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M2 Carbine
03-04-2004, 11:55
For all you Helo guys !!!!!!


Musings of an unknown helo driver... Anything that screws its way into the sky flies according to unnatural principals.

You never want to sneak up behind an old, high-time helicopter pilot and clap your hands. He will instantly dive for cover and most likely whimper...then get up and smack you.

There are no old helicopters laying around airports like you see old airplanes. There is a reason for this. Come to think of it, there are not many old, high-time helicopter pilots hanging around airports either so the first issue is problematic.

You can always tell a helicopter pilot in anything moving: a train, an airplane, a car or a boat. They never smile, they are always listening to the machine and they always hear something they think is not right.
Helicopter pilots fly in a mode of intensity, actually more like "spring loaded", while waiting for pieces of their ship to fall off.

Flying a helicopter at any altitude over 500 feet is considered reckless and should be avoided. Flying a helicopter at any altitude or condition that precludes a landing in less than 20 seconds is considered outright foolhardy.

Remember in a helicopter you have about 1 second to lower the collective in an engine failure before the craft becomes unrecoverable. Once you've failed this maneuver the machine flies about as well as a 20 case Coke machine. Even a perfectly executed autorotation only gives you a glide ratio slightly better than that of a brick. 180 degree autorotations are a violent and aerobatic maneuver in my opinion and should be avoided.

When your wings are leading, lagging, flapping, precessing and moving faster than your fuselage there's something unnatural going on. Is this the way men were meant to fly?

While hovering, if you start to sink a bit, you pull up on the collective while twisting the throttle, push with your left foot (more torque) and move the stick left (more translating tendency) to hold your spot. If you now need to stop rising, you do the opposite in that order.Sometimes in wind you do this many times each second. Don't you think that's a strange way to fly?

For Helicopters: You never want to feel a sinking feeling in your gut (low "g" pushover) while flying a two bladed under slung teetering rotor system. You are about to do a snap-roll to the right and crash. For that matter, any remotely aerobatic maneuver should be avoided in a Huey.

Don't push your luck. It will run out soon enough anyway.

If everything is working fine on your helicopter consider yourself temporarily lucky. Something is about to break.

Harry Reasoner once wrote the following about helicopter pilots: "The thing is, helicopters are different from planes. An airplane by its nature wants to fly, and if not interfered with too strongly by unusual events or by an incompetent pilot, it will fly. A helicopter does not want to fly.
It is maintained in the air by a variety of forces and controls working in opposition to each other, and if there is any disturbance in this delicate balance the helicopter stops flying; immediately and disastrously.
There is no such thing as a gliding helicopter. This is why being a helicopter pilot is so different from being an airplane pilot, and why in generality, airplane pilots are open, clear-eyed, buoyant extroverts and helicopter pilots are brooding introspective anticipators of trouble. They know if something bad has not happened it is about to."

Having said all this, I must admit that flying in a helicopter is one of the most satisfying and exhilarating experiences I have ever enjoyed:
skimming over the tops of trees at 100 knots is something we should all be able to do at least once.

And remember the fighter pilot's prayer: "Lord I pray for the eyes of an eagle, the heart of a lion and the balls of a combat helicopter pilot."

Many years later I know that it was sometimes anything but fun, but now it IS something to brag about for those of us who survived the experience.

Dinky
03-04-2004, 13:25
Had a Chinook pilot tell me,"If you don't see any fluid leaking out of the fittings, don't get in the dammed thing because it is out of fluid.

We where flying out of a fire camp on our way back to Redding,in Northern California..

Santa CruZin
03-04-2004, 16:41
Excellent!

M2 Carbine
03-04-2004, 18:40
Dinky,

One of my Army Primary helicopter student at Ft. Wolters in the 60's was doing real well.
I told him that if he kept it up he would be in the top 10% of the class and would be able to pick his aircraft assignment when he got out of flight school.
He could fly Chinooks.

He said do I HAVE to fly Chinooks?
I said, No you could fly gunships, scouts, whatever. You got something against Chinook?

He said he was a Chinook crew chief and didn't like them.
They were in formation and one lost a gear box and began tumbling end over end.
He said he never wanted to get in one again.:)

FlyNavy
03-07-2004, 05:03
Helo bubba here. I can identify with your post!

fabricator
03-07-2004, 05:49
One of my favorite books, was about helo pilots in nam, the name of the book was chicken hawk or something like that, it followed the pilots from training to vietnam, I dont remember the exact quote but one of the instructors told the class,"there are approximately (2000?) bolts,rivets,fasteners, on a helicopter and every one of them is absolutely vital to flight.";P I have been up in a helo twice and both times almost lost my lunch, the first time was at niagra falls where you take off in one of those bubble canopy jobs, and are flying forward over a field about 20 feet off the ground and then you go over the edge of the gorge and it's about 1500 feet to the river, holy *****! the second time was with a local cropduster, this guy has the general air about him you describe, anyway we take off, and every thing is fine untill we get to the end of the first pass, it is hard to describe, but you know what happens, the rear of the thing swings around the, tail comes up the front drops and you are heading in the opposite direction and your stomach is upidedown, at least mine was, with my limited knowlege of the facts I have always thought that helo pilots must be the best pilots for the reason mister Reasoner stated, if you can make a 20 case coke machine fly you must have a clue.:)

M2 Carbine
03-08-2004, 10:23
Originally posted by fabricator
One of my favorite books, was about helo pilots in nam, the name of the book was chicken hawk or something like that, it followed the pilots from training to vietnam, I dont remember the exact quote but one of the instructors told the class,"there are approximately (2000?) bolts,rivets,fasteners, on a helicopter and every one of them is absolutely vital to flight.";P I have been up in a helo twice and both times almost lost my lunch, the first time was at niagra falls where you take off in one of those bubble canopy jobs, and are flying forward over a field about 20 feet off the ground and then you go over the edge of the gorge and it's about 1500 feet to the river, holy *****! the second time was with a local cropduster, this guy has the general air about him you describe, anyway we take off, and every thing is fine untill we get to the end of the first pass, it is hard to describe, but you know what happens, the rear of the thing swings around the, tail comes up the front drops and you are heading in the opposite direction and your stomach is upidedown, at least mine was, with my limited knowlege of the facts I have always thought that helo pilots must be the best pilots for the reason mister Reasoner stated, if you can make a 20 case coke machine fly you must have a clue.:)


I haven't read Chicken Hawk. I keep saying I'm going to but never get around to it.
Another good but very depressing (true) book, is called "Once a Hero".
It's about an Army chopper pilot that flies the helicopter to hold up banks.
That was some interesting times in the 60's, going through the Army flight school and going back as an instructor.


I know what you mean about "go over the edge of the gorge".
I flew a Bell 47 in the Rocky mountains. I'de always watch a new passenger as the ground instantly dropped away thousands of feet.



"I have always thought that helo pilots must be the best pilots"

A "good" pilot will be a "good" pilot whatever he flies.
A good fixed wing pilot, with good training, will be a good helicopter pilot.

Due to the nature of the machine and the fact that many times it is used in the worse conditions for the pilot and helicopter, a "fair" fixed wing pilot, that may be a passable safe airplane pilot, will probably be killed by the helicopter or his mistakes.

So a possible perception that helicopter pilots are such good pilots is because only the good (and lucky) ones last very long.;P
Sadly some of the good ones don't last long either.

Luck plays a big part.
As I posted, the three pilots that have been killed since I retired were all VERY good helicopter pilots.
They had been flying since the 60's.
Two were killed by other people's mistakes and the third was killed in weather, no one knows for sure.

fabricator
03-08-2004, 15:05
I highly recommend chicken hawk, one part of the book describes a medevac mission where the pilot did not have enough room so he took a close look at the vegitation around the lz an took it down anyway he basically used the rotors as a weed whacker, is such a thing possible? I would have thought with the high speed of the rotors just touching something would make them come apart immediately.

M2 Carbine
03-08-2004, 19:53
The main rotor will trim the leaves and real small branches.
As a guess I would think branches much over an inch might cause the blade tips to come apart.
They probably had to scrap those blades.

The main rotor will chop off the tail of the helicopter and still look in pretty good shape.

You don't want to hit anything with the tail rotor.

I trimmed very small tree branches a couple times with this Bell, going into places like this in the mountains.
I'de have the passenger hang out the door and tell me if the tail rotor was clear.

http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid61/pb1ddd0f10eb1d1663c3d99742e0e6178/fc246ad0.jpg

fabricator
03-08-2004, 20:11
M2, has anyone ever told you you ought to wright a book? ;Y

M2 Carbine
03-08-2004, 23:32
Originally posted by fabricator
M2, has anyone ever told you you ought to wright a book? ;Y

I flew for a long time and a lot of things happened.
Some funny or interesting stuff but many sad things.

Several months after I took the above picture, it's sister ship came apart in the air and killed a friend and fellow ex instructor from Fort Wolters.

We were both flying for the Forest Service in Montana and Idaho. He was released a couple weeks before me and was supposed to fly that helicopter to Utah then go on to Colorado on a Fish and Game contract.
(I wound up flying that job counting Elk)

I told him not to fly that helicopter. I had flown it on a fire a couple weeks before and it had a bad problem. I said the damned thing was coming apart and I don't think it had been fixed.

A couple days later while I was flying, the dispatcher told me to call my wife when I got down.
I was in Idaho and my wife was in Montana.
That evening when I called she said Forest's helicopter had blown up in the air, in New Mexico.

I felt so sorry for my wife. She had gotten to know Forest's wife and kids.
She had been around pilots being killed in the past
(there's a picture of her on the "There I was, in the fog, inverted, at night" thread)
but Forest was the first one she knew.

I know, especially after this, she worried more.

HerrGlock
03-10-2004, 05:24
Originally posted by M2 Carbine
I haven't read Chicken Hawk. I keep saying I'm going to but never get around to it.
Another good but very depressing (true) book, is called "Once a Hero".

CW2 is another one. It's like Chicken Hawk, more a compilation of stories from the unit than one person's tales but it's "good" in the way that anything that hits too close to home is "good".

DanH

HerrGlock
03-10-2004, 05:56
Originally posted by M2 Carbine
180 degree autorotations are a violent and aerobatic maneuver in my opinion and should be avoided.

When I was going through IP school for OH-58A/Cs, we had a couple of weeks of just autos. Lane 5 on Shell Field, Enterprise, Al, was about 100' long and looked like it was the size of a car carrier when you were trying to do 180 autos to it.

Pad 2 (little cross marks in the centerline paint tell you how much of the runway you have left, 4 marks on a lane) was the beer pad, if you had the cross mark visible through the chin bubble after the auto, you didn't buy that day.

Anyway...

180 autos were the favorites of both me and my Stands pilot during the school. We had more or less a running competition of who could get it lined up and in a proper auto losing the least amount of altitude. 1,100' AGL was the entry altitude for lane 5 (the postage stamp was the only place we could do 180 autos.) One day I had a really ON day and got it turned around and lined up. Altimeter said 1020' WOOHOO!!!

The next day he beat me, 1025'. Damn.

Those were the days, eh?

DanH

Helopilot
03-10-2004, 18:40
Those days at Wolters as an IP were the best. Half day schedules most of the time, no body shooting at you, cold beer where ever you went, "round eye" girls everywhere, man it just didn't get any better except for the students trying to kill you 4 to 6 hours a day. I have no idea how our instructor survived when I went through flight school. I know that when we finished with him, he couldn't hold a full cup of coffee without spilling half of it.
Chinook is a pilot's aircraft, plenty of power,comfortable, carry a vehicle with you for transpotation, good ifr platform. Only aircraft in the army today that can have a mid-air with itself(and several have). Fifteen years of flying them and it's the only thing that I miss about the army.
Viet Nam was different in the same place everyday and different on the same day in every place. More war stories than I can remember and more than I want to remember. Like most jobs and places it was the people you worked with that made it what it was. I was lucky enough to work with good people that saved my bacon on more than one occaision.
It sure got me used to carrying every day. I felt naked when I came back stateside and couldn't carry. Thank God that Texas saw the light. I live in a small quiet little town where nothing ever happens and there is no need for you "red neck, macho, hooligans" to carry a weapon! Of course, George Enard, the "Luby's Masacre" murderer lived just 11 miles away.