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Reminder to always stay alert (VERY LOW HELICOPTER!)

daveshrews

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Jan 2, 2019
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Location
Arlington, MA
I had a good reminder yesterday of why you should always maintain good situational awareness and never assume you won't encounter manned aircraft under 400....

I had planned to do a little flying with my Mavic Air and was outside getting set up (luckily I wasn't in the air yet.) Literally out of nowhere, a State Police helicopter came buzzing over the treeline at 127 ft AGL! They started circling the area and doing tight turns between 150-250 ft in exactly the same spot where I had my quad up the day before!

Always stay alert... always watch the sky for low flying aircraft!
 

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You should have called the SP and reported a large single-rotor drone had invaded your privacy!
 
I had a good reminder yesterday of why you should always maintain good situational awareness and never assume you won't encounter manned aircraft under 400....

I had planned to do a little flying with my Mavic Air and was outside getting set up (luckily I wasn't in the air yet.) Literally out of nowhere, a State Police helicopter came buzzing over the treeline at 127 ft AGL! They started circling the area and doing tight turns between 150-250 ft in exactly the same spot where I had my quad up the day before!

Always stay alert... always watch the sky for low flying aircraft!

Same experience here, several times...usually it is military choppers and I cannot understand what they are doing at that altitude over a densely populated residential neighborhood.
 
Same experience here, several times...usually it is military choppers and I cannot understand what they are doing at that altitude over a densely populated residential neighborhood.

I've worked here for 17 years and I've never seen a low helicopter in this area until yesterday. I know there was a State Police bust for a kidnapper around the same time, but that was about 5 towns south of here. I bet it was related though.
 
I have my local county police helicopter fly over my house a couple times a week. I also had a small Cessna circling the area around me a few nights ago while I was outside bbqing. The police are often times pacing vehicles down the highway nearby and well under 200ft AGL and I am accustomed to seeing them, but the Cessna was completely out of nowhere and started circling the area. Keep your head up and in VLOS, also, add some Cree strobes to your bird for night flights to be on the safe side.
 
It's surprising to hear about frequent low helicopter flights, especially in residential areas. We discussed autorotation a week ago or so. Basically when they are below a certain fairly low height AGL, they lose the ability to auto rotate effectively to a soft landing. All the helo pilots I've talked to called it the "Dead Zone" as I recall.

"The FAA states "The height–velocity diagram or H/V curve is a graph charting the safe/unsafe flight profiles relevant to a specific helicopter. As operation outside the safe area of the chart can be fatal in the event of a power or transmission failure it is sometimes referred to as the dead man's curve."[1]

The H–V curve is a diagram indicating the combinations of height above ground and airspeed that should be avoided due to safety concerns relating to emergency landings. It is dangerous to operate within the shaded regions of the diagram, because it may be impossible for the pilot to complete an emergency autorotation from a starting point within these regions."

Hvcurve.png
 
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It's surprising to hear about frequent low helicopter flights, especially in residential areas. We discussed autorotation a week ago or so. Basically when they are below a certain fairly low height AGL, they lose the ability to auto rotate effectively to a soft landing. All the helo pilots I've talked to called it the "Dead Zone" as I recall.

"The FAA states "The height–velocity diagram or H/V curve is a graph charting the safe/unsafe flight profiles relevant to a specific helicopter. As operation outside the safe area of the chart can be fatal in the event of a power or transmission failure it is sometimes referred to as the dead man's curve."[1]

The H–V curve is a diagram indicating the combinations of height above ground and airspeed that should be avoided due to safety concerns relating to emergency landings. It is dangerous to operate within the shaded regions of the diagram, because it may be impossible for the pilot to complete an emergency autorotation from a starting point within these regions."

Hvcurve.png
I did read a thread on autorotation a while back and had no idea what it was until I researched it. This makes a lot of sense. For me personally, I am in a residential area but do live about 200 feet from a highway. Horrible planning on my behalf with road noise. They county police do not routinely hover in my area but fly by quite often as I am in the middle of their helo service area.
 
It's surprising to hear about frequent low helicopter flights, especially in residential areas. We discussed autorotation a week ago or so. Basically when they are below a certain fairly low height AGL, they lose the ability to auto rotate effectively to a soft landing. All the helo pilots I've talked to called it the "Dead Zone" as I recall.

"The FAA states "The height–velocity diagram or H/V curve is a graph charting the safe/unsafe flight profiles relevant to a specific helicopter. As operation outside the safe area of the chart can be fatal in the event of a power or transmission failure it is sometimes referred to as the dead man's curve."[1]

The H–V curve is a diagram indicating the combinations of height above ground and airspeed that should be avoided due to safety concerns relating to emergency landings. It is dangerous to operate within the shaded regions of the diagram, because it may be impossible for the pilot to complete an emergency autorotation from a starting point within these regions."

Hvcurve.png


I flew OH-58's (Bell 206) and OH-6's (MD500) and I can tell you that when we did practice auto rotations from 500' if your landing area was not at your pedals (looking past your toes at the ground) you weren't going to make it. We never really thought about having to do a auto rotation because those emergencies were statistically nonexistent. Before I retired the Army even stopped practicing touchdown auto rotations because more aircraft were damaged during training than in actual engine failures.

In reference high density aircraft operations, I live in Colorado Springs, CO and we are in the center of 5 military installations (3 with aircraft based on them and 2 that have active helipads) not counting flight for life helos.
 
I had this just fly over!! I usually see News choppers or those big choppers working on top of the Chrysler plant setting a/c units, but this thing you could feel the thumping through your body[emoji15]

Selfridge ANG is 16 miles away.

6ee376f44cd1bb8b5a28f808dede4c7f.jpg


940db43e818f0d91f6e40ab3f6ac3038.jpg
 
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I had this just fly over!! I usually see News choppers or those big choppers working on top of the Chrysler plant setting a/c units, but this thing you could feel the thumping through your body[emoji15]

Selfridge ANG is 16 miles away.

6ee376f44cd1bb8b5a28f808dede4c7f.jpg


940db43e818f0d91f6e40ab3f6ac3038.jpg

My son would have been stoked! He loves Chinooks!! I see them every now and then by my place flying between military bases but it’s been a while.
 
I was a medical heli dispatcher for 3 yrs, they fly low alot! In my area this is a common thing to look out for. Spot them quick as you can bc they will be on you faster than you think [emoji1303]
 
I had this just fly over!! I usually see News choppers or those big choppers working on top of the Chrysler plant setting a/c units, but this thing you could feel the thumping through your body[emoji15]

Selfridge ANG is 16 miles away.

6ee376f44cd1bb8b5a28f808dede4c7f.jpg


940db43e818f0d91f6e40ab3f6ac3038.jpg

only time i see them flying they are up a bit off the ground effect areas. only dropping low on descent to the airports.
no military around (ca thing) so they are state guard (weekender troops).
but always good to see.
 
In the summer months we have a shark spotting chopper patrol south and then return north twice a day. They sre a couple of hundred M out over the sea but quiet low. You can easily see a spotter siting in the door. You can normally hear them coming and they seam quiet slow.
 
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