An RAF Chinook helicopter was deployed from RAF Odiham to Whaley Bridge to assist civil authorities dealing with the emergency situation at Toddbrook Reservoir.

The RAF Chinook dropped approximately 150 tonnes of aggregate – a mixture of sand, gravel and stone – into Toddbrook. This was intended to stem the flow of water into the reservoir and into other surrounding watercourses designed for this purpose.

“Once the call from the civilian authorities came, we rapidly deployed an RAF Chinook and support crews to provide this vital support. We will continue to use the skills of our highly trained air and ground crew and the astonishing lift capability of the Chinook to assist in ensuring the safety of the public.”

Wing Commander Gary Lane
The RAF liaison officer at the scene

The Chinook’s crew were also accompanied by a joint helicopter support squadron deployed from RAF Benson and an RAF Regional Liaison Support Officer. This military support was requested and provided under the Military Aid To Civil Authorities (MACA) process, say the MoD.

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Chris H

27 Squadron – Now known as ‘Dam Unbusters’

I think the figure is some 730 tonnes as of the 6th August … utterly brilliant work.


Great support for the community and fantastic training for the pilots and loadmasters. From some angles the gap between the rotors and the bridge look quite scary and well as the shaped updaught from the embankment angle.

Rob Richardson

When i asked them to life a bag of ballast from Wickes to my house they were not interested.


I blame that on the cuts…

Daniele Mandelli

An asset I can never see being a victim of defence cuts.

All so useful. Well done to our RAF.


But then came the Corbynator!

Daniele Mandelli

Don’t be daft!

Even Corbyn would see the value of the Chinook force.

Especially as he was on site.


Maybe I’m just naive, but I was impressed with the way the pilot was able to keep the Chinook absolutely motionless over the spot on the dam where the ballast was being placed. That thing is the size of a bus!


Yeah he was a great pilot, I’m guessing he’s a guy.


I’ll let you into a little secret, the aircraft was a Mk6. This comes with the digital automatic flying control system (DAFCS). It uses a class A inertial nav platform (like most Western airliners) for navigation, but it also gives velocity information to the DAFCS. The powered flying controls takes the info from this and applies it for corrections. It operates far faster than a pilot can respond. This is one of the reasons it can hover rock steady. If you look at a RAF Chinook the older analogue aircraft don’t have this feed and they are all over the… Read more »


In other words, I was being naive…. still looked impressive, though!


Anyone seeing the Chinook do airobatics will be amazed. We regularly see Chinooks at Benson practicing carrying loads.