Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Low-flying helicopters and power lines don't mix well


A French rescue helicopter was involved in a training exercise when it had an unfortunate encounter with low-hanging power lines.





Very fortunately, no-one was hurt this time.

The helicopter was equipped with a wire-cutter, ringed in the photograph below (a screen-capture from the video above).




That may have helped prevent a crash, by deflecting or cutting the wires before they could get tangled in the rotor.  However, I imagine all on board had a brown-trouser moment!

Peter

7 comments:

Rob said...

Cheap thrills...

Sam L. said...

What about the landing struts? THEY could catch wires, too.

Old NFO said...

I’m not sure on that. That looks more like a guillotine firing than a power line, and it occurs right at the head of the winch, with the cable falling immediately. Glad it was not higher, that could have left a mark...

a bear said...

Both? The helicopter definitely hits and cuts the power lines (there are less wires when it’s done), but according to the story the flight engineer chopped the winch cable as well.

https://theaviationist.com/2019/05/08/the-scary-moment-an-ec145-helicopter-hit-the-power-lines-during-winching-rescue-operation/

Will said...

Part of the problem was the pilot was probably distracted by the winching/rescue situation. Was he planning on just dropping them on the beach for rescue speed?

I think the training plan was wrong. Moving while winching adds potential safety problems, even without running into overhead lines. I would expect most rescue scenarios to not be right off the beach like that, so training for a sub-set of potential rescues simply adds hazards and complexity to what should be kept as simple and safe a format as fits the majority of expected situations.

Antibubba said...

That could not have been a pleasant plunge back into the water.

greg said...

When the AH64 first came out, they had a power line accident. So the military asked for a cutter and made the contractor prove the wire cutter would work to prevent accidents.
The system was installed. The helicopter suspended with a cable. Then the heli was allowed to swing into the power line. Keep in mind the cutter is razor sharp, and the heli weighs thousands of pounds. It will cut a exceedingly large diameter cable. Whether the cable is deflected towards the top or bottom cutters are high and low.
That was a cool video.