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#233244 - 10/04/11 08:36 PM Helicopter Down in NY East River
airballrad Offline
Gear Junkie
Enthusiast

Registered: 10/22/07
Posts: 246
Loc: Gulf Coast Florida, USA
Helicopter Crash

Latest report, 1 dead, 4 injured.

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#233259 - 10/05/11 08:59 AM Re: Helicopter Down in NY East River [Re: airballrad]
chaosmagnet Offline
Sheriff
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 3436
Loc: USA
I don't know how to prepare for this without military helicopter ditching training.

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#233262 - 10/05/11 10:01 AM Re: Helicopter Down in NY East River [Re: chaosmagnet]
airballrad Offline
Gear Junkie
Enthusiast

Registered: 10/22/07
Posts: 246
Loc: Gulf Coast Florida, USA
I dunno either. I've seen several stories on ETS about surviving water landings in a place, but don't recall any addressing helicopter ditchings. I wonder what, if any, procedures are discussed/demonstrated when boarding a helicopter charter.

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#233264 - 10/05/11 12:53 PM Re: Helicopter Down in NY East River [Re: chaosmagnet]
Russ Offline
Geezer

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 5338
Loc: SOCAL
Originally Posted By: chaosmagnet
I don't know how to prepare for this without military helicopter ditching training.
First if you don't know how now, learn to swim, really well and underwater. Learn how to get to and open the escape hatch (over-wing, overhead, whatever) of the aircraft you fly in and learn to get to and open them by touch because you can't be assured of visibility once you go under.

Many helicopters are top heavy so be prepared to do this after the aircraft rolls inverted (with you securely strapped inside) with dark, cold water swirling around. Finding doors and opening them underwater in the dark can be done if you stay calm and just do it.

The last time I did this the pool was set up like the South Pacific, saltwater @ 84 deg F -- most comfortable pool I'd ever been in and very coral reef like. Trust me the water in the East River or any of the other rivers in/around NYC is not that pristine.
_________________________
Better is the Enemy of Good Enough.
Okay, what’s your point??

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#233265 - 10/05/11 01:49 PM Re: Helicopter Down in NY East River [Re: Russ]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7369
Loc: southern Cal
When working at Channel Islands Nat'l Park, we were required to take training in emergency ditching procedures periodically. We did a lot of over water flights (! - I guess that'shy they are islands....) in both fixed wing and helicopters.

At one of these sessions, we used an invertible cage in a swimming pool. The key was to get a grip on the door latch preimpact, so that you maintained your orientation as you inverted and went in the water. If the latch was to you left, you reached across your body and gripped with the right hand. Once everything had stopped moving, and that is critical, you opened the door and exited.

Easy enough and kind of fun in a swimming pool. I've never had a chance to try it for real, nor have I talked with anyone who has.
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#233266 - 10/05/11 01:51 PM Re: Helicopter Down in NY East River [Re: airballrad]
gonewiththewind Offline
Veteran

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1517
Helicopters ALWAYS roll upside down in the water. Hold on, survive the impact, wait for the roll, find an exit and follow the bubbles. It is a bit disorienting the first time and you may not know which way is up, follow the bubbles.

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#233269 - 10/05/11 02:41 PM Re: Helicopter Down in NY East River [Re: gonewiththewind]
AKSAR Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1198
Loc: Alaska
Originally Posted By: Montanero
Helicopters ALWAYS roll upside down in the water. Hold on, survive the impact, wait for the roll, find an exit and follow the bubbles. It is a bit disorienting the first time and you may not know which way is up, follow the bubbles.
I would add what I learned in dunker training: hold on and maintain a reference point, then work your way hand over hand to the exit. It will likely be dark and you will loose your orientation if you don't always hold on to a point of reference. If you loose your orientation you will probably drown.

Whenever I get on any aircraft, helo or fixed wing, I always take a moment to look around and fix in my mind where the possible exits are, and how to open them.
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"Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas any more."
-Dorothy, in The Wizard of Oz

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#233272 - 10/05/11 03:15 PM Re: Helicopter Down in NY East River [Re: hikermor]
Arney Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 2485
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: hikermor
The key was to get a grip on the door latch preimpact, so that you maintained your orientation as you inverted and went in the water.

Wouldn't doing this be an unfortunate way to render that door inoperable, if you end up ripping off the door latch on impact? Finding a grab handle makes sense, but not the actual latch.

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#233273 - 10/05/11 03:20 PM Re: Helicopter Down in NY East River [Re: Arney]
Russ Offline
Geezer

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 5338
Loc: SOCAL
Agree, the door may not be within reach while you are strapped in. The idea is to hold onto a reference point, not necessarily the door handle. You may need to swim to the door, but never without a handhold.

There's a thought process involved; mentally take yourself through the steps and various handholds to get to the door. Once underwater and inverted, the handholds are still where they were relatively speaking.
_________________________
Better is the Enemy of Good Enough.
Okay, what’s your point??

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#233274 - 10/05/11 03:27 PM Re: Helicopter Down in NY East River [Re: Arney]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7369
Loc: southern Cal
My instructors were very specific about this point; you grab the door handle, which is not a particularly wimpy piece of gear. You are also belted into your seat, so you won't be flying about the cabin.

As I say, this is all training; it would be nice to hear from someone with actual experience.
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