The photo right, which appeared in our August issue, was taken by photographer Keith Wood ("Bringing Home the Bacon," August 2005, page 49). We failed to include a credit for his work with the photo. We apologize for the omission.
One Reason Why
In response to John Brandt's letter, it seems pretty straightforward to me why the aircraft in Johan Nurmi's January 2005 column crashed ("Why Roll Over?" August 2005, page 7)! I haven't read the column. However, with a single pilot sitting in a rotorcraft, there would be an imbalance in the aircraft. The side with the pilot would hang lower, thus allowing the skid on that side to sit closer to the ground. If the aircraft had any sideward movement and happened to contact the ground with that skid, the perfect dynamic-rollover situation would be created. This is the same situation that occurs if a helicopter hovers in close proximity to a hill with two pilots. Classic conditions that lead to dynamic rollover include:
1) Right-side skid down,
3) Lateral center-of-gravity offset,
4) Main-rotor thrust almost equal to aircraft weight, and
5) Left yaw inputs.
Capt. John M. Ennis
U.S. Marine Corps
NVGs Are The Answer
After reading Douglas W. Nelms' article on human factors ("We Know What. But Why?," September 2005, page T6) and the negative comments on night-vision goggles by Dr. Albert Boquet of the FAA's Civil Aerospace Medical Institute, I have to ask these questions:
Is Boquet a helicopter pilot? Has he ever used NVGs? If so, for how many hours?
His quote that NVGs will not help the pilot from hitting fences, trees or electrical wires leads me to believe he has no experience with them. With more than 300 hr. of NVG experience in those surroundings he describes, I can tell you they have saved my life numerous times. He also stated that NVGs will not help you in weather. But, understanding that NVGs amplify available light, he should have correlated that when shooting an instrument approach they may be the difference between seeing the runway lights and environment at decision height or minimum descent altitude on a foggy night or going missed approach.
The bigger issue with NVG implementation in the emergency medical service world will be how much time companies will give pilots to train and get comfortable with NVGs. It took me about 15 hr. to get comfortable using them, and I was still in U.S. Army flight school. Will companies, driven by the bottom line, give their pilots enough time? Only time will tell.
Lt. Dan Leary
Aviation Engineering Officer
HH-65B Instructor Pilot
4,000 hr./Helo ATP
U.S. Coast Guard Port Angeles, Wash.
More Thoughts on VH-71
As the presidential US101 is being built by Lockheed Martin, why not call the helicopter "Neptune," an old Lockheed name from the past.
How about Chariot, since it is one of the president's rides?
VH-71 Lead Instrumentation Engineer
Instrumentation Engineering Branch
Aircraft Instrumentation Div.
Air Vehicle Modification/Instrumentation
U.S.Navy Naval Air Systems Command
Patuxent River, Md.
Regarding your editorial on the Airborne Law Enforcement Assn. Pig Pickin' dinner, there is nothing more you can say or need to say ("Shamed," September 2005, page 4). Apology accepted.
I am a deputy sheriff, senior helicopter pilot and certificated flight instructor for the Sacramento County, Calif. Sheriff's Dept. and Joe Kievernagel and Kevin Blount were my friends. I was not at the Pig Pickin', but from those there I was told what you did also happened at other tables. I understand you meant no disrespect to Joe and Kevin and you have the balls to make your apology public. I respect that.
Carry on with your articles and provide us with the best information on current helicopter stuff you can.