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Close Call in Utah


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Close call in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Authorities say a medical helicopter was stranded on a Utah highway after a hard landing while responding to a vehicle crash.

 

University Hospital official Ryann Rasmussen tells the Salt Lake Tribune there were no injuries after a rear rotor of the AirMed helicopter clipped a road sign and the aircraft landed Monday on Interstate near Ogden.

 

Utah Highway Patrol Lt. John Mitchell told the newspaper the helicopter would need to be transported by flatbed for repairs.

 

Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Todd Johnson said the forced landing occurred while the helicopter was responding about 12:30 p.m. to a crash on Interstate 84 near 590 West.

 

The man involved in the crash was taken by ambulance to a hospital.

 

 

http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=13374853

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That's right down the road from me, last I heard it was just sitting on the side of the road. I bet that caused some rubber necking once they opened the road back up.

 

That is a 2 lane freeway, my thoughts would be center the thing on the road and you would be clear. Not sure what their thoughts were at the time. Maybe weather had a part in it, we had some windy and snowy conditions off and on all day.

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The last 2 times I can remember driving west through that canyon I had someone pass me and a little later I passed them sitting upside down about 5 miles before where he rolled this truck. That should be in Hill AFB airspace. I lived in Layton on Hwy 89 1/2 mile beyond the turnoff to Hill AFB and used to fly hanggliders off of Francis Peak.

 

Jerry

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"Signs! Signs! Everywhere are signs..." Or something like that.

 

Hard to see from the air unless you're facing them or light them up with a landing light. The photos show what look like steel fence posts in the median, and where the 407 sits- right up to the pavement.

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  • 2 weeks later...

So looking at the video and having seen some road landings in my short time,how did the pilot manage to split the skids so wide presuming he dropped after sign contact and that the sign wasn't more than maybe, I'm not sure like the average 8ft pole type sign.

Any ideas or explanations for this naive young rotorhead?

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Initial NTSB report was he lifted off and caught a gust of wind that swung his tail around...striking the sign..and needless to say, causing helicopter to rush down to meet the ground, bending some metal along the way. I think an earlier poster mentioned how gusty the winds were at the time.

 

Unfortunate that landing just a few feet further away may have prevented this from ever happening. Oh what difference a few inches can make!

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So looking at the video and having seen some road landings in my short time,how did the pilot manage to split the skids so wide presuming he dropped after sign contact and that the sign wasn't more than maybe, I'm not sure like the average 8ft pole type sign.

Any ideas or explanations for this naive young rotorhead?

 

When your tail rotor gets chewed up by hitting something, it's an immediate action kind of emergency- throttle off to stop the spin and keep the aircraft from chewing up more important parts (notice the tail rotor gear box is at a funny angle in the picture- had it come off, this thing probably would have nosed in) and after that it's often just a hovering auto.

But not in all cases. You could end up trying not to hit anything while you spin around, surprised, trying to get your ducks in a row. And you could end up in a high hover and out of power with a lot of collective pulled (your rotor bleeds off really fast in an actual emergency) before landing is a good idea. Sometimes survival is the best you can hope for, spreading the skids with a hard landing isn't the worst alternative.

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The rotor RPM bleeds off pretty fast in a 407. In other words, if your in a high hover and roll off, you better have your A game, and even then, you're probably going to hit hard. My guess is he just rolled off the throttle and pulled too soon, not enough or not at all. I never read about a gust of wind. The 407 has loads more TR authority than a 206, and a gust of wind at 20kts. should be easily handled, but I've never landed one at 4500'. Back to the basics: tail clear? Everyone makes mistakes. Could have been worse.

Edited by helonorth
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  • 3 weeks later...

This always reminds me of the old saying, "any landing you can walk away from is a good one."

 

Having said that, in the HEMS world, the rule on landing on any road is once you're down do NOT pick it up to move it around. The reason is the outcome of this incident. Everytime I think, "hey, I'll move over there" I think to what our lead IP always says:

 

"DON'T F'EN MOVE THE BIRD!"

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