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There I Was

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Ok, so here''s the scoop. I read this form to kill time, and I get a lot out of it. Everybody in this gig has a bag of stories to tell, usually over a beer or two, and I think that''s what makes being in this game so cool. So bring em on. CTD can get some ideas about what to bring up in the Vortex, it hard to look cool all the time, I''ll start.

I was bucketing into a relay tank on a fire in the south east part of BC. I was in a Astar BA, along with another B2 from another company. We both were using 150 foot lines due to fairly tall trees, and things couldn''t be better. The rythem was going, the turn times were just right, but the B2 was out climbing me and every now and then would lap me.

Well I had just placed my load into the tank, pulled full power to climb the bucket out of the trees, turned to fly downhill to the lake, and in my path was the B2 with his load, holding short. No big deal, sharp turn, not even a close call. Get to the lake, dunk the bucket, pull power and start to roll over. So I simply reduce power, dump the water, and realize that the longline is over the spring aft of the bear paw.

No big deal, I''ll just land, fix it and get back to showing this B2 driver a thing or two about longlining. Well lucky for me there was a beach on the other side of the lake, so off I go. Well I put the bucket on the beach and set about finding a spot to put down. This is where it gets good The beach was too small to land without getting into the bush, no big deal, I''ll just go somewhere else. Well while lifting off to find some other spot, in the process of moving up and down this beach, I managed to get the bucket stuck up in a tree. No big deal, I''ll just yank it out. Well that got me back to the roll over, not good. New plan, I''ll punch off the line and sort this all out. No luck as the sharp angle from the hook to the spring made the downward force not enough to open the gate.

OK big deal, you have to picture me hovering low over this lake, looking at my bucket it this tree, wondering what the **** I was going to do, with 40 min of fuel to think about what an *** I was. But wait, it gets better.

I finally did find a spot on this beach to squeek up to the bush line, without doing some logging with the blades. I get out run down the 150 feet of line to the tree, climb the tree while still in my helmet and start fighting with the bucket. Just when the B2 shows up to see what was taking so long. Not looking too cool.

No s##t there I was, up a tree in my flight gear, in full sweat fighting with my bucket, and got busted doing it.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it...

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Here is one for you. (many years ago)

I land on a winter road (in the summer) to take care of business. Turn around to see the running helicopter sinking backwards into the road because the rotten log I landed on split under the skid. The stinger is resting on a termite mound keeping the tailrotor from packing it into the ground and getting "messy". I hop on the skid and get things level, zip up and fly away. I got busted by the apprentice working fuel for me, who asked how I got the stinger covered in mud. Live and learn. No harm, exect to my pride.

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Its all about remembering what you just said...

I had just thaught the subject of availability of power, Vortex Ring State and downwind rapid decellerations, and how bad it was to take off downwind, when I tried to demonstrate just about all that to my student! It was a very big adrenaline rush later, when I realized just what I had done! In 25 knots of wind, tail into wind, trying to gain some speed to conduct the departure, when all the sudden I did not even have enough power to remain hovering!!! it was somewhat embarrasing, but, I managed to twist the story around to my student, so that it seemed that I had demonstrated something important (which I guess i did, only not like I wanted to.) and thank god I managed to arest the descent rate before we struck the ground. I learned a lot that day, and hopefully I will not do the same mistake again...

I guess the moral of the story is: Learn from the mistakes of others, as you do not have the time to make all of the mistakes on your own! I guess I should have learned, since it actually was part of the preparatory ground instruction before the lesson.


Thanx for letting me share

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It was getting on in my tour in Greenwood and I hadn't had a mission for a while. Took the crew out for some local training and gave the co-pilot the right seat. We found a ravine just off the beach with a stream in it and a little cliff for the SARtechs to climb for fun. Briefed a full sequence with stokes litter to the base of the cliff, SARtechs to scale cliff for pickup at the top. It was tight and we were in a high hover, probably 60-80' instead of the usual 40', but I had good hover references, or so I thought. Both SARtechs were on the ground and the FE was inside hooking up the stokes. I was looking at my primary refernce thinking, 'Man, what a great tree to hover off of. I've got this cased.' When my co-pilot with a bit of an edge to his voice says, 'Move left very slowly.' Turns out my tail had drifted right and I was on my way to topping a tree. He had just managed to see wood chips flying at about 5 o'clock (not an easy feat in the lab from the front seat). We knocked it off and sheepishly told the SARtechs to hoof it to a clearing a click away for shutdown. Very embarrassing, but fortunately damage was minimal (just the blade caps), and after the mechanics inspected it we flew it home that evening. Learned that one reference is not enough if you can have two. My final lesson was that there are people on the North 'Mountain' of the Annapolis Valley who don't have phones. I had to go to three houses before I could find one to call Ops for a repair party! Then the Paul Bunyan stories started.15.gif

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