Jump to content


Frasca VRForum468Helicopter AcademyVOLO_VRHome200TigerTugs
Photo
- - - - -

10 hour course produces overconfident moron


  • Please log in to reply
17 replies to this topic

#1 Matt321

Matt321

    ATP Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 58 posts

Posted 26 April 2015 - 08:54

Not a lot of recent posts here so I figured I'd post one of my stupid decisions for everyone to learn from.

 

I had just graduated from the Army's high altitude mountain course and thought I was pretty awesome. My commander wanted to go out and learn something from his newly minted mountain guru so we decided to go out for a quick training flight. I was flying an old but reliable UH-1 at the time. We knocked out a quick preflight and all the other Army bs and headed out to the training area. It was a windy day with gusts around 25 kts at the airfield, warm, and we were loaded up pretty good with all the medevac stuff and hoist etc. I had a nice pinnacle in mind at about 4500 msl that I thought would really showcase my awesome technique and show my commander what a stellar pilot I was.

As we got up to the training area we found the pinnacle quickly; it was a decent little hill that jutted out from a ridgeline and was slightly higher. Winds were out of the west and after doing our wind drift circle we realized winds were about 45 kts out of the west at the pinnacle. In my infinite wisdom I figured no biggie, we'll just ride that monster demarcation line down, what could be easier? So I go through my really cool sounding landing brief doing my expert wind and terrain analysis, explaining to my commander about the downdrafts and other areas to avoid, and of course, the escape route.

In a Huey at high altitude, a down and right escape route works well if rotor droop is encountered and I had that stuck in my head from the course. Obviously, the intent is not to disregard a 45 kt wind and stick with the down and right escape but that's exactly what I did. We made our approach into the wind which put the pinnacle dead ahead and the ridgeline at an angle to the right which meant the my escape plan required a right turn  off of the pinnacle to the downsloping terrain over the lee side of the ridge. A great plan with no wind.

Initially, we rode the demarcation line down, practically autorotating down the updraft to the site. My LZ was just about under my feet  and we were about 200 agl. I got a little uncomfortable because even though I thought I was the man, I had almost no mountain experience and this kind of approach felt odd. So I did something really dumb - I slowed down a bit so that I could see the LZ better rather than look over my toes. Like an elevator with the cable suddenly cut we dropped out of the sky and then I made my second mistake.

I executed my briefed and poorly planned escape route designed for a situation I had not encountered. I turned right, down the lee side of the ridge. Due to the odd angle of the adjacent ridge and the kicking winds, I actually put myself into a bit of a tailwind and turbulence as I turned further aggravating my descent. The ridgeline got closer and closer as I pushed the nose down to try to regain airspeed. I pulled as much collective as I dared, willing myself not to yank it up to my armpit and seal my fate. We skimmed the back side of that ridgeline a couple feet off the ground fighting the wind and finally gained enough airspeed to level out and climb back up. My hands were actually shaking as we headed back home.

 

A 10 hr course does not produce an expert. In my case, it produced a liability.

 

 


  • Bootcamp, SBuzzkill and Jaybee like this

#2 BH206L3

BH206L3

    VR Veteran Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 120 posts

Posted 26 April 2015 - 13:56

Well you learned something from it, so it was not a total waste! You didn't kill yourself or those on board the machine! You will remember this one for the rest of your flying career! Learning to fly is fairly simple, gaining the wisdom and experience that is the hard part! The kind of helicopters I fly, I would wanted to be someplace else, 25 Kts on the ground could be double or more in the mountains not a day to go up into the hills, on the civil side of things that would be a good call, for you in the Army well you might have guys you have to go and get different thing altogether!  I have a few boy I will never do that one again type lessons too! 



#3 Spike

Spike

    VR Veteran Poster

  • VR Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,620 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 26 April 2015 - 23:24

Good story with a valuable lesson. Told this way, this IS the epitome of todays “hangar talk”.

 

Thank you for sharing....


Edited by Spike, 26 April 2015 - 23:28.


#4 RagMan

RagMan

    VR Veteran Poster

  • VR Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 614 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 27 April 2015 - 07:51

A valuable lesson indeed. Always have to remember not to get ahead of yourself or your experience. Start small, and work your way up. A staircase to experience.

Thanks for sharing. Fly safe

 


#5 eagle5

eagle5

    VR Veteran Poster

  • VR Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,376 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 27 April 2015 - 21:24

Wind drift circle? Demarcation line?

What might those be?

#6 Eric Hunt

Eric Hunt

    VR Veteran Poster

  • VR Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 678 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Near the beach

Posted 28 April 2015 - 00:09

Jeez, Eagle, who missed a few things while teaching you to fly? 

 

A wind drift circle is flown to allow you to see where the wind is coming from.

The demarcation line is the boundary between the free-moving wind and the turbulent airflow caused by the mountain/ridge/whatever. Goggle them up, see lots of good pictures.

 

Matt, your commander was a goose for allowing you to take a teetering-head Huey out into the hills in conditions like that. And your newly-acquired training should have given you the knowledge to say "Not today, sir" for a training mission. A no-duff dustoff is a different matter, but a training flight can wait for the wind to abate a little.


  • WolftalonID and apacheguy like this

#7 Matt321

Matt321

    ATP Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 58 posts

Posted 28 April 2015 - 08:07

M

#8 Matt321

Matt321

    ATP Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 58 posts

Posted 28 April 2015 - 08:46

M

#9 eagle5

eagle5

    VR Veteran Poster

  • VR Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,376 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 28 April 2015 - 19:22

OK not to sound like a slow learner again, but he said he made the approach into the wind, and the wind was 45kts, so why did he start to fall once he slowed down?

#10 rotormandan

rotormandan

    VR Veteran Poster

  • VR Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 667 posts

Posted 28 April 2015 - 20:20

The pictures eric speaks of will clear that up

#11 eagle5

eagle5

    VR Veteran Poster

  • VR Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,376 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 28 April 2015 - 20:48

We must be using different Googles?

#12 Eric Hunt

Eric Hunt

    VR Veteran Poster

  • VR Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 678 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Near the beach

Posted 28 April 2015 - 21:30



#13 Matt321

Matt321

    ATP Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 58 posts

Posted 29 April 2015 - 06:54

Eric, thanks for the explanation. My commander trusted me to make good decisions based on my reputation and like all my other commanders, he was an inexperienced aviator. I let him down that day but fortunately he forgave me and continued to trust my judgement.  I had the knowledge to say no, but the ego to say yes. 



#14 Spike

Spike

    VR Veteran Poster

  • VR Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,620 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 29 April 2015 - 10:57

 Demarcation line......

 



#15 Rupert

Rupert

    VR Veteran Poster

  • VR Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 94 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 02 May 2015 - 13:01

Thanks to Matt321 for sharing his experience in such an insightful manner.

 

I had almost the same thing happen to me flying seismic for Rocky Mountain back in the '70's, except my experience involved morning down-flow winds. I escaped by significantly over-torquing an almost brand-new helicopter.

 

By "same thing," I mean I had to take a down wind escape route because of poor planning.

 

Ironically, I had only weeks before completed a 10 hour course of mountain flying, all above 10,000' in and around Provo, Utah. I received this training from an internationally-recognized mountain pilot who had received the Robert E. Trimble award for distinguished mountain flying. During my training, my instructor described exactly the situation in which I placed myself within weeks.

 

So, poor planning. In order to take advantage of a more favorable head wind, I consciously accepted a down wind right escape route, thinking I probably wouldn't need it. In other words, I made a joke out of an important safety-planning factor, gambling that I wouldn't need it.

 

For the reader: in an American left-footed helicopter, at high density altitude, one must absolutely have a RIGHT escape route, downhill, and into either neutral or head winds, but not down winds. If one cannot figure out how to make the approach with a RIGHT escape route and not down wind, then decline the approach and landing zone.

 

The above applies to seriously high DA's and msl elevations. Seriously-high varies with the helicopter. In my opinion, the industry needs to define any situation in which the helicopter does not have HOGE capability as seriously high. Yes, I've done a running landing at 13,200' msl because I couldn't hover even in ground effect, but, in hindsight, I consider that type of thinking irresponsible and comparable to gambling with lives.

 

In today's world of modern high-powered helicotpers, if you don't have HOGE capability then have a RIGHT escape route. Believe me, I have found myself in situations where the helicopter would not go left. It happens at the very limits of a helicopter's performance, and it will happen when you LEAST need it to happen. The helicopter won't go left, but it will go right, easily. For a French or Russian helicopter, flip everything over and think LEFT escape route.

 

Which brings me to the real reason I responded to this thread.

 

Matt321 did everyone who reads this thread a good service. Matt321 did this courageously and sincerely. I learned from his experience. Thank you, Matt321.

 

Unhappily, some people use another person's honesty and sincerity in order to elevate themselves by putting down the honest and sincere person. This disrespect, in order to elevate oneself, stinks. I've done it myself and I stink. I regret it.

 

As for now and YOU, you need to grow up and stop stinking. No need to point you out, eh? Stop stinking. Not hard to do. Just share your knowledge without putting other people down in order to elevate your self.


  • Falko, Mikemv, Spike and 1 other like this

#16 eagle5

eagle5

    VR Veteran Poster

  • VR Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,376 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 02 May 2015 - 13:13

Perhaps they should up the course to 15 hours?

#17 Falko

Falko

    VR Veteran Poster

  • VIP Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 244 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 02 May 2015 - 14:20

Thanks for sharing Matt......iam sure all of us here did something stupid / unsafe in their career.

#18 chaosad

chaosad

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 2 posts

Posted 13 December 2015 - 21:56

Love all the stories, it makes the material more meaningful. This is a dangerous profession.






0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users



Able_VRHOme200Spectrum_VRHome200MaunaLoaVRHome200HeliHelmets-VR HomeGenesys VR Forum 200PrecisionVRForumHome200DevoreHome200ColoradoHeliOpsHome200NFCVRForum200Home