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Chickenhawk by Bob Mason


Bristol
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Chickenhawk was a fast paced and very entertaining read. I finished it I think in 2 days. Couldn't put it down, really.

 

The end... yeah... kind of a let down, but at the same time it isn't because it shows how soldiers have their psyche affected by wars. You'll understand once you have read it. Things are never "normal" again after you come back from war.

 

Anyway all in all I'd definitely suggest it to anybody (gave my copy of it to a friend)

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Loved it. Of course, my dad was a Viet Nam vet and I've flown with a few. I also liked the Rolling Thunder series and many other war novels, historical fiction, etc.

 

It does a pretty good job of explaining how helicopters fly in layman's terms.

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Hey Bristol

 

You'll enjoy Chickenhawk, its a good read.

 

You'll have some good stories to tell over at Saints -n- Sinners :D

 

Fly Safe

Clark B)

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Hey Bristol

 

You'll enjoy Chickenhawk, its a good read.

 

You'll have some good stories to tell over at Saints -n- Sinners :D

 

Fly Safe

Clark B)

 

Yea, Saints and Sinner has been rocking these past few days. We are in the middle of Biketoberfest. There were some Hawiann Tropic girls handing out stuff today, I think the band starts tomorrow at noon, they always have some fancy chicks bootie shakin all day to entertain. So far it's been a good time. I'm tired, been working 15 hour days to prepare, now 12-15 hours a day to support it. Back to 9-5 after it's over.

 

Anyway, thanks everyonefor the recommends..! I'm gonna start on Chickenhawk next week.

 

Paul

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I liked it alot. Started me on reading. I read it mid summer and since then I have read 3 other books and I am almost finished my 4th since ChickenHawk. I liked the part two of that one, ChickenHawk, back in the world life after vietnam. Low Level Hell was real good as well. I'm almost done with Roberts Ridge and although I like the story I'm not really liking the way it was writen.

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The chapter 2 description of his first lesson is great! It describes how every helicopter pilot started his career. I can certainly relate to it.

 

Interestingly, the book describes the same battle that was the main theme in the film 'We Were Soldiers'. I forget the name of the battle, but its the one where they have a 'Huey-down'. Very interesting to read the book (from the pilot's perspective) then see the film from the ground perspective.

 

Important to remember that there is a little poetic licence used in the book too.

 

Joker

 

Chickenhawk by Robert Mason, first published by Viking-Penguin in 1983, is now in

 

its 23rd printing. ©1983 by Robert Mason

 

Instructions: If you want to read the extract of the book that I was talking about above, simply use your mouse to select the text that is below. Otherwise, it is deliberately 'difficult to read' so as not to spoil the surprise!

 

 

Chapter 2 - Extract

 

 

"Okay, you've got it," my instructor said. I pushed first one and then the other of the spongy pedals, trying to turn the machine while the instructor controlled the cyclic and collective. All I had to do was point the helicopter at the tree. The tree swung wildly one way and then the other.

 

"You see the tree I'm talking about?"

 

"Yes, sir."

 

"Well, try to keep us pointed that way, if you don't mind." This instructor, like all the IPs in the primary phase of instruction, was a civilian who'd been in the military. The fact that they were now civilians did not cramp their cynical teaching style.

 

I concentrated even harder. What could be wrong with me? I already knew how to fly airplanes. I thoroughly understood the theory of controlling helicopters. I knew what the controls did. Why couldn't I keep that goddamn tree in front of us? Swinging back and forth in narrowing arcs, learning to anticipate the mushy response in the pedals, I finally succeeded in keeping the tree in front of us most of the time, plus or minus twenty degrees anyway.

 

"Not bad."

 

"Thank you, sir."

 

"Now that you have got the pedals down nice and good like you do, maybe we ought to show you how this collective-pitch stick works."

 

"Okay, sir."

 

"What I'm going to do is to take all the controls again"-the IP put his feet back on the pedals, and the tree immediately popped to a stable position dead ahead of us- "and then let you try your luck with the collective. Just the collective. Try to keep us about this high off the ground. Okay?"

 

"Yes, sir."

 

"You got it." This phrase always preceded the transfer of control.

 

"I've got it." The moment I grabbed the collective stick in my left hand, the helicopter, the same helicopter that had been sitting placidly at three feet, lurched to five feet. It seemed to push itself up. I pushed down too hard to correct. We strained up against the harnesses as the ship dropped. I panicked and over controlled again as the ground rushed up. I pulled up too hard, causing us to pop back up to six or seven feet.

 

"About three feet would be fine."

 

"Yes, sir." Sweat dripped off me as I fought to achieve a stable altitude above the ground. It wasn't a matter of just putting the collective in one position and leaving it there; constant corrections had to be made. After a few minutes of yo-yo-ing up and down I was able to keep the machine about where the IP wanted it.

 

"That's real good. You're a natural, kid."

 

"Thank you, sir.”

 

"I've got it." The IP took control of the collective. "One small thing you're going to have to know is that when you pull up with the collective, that takes more power, which causes more torque, which means you have to push a little left pedal to compensate. You have to push a little right pedal as you reduce the collective."

 

"Yes, sir."

 

"The next control we're going to try is this here cyclic stick. You don't move this one much, see." I looked at the IP's right hand as it held the cyclic-control grip. It was moving plenty. The top of the cyclic vibrated in agitated harmony with the shaking machine.

 

"It looks like it's moving a lot to me, sir."

 

"I didn't say it wasn't moving; I said you don't move it much. There's a difference. The H- is famous for the excessive motion of its cyclic. That's the feedback from all that unbalanced crap spinning around up there. Try it for a while. You got it."

 

"I got it." I put my hand on the wavering cyclic grip between my knees. I could feel strong mechanical tremors vibrating in many directions within my white-knuckled grasp. The IP had the rest of the controls. The H- held its position for a few seconds and then began drifting off to the left. I pushed the tugging grip to the right to correct. Nothing seemed to happen. We still drifted left. I moved the grip farther to the right. The ship then stopped its leftward drift, but instead of staying stable, like I thought it would, it leaned over to the right and drifted in that direction. It felt like there was no direct control of the machine. I pulled the cyclic back to the left quickly, to correct, but the machine continued to the right. The helicopter was taking on a personality, a stubborn personality. Whoa, I thought to the machine-turned-beast. Whoa, goddamn it. I increased pressure away from its drifting, and once again it halted, seemingly under control, and then drifted off in another direction.

 

"I would like it better if you kept the helicopter over one spot or another that we both know about, if you don't mind."

 

"Yes, sir." After a series of hesitating lurches in many different directions, I finally caught on to the control delay in the cyclic. After five minutes of sweaty concentration I was able to keep it within a ten-foot square.

 

"Well, you got it now, ace."

 

"Thank you, sir."

 

"Next thing to do, now that you've got the cyclic down, is to let you try all the controls at once. Think you're up to that, kid?" "Yes, sir." "Okay, you got it." "I got it." The cyclic tugged, the collective pushed, and the pedals slapped my feet, but for a brief moment I was in complete control. I was three feet off the ground hovering in a real helicopter. A grin was forming on my sweaty face. Whoops. The illusion of control ended abruptly. As I concentrated on keeping us over one spot with the cyclic, we climbed. When I pushed the collective back down to correct, I noticed we were drifting backward, fast. I corrected by pushing forward. Now I noticed we were facing ninety degrees away from where we started. I corrected with the pedals. Each control fought me independently. I forgot about having to push the left pedal when I raised the collective. I forgot the cyclic-control lag. We whirled and grumbled in a variety of confusing directions, attitudes and altitudes all at once. There were absolutely too many things to control. The IP, brave man that he was, let the ship lurch and roar and spin all over that field while I pushed the pedals, pumped the collective, and swept the cyclic around, with little effect. I felt like I had a handful of severed reins and a runaway team of horses heading for a cliff. I could not keep the machine anywhere near where I wanted it.

 

"I got it." The IP took over the controls. The engine and rotor rpm went back to the green. We drifted down from fifteen feet to three, pointed away from the sun and back to the tree, and moved back to the spot where we had started. I felt totally defeated.

 

"Well, it's true what they say about you all right, ace." "What's that, sir?" "You're a natural." "A natural? Sir, I was all over the field." "Don't worry about it, kid. We'll just keep practicing in smaller and smaller fields.

Edited by joker
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67November,

 

Thanks, but it was meant to be 'unreadable'.

 

A cheep way of 'not spoiling the story' for those who didn't want to read the extract. Those who did want to read that great extract simply needed to 'select' the text to make it readable! Hmmm, maybe I should have explained that!

 

jbaxx22, I think that is the battle I was talking about. Thanks

 

Joker

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