Thursday, June 5, 2008

Wounded birds: The art of crash landing

I looked up some videos on YouTube of emergency landings in Robinson R22s, just to begin acquainting myself with the most difficult part of this endeavor. They look pretty hairy, but the students don't seem fazed.

Below are two examples, views from the ground and from the cockpit. Keep in mind these helicopters have no engine power, they are just falling. But they don't plummet like a stone. The rotor spins in autorotation, like the wing of a maple seed, shown here in the first video.

In the helicopters, at the last second, the pilot trades in this spin for a little lift, and settles softly, more or less.

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