Francis Meyrick

Moggy’s Tunaboat Helicopter Manual “A Word to the Wise “

Posted on March 14, 2010

Moggy’s Tunaboat Helicopter Manual

A word to the wise…


We have now covered quite some material, eh?
We must not lose sight of the fact that helicopter flying is wonderful fun. It beats actually working for a living any day. And flying the Tuna Fields adds a whole extra dimension of cultural experience, strange shores to see, and different challenges to surmount.
I love to fly. And so should you. Maintaining an ‘awareness’ of the risks, for any helicopter pilot, should not be a trembling, fearful excursion across to the dark side. It’s rather more of an intelligent thing, a respectful thought process. To paraphrase the thinking ” I sure like to fly, but I don’t want to get hurt like that poor chap with the broken back. Now what is there out there, lurking, waiting for me, that maybe I have not thought about… yet?

You can probably see in the material we have covered, many potential pit falls for the unwary. Or for the Reckless. The newbie ‘Anchovyhead’ Tuna Pilot who heads out there, and follows the advice just to “tough it out “, and does not want to read this manual, (because somebody has told him it’s a load of old cobblers) will have to do a lot of ad hoc, on-the-spot learning. Survive-as-you-go. But you, my friend, being the thoughtful type, sitting in an armchair at home, before you venture forth into the Tuna Fields… YOU have a big advantage already. Through my eyes, you’ve already seen some nasty stuff, that is NOT going to hurt you, and is NOT going to surprise you, because you’ve thought it through in advance. Bravo! You are some smart dude.

Let’s review some of those nasty traps for the unwary. What have been the causes of tuna helicopter accidents?
Let’s see how many we can ‘tick off’.

***Tie-down accidents
We’ve covered that at length. That’s killed a lot of pilots. A LOT of pilots. Needlessly.
If you even dare to get yourself killed leaving a tie-down attached, after everything I’ve written about them, I shall personally smack you one when we meet in the Afterlife.

***Faulty landing technique
“Coffin corner ” approaches. Asking too much from your poor little tail rotor. Risking a nasty swing on short finals. Covered that. Read Richard’s letter. Just because everybody does it, doesn’t make it right. Tick…

***Funky take-offs
ship trundling under you and knocking you out of the sky. (It has happened during landings as well). That’s killed a lot of pilots. Get away from the ship! Tick.

***Pirouette Air Show fancy-dancy antics on landing or take-off
keep it simple. It’s not an air show. Don’t get cocky. It may look pretty, but are you in the best place to deal with mechanical failure? Assume the engine will quit at the worst possible moment and plan your approach/departure accordingly. Be conservative. Tick…

***Rolling decks.
If the ship is rolling 16 to 18 degrees, with 150 ton of fish hanging off the port bow, you are not going to be surprised. We’ve talked about that at length. Tick…

Don’t dip your tail rotor. It’s easily done. This is where the broken backs come in. Lots of nasty, nasty accidents. We have talked about this…. Tick.

***Dropping radio buoys on logs, or vertical floating logs, or other flotsam.
We have talked about this…. tick.
I’m personally convinced that some mysterious, unexplained tuna helicopter accidents, where the bird and the crew simply never returned, fall under this category. Don’t do as I did: don’t become complacent…

***Autorotating down to logs.
Be very, very careful. Optical illusion can trap you. You may think that’s a ten meter log, and that you are coming down through 150 feet. It may only be a three meter log, and you are coming down (in autorotation, at 1500 feet per minute) through thirty feet. I’m convinced that little trick… has killed a boat load of pilots. Tick…

***Blue-Out. (my phrase)
Beware that nice, sunny, calm day. With the beautiful, translucent blue surface. Spatial disorientation can happen in a flash. In broad daylight. When the water is smooth as a mill pond… watch out. Tick…

So, what’s left? Well, for a start: how ’bout running out of gas? That’s a common trick. Not good. Which takes us to our next section, number 4.

Use of GPS
and Situational Awareness techniques

… for the Tuna Helicopter Pilot…

Rock on. Here comes the next track on Moggy’s Jukebox…

Francis Meyrick

Last edited by Francis Meyrick on March 14, 2010, 9:05 am

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