RAF Odiham’s Chinook Force announced as winner of VFS Kossler Award

Royal Air Force (RAF) Odiham’s Chinook Force has been announced as the winner of the Vertical Flight Society Kossler Award for their work at Todbrook Reservoir, helping to save the town of Whaley Bridge in Derbyshire in 2019.

In 2019, 8 RAF Chinook Force crew members flew three Chinooks for 58 flying hours and delivered over 600 tons of aggregate over a six-day period, ensuring the integrity of the dam at Todbrook Reservoir. RAF Photo

The Chinook crews were nominated by Boeing for their unprecedented work carried out in moving ballast into the damaged dam wall. Eight crew members flew three Chinooks for 58 flying hours and delivered over 600 tons of aggregate over a six-day period ensuring the integrity of the dam, while emergency services worked around the clock to drain millions of gallons of water.

The Society’s Capt William J. Kossler, USCG Award is given for the greatest achievement in the practical application or operation of vertical flight aircraft, the value of which has been demonstrated by actual service during the preceding 18 months.

The Society’s Awards Program was initiated in 1944 and over the years has paid tribute to the world’s outstanding leaders in industry, government and academia. The number of awards presented annually has grown steadily, as has the prestige and importance associated with them. The Vertical Flight Society Awards Program acts as a catalyst for stimulating technological advances in vertical flight aircraft.

“On behalf of everyone at Boeing, I’d like to extend a huge thank you to the U.K. Chinook Force for what it did in Derbyshire. The prestigious Kossler Award is well-deserved recognition, and Boeing is proud to partner with the Chinook Force, working closely with the RAF to ensure mission readiness to provide disaster relief during times of national crisis,” said Anna Keeling, managing director, Boeing Defence UK.


The Chinook Helicopter is the backbone of the RAF’s heavy rotary lift capability and has been involved in multiple military aid to civilian authority tasks as far reaching as Hurricane Irma in 2017 and is no stranger over the skies of Britain. RAF Odiham holds 24 hours readiness, 365 days of the year to support the U.K. and its allies both at home and overseas.

“The Chinook is an iconic aircraft that offers defense a huge capability. Whaley Bridge is just one example of how the Chinook can help support local communities throughout the U.K,” said RAF Odiham’s station commander, Group Captain Nicholas Knight OBE MA. “We must also thank those at Joint Helicopter Support Squadron at RAF Benson, too, which acted as a critical force enabler at Whaley Bridge. It is a privilege to have won this prestigious award — on the Chinook Force we feel humbled to be recognized amongst such an outstanding cadre of previous winners.”

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