Helicopter Identification

As we are seeing so many “black” helicopters in our urban areas, we thought it might be helpful to provide you some familiarity with the various types so we can help us better assess what the government is doing with these various missions.

From the ground it can be hard to distinguish, but if you spend a minute working with it, you will know what to look for right away.

Types of Military Helicopters

Equipment Transporters


Considered the “Work Horse” of the Army, the Chinook, CH-46, is easily identifiable:  it has two sets of rotors.  It usually accompanies troop transporters and gun ships during a real mission.  This one is painted desert camo for Iraq, etc.  In CONUS (Continental US), they are usually dark olive green.

Troop Transporters


The Blackhawk helicopter is specifically designed to carry an Infantry squad of 11-13 people.  It looks like a regular helicopter with an elongated body.  It can carry M-60 machine guns on the sides.  During a real mission, these helicopters protect the Ch-46 Chinooks so soldiers and equipment arrive together.

Attack Helicopters







Also rather easy to spot as they are typically carrying their guns (not always).  The shape sets them apart from general utility helicopters because they are longer, sleaker and have a “meaner” look.  These include:  Apache and the AH-1 Cobra for the most part.

Utility Helicopters


They can fulfill a variety of missions from extraction of troops from hot zones, medevac, transport of VIPs, gunships, if necessary, etc.  But these have a generic look to them–more like civilian helicopters without the flare.  They also have a more rounded front shape.  The most common type is the UD-1 pictured above.

Observation Helicopters


OH-58 Kiowa comes to mind here.  They are look stealthier and are unmistakable by their shape.  These are the “scouts” of a unit formation.  Or they can perform solely for reconnaissance and “observation.”  Teamed with a gunship (Cobra or Apache) they are in “Hunter-Killer” mode.


11 Responses to “Helicopter Identification”

  1. I saw a black type of helicopter flying around NewBedford, MA about an hour or so ago. I have never seen these types of helicopters in this area, ever since I have been here. Which is about a year, now. I am becoming increasingly concerned.

  2. It was too far up inthe sky for me to see what kind it was, I will make sure I look at it more closely if I see one again. Thank you for posting this info and all the other information I recieve in emails. Be Safe. LoveandPeace,Mylene

  3. […] – Observed by TJ, Recent Activity:  I’m seeing all the listed helicopters more than I remember seeing in the past.  I remember seeing the fighter helicopter flying straight […]

  4. […] – Observed by TJ, Recent Activity (posted 7/23):  I’m seeing all the listed helicopters more than I remember seeing in the past.  I remember seeing the fighter helicopter flying straight […]

  5. […] Martial Law Alerts History HERE / Recent Week – Below / Helicopter ID HERE and Surveillance Aircraft ID […]

  6. We have the ch 46 stock nearby but I saw the AH 1 or Apache, carrying the guns on both sides. We never had those before. It was hovering over the base and flew in my direction in the attack mode. LI NY week of 7/20/09.

  7. […] Law Alerts History HERE / Recent Week – Below / Helicopter ID HERE and Surveillance Aircraft ID […]

  8. Today October 1, 2009 2-4 Apache or AH1 Cobra gun ships flew oval patterns over the eastern part of the KC Metro area. First pass was fast as in attack mode. Then they began sweeping in a oval pattern over the eastern part of the city. Flying low enough to see detail of the ship, no markings whatsoever, all black.
    KC being NW of and within 65 miles of Whiteman’s AF Base, we frequently see Equip. Transporters, and other aeronautical military planes. NEVER have I seen these menacing totally black low flying gunships over our city.
    They flew this pattern for apprx. 30 minutes, disappeared heading West, for 30 minutes and then returned to sweep in same oval pattern for apprx. another 45 minutes.
    I must add that it is a very unsettling feeling to experience this. Everyone that took great notice of this, stood outside and watched and has expressed the same feelings.
    Does anyone have any information regarding this ?
    No local news agency reported one word on this at all.

  9. seen lots of helicoptors within the last several months, loud, right near my house, never heard these before. Virginia

  10. Dorothy Donovan Says:

    Yesterday,20th April 2100, my daughter saw two helicopters fly over Cambridge, England. They both had their rotors on the side, not like the Chinook which is fore and aft. We haven’t come across these before. They are probably from the base at Mildenhall or Lakenheath, Suffolk.

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