Thursday, May 17, 2012

Don't say anything to Mom

One of our helicopters experienced an engine issue while on final approach to an off-airport landing. Engine failures are something we constantly train for and recovering from them becomes second nature. Helicopters make it to the ground surprisingly well if they're high enough and going fast enough when the hamster on the wheel keels over. The problem with final approach is that you are low and slow.

Racecars, helicopters, and teens on redbull/vodkas are designed to crash a certain way. As long as the skids are squared to the landing zone and relatively level at touchdown, the helicopter will soak up most of the energy so the humans don't have to. It was textbook. The skids split, the metal on the fuselage crumbled, and the seats collapsed. The student required three band-aids. The instructor got a shiner when the cyclic hit him in the eye and a sore back cuz his seat wasn't allowed to fully collapse due to the rock underneath it. All in all they were quite lucky.

I've had high-risk occupations most of my life (it's a fun game to add up all the amputees I knew when they had all their parts and pieces) and it's interesting to watch attitudes change when people realize it ain't all adrenaline and dancing girls. This group handles it differently than my last cadre of professionals. Lots of government officials, no stolen pitchers or bonfires.

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