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I think most of us would agree with you on conditions of camps, duty times etc... Particularly in the North where the sun doesn't set for months on end.


But, you are WAY out to lunch on the belly hooking of drills....


Engine failure 10ft above a drill set up will not only kill you, but the 2-4 people below you. Half the drills I've moved in the last year are on ground so steep you can't possibly get that close, in fact even a 50ft line is sometimes too short. You go on about engine failures, how many you had in your 23yrs? I've had precisely one - and it quit due to water ingestion, and that was on the ground. Faulty Go/No Go...


I don't think you're going to convince anyone here in Canada, particularly those of us working in the mountains, that a lanyard is preferable to a long line on drills, or any other aerial construction projects for that matter.


What's your problem with it anyway?





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Guest bag swinnger

Ok Mitch,

before this turns into a Mitch against Canada thing maybe we can both learn a little bit about the way it is done on the other side.

So if you would, maybe you could give us a little bit of a background about yourself and what sort of machines you have been flying vertical reference with. Also what kind of work you have been doing over there.


I presume you have been working somewhere in Europe. It sounds like you may be fluent in Astars, but I am guessing English may be a second language ( please don't take that as any disrespect )


Here on the west coast of Canada ( I cant speak for the guys from the next country over to our left, in the country of Quebecistan ) we use our mirrors for takeoff's and landings in confined areas for the correct positioning of skids on pads that can be either a steep mountain pad or a single log. We also use them to keep the tail rotor clear. as well you can keep a good eye on the occasional load or empty line and hook to see how it's behaving at speed.

I would never say that flying a load into place just using mirrors is wrong. Just that it seems to me that actually looking at the load in its surroundings would be a better way and a little bit less like flying by braille.


So I am looking for some examples from you that could broaden my horizons.

I will say though, that quite often I find myself placing a load to an exact spot in trees with a 150ft line only to find that the trees are taller than the line is long. So maybe a bit of a different environment but could that be done by mirrors?

Most of the seismic drills around here are placed in trees and require a 150ft line that also helps with minimizing down wash as well. A lot of the diamond drill work is done either above the altitude that trees grow or farther north than the trees grow, we still use a 50ft to 150ft of line depending on how steep it is.

I believe Canada has a reputation for pilots that have above average long line skills and are sought after for that skill world wide. I have never heard of some one being sought after for the skill of being good with mirrors. otherwise I would have tried to master that too.

I am curios if this flying by mirrors is widely used in a production environment or for fighting fires with a long line?

Sometimes when working in a production role ( meaning as fast as you can but never fast enough ) I find that I have to pay extra close attention to the clearance of the load where it can be challenging to judge distances when descending a heavy load down a steep mountainside as fast as possible.

I would expect this to be next to impossible or even fatal if I were just using mirrors.

If we are flying with class D loads, (Human external loads) everything becomes a lot more serious when inserting humans into tall trees.The line is fixed and at some times the trees are tall enough that things can go dark when the crew below is halfway in. Could we do that with mirrors? we would be going somewhat slower than in a production environment.

I do see SAR and the military of most countries, doing this sort of work with winches and spotters guiding them where the pilot doesn't see any thing at all. That seems to be some what of a different game all together though and a long way from production long line work.

when we train for long lining here it usually means going out with some one in the know, sitting beside us laughing at our mistakes and over corrections then giving up some tips. How would a pilot be trained for this kind of work in Europe with mirrors?


In A fire fighting role I believe the long line to be safer then bucketing off the belly, or using a belly tank because it keeps you above most dangers with less chance of blade strikes or contacting the tail rotor with the water, both are examples that have happened to people I know.

As for the long line versus lanyard or short line debate, all one has to do there is put them self into vortex ring state a few times with a short line on and a few feet from their target. They will be sold on a longer line guaranteed. If anyone suggests that could be going to fast please re read the definition of production pilot.

So Mitch it is a big topic that I would encourage you to please educate us where you can, on the benefits of Shorter lines and Mirrors.


Thanks. Shawn

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Hey Shawn, yes, english is not my first language, neither second, eheh, but I hope everybody understand me

Aerial work is like pizza, when you find "the best" pizza, you never whant to eat again in all last restaurants where the pizza are worst now.

I tasted longline in the begin, and it was fine for me, not easy of course, but with the time...

my first machines was Astar and 206, the 350 was more fun in speed operations, but 206 the best for hovering precision longline, steady and easy to look down.

212 in the second year, no coments, the paradise in longline.

But 212 stoped after 1 year, and then I come back to Astar for 20 years now, some hundreds hours in EC120, BK117, B412, but AStar gave me 80% of my experience.


When I reply this post, I said that we need longline for some works, like in forest and others, but there are no reason in toundra, deserts or any flat areas with no obstacles.


After some years here, I worked in europe and south america, but half time for canadian COs.

Sometimes you arrive in your new job and you don't agree with some practices, but after taste, wow! that works!!!

Seismic was my first work abroad, and the flights was very fast, nets connected to the hook and no lines, the same approaches and takeoff that flights with no loads, specials hooks to pickup the nets, same thing for trees spraying, ohhh, a new life was starting for me.


In the past Astar used to come equiped with a big round mirror, and never concave or convex, I remember you could have a nice seeing with 100 ft lines (I was young, with good eyes), but only 5 to 10 % of the time we needed longlines, it was most short. This mirror was Aerospatiale (now Eurocopter) part, very expensive, the reason we have bad mirrors today (convex), but you can find severals models with electric remote control by your cyclic.

In fire fighting, the bambi-bucket directly conected to the hook, you work with mirror all the time, and in europe (lack of lakes), you need to scope in small water tanks, it's difficult in the first time to adapt to oposit vision, in the second time that becomes automatic - and you can scope very fast. All the pilots needs to adapt, but it's happens quickly.


For the engine failure, most of companies use to train at +- 6 ft hovering, but you can train at +-15 ft in Astar, if you never did, try it in your next training, it's easy and safety (flight manuals numbers are written for beginners in type) - don't try at 100 ft hovering, it's not easy to get a smooth landing.


Yes, we learn good things at flight school, but with the time we discover that we need to leave the basics and find out that helicopters are more than we learned, and after thousands hours, we never know everything.


Il need to reed tips and skills and all the time I take some for me, and I like to share to.



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Interesting discussion. Having done both, considerably, I have to say I'd opt for the line if this old back would let me but, since it stopped letting me, I had to revert to the old mirror I learned on those many years ago and, yes, I've been pretty effective with the mirror and a 150' line. Is it ideal? No, but it kept me getting the job done although, admittedly, not on production work (duh!). And I don't want the engine failure at either altitude, thanks. Neither is a fun time for anyone around.

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Getting back to Prime's request for advise on diamond drill moves. A few things l've learned over the years;

-If the loads are dragging you around the sky like a drunken fool, then your going too fast.

-If your getting tossed about the sky like a childs toy, then it's too windy.

-Make the drillers remove all of the plywood from the roof of the shack.

-Make the drill foreman come out to help. Minimum 2 at the receiving end.

-On short moves, do a loop so your always coming into wind with the load on your side.

-I find the the 50ft line is most accurate unless longer is required.

-I go for fuel just before I set the shack and tower so I can go for a breather, a stretch and a piss.

Take your time Prime, it's not a race. Keeep it safe and have some fun.


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