Skip to comments.Musings of a helo driver... (Vanity)
Posted on 08/25/2012 3:42:46 PM PDT by llevrok
Musings of a 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.
as to fixed-wing VS. fling-wing.....Give me the fling-wing every time!!!!....(if nothing else, its good for the heart rate and adrenal gland)
I flew Hueys in Vietnam 1971-72. Stayed on flight status in reserves until 1986. Came back as a ground warrant in 1994. Retired last year. My wife is a CW5, outranks me. Now we’re both retired. Life is good.
I’ve only made two Huey flights in my life. Flew from Tan Son Nhut up to Nui Ba Den. Anybody who says that he wasn’t scared shirtless on his first flight over Injun Country is either lying though his teeth or has balls the size of pumpkins.
Don't fool yourself!!!.....lose the power in a fixed wing...You're TOAST!
Lose the power in a helicopter and u have any altitude...you can safely land on a dime!...Helo Pilots practice that all the time...AUTOROTATION is your friend!!!...(of course you only get one shot at it!)
This guy is pretty good..but I've seen better!
Still driving 60’s. A’s, L’s and now M’s.
-55’s and Hueys way back when.
Many thanks to the Vietnam Vets who taught us.
WOFT class 83-37
Who could forget flyby’s every two weeks on grad day at Rucker?!?!?!!
YOU GOT IT!.....Cav Ho...Scouts out!
I knew I was gonna sleep fairly securely!!
as one old “higher up” explained.....Men are expendable...Helicopters are not!....(I got to go with the Bird) and BTW....Welcome home Brother.......
(It's kinda funny now...but crew-members actually did use the pucker factor when discussing the days events)
Pucker factor was off the charts, bro. But then I’m afraid of spiders, too.
Oh jeez you brought back my biggest regret flying in Vietnam we had an add-on mission to Nui Ba Den the mountain of the Black Virgin. I remember climbing toward that big peak it was like a pyramid I tried to get some photos but just then I ran out of film! We landed on a platform there were like stone building ruins around. Took off & went from the summit right down the mountainside & there were no foothills, old Nui Ba Den just rose out of the level ground around it.
At night in our AO we could see the threshhold lights of the active at Tan Son Nhut. Came back forty years ago this month August. All seems like yesterday.
Yes, our wives outrank us & we love them for it. Only when my `she who must be obeyed’ gives me a “directive”, instead of “yes, dear” I say “OK Chief, I’m on it”. Then I get reminded we’re not in the military anymore. Love it, just love it.
Your friend was one to be much admired. While all Marine officers have qualities to be respected, none so much as a Marine helicoptor pilot. So much of what I learned of leadership and truly being a man, I learned from the pilots of MAG-16 at Marble Mountain. Their bravery was unmatched and they treated those who rode in the back with respect.
Had a neighbor when I was a kid that was a 7th air cav huey pilot....then later on instructed at Fort Rucker. Ray Cole. Coolest Dad on the block. Could whip me in chess within 25-30 moves with his knights....everytime.
Dad flew Caribou in VN, then came back and learned to fly rotary so he could be XO of the warrant battalion at Rucker. We lived across from the parade field, and as kids we would count the helos in the graduation formation flights across the parade field.
I’ll put in a plug here for a cool organization, the Army Aviation Heritage Foundation. They do some awesome airshows with lots of rotary wing elements. Recommended.
They’re based at the airport in Hampton, GA, next to Atlanta Raceway (the NASCAR track, whatever the official name is). They do shows all over the place. A buddy who is involved with the group says they are the 3rd most requested air show group, behind the Blue Angels and Thunderbirds, but ahead of the Golden Knights.