Sounds like he got a white out. Like trying to fly with your eyes closed.
Instruments, if you have any and can use them don't do you any good trying to hover or land.
The pilot shouldn't have tried to take off but I'm the last one to judge, especially for the same poor decisions I've made myself.
The main rotor coming through the helicopter is fairly common. Offhand I can think of seven times.
A couple were,
A rollover accident at Bell Helicopter killed a mechanic on board.
A Bolkow 105 (PHI) pilot was killed by the MR blade when he tried to make a powered approach with an inop tailrotor.
One of the worst ones I know about was when I was in Leeville, LA in 1973.
I was going to put this in the "There I was thread" but it kind of fits here about the main rotor blade coming through the cabin,
if you are up to another long story.
The fog at the PHI Leeville base was so thick we couldn't see the parked helicopters just yards away.
We got a call that maybe one of our Bell 206B's, with 3 people on board had crashed.
In those days all we had for navigation was a wet compass and clock, so if you went down you couldn't give a position because must of the time you could only guess where you were.
(unless you just happened to be near an offshore platform)
The FAA sectional chart was so poor for offshore flying that most of us used a PHI desk pad that had the offshore block numbers on it, for a chart.
But, I don't think the pilot got a call out anyhow.
There was nothing we could do but hope the fog would clear so we could search. The fog wasn't going to clear.
After many hours we heard they were picked up by a little shrimp boat but a passenger was dead.
A long while later, when headed home, I happen to meet the surviving passenger in a gas station in Houston.
He told me the story.
The weather offshore wasn't too bad.
He said the pilot was being pressured to "try to get to the beach" by the man that was killed.
(customer pressure is not an unusual thing)
The near zero vis, I've seen it a lot offshore.
You are in low visibility but it still looks like you can see 3 miles (the minimums) if there was anything to see.
Then the next minute you can't see crap.
You go on instruments and do a 180.
In those days most of the helicopters had no gyro horizons, not even a needle/ball.
The pilot, Al, ran into that instant zero vis condition.
He tried doing a 180 and descending at the same time to try and see the water before he lost control.
He hit the water before he saw it.
A MR blade came through the cabin cutting the passengers legs off.
The other passenger said he and Al got the injured man out and got his life jacked inflated but he died quickly.
Then the man told me Al saved his life.
The water was fairly rough and after hours of holding on to what was left floating of the helicopter and holding on to the dead passenger they were exhausted.
They had to let the dead passenger go.
The man told me, after more time he couldn't hold on any longer.
He said, "The several times when I tried to let go Al grabbed me and pulled me back and told me I'de better hold on or I'll kick your ass."
I knew Al from our days as instructors at the Army flight school.
He couldn't kick that big oil field worker's ass on his best day, but he kept that fellow holding on.;f
By luck, after about 6 hours (I think it was 6) a small shrimp boat almost ran over them and picked them up.
Al continued flying for that oil campany for many years.
Last edited by M2 Carbine; 05-09-2004 at 21:58..