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Heli Vs Avalanch

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From the TSB Daily Digest


A12P0014: The Bell 212HP helicopter, C-FAHG, operated by Alpine Helicopters Ltd. on heli-ski operations for Canadian Mountain Holidays (CMH) near McBride, was struck by an avalanche. The helicopter had dropped off skiers at the top of the ski run and the pilot was in the process of shutting down the P&W PT6T 'twinpack' engines after landing at the staging area at the bottom of the hill. The rotors were turning at idle rpm when it was struck by the avalanche. The snow pushed the helicopter on to its side and broke the tailboom. The pilot was the only person on board and he escaped with minor injuries. The avalanche did not affect the skiers.

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As an avalanche technician and a pilot, all I can say is... dang! blink.gif


Glad the pilot's OK - things could have gone much worse!


- Darren






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....... I always wear an avalanche beacon when flying heliski ops, in case you do get buried.

Also have a bit of conversation with your guide, to determine if it is safe to park at the pickup, during the current snow conditions. If it is a bit of a weak snow pack, park on the ridge close by and fly in, when they are settled at the landing, and ready for pickup.

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I was in the Bugs in 85 after the day was over and got a special request just before shutting down to drop the guides only at the top of Bay Street for a quick run and I was to wait at the bottom for them. This was before the big fatal slide a few years later so anyway I was looking through the telephoto lens waiting for them to come around the corner and all I could see was the fracture line starting a slide. Quickly realizing I had few options I hit the starter and as 1 engine wound up through 80% or so I lifted off I picked it up and moved out of the way with as much haste as is possible. its amazing what you can do with adrenaline and low fuel!Thinking there were 4 trapped Guides I was on the radio right away just as they all started calling in to my relief. Anyway - probably the biggest scare of my skiing career! the slide by the way stopped just in front of where I was parked but of course you never know that when its coming at you. Dave Cochrane may remember that one- I know I always will!

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