Rotor Trash

Posted on August 10, 2009

The sun comes up around 5:30 and in spite of me trying to talk him out of it, my observer and I lurched off the deck about 6:00 am. I say, “Lurched” because Launched is just not sufficient to describe our departure. About this time I think to myself “Now you’ve done it! You have to come back and land on this thing.”
  It didn’t take more than about 30 minutes to decide this was not a good idea so we returned to the ship. As I made my approach the bow of the boat disappeared under the water sending spray up over the helideck and then shot back up out of the water like it had been rejected and the ocean was spitting it out.
To make things worse we had about a 20 knot wind and the boat was full steam at about 12 knots so that ads up to about a 32 knot quartering cross wind I was making my approach into. That was good. More often than not, it was a tail wind, making landing even more difficult.  
  The helicopter has to sit on the boat sideways because of the small size of the helideck. Timing has to be perfect or the boat will fall out from under you or rise up suddenly and strike the landing gear perhaps causing damage to the helicopter or worse, causing me to lose control. With all the radio antennas and steel mast behind the deck, I was not about to let that happen.
   As I position myself over the deck with full left pedal and full right cyclic trying to land on this floating roller coaster, I ask myself “Now just what was it you liked about flying?” Well I got it down ok and with a little squirming around on the pad, I got it right over the belly hook and happily a crewmember hooked me up and winched me down before I was catapulted back of the boat. Then came the 4 tie downs straps that secured the aircraft firmly to the deck. Now I relax a little.
  As I am cooling the engine down I notice a strong wind coming our way. It comes out and away from squall lines and thunderstorms and can reach 50 or 60 miles per hour. You can see it on the water before it gets to the boat and that’s what I was looking at about two miles away. It was going to be tricky enough shutting down without the main rotor blades chopping off the tail boom as it is but in that wind I wouldn’t be able to shut down at all until it passed.
  I got helicopter shut down and was trying to get the blades tied down when the wind hit. It wasn’t as bad as it could have been and only added about 25 mph to the wind speed but it was enough to make my new glasses go flying of my face and into the drink, or so I thought. Man! And I was just getting used to them. A few days later, I found my glasses stuck in the netting used to land on and they were pretty beat up but salvageable.
  After some struggling with the tie downs and servicing the bird, it was back to my room where I would spend the rest of the day trying to keep from being thrown out of my bunk while reading a book I have been trying to finish. I past on lunch and had a cup of noodles instead. The weather stayed bad all day but at least we turned and run down wind for the rest of the day.
  Dinner was about the same as every other day. Steamed rice, boiled cabbage, baked fish, fish head soup with seaweed and stewed chicken feet (I’m not kidding) and sushi (raw tuna). 24 little Chinese heads bobbing and chop sticks a clicking, we soon devoured the evening meal.


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9 responses to Rotor Trash

  1. Dinner was about the same as every other day. Steamed rice, boiled cabbage, baked fish, fish head soup with seaweed and stewed chicken feet (I’m not kidding) and sushi (raw tuna). 24 little Chinese heads bobbing and chop sticks a clicking, we soon devoured the evening meal.

    If that didn’t bring back some memories!
    Good on you, Bill. And in one swoop, you’ve just confirmed many a point I’ve been struggling to tell in "Moggy’s Tuna Manual"!
    Can’t even tell you how happy I am to see you here.
    Look forward to your critique on my descriptions on tuna helicopter flying, as and when you have some time.

    Bill, for everybody’s benefit, was one of my tuna helicopter buddies, on the wild,wild waters of the Pacific, an ace pilot and great human being (a trifle ugly, but we can’t all be perfect…) and we have quite some tales to tell.

    Bill is writing a book. THAT I must read.

  2. Mr. Wild Bill – Are ya a Hickock then??? Kin to the one who had the wild west shows? Are ya a cowboy? Or are ya more like that other Bill – the one in " Kill Bill". Which kinda Bill are ya?

    Something about the way you all write the stories of flying those whirlybirds makes me think of cowboys riding bucking broncos.  I can visualize you all going up and down and landing on that boat going up and down and it seems just like watching the bucking steers or broncs at a rodeo. Is it like that?

    Ya know ye really need to write us a little piece telling us all about yerself..How are we to get to know ya?  

    I like your story.  I like the way you talk to yourself..sometimes I do that also. (Shhh, it’s okay, we just won’t tell anyone)

    I like this line a lot…"like it had been rejected and the ocean was spitting it out."  I can really ‘see’ that, you know?

    So, is all they ever feed you out there that stuff…that fish-eyed soup? Oh, ewwwww.
    I couldn’t eat nothing that was a’looking back at me thata way! Ewwww. And I saw that picture that Moggy put on one of his stories about that chicken feet stew or soup.  Double ewwwww. Why don’t they use the good parts of some chickens? Do they chew it all up..and swallow it? How long are ya out there for to be eating that?  I bet when you see land again, you are plenty glad, eh?  

    Now what kinda book are ya writing?  Are ya gonna post some of it here, so we get to read it?  What is it about?

    Do I ask too many questions for yer liking?  I’m sorry, but you know, I’m a curious southern thing and we all are just thata way.  Please don’t think I am lacking in manners or anything like that. I’ll answer any quesitons you ask me – well pretty near any. If you won’t answer me, ah well..I reckon I shall just die of curiousity.  

    Oh, did I forget to tell ya? I am Moggy’s friend, Katie.  I am my own woman though – I am not one of those Myerick’s chicks … Katie don’t play that!

    Later

  3. Well katie, I’m not sure how to address all those questions at one time.
    Here is my myspace intro, but mind you that it was ment to scare off anyone that didnt know me, and I guess it’s working.
    With the host’s blessings, I will post "My work" on a regular basis or untill I get ask not to.
    What kind of Bill am I? Ask around. How about you? Whats Katie like? All I can say is "If the truth hurts, hide your feelings cuz heer it comes!"

    About me:
    A friend is someone who accepts you as you are….and never lets you forget it. I have only a few real friends and sometimes I don’t even like them. On a soul level, I AM PERFECT! On a human level, I’m a rotten old bastard, unless I’m not, and I’m OK with that. I AM that I AM, for what else would I be. I like to travel, fly helicopters, golf, ride my harley, get drunk with my friends, visit with my kids, make music and follow my nose to where ever it takes me. I’m about ready for another girlfriend, or not!

  4. Well, Mr. Bill, I think you forgot to put in yer my space intro.  That’s okay – you got carried away. We all do that.

    Why do you want to scare people off?  As for asking around about you, I’m not that kinda girl. I always go straight to the horse’s mouth, I want to form my own opinions, not rely on others, no matter how well I think of them. Perception is everything, ce n’est pas?

    As for me, well … there’s a lot about me right here. I don’t lie and I make no bones that what I write is mostly stories about my life.
    I’m not perfect – I’m so far from being perfect, even good that it disappoints me sometimes…all that seeking ..ah, well – at least I keep trying.
    Anything else ya wanna know, just ask.

    Why do you call yourself that crude name, eh?  Would you tell me what kinda music you make? I do so like music.

    I think I must have asked more questions than you like, and now I’ve asked more.  I’m sorry – I just was curious . . you kinda intrigued me. I don’t so much care, you see about people’s stuff – you know like all the stuff that folks flaunt to attract people.  That’s not what mostly interests me in folks, it’s the other part of them, the one they don’t like to show.  I’m sorry if that offended you – ’twas not my intent.

    Now, if you want a girlfriend, Moggy has those ‘Meyrick chicks’ – maybe he’ll share with ya, reckon?

  5. LOL! No, I reckon not. Ya see, when I first put my myspace ad up, I was looking for a lady friend, but I thought, while I’m asking, I’ll ask for it all, so I ask for a woung, rich, sexie, good looking ect-ectShe would to like music, flying, motorcycles, dancing and traveling. Well, I got hammered with frend request and after a while I just put up something that wouldn’t attract anyone. I still have a few girl frends but no lovers, not in a long time. Shame on me!
    myspace.com/billsaathoff

  6. If you wanted to put up something to turn off the girlie friend requests. why didn’t you just put up yer photo???

    (just kidding…. me bad)

  7. Ha, Moggy gotcha good, eh?  LOL….LOL…LOL
                

    Cheeky, Cheeky, Moggy

    Well, unless Moggy shares some of them Meyricks chickies with ya, I doubt you’ll find a lover here, Mr. Bill. Unless yer into them figments of the imagination kinds, maybe one of us could whip one up fer ya.   LOL   

    If ya weren’t so obstreperous, cantankerous and far too worried about how we all perceive ya, ya might make some friends who, like you, wanna write.  Of course, in this little cyber cocoon, we-all are equal to you-all. I hope that’s not a problem, eh?

    Not for no big cowboy, whirlybird flying man…naw…I didn’t think so.

    Now, here’s hoping ya don’t hang yer lip or get riled at me, eh?

  8. LOL! Now I see how it works. Its not that I have touble getting girlfriends, Its that I have trouble getting rid of them. Its not like you can take them to the pound like you would with a dog you didn’t want. I don’t have dogs either. If it limits my freedom, I don’t want it. However, I am a man, so I am into the catch and release program, when I feel like it.
    Anyway, in a week,if you read what I post, you will know me much better. Fair warning.

  9. Catch and release, indeed. You are so full of it! and I don’t mean donuts!

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