data from[1] and Canada Aviation Museum[3]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 5 (2 pilots, 1 flight engineer, 2 SAR Techs)
  • Capacity: 26 passengers
  • Length: 84 ft 4 in (25.70 m)
  • Rotor diameter: 52 ft (15.54 m)
  • Height: 16 ft 8.5 in (5.1 m)
  • Disc area: 4,245 ft2 (379 m2)
  • Empty weight: 11,251 lb (5,104 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 21,400 lb (9,706 kg)
  • Powerplant:General Electric T58-GE-85 turboshaft, 1,350 shp (1,013 kW) each



  • Guns: none

See also

Related development

Related lists


External links


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