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Old 12-23-2004, 06:24 PM   #91
Kaumajet
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMW Rider
Well, obviously they can't be that "sophisticated" if guys like WeirD and Brad Vardy can fly them.
Ahem. Careful, we're listening
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Old 12-23-2004, 06:26 PM   #92
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Vardy
Ahem. Careful, we're listening
What he said.
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Old 12-23-2004, 06:26 PM   #93
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Vardy
Ahem. Careful, we're listening
Oh. Sorry. I just could never figure out how you guys can fly something that resembles a giant exhaust fan.
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Old 12-23-2004, 06:28 PM   #94
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMW Rider
Oh. Sorry. I just could never figure out how you guys can fly something that resembles a giant exhaust fan.
Anybody can fly the things.

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Old 12-23-2004, 06:28 PM   #95
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A-Star drill moves. Yummy.

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Old 12-23-2004, 06:31 PM   #96
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMW Rider
Well, obviously they can't be that "sophisticated" if guys like WeirD and Brad Vardy can fly them.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Vardy
Ahem. Careful, we're listening
Listening... and watching.

Don't worry fellas- I'll send the little black ones after him.
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Old 12-23-2004, 06:33 PM   #97
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Originally Posted by Wild Man
Listening... and watching.

Don't worry fellas- I'll send the little black ones after him.
[cone of silence] Good job. Make sure they have the correct 'orders' [/cone of silence]
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Old 12-23-2004, 06:33 PM   #98
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A little 205, but still worth a laugh

I think that the best stories are the ones that you couldn’t make up on your own, some are good ones, where everything works out OK, and others are the ones that if you could do something differently you would. Fortunately this story is one that I usually tell to try to get a laugh out of people at my own expense. I suppose that it’s a good example of how one thing leads to another, and it might be worth telling for more than just a chuckle.

I’ve been a helicopter pilot for thirteen years and in that time I’ve made my share of mistakes, but this one is a classic. About five years ago I was on a fire in south eastern B.C. and things couldn’t have been going better. I was put up in a good hotel, working with good people, having a good time. I was flying a 350 BA, a clean, light, tight ship. The job for this day was to support crews on a fire that had been established for a couple of days¾primarily bucketing¾a dream come true! Together with a B2 from another company we were running full tilt keeping a relay tank filled using Bambi buckets on 150-foot lines. Turns were to a very large lake about 1000 feet below, straight down.

Now like most pilots, I have my pride. I like to think that I’m pretty good at my job, especially driving a longline, so keeping the pace was on my mind because the B2 driver was no slouch. 150 feet of line through 130 feet of trees to an eight-foot target again and again. The tunes were going on the CD player, the bucket was going where I wanted it to go, this is exactly why I became a pilot. I was having a great time.

I had just dropped another load into the relay tank and was at full power, climbing the bucket out of the trees. As I turned and nosed the machine over to head back down the hill, the B2 appeared in my window, holding short to place his load. With more horsepower, he had the speed advantage and had managed to get far enough ahead that by now he had ‘lapped’ me! No problem, I simply pitched up and right, then back down to the lake¾not even a close call. The B2 driver and I had a laugh about him showing up in my way, and, like I said then, “no big deal”.

Well this is where it starts to get interesting. Of course, now I was motivated to keep pace with this guy, so I quickly headed down to the lake, dipped the bucket, and pulled up at full power, but something was wrong. As I increased power, the helicopter began to tip over. “What’s going on?”, I thought.

Lesson one on roll over, put the collective down, so I drop the water and look in the mirror to see that the longline has hooked over the spring aft of the bear paw. This new situation is cramping my style; I’m going to go at least another lap down getting this sorted out. Fortunately for me on the other side of the lake there is a small beach that will be just right to put the bucket on and unhook the line, so off I go. I’m going to be able to do all this without even getting out of the machine.

I had a plan. Sure, I’d be down a lap or two, but I’d try to get them back. With the tail rotor in mind, I put the bucket down on the beach and started to slowly fly out over the lake. The idea was to get low enough that the line would simply fall off the spring. This turned out not to be a good idea¾as soon as I turned away from the shore and headed out over the very calm, glassy water, I would lose reference and control with it.
The line was still over the spring, and it was time to come up with a new plan. I figured I’d better just land and take the thing off the old-fashioned way. Thinking that finding a spot to land should be easy, I re-positioned to a spot on the beach. The beach was small, and finding a good area where I wouldn’t get the main rotor into the bush was taking longer than I expected. All this time I was losing laps to the other guy, and I should have been giving him a clinic on how to run a 150-foot line.

Eventually, I give up on the beach as it was just too small. I had noticed some confined areas just inland of the beach, and went to have a look. The new plan was to stuff the bucket in the bush, so I wouldn’t land on it while setting down in the tight spot. Yet another bad idea. The area turned out to be too tight to land in, and it was time to find another. This is where this tale gets good.

There appeared to be several confined areas to chose from adjacent to the beach, so I began searching up and down the shore, losing time and pride with every second. Eventually, I managed to get the bucket hung up in a small tree in an attempt to land. I figured that this was no big deal¾I’d just pull it out with power. Of course, since the longline was still tangled in the skid spring, the more that I pulled the more the aircraft would roll. The bucket was really stuck, and this wasn’t working at all. Time for another plan.

Desperate times call for desperate measures, so the latest plan was to punch the whole line off and sort this mess out once and for all. Unfortunately, the portion of the longline between the cargo hook and the skid spring was at such an angle the hook wouldn’t release.

At this point, I wasn’t looking cool at all. The bucket was in a tree, I couldn’t get the line off the belly and there was nowhere to land within my 300 foot stretch of beach that my 150 foot leash would allow. Keeping the pace with the competition was no longer my main concern, as you can imagine. I was stuck, and I had forty minutes of fuel before I flamed out into the lake. My pride was going to take huge bath when I get on the forestry frequency to call in for some help. My day had ‘gone south’, big time.

This is a feeling that I will never forget. Hovering low over the lake looking at my bucket stuck in a tree with no way to get it out and no way to get it off me and nowhere to land. I had gone from being a king to a fool in an amazingly short amount of time. I figured that I should have one more good look up and down the beach before I call in the reinforcements. Like a dog on a run, I scoured my 300 feet of beach, up and down. Eventually at the very end of my rope I found a spot that would work. I had to put the toes of the skids on first then slide the rest of the gear up on the beach, being very careful not to send the main rotor into the trees. Finally, I was down, no time to waste.

I shut off the engine, got the seatbelt off, and unplugged my helmet. I figured I could still salvage this situation with my pride intact after all, if I hurried. With my helmet still on and the blades still spinning, I ran down the beach and, you guessed it, climbed the tree.
You have to picture it. It’s thirty degrees, I’m up a tree, in all my flight gear, swinging back and forth and madly fighting with my bucket. Sweat is pouring off me. The only saving grace is that nobody knows what an idiot I’ve made of myself. That’s when the B2 shows up to see what’s taking me so long. Never have I been so busted. It was going to be hard to convince anybody that this was ‘ops normal’

I managed to learn several things from this event, and I’m a better pilot for it. One thing that somebody told after hearing it is “You can’t look cool all the time” I still get a laugh over it.
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Old 12-23-2004, 06:34 PM   #99
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WeirD
Anybody can fly the things.

See? Just what I was talking about.
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Old 12-23-2004, 06:36 PM   #100
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WeirD


You have to picture it. It’s thirty degrees, I’m up a tree, in all my flight gear, swinging back and forth and madly fighting with my bucket. Sweat is pouring off me. The only saving grace is that nobody knows what an idiot I’ve made of myself. That’s when the B2 shows up to see what’s taking me so long. Never have I been so busted. It was going to be hard to convince anybody that this was ‘ops normal’

I managed to learn several things from this event, and I’m a better pilot for it. One thing that somebody told after hearing it is “You can’t look cool all the time” I still get a laugh over it.
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Old 12-23-2004, 06:46 PM   #101
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Awesome thread. I'm jealous.

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Old 12-23-2004, 06:47 PM   #102
Wild Man
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Vardy
[cone of silence] Good job. Make sure they have the correct 'orders' [/cone of silence]
[cone of silence] 'Orders' acknowledged. Execute, Execute, Execute. They're on their way. Rider has no idea.[/cone of silence]
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Old 12-23-2004, 06:48 PM   #103
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Boy, another boring night here. Guess I'll get another drink .... hey, what's that sound overhead?

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Old 12-23-2004, 06:51 PM   #104
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Old 12-23-2004, 06:55 PM   #105
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Vardy
No, a knee.
Pilots think they are funny. Haha.









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