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External Loads-what Have You Dropped?

Guest Angry Egg Driver

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Reminds me of the repeater tower I took into the Bugs area in 83 or 84. I told the guy that the three poly ropes looked awfully worn for a lift like this and he insisted that they had worked fine up untill now....not to worry.

As I'm cruising up the valley, my eyes focused on the mirror I see the first one let go and as I'm slowing down as quickly as I can I see number 2 let go and in short order the third follows and I see said tower plummet earthward and now my only concern is flailing rope tickling the tailboom. I land on the road and pry the rope from the gap between the stabilizer and the boom.

When I return to the valley bottom to explain to the installer that we need some new parts I'm sure I reminded him of my earlier comments.

He showed up the next day with a new tower c/w steel cables, the new ne went up and it might even still be there not too far north of the lodge.

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Yes I did it. Scared the snot out of me knowing that rope was trailing like that. I remember thinking if I dump the pole too quick it would be even worse so it was a long ride down. Seems to me someone walked in to get the guts out of the cone. The day was more memorable as the trip back to the lodge included a bird strike on the windscreen right smack in front of my face. Left blood and feathers right up to the head on our new 412. Seemed like mach ! in that thing after a 2X4 so I had part of a second to duck when I saw the birdy!

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  • 6 months later...

Ok Angry Egg Driver... You started an entertaining thread here but what did you just drop?



And oh ya... I have had seismic bags, whole longlines, a fuel barrel, a drill head, and a bag picker all fall off. But... I didn't push any buttons so I guess I didn't drop that stuff, the helicopter did. ;)

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Thanks to whoever opened this thread again. It was fund reading it again. Plus, it reminded me of one I maybe should have let go, but didn't.


Back in the olden days of VIH when all we flew were the great Bell 47's, Woody Graham was wrenching for me in Stewart when Pat Carey of the original PWA drove his Otter onto a ridge top in cloud at night (strong winds had blown him well off a course he knew like the palm of his hand). Pat survived the wreck, barely, and was slung out the next day by Bruce Payne, then VIH Chief Pilot, with Eric Ostensoe of one of Silver Standard Mines (I think) in a net with a plywood floor (Bruce wired the hook closed so Eric was confident he couldn't be dropped).


The following day, I was sent in with a 47, and Woody, to sling out one of the Otter's wings. We had a couple of mid-sized evergreens tied onto the wingtip to act as a drag on the wing, plus some boughs along the upper wing surface to break up the airflow (as it turned out, not enough).


Anyway, Woody hooked me up, I hovered beside him so he could board, and we started a climb required to get over a high ridge before descending down into Stewart. It was one **** of a grind, and I had to circle almost endlessly to get enough altitude to clear the ridge and avoid a major downflow coming at me over it. As we finally reached adequate altitude at about 5500', I was able to drop the nose a bit to get a little airspeed, and relaxed my pucker strings a notch. I glanced sideways at Woody, and saw him staring fixedly straight ahead with his eyes bulged out, while his fingers clutched the front edge of the seat with the whitest knuckles you've ever seen. Then, movement to the left of the machine drew my attention, only to see the Otter wing flying in formation beside me.


Unsure of whether to laugh at Woody, or cry at my situation, I managed with enormous gratitude to get the speed back and allow the wing to reassume its proper place in the flight before the sling rope could engage our main rotor.


The rest of the flight was pretty much a long, high hover down into Stewart, wondering when Woody was going to say something, and relax those bulging eyeballs. I'm not sure he's ever forgiven me. B)

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You gave me a good chuckle there Downwash with your description of the "white knuckles" and "bulging eyeballs"... I had no trouble envisioning the whole thing. I had something similar happen one time while flying a canoe... you only have a second to speculate on the chances of a coincidence occuring in which a canoe that resembles the one below you has assumed a wingman's position off the left hand quarter... it's a great test of the adrenal glands!!!



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Downwash & HV, I know what you mean about 'didn't drop it but should have'. A 12' passive repeater dish (looks like an old satelite dish-for anybody that was wondering) on 50' line mixes with the downwash off a 206B at a terrifying rate. Too scared to punch it off 'cause it felt like it was above me :shock: Yuck. Flies WAY better on a 100' line and you can't wrap the stupid thing in a net to spoil the lift because your setting it on the top of a tower at the top of the mountain. One more lesson the hard way.

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On the thread of should have but didn't...


Strong winds in March had ripped the top half of the comshell off (I think I know why your radio isn't working). I rig up the 75' line to lift the bottom half off to enable installation of a replacement.


Full power but nothing moves then... Rip. Up comes the bottom half of the comshell without the base (turns out it was frozen to the mountain). It looked just like a jettisoned Apollo 11 second stage.


"Oh well I'm hooked on I might as well take it down. I wonder how it will fly." 10 mph all good. 20 mph stable. 30 mph OK. 40 mph - Hey!! Look at it climb for the tail rotor! I kicked the machine over with the pedal so I could see what the load was doing and flared to slow down.


It was a thing of beauty. Never in 100 years of trying would I be able to hook the longline over the right spring of the AStar skid gear but sure enough there it was stuck between the spring and the popout float. Boy, that must have come close to the tail rotor.


So now what? Well, like the 47 and the Otter wing I just crawled back down to staging. Luckily the load was light and wasn't a problem C of G wise. Lucky as well I did not have to jettison it because it wouldn't have let go (unless I could do another TopGun-like stunt that got me into the pickle in the first place). After landing on the ground but not on my line I was able to rehook things in the porper manner and continue with the job.


Of course the customer noticed nothing. I meanwhile spent the rest of the day thinking Holy Moly!

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