Not approving the chief pilot’s request for relief of the public information officer duties was criminal (see “NTSB: Fatigue, Organizational Pressure Factors in Crash”, July 2011, page 18). He obviously had previous cases in which late night calls prevented him from getting his needed crew rest. The denial by the New Mexico State Police was unforgivable and fatal. Case closed.
Sea Isle City, N.J.
Atlantic Regional Consulting, LLC
The helicopters involved in the Bin Laden raid would not have been seen at Fort Campbell. (See June 2011, “Stealth: Just Part of the Story?” page 4 and “Helicopter Experts: Stealth Not Only Reason for Secret Mods,” page 10). It would have been kept in a remote location such as in Florida, where missions are practiced. [Within] 24 hours, the mission would be planned, briefed, practiced and executed. The aircraft would have been repositioned to an operational distance, [with] teams from the U.S. Army’s 160th and Navy Seal Team Six pulled from remote and local assets. The helicopter would have been put in hangars in day, brought out at night. Not until the mission would they be seen, and then only by affected parties.
R&W’s Question of the Month:
What is your take on the current state of the worldwide helicopter industry following the Paris Air Show and heading into Helitech in September?
Let us know, and look for your and others’ responses in a future issue. You’ll find contact information below.
I retired as an aircraft mechanic in 2005 after 29 years with the Utah National Guard. Since we have a Special Forces unit in the Guard here in Utah, and the terrain is very similar to Afghanistan (not quite as high), we have been involved in training these types of missions. (See “Helicopter Experts: Stealth Not Only Reason for Secret Mods,” June 2011, page 10). I can say that you are operating on the very ragged edge of the performance envelope any time you are attempting to hover. I have the utmost respect for the pilots of the 160th, they are indeed the very best. Unfortunately, no one has yet repealed the laws of physics. The tiniest miscalculation or unforeseen change can put you over the edge in a hurry.
American Fork, Utah
The AW169 looks like a decent helicopter. However, AgustaWestland has also said it will not be equipping this model with optional de-ice capabilities like the AW139. This could pose a big issue with the winter weather in Quebec and other cold-weather locations. However, it is a start for Quebec, which has been lagging behind in medvac services.
London Air Services
The following comments appeared on Rotor & Wing’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/rotorandwing
(Responding to a photo of the Schiebel S-100 Camcopter UAV on display at the Paris Air Show):
Now we know what the factory workers felt like when they where replaced! Aircraft need pilots (inside).
(After seeing an artist’s rendering of the Eurocopter X4 design):
Wow ... did I just throw away €80K on a commercial license? Flying one of those would really make my life!
(Reacting to a story and photo about the Sikorsky X2’s final test flight):
Only a bit over 20 flight hours, but she did her part! Sikorsky has made a milestone in rotary wing flight.
Amazing top speed. I hope to see a Coast Guard edition soon!
John Thomas Starrett Moran
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