Monday, June 30, 2008

Flight Contintued

Helicopters, quite possibly the most dangerous peace of equipment I will ever have to work around. But when it comes to a flying experience there is nothing else like it.

The very first time I flew in one was back in 2004, I received the safety briefing which, tells you where not to walk or stand to avoid becoming ground pork. After that briefing we managed to make a mess of the field days, missing the pick up points and on the following occasion taking the completely wrong path off the mountain. Thankfully the work I am doing now is some what more strait forward and the terrain lacking in mountains.

As work has been seeing me spending more time in choppers I have had the chance to see some of there quirks. The bird I have been riding in is Hughes 500. A common as dirt little bubble domed beast with seating for 3 and a pilot. The Hughes is military left overs, they were built in the thousands in the 70's for a little quagmire the Americans had gotten them selves into and they were built to be disposable. They were designed with a operational life of 200 flying hours, which works out to spending 8 days in the air, it was expected that they would get shot down well before that point so it was not a serious issue for the army. Despite there being designed for the US military, I am convinced that their shoulder harnesses and seat belts were designed for the VC.

Its not enough that the safety gear barely fits me, but the doors suck. A few times in the last two weeks I have seen a passenger door pop open in mid flight and to day I saw the pilots door do the same. Its a bit of a drag. Now for a passenger door, assuming some one is in that seat, its a simple matter of slowing down and shutting the door in mid flight. For the Pilot, its not so simple, the need both hands to fly, so it is not pracitcal to close the door 200m into the air. This lead to our putting down in a picturesque little out crop on the side of some nameless lake.


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