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Near Death

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I once entered a cloud. Didn't paid attention to my altimeter and all of the sudden I'm 0kts losing altitude. Instead of instinctively rise collective, I lowered it, picked up some speed, and then rised it to get out. From 1500ft I was down to 400ft by the end, flying over a forest (so basically the clearance was 100-200 ft by the end)

 

I was still in school, and we didn't yet covered Ring Vortex State, yet for some reason I read about it ahead of time. And I think that saved me.

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Hiller 12e. Dampener weight broke off, fell backwards & lodged behind the other dampener. Locked the controlls! It fell sideways across both for-aft & lateral. I could only go down & right. Lucky, I just took off from the truck. I felt the stick lock up. I did a run on landing in a potato field & at the last instant used the collective to arrest the decent to minimize the forward travel upon impact with the soft dirt. No damage. Flew it out of the field. Mechanic came to look it over & we ended leaving that broken dampener off, as it flew SMOOTHER with it off! Go figure! Its in my GOT LUCKY box at home.

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The only scary moment I've had flying was on a fixed wing solo cross country flight in a C172. I was flying out to the coast in Washington and had been cruising for 20 minutes or so, out in the middle of nowhere at 6500 feet. I pulled my map out to start thinking about my descent and getting weather to determine how I wanted to maneuver for the 45. Got my plan together, started my descent and banked right to get my heading.

 

For some reason I decided to glance at my wingtip above me and maybe 500 feet above me, same course and descending was a Piper Cherokee. Had I stayed on course he would have descended right into me and neither of us would have known it.

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2006 between Camp Taji and Balad AB, Iraq. CH-47D with a cabin full of PAX, I'm on the left gun. Chilling, listening to the pilots talk. We hear an excited Blackhawk flight of two yelling about a near mid-air with a flight of two Apaches. The tangle of 4 aircraft was approximately a mile to our 2 oclock. They managed to untangle themselves and the Apaches flew a direction intersecting our flight path. We called them on the radio, they said they had us in sight, as they continue on a collision course. Our flight of two Chinooks slow waaaay back to let them go ahead of us. They cross in front and come into my sector. As we continue forward, the Apaches make a right 180 turn and head straight back for us again! I am calling their position to the pilots: "Their at our 9 0'clock 1/4 mile.... headed right for us... 1/8 mile... Start climbing Sir... Climb Sir...CLIMB CLIMB CLIMB!!!" At which point the pilots yank in the thrust and up we go! I could see the tubes of the Apache pilot's goggles as he looked up at me from just underneath our aircraft. I could have hit him with my damn piss bottle! Then they had the nerve to call us on the radio and thank us for our position call (sarcasm)! Meanwhile, we had over-temped both engines and possibly over-torqued two transmissions. It was a loooong night as we had to stay after school and fill out reports on the incident, do individual interviews with the S2, and pee and bleed for the doc. It was not my last near death encounter with Apaches.

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Not to rain on your parade, but the guy who thanked you sarcastically for the position report might not have been from the original flight of two that reported you in sight.

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Nope it was. We had their callsign and everything. And they had ours. Really not sure what was going on inside their cockpit but their flight lead was being a jerk. He was rude to the Blackhawks too. It was discussed that they had possibly done it on purpose, though I thought that was unlikely. They were climbing with us as we tried to evade, then they nosed over and ducked down beneath us. I remember it very vividly. I have several close call stories like that, but that's the one I still have nightmares about.

 

Our commander talked with their commander about the incident and they claimed they never even saw us. I KNOW that's not true. I made eye (goggle) contact with their pilot when they went beneath us.

 

Now what might have happened was they mixed us up with the Blackhawks at first when they called us in sight. That's definitely a possibility. Who knows for sure. All I know was it was as near a miss as I think is possible.

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One of the biggest mistakes that can be made with traffic is to assume one contact is the one you're looking for. Sounds like the apache guys made that one. It won't be the last time, that's why it's best to get a tally on your traffic, and check, double check, triple check.

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Seems like a lifetime ago now but here I go. I was AC on a UH1 flying a night mission and returning to Dong Tam, RVN when the Infantry Major in the rear tells me that a fire support base is under attack and he needs to get dropped there and take command.

 

As we approach the base, the tracers are going in and out at a good rate of fire. Going outbound are the tracers from a twin 40mm and passing right over the heli pad. The Major in the back is screaming at me on the approach that we are going to get shot down by friendly fire!!!!!!

 

I tell him shut up. I had commo and as I flashed the position lights on-off the 40mm swings right, we touch down, the major jumps out and we are gone. So we low level out of there the same way we came in with the twin 40mm going right under us for protective fire, no lights and then start a cyclic full power climb towards 1,500'. The 40mm tracers looked like orange basketballs passing under us. Who was going to stick their heads up to shoot at us with that coming at them?

 

Here is the funny part!

 

During the climb there is a loud noise and a large dark spot (what I first thought was a hole in the windscreen) at face level. So now we fly crazy evasive action and as we level off the spot starts moving slowly down the windscreen and I note no wind in my face. We had hit a bird and the guts/remains were the spot. It is all kind of funny now, but scared the hell out of me and the Peter Pilot.

 

We circled back at altitude and put some marking fire on the incoming tracers and then the Cobras showed up. The Major got to spend the night. We took the Brigade commander out the next morning.

 

It was a lifetime ago but the memories do not leave.

 

Everyone be safe.

 

Mike

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I was very comfortable with dropping radio buoys from the tuna helo Hughes 500 C. We dropped 'em all the time on floating logs that showed signs of bait fish and/or tuna. So the ship could find the log easily later on.

I had never seen a large vertically floating log. This one was huge, and must have weighed many tons. I sort of thought, "well, that's different." But I failed to recognize the danger. Unlike the usual horizontal floating log, which you can see easily, the vertical floater is much harder or impossible for you to see. Your observer, who has to drop/attach the buoy will hand guide you in, at which stage YOU can't see the log at all.

Well.,... this one nearly killed us both. I wrote the story up for the Tuna Manual, and several guys have since emailed with similar stories. The scenario I'm sure explains some of the many, many missing tuna helicopters that were never heard from again.

 

Here's the link: A Blip on the Radar (Part 8) "Eyes of Dead Man"

 

Not good.

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Hummm...

 

2 questions.... :o

 

1) I notice I have the same effect in a Walmart check out queue.

I join.

The queue STOPS.

 

Was it something I said??? My alternate uniform shown above? :wacko:

 

2) How come when you mention "DEATH" in the title of a forum post, you get EIGHTEEN THOUSAND VIEWS...??

 

Ok, ok. Stupid question...

 

:rolleyes:

Edited by Francis Meyrick
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Hummm...

 

2 questions.... :o

 

1) I notice I have the same effect in a Walmart check out queue.

I join.

The queue STOPS.

 

Was it something I said??? My alternate uniform shown above? :wacko:

 

2) How come when you mention "DEATH" in the title of a forum post, you get EIGHTEEN THOUSAND VIEWS...??

 

Ok, ok. Stupid question...

 

:rolleyes:

^This. :lol:

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