Helicopters Are Cool
October 30, 2012 5:31 AM   Subscribe

Rescue of a model airplane using a helicopter (five minute YouTube video)
posted by exogenous (41 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Cool on the one hand, but seems a colossally risky exercise for something of little relative value.
posted by MuffinMan at 5:33 AM on October 30, 2012 [4 favorites]

That was pretty awesome in a rich-expensive-hobbies sort of way. Best is the running profane commentary from the dude on the left. Fuckin' a, man, got that sumbitch!
posted by laconic skeuomorph at 5:48 AM on October 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

Looks like a lot of fun, and it's pretty clear they were taking precautions ("check the tail... tail clear? okay... watch the rotor...").

From the YouTube page, they say it's a little Robinson – that's a photo inside a 4-seater R-44, these guys were in a little two-seater R-22. Those things are so much fun. Maneuverable as all get-out. My brother works on them and often goes out on maintenance rides, they tend to pick up on a lot of local goings-on during them too.
posted by fraula at 5:53 AM on October 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

I call bogus. They staged the whole thing.

But if you believe that, you'll believe this. (Marlin fishing by helicopter.)
posted by beagle at 5:57 AM on October 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Why bogus? Helicopters are amazingly maneuverable - you'd have no problem pointing one in a tree and keeping it there. The problem is that it's also incredibly dangerous - if the winds shift or if there's a mechanical problem, you've put yourself in the coffin corner and have no way out.

These guys on the video make me cringe, because they stereotype everything that is wrong with aviation enthusiasts. There's a certain breed of pilot who is exactly this type of hyper-masculine, attention-seeking showboat who is going to be ruthlessly obnoxious to everyone around him until he craters himself into the ground.

Basically, they risked two lives in the air, three (plus one dog) on the ground, and a half-million dollar helicopter in order to pluck a toy out of a tree and show off on YouTube.
posted by backseatpilot at 6:12 AM on October 30, 2012 [6 favorites]

Pretty sure beagle's joking, based on the recent "Mythbuster/pizza/baseball" debacle...

Nice maneuvering and yeah, taking basic precautions to clear the rotor and tail, but good lord what a risky thing to do for a stuck model plane.
posted by Pantengliopoli at 6:15 AM on October 30, 2012

It seemed like the guy on the left is an instructor, no?

"Ahhhright, now remember everything I taught you about safety, but don't forget it's cool to ferget all that if ya run into a chance to do something totally fuckin sick.'
posted by orme at 6:16 AM on October 30, 2012 [4 favorites]

Very manoeuvrable
posted by a non e mouse at 6:21 AM on October 30, 2012

I thought the video would be of a model helicopter rescuing a model airplane, not two guys in a full-sized helicopter performing a risky, extremely dangerous, and completely unnecessary maneuver.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 6:28 AM on October 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

I thought the video would be of a model helicopter rescuing a model airplane, not two guys in a full-sized helicopter performing a risky, extremely dangerous, and completely unnecessary maneuver.

Same here, and to be honest a video of that would have been cooler to watch.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:33 AM on October 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

I thought the video would be of a model helicopter rescuing a model airplane, not two guys in a full-sized helicopter performing a risky, extremely dangerous, and completely unnecessary maneuver.

For my last birthday my wife got me a lesson/flight in an R-22. They're not much bigger than a model. Tons of fun though.

Still, yeah, this seems like the sort of thing that would lead to tragedy. "Oh, your model plane is stuck? Well, I've been taking helicopter lessons, I'm pretty sure I can help you out!"
posted by bondcliff at 6:38 AM on October 30, 2012

Super maneuverable.
posted by joe vrrr at 6:56 AM on October 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm more impressed when they recover other aircraft mid-air.

/bonus pic of my dad in the mix.
posted by MrGuilt at 6:59 AM on October 30, 2012

orme: "It seemed like the guy on the left is an instructor, no?"

Yeah - this is what I felt too... The way he asked the other guy to give him the aircraft, the dual controls, the way afterwards he gave the aircraft back to the guy on the left and talked him through taking off and flying out - this was an occurrence during a flying lesson, I think, and a great story for the student to remember in years to come...
posted by benzo8 at 7:05 AM on October 30, 2012

Rich people's problems. And solutions.
posted by slogger at 7:14 AM on October 30, 2012

It's weird that it's so hard to distinguish reality from special effects these days.
posted by scottatdrake at 7:30 AM on October 30, 2012

Good thing I have Metafilter to tell me that this is stupid! Now, who's gonna tell me what this is a viral ad for?
posted by cmoj at 7:33 AM on October 30, 2012 [5 favorites]

It's an ad for the Profane One's helicopter business.
posted by laconic skeuomorph at 7:39 AM on October 30, 2012 [4 favorites]

Came for the "FAAAAKE!" post; got four in.

I lose the bet (had three).
posted by IAmBroom at 8:17 AM on October 30, 2012

How come the kid didn't even say thanks?
posted by zeoslap at 8:18 AM on October 30, 2012

Would have been cooler if they did the whole thing inverted. While on fire.
posted by blue_beetle at 8:30 AM on October 30, 2012

I have an airplane and I'm not rich. Seeing what my friends pay for childcare made me reconsider what qualifies as an "expensive hobby."
posted by exogenous at 8:37 AM on October 30, 2012 [5 favorites]

It probably wasn't the wisest use of fuel in the world, but it's not something to get peeved over.

It's really their attitude (no pun intended) that annoys me. I used to work at my local airport as a teen, and most of the pilots I knew (amateurs and professional alike) were really down to earth and nice. These are the guys that give the community a bad name. Also, I was really expecting the skids to get caught in the tree branches, and then it's just all over at that point.

When I was at the airport, the local Fox affiliate kept their news helicopter in our hangars. The helicopter stayed on a dolly just about a foot larger on each side than the footprint of the skids. To take off and land, they'd pull the dolly out of the hangar and just land the helicopter right on it. It was really amazing to watch.

Also, you can open a beer with a helicopter.
posted by backseatpilot at 8:41 AM on October 30, 2012

The instructor is smoking a cigarette; it starts in his hand and he puts it in his mouth when he takes the controls. "... while on fire" is not so far-fetched.
posted by achrise at 8:42 AM on October 30, 2012

Dudes, it wasn't windy and the guy knew the limits of his aircraft. It probably wasn't the wisest use of fuel in the world, but it's not something to get peeved over.

I don't doubt the pilot's skill, but I do doubt his judgement. It's possible to be highly skilled and still make terrible decisions regarding how you apply those skills.

I once hopped into a rowboat to rescue a model rocket that had landed in the middle of a pond. I wore a lifejacket. The worst thing that could have happened to me was that I'd get wet and muddy. These guys hovered a helicopter next to a tree. If even the slightest thing had gone wrong, the consequences for them would have been far more serious.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 8:50 AM on October 30, 2012

That video of the pilot opening the beer with is helicopter is insane.

Not because he does it, but because in the 3 minutes it takes to remove the top I felt sure his wife would stride in, tell him she'd take the bloody cap off herself and to stop showing off and remind him the sausages were on the barbecue and needing turning before they burnt.
posted by MuffinMan at 8:53 AM on October 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

...ya, it's also dangerous to get up in the morning, and even more dangerous to drive your car to work...

So, let them fly their helicopters however they like, geez!
posted by TinWhistle at 11:20 AM on October 30, 2012

Wow, nanny state metafilter.
posted by zengargoyle at 11:38 AM on October 30, 2012

Seriously, no wonder people are afraid to walk across the street anymore. This was fun and awesome; get off your safety-is-as-safety-does high horse.
posted by rlef98 at 11:46 AM on October 30, 2012 [5 favorites]

He was fuckin' trippin'!
posted by Brocktoon at 12:18 PM on October 30, 2012

Imagine being the guy flying the R/C aircraft.

"Goddamit, I just pranged it."

"How the hell am I getting that down?"

(stands, jaw agape.)

"How the hell did that just happen?"
posted by eriko at 12:30 PM on October 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

I have now watched this three times and I see something new each time. First it was the beer can. This last time is was just watching how the cigarette makes this literally the adventures of Dale and Boonhauer, Sky Rescue.

Every part of this video is wonderful.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 12:36 PM on October 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

I'll definitely join the minority of people in here who don't have their panties in a bunch. This was an awesome thing to do for a kid. The instructor knew what it meant to that little boy. Turns out it was the kids first flight.
posted by ReeMonster at 2:34 PM on October 30, 2012

A couple of years ago my then six-year-old daughter tripped and fell into the ashes of our camp fire. Unfortunately the coals were still hot and she was burned on the palms of her hands and her upper arms. It was a terrible and traumatic experience, but what I remembered most about it was the medevac helicopter ride from the middle-of-nowhere Maryland to the children's burn facility at the Lehigh Valley Hospital in Pennsylvania.

I wrote this about the helicopter ride at the time:
I didn’t really want to ride in a helicopter, in fact I was terrified. But I had to. And I remember thinking, while we were taking off, that if it should crash and we died, my wife and other daughter would be watching. But there really wasn’t any reason to think it would crash, I told myself, in spite of the high winds and predicted turbulence caused by the passing hurricane. I believed in physics and engineering. Of course we can fly. The pilot asked if I was okay, probably because I may not have looked okay. But I was, and so I nodded. And then through the glass bubble on the floor of the helicopter, the ground separated from us and we rose above the small country hospital we first brought her to. We banked and turned East. He told me it would be a 45 minute flight. My wife would follow with our other daughter in the van.

The thing I remember most about the flight was that lake on the top of a mountain. The pilot pointed it out, though not to me, to the tech in back. But as we were all on the same channel in our headphones I heard everything they said to each other, and everything the various control towers said to our pilot. If I wanted to speak I had to press a button on the floor with my foot. I never ended up using it.

A few miles above Needmore and McConnellsburg is Pennsylvania State Game Land number 53, Meadow Grounds Lake. From the sky it looks impossible. You don’t need to know a lot about the world to understand that water flows down. But in this particular instance it appeared the water flowed up. It made no sense for a lake to be along the top of a long and high mountain. The grades on the two ridges on the sides didn’t seem significant enough to collect enough rain for a creek. But instead here was this big beautiful lake, high along the flat top of a mountain. The highest mountain in the whole area. I couldn’t take my eyes off of it. My terror began to transform into awe.

The tech kept reporting that she was asleep and her vitals were stable. Before we left he told me that kids always fell asleep, like infants in a car seat. The pilot was passed from tower to tower. We had emergency status, and except for the short period we flew near Camp David, we got first priority and an unencumbered flight path. We headed mostly East at about 130 knots, as best I could tell from the gages in front of us. We were told when we were near another aircraft and the high-tech way that collisions were prevented entailed the tower notifying the helicopter of the other aircraft, proceeded by the tech and the pilot looking for said aircraft, and then pointing it out to each other.

We flew directly over the capital of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg. The pilot turned to me and said,
“There’s the Potomac, running through the Capital, Harrisburg.” I knew it was the Susquehanna, but didn’t really want to correct him.

“That’s the Mighty Susquehanna, Dork.” The tech corrected and laughed at the pilot.

“Crap, you’re right,” laughed the pilot. “After a while they all look alike…Is that Three Mile Island over there?”

And we did make it in about 45 minutes. When we approached the hospital, we circled a couple of times before landing. The pilot did this deliberately to look for potential obstacles and anything unusual. He identified all nearby wires and towers. He noted into the mic that there wasn’t a helicopter already on the pad, a procedure that struck me as probably the result of a previous accident.

After landing, we had to wait for what felt like an eternity while the blades of the helicopter stopped. And then we went in.
After that flight, I never looked at a helicopter in the same way. That helicopter took my injured daughter from the wilderness to a high-tech facility in less than an hour. It was like magic. I remember thinking that it might be a little too easy and thus perhaps dangerous to fully realize what you were doing when you were in a helicopter, especially as a pilot. I typically suffer vertigo and don't deal well with heights, but flying for the pilot was second nature. As if that flying dream we all have was a controlled reality for him. Navigation was so different. It involved looking, really looking around. Computers didn't assist like they do on planes. He controlled everything, possessed like some weird id version of a deus ex machina.

Anyway, while I think some of what this guy did picking the plane out of the tree may have been a bit of hubris, I also think that helicopters are extraordinary machines, and in the right hands they are almost miraculous.
posted by 0BloodyHell at 3:47 PM on October 30, 2012 [7 favorites]

it's endearing to see someone do a good turn for the rich now and then, expecting little more than profane handshakes in return. i mean, what would those poor plutocrats have done otherwise? send the groundskeeper's young son up the tree to fetch their expensive toy? this helicopter rescue thing is far nobler and more exciting than that mundane scenario.

kinda restores your faith in humanity, ya know. god bless the internets for making us aware of such civility and kindness. again.
posted by RockyChrysler at 7:04 PM on October 30, 2012

You think that was cool? Really? I'm a private pilot with Helicopter (rotary wing, technically) glider and skydiving ratings. And while I've only logged apox. 140 hours flying helicopters I can tell you that was very, very wrong:

1. The Robinson R22 is a notoriously twitchy little ship. In fact there have been so many accidents/fatalities in them that the FAA now requires a special type endorsement in addition to your helicopter license to fly them as pilot in command. Don’t compare them to what you see on YouTube, e.g., the power line videos, done with turbine-powered helicopters.

2. By hovering that high off the ground they are completely busting the height / velocity curve. That’s a critical safety helicopter parameter that says (for ships like the R22) if you’re above 5 feet then you have to be going a minimum forward speed on order to be able to auto-rotate if the engine fails. Summary: if they have a power failure doing what’s shown in this video they are both going to die, no if ands or buts.

3. Then there’s the little issue of hovering into the trees themselves. One little slip / a gust of wind / engine glitch and there is a good chance the main rotors contact the trees. Once again, that would be a deadly scenario.

4. The FAA lists five dangerous attitudes no pilot should have. Number 3: Invulnerability: “It won’t happen to me.”
Many people falsely believe that accidents happen to others, but never to them. Sound familiar?

5. He’s doing this with a student??? WTF kind of example does that set.

6. They’re transferring control of the ship between them without full positive acknowledgment. As in, instructor: “you have the controls” student: “I have the controls”

7. He’s smoking a cigarette in flight? (Not permitted as per Robinson)

8. And all of this is being captured by a GoPro –which may explain why he’s “showing off” just a little extra bit.

Now, it’s obvious the instructor is an accomplished, comfortable pilot with – I’m guessing – a lot of flight hours. But he should still have his ass grounded and his license pulled if only for being so stupid as to post this on YouTube.
posted by Dean358 at 7:21 PM on October 30, 2012 [4 favorites]

RonButNotStupid: "the consequences for them would have been far more serious."

Broken back, most likely. The trees weren't all that tall from the look of it. I suspect his insurer would be none too happy if they saw the video, though.
posted by wierdo at 7:48 PM on October 30, 2012

The FAA lists five dangerous attitudes no pilot should have. Number 3: Invulnerability: “It won’t happen to me.”

Interesting links. What about 2. Impulsivity? "..the attitude of people who frequently feel the need to do something, anything, immediately" and 4. Macho? "Pilots with this type of attitude will try to prove themselves by taking risks in order to impress others." Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems there's at least a little of both of these others mixed in there as well.

In light of all that, and with the whole H-V curve/ 'Coffin Corner' idea, this now strikes me as something along the lines of a rich man's car surfing video. Sadly, in a way. Because at first all I could think was "Cool!"
posted by Bartonius at 1:47 AM on October 31, 2012

Hasn't this guy seen that episode of ER, when the asshole doctor got his arm chopped off by the helicopter, and then the helicopter fell on him?! He really should be more careful.
posted by Brocktoon at 5:08 PM on October 31, 2012

I just want to provide a counterpoint to Dean358's well stated comments. While safety was obviously not treated as the highest priority in this scenario, keep the following points in mind: That shit was fucking sick. They had a fucking camera rolling brother. Them guys were fucking tripping. Did you know that? They were fucking tripping, son.
posted by iloveit at 3:10 PM on November 1, 2012 [2 favorites]

This guy reminds me of my ex-smuggler/bush pilot seaplane instructor. It was scary to fly with him but he told great stories.
posted by the_artificer at 8:34 AM on November 2, 2012

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