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Guest B1900 Mech

Pave Hawk crash on Mt.Hood, Oregon!!!!

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Anyone else check out that National Guard chopper going into the side of Mt.Hood. WOW!! What a video, check it out in msnbc.com. My question for anyone who knows, is that I observed in watching the pre-crash position of the chopper that it seems awfully close to the mountain side. Now, I'm no expect at all on flying choppers, but I do know that the winds on Mt.Hood swirl around like bloody hell with no notice at all, sometimes at a furious pace with awful up/down drafts. I'm certainly not critisizing the pilot as none of the facts of why he/she lost control are presently known, but geeeezz. Flying a chopper SO close to the mountain?? Is that not asking for trouble??

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The absoulute ceilling of a helicopter is lower than normal when the chopper is in a hovering condition. When it is traveling forward it increases due to the increase in airspeed wich in turne increases lift. Since the rescue was made at such a high altitude(above sea level) the mixing of turbulent air resulting from the topography and the very low density of the air at such altitudes would result in very little control response. So if you would encounter a gust wind in this conditions it would simply blow the chopper away.We talked about this in my aerodynamics class and the instructure arrived to this conclusion.

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such brave folk that attempt such rescues, but what do you think happened? Did the pilot make an error of judgment or did he really need to take that kind of chance and risk the crash?

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It seems to me that he catched some tub air off mountain, thus lost control since howering at such high altitude is very sluggish, Brave guys though, I hope they make it.Thanks,Andrei Malishkin-=AM=-

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There was a crew of 4 on board, apparently only one was "critically" injured. The video is astounding, absolutely astounding to see the bird hit the side of the mountain and just roll down into a snow bank like a huge log rolling down a hill.

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I live in Calgary, very close to the Rocky mountains, and all of the major helicopter carriers here (Alpine, Canadian, and the RCMP/Parks Service) all have years of training and experience with mountain flying.I remember watching a show on TV where they were interviewing a copter pilot from around here, and he said that if you don't have the training, you shouldn't be near a mountain.I wounder if those guys were qualified to fly so close to the mountain. My bet is no.

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They are rescue helicopter pilots. I guess they are trainned to fly mostly everywhere, but sometimes even the best pilot can make mistakes judging the weather and the situation. They probably knoew there was a risk invo;ve with the operation, but they get paid to take chances.

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>I live in Calgary, very close to the Rocky mountains, and >all of the major helicopter carriers here (Alpine, Canadian, >and the RCMP/Parks Service) all have years of training and >experience with mountain flying. >>I remember watching a show on TV where they were >interviewing a copter pilot from around here, and he said >that if you don't have the training, you shouldn't be near a >mountain. >>I wounder if those guys were qualified to fly so close to >the mountain. My bet is no. The PaveHawk guys are trained to go to all the same places that Alpine, Canadian, and the RCMP/Parks Service train to go plus the desert, the sea and do it all under hostile fire. They were definitely qualified to be where they were.As long as we've opened this topic up to uninformed speculation and betting, I'll profer that it almost looked like the aircraft's SAS had failed, starting the oscillations that caused the accident.

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Part of it has to do with the turbulence that close to a mountain at altitude. But it also has to do with the fact that the rescue required operating the Pave Hawk outside of its specifications. The altitude of Mt. Hood is something close to 11,000+ ft if I recall. The Pave Hawk's hover ceiling altitude is like 10,500 (cruise is closer to 20,000). All has to do with air density and lift.The risk that those men took and are prepared to take everyday to rescue the survivors and recover the bodies is amazing. It was in a hover that they know was above operating altitude and actually attached to a stretcher with someone on it. What amazes me is if you look at the video, the pilot steers the Pave Hawk away to avoid more injuries to those on the ground, putting him and his crew at more risk. Also, the rescuer manning the winch was inciteful enough to detach it as it was already attached to a stretcher despite the fact that the helo was headed out of control. Thomas LinTaxiwaySigns.comVolunteers (testers and designers) needed, please visit the site for information

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It would appear from what I read today that everyone knew that trying to rescue people at that altitude with a chopper was a very high risk maneuver with a lot of drawbacks and they needed some luck which simply did not come their way. Wind turbulance simply got too much and the pilot and crew essentially bailed out of the operation at the last second and with enough thought to avoid further injury to those below and by a small miracle, really did no extensive damage to the crew other than some moderate injuries.............my final thoughts are that (and I can say this, I suppose, because I'm not a climber) people have NO business recreationlly climbing in areas that produce fatalities constantly, year in and year out, in the first place (Mt.Hood and Mt.Ranier yearly takes lives!!) OR should have NO expectation that ANYONE is going to risk their own lives or property to rescue them. IMHO, the climbers put the chopper guys at risk and I hope they are made to pay. I do know that the State of Oregon instituted a policy of fines/penalties if a climber ascends Mt.Hood or similar without a beacon device. I personally think you should have to pay a couple thousand dollars or such into a fund in order to climb in hazardous terrain which could be put into a fund to pay out rescue efforts. I am appalled that I, as a tax payer, must pay State funds to rescue idiots essentially out for a lark and a thrill........but that's WAY off flight sim topics!! Good day!

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One interesting observation from a Denver high-altitude chopper pilot (for a local TV station) speculated that it was just a random collision of 3 bad factors.1) The altitude in a hover, 2) being right next to the slope of the mountain, and (the most important aspect) 3) when the pilot backed up after punting the attempt, he flew into his own rotor downwash, which was exaggerated because of the aforementioned slope. As he applied more power, the more lift was lost and the downwash pulled the copter down. This is akin to flying into the mountain wave rotors of the Front Range of the Rockies. A rotor is effectively a sideways tornado.Sure looks like that's what happened.I'm glad no one on the copter was killed, although it was really bad to see the tech get ejected and rolled over.

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Kevin- Of course, I wasn't implying that the pilots weren't qualified, quite the opposite. I belive they are excellent pilots. But I have to go with everyone else and say that this mission was flawed from the start- perhaps this is the difference between knowledge and wisdom. Those chopper pilots may have had the skills, but it may have been wiser to let this one go, and figure out another way to rescue the climbers.

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I think it's called settling with power, I ran into that with my R/C helicopter, also flying on the edge of the envelope!

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Yes, of course. Isn't it funny how hindsight always seems to be 20/20? However, we are not the ones who answer the phonecall where the other voice asks "We've got several seriously injured people on the mountain. Can you get them?" For us in our comfy chairs to pass judgement on these guys about whether they lacked "wisdom" or undertook a "flawed" mission is blatantly unfair. With the things that these guys are asked to do, the outcome is often a matter of luck whether they end up being called heroes or being rescued themselves. Being overgross, too high, or having too little gas are all par for their course. I'm sure you've seen the stories of how 20 people are plucked off a sinking ship by one coast guard helicopter or how they had to go so far out to sea to find a sinking sailboat that it would have been a one way trip had it not been for aerial refuelling. Any of these could have ended just as badly as the fate of that PaveHawk. The Mt Hood rescue could just as easily have ended successfully.But I do believe there was lack of wisdom and a flawed mission demonstrated this week. And that is the lack of wisdom shown by the "recreationeers" who often undertake foolish missions to climb the face of tall rocks, or go sailing into hurricanes, or fly their cherokee into the side of a cloud and then spiral out the bottom. These people put themselves at risk without considering that the consequences of their actions will also put others at risk. All for the sake of recreation.

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Kevin- I'm with you on the last one. No matter how extreme these outdoor types get, there's always got to be someone to pick up the pieces when they go too far. Thats where brave people like those rescuers come in!

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