Monday, September 22, 2008

Premature Air/Ground Interface.

Bayou Renaissance Man has pictures of a scary-looking (and fatal) incident caused by a light helicopter unexpectedly dropping into suburbia.

I know that the recip-powered Robinsons are some of the most common whirlybirds out there, and I know that low-time rotary-wing pilots are most likely to be found at the controls of an R-22 or R-44, and I have no idea how well the absolute numbers correlate to incidents-per-flight-hour, but you couldn't get me into a little Robinson for love nor money, and I've been better than half-out the window of a Cessna 152 at a few thousand feet AGL before. It seems like nine times out of ten, when something godawful happens involving a civilian helicopter, it's one of these little birds... *shudder*

7 comments:

joe said...

Don't forget the infamous "death ranger"

One winter in the early 70's,I was sitting on the patio of a restaurant in Sun Valley when one tried to land, caught a rotor on a snow bank and cart-wheeled towards me. Stopped upside down just off the edge of the patio. Everyone walked away excpt the pilot who got a broken leg. Hugely surreal watching that thing come at me and not be able to do a thing.

Charles Pergiel said...

Seems like I hear more noise about big helicopters crashing than the little ones.

Talking to woman today whose son is the military. Lots of bad things happen in the military that you never hear about on the news.

Maybe I am tuned to the wrong channels.

Snap said...

Actually, Robinson's are flown by low time pilots mostly 'cuz they're cheap to operate, not 'cuz they're easy to fly. I'm a fixed-wing pilot myself, but I know some chopper jockeys. They tell me you can't even instruct in one till you have 200 hours in type. Just rumor, nothing I've ever confirmed. The other reason you hear about 'em crashing more is that they're some of the most common training helicopters out there (once again, 'cuz they're cheap to operate relative to other helicopters).

John B said...

I stopped flying in choppers at the end of the 80's. Seemed the longer a pilot was in one, the flat-ass crazier he got. Hell, a couple of them even became Clinton Democrats...

As one pilot told me, "Flying in a chopper's the most un-natural act you'll ever do with your clothes on...

perlhaqr said...

Must have been a chopper pilot I saw in the gun store yesterday wearing a great big Obama button affixed to his shoulder holster strap.

Billy Beck said...

Helicopters are the devil's machines. Built to break in the worst ways, they're heaps of shrapnel cleverly disguised for maximum guile until the moment when the dynamic snake-eyes roll up and shower the countryside with howling doom. All sensible people stay as far away from them as possible.


(PP-ASEL with TW endorsement)

Ride Fast said...

How that Robinson didn't burn I'll never know. Scary story, to be sure.