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Practice approach


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Not a first hand account here, but my CFII instructor and I were talking the other day and he relayed his story from his trip down one of the more popular uncontrolled ILS approaches in the area the other day.


He reported inbound on the ILS and listened as everyone else descended in the stack. Behind him was a blackhawk practicing the same ILS approach. In his little R22, he runs the approach at 80kts, and after about 3 miles he heard the blackhawk report inbound on the ILS. My instructor gave a quick call out at the highway, a very well known local landmark for this airport approximately 3 miles out. Should have been the end of it.


Anyways, a few seconds later and he got a chill up his spine. It wasn't from his students poor performance holding the localizer (he was almost two dots off course), it was from what he saw when he looked back over his shoulder. There in all it's army glory was the blackhawk bearing down on the ILS at what looked like about 120kts. He could clearly see the pilot and the IP with their heads glued to the loc/gs and the crew chief looking out the side window, straight down. This "configuration" continues long enough for the blackhawk to pull along side the R22.


About this time, the crew chief looks up from his window right into my instructor's eyes. My instructor, in a calm that can only be honed from over 3000 hours of flight instruction, simply gives the chief a shrug as if to say "WTF?" The moment of realization on the chief's face was obvious as his eyes at least doubled in size. A quick glance to the front of the blackhawk sends a visible shutter over the aircraft before the pilots gather their composure and break left. "Helicopter on approach..." was the sum of the apology broadcast. Sometimes it's just better to say nothing I suppose.


Remember folks, as safety pilot it is your job to look out for other VFR traffic, keep your eyes outside. Had the R22 been on path and on GS, it's questionable whether or not the BH would have ever seen them. Luckily we didn't find out.

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  • 5 years later...

same thing happened to me at casa grande. not quite as extreme, but i couldn't believe the army guys would pull that crap. then again, since there is seemingly only one ILS in that whole valley, stanfield can be a total junk show. once i was bottom of the stack at 3500 and there were aircraft stacked all the way to 6500. i always questioned the sanity of that when you had an R22, a cessna 172, a baron, and a blackhawk all waiting for the same ILS. just seemed like trouble waiting to happen to me. lucky for me i'm done with instrument training and hope i never have to fly another approach in a helicopter ever again!!!!!! VIVA UTILITY WORK!!!

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