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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

High Wind Heebyjeebies

So there I was - today, flying towards a rural hospital in winds gusting to 30+ on the surface and tossing us around in the BK. Frontal passage this am. Gotta love a BK in turbulence. Sumbitch will occasionally jump sideways.

The pad I am going to is a small fenced-in ground-level slab immediately downwind of a multi-story building. Pretty much one way in under current conditions. So I get slowed down and plan a steep approach to clear the pine trees on final, growing up close to the pad. Who designs these places anyway?

We intercept the approach angle, and start down. Nice and slow, power in, ready for the potholes.

At about 300 feet the aircraft stops descending. Huh?

Okay, reduce power, forward and down. Lose another 100 feet or so. Aircraft stops descending.

It won't go down. Push the collective further down. Aircraft stays put. Getting bounced around pretty good now. Hair starts standing up on back of neck. Okay, we are obviously in an updraft coming off the building - what happens when we drop below the updraft and out of the wind? Or worse, into a downdraft, and the collective is almost bottomed out. Turbine-lag? Rotor Droop? VRS? Will it stop?

A little voice inside says "do a go around". I listen. Ain't messed with no mountains or concrete canyons lately.

As luck would have it, there is a big flat airport two miles away. We go there instead.

I heard once that a superior pilot is one who avoids putting himself in a position where he has to demonstrate his superior skills. Sounds reasonable to me.

1 comment:

  1. Wish you always a hand-wide air under the blades!

    Best regards from Germany
    Rosemarie

    ReplyDelete

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