View Full Version : US Army Huey Tail Rotor Failures
23rd Jul 2011, 02:00
A question please for the military Huey instructors (from Vietnam till the acft was retired):
If you flew Hueys in Vietnam, what were the types of Huey tail rotor failures that you trained your pilots to counter (from the many types of failures)?
Were these failures in the Hueys practiced from the air right down to stopped on the ground?
Did the US Army continue this exact training (to stopped on the ground) for all Huey pilots right through to the end of the Hueys life?
Thanks in advance.
23rd Jul 2011, 03:01
FSI at the Bell Factory or the Bell Factory School would both be excellent points of contact re tail rotor failure training.
One must recall Simulators and Simulated failures in the actual aircraft during training are just that.....Simulations are not necessarily identical to the real thing.
That being said....one learns the coorelations of throttle, collective pitch, airspeed, MAUW, CG, side slip angles, wind angle/velocity,and Torque while doing such simulations in the Huey. That in itself is instructional and well worth the time and expense.
We did them in all phases of flight including landings....after all that is the goal of the exercise....to land safely after having some sort of Tail Rotor failure.
Arm out the window
23rd Jul 2011, 06:36
I didn't fly them in Vietnam, but flew and instructed on RAAF / Aussie army ones for a reasonable while.
Obviously the kinds of failures you can practice airborne are limited and possibly not representative of what would really happen, but we would cover (as best we could) loss of T/R thrust and stuck pedals L and R in forward flight and in the hover.
There were systematic techniques to reduce a stuck pedal problem to something you could land off, either by a reducing torque method (basically a 'calibrated' throttle chop:)) and run-on landing, or coming to the hover in the case of lots of left pedal and then using a combination of beep switch and rolling off the throttle in increments to slow the rotation before settling it on.
I probably still have some info written down somewhere if you're after that kind of stuff.
23rd Jul 2011, 06:47
Thanks for the answers, but I need to be very clear that I am not interested in the failure cases practiced in the simulators, but in the actual acft and conducted to touchdown to a stop.
My Q relates only to US ARMY pilots as well.
I need to know if they flew the approach to actual touchdown.
Thanks in advance.
23rd Jul 2011, 10:35
Would you mind explaining why such a specific question?
23rd Jul 2011, 10:43
I need to know if they flew the approach to actual touchdownYes we did.
23rd Jul 2011, 12:51
Am former US Army....an Instructor Pilot....YES to the ground....That answer your question?-
If you would have read the response you would have seen I addressed doing them in the actual aircraft.....but reminded you the maneuvers are simulated and cannot be counted upon to accurately simulate the actual failures one might encounter.
One for instance.....shuck a 90 Degree gearbox with the Tail Rotor attached...and then think how you duplicate the abrupt shift in CG along with the abrupt loss of yaw control. The Simulator can with some validity produce the kind of response that might be experienced but no way can one do that in the actual aircraft.
Arm out the window
23rd Jul 2011, 22:28
Same here, all the ones we did were flown in the actual aircraft to a touchdown, owing to the fact we didn't have any simulators!
My references to simulated failures means those that were initiated by the instructor putting his size 10 boot on the pedal and saying 'Practice!'
Aussie, not USA though.
24th Jul 2011, 07:08
First of all there is no such thing as practising tail rotor failures in the real aircraft. You can simulate pedal seize and have a half-hearted attempt at drive shaft failure but you would need to be well insured, very brave (or foolish) and have access to a time-lifed airframe to go off and 'de-clutch' the tail drive shaft.
I am blessed in my job to have access to a very expensive level D simulator that is programmed with the best mathematical data available to simulate a drive shaft failure and pedal seize at any phase of flight - but it is just that, a mathematical projection.
I caution my students to be careful what lessons they choose to take away with them after sim sessions where tail rotor failures are featured. A survey carried out by the UK CAA about 10 years ago revealed that an analysis of hundreds of worldwide TR failures only 30% were drive shaft failures. The rest were a diverse mixture of tail rotor component failures. Putting too much emphasis on drive shaft failures can lead you astray.
If you are going to develop a single instinct as a result of training in the my sim I hope it will be to lower the collective to the bottom stop as soon as you identify loss of directional control - no matter what phase of flight. Subsequent careful re-application of collective may be possible depending on airspeed. Delay in lowering the collective will result in an increasingly dynamic departure from controllable flight. The events in Macau would appear to reinforce this view and as SAS points out the very unpredictable consequences of the a TR blade departing may result in dramatic effect on CG. Maybe TRIs in other types/sims would comment (agree or disagree) on my suggestions.
24th Jul 2011, 21:17
35 Y-P, 46 yrs ago this month I had a tail-rotor failure,including loss of most of the gear-box. Iwas on my first tour ,in an operational environment,and don`t remember ever having been taught anything about T/R failures. At the time Iwas checking the engineers Ihad on board by way of a mirror on the bottom of the cyclic; helo was a Whirlwind 10( S-55 with turbine engine) and as I was in formation with another helo,and the violent yaw and noise,I thought I had collided,and cursed myself ,whilst trying to regain some control; the Cof G had disappeared forwards,off the nose,and the stick was almost on the back stops.As I didn`t know what it was,I did a forced landing, in a little clearing on a hill-top,and only after landing did I hear the noise of the other aircraft,as it came to pick us up. When,later ,we got back to base,one of the other Sqdn. pilots gave me a magazine to read.It was a US Army/Air Force Flight Safety mag. and it had an article about `How to handle tail-rotor failures`.....! `I think I probably said ``I could have done with that about 3 hours ago``,or words to that effect.. The pics of the aircraft are on`Rotorheads around the world ,p15`(not the videos).
I have subsequently done LPCs simulating T/R failures,but none can `dirty your pants` like a gearbox/t/r departure,and C of G change...
I don`t know if `Geoffers` could tell us whether he can simulate such a failure,by `frigging` the Cof G change at the same time,but there is no way you could ever simulate it `in-flight`...
Sorry if I`ve digressed,but it`s a bit of an eye-opener`; anyone else who has had a similar event,please comment... Syc..
24th Jul 2011, 22:08
Having taught in the aircraft and in Simulators....I fully agree with Geoffers comment about lowering the collective. I would also suggest the understanding one acquires about the inter-relationships of throttle, collective, torque, airspeed, and wind angle amongst everything else is most valuable. Far too many pilots fail to fully grasp the way the aircraft reacts to the varying forces that act on the aircraft particularly when there has been a loss of Tail Rotor control.
I have applied the same techniques in a aircraft with overhead power levers with some success. There is one producer of aircraft that advocates a running landing at airspeeds possibly as high as 80-90 knots following a certain kind of tail rotor failure whereas if one merely performs an autorotative landing the outcome would be far less dramatic than as taught by their factory pilots.
The most important aspect is to have the experience and exposure to as much information as possible to prepare you for the emergency you are facing so that you are able to THINK and reason your way through the problem.
I started practicing Tail Rotor failures in 1967.....and have not bent an aircraft yet. One company owner was puzzled when he saw one of his BO-105's spinning around and around as we passed by his office window at a fair rate of knots one snowy day. When he asked the Chief Pilot what the heck was going on.....the CP merely sipped his cup of coffee and told the Boss Fellah "Hose Nose is getting checked out in the 105....they are doing Tail Rotor failures right now it appears!".
Anyone who thinks practicing in the actual aircraft is dangerous or injurious to the aircraft is looking for an excuse not to demonstrate his ability in those maneuvers. The learning point is to learn a technique....not duplicate the exact reactions of the aircraft during the actual failure.
24th Jul 2011, 23:12
Well ... as many UK pilots know, I've been lucky enough to cope with three T/R failures. (in 14,000 hours tho') The first in 1975 in an Enstrom 280 Shark at Shoreham when the T/R drive shaft sheared at around 300 feet in the climb out. As a low time rotary my instinct was to dump the lever and when I found myself on a reciprocal heading, and about to make contact with the aerodrome, I raised the lever and shoved the stick forward. The machine stayed upright in a 60 knot 'run-on' landing. I spent some time studying the incident and having established a corrective sequence of control handling I began teaching a recovery procedure to interested pilots.
Following a long briefing on the planned handling, in the air exercise, I have my pilot place both feet flat on the cabin floor and by observing the airspeed selected and the power being used, I simulate the relevent yaw angle as I can best determine. The exact yaw angles may not be correct, but the required corrective handling is.
I still teach T/R failures and offer the following procedure based on my experiences ....
T/R FAILS - airframe yaws rapidly RIGHT. Actual rate of yaw depends on power and airspeed at the time of failure. RESPONSE .... Collective lever is lowered with cyclic forward and LEFT to achieve say 60 - 70 knots. Yaw stops and commences slower yaw LEFT due to transmission frictions. Allow airframe to yaw LEFT to the 10 0'clock position when lever is then raised slightly using RIGHT cyclic. Continue lifting lever to bring nose RIGHT to not more than a 2 0'clock position while maintaining 60-70 knots attitude. As airframe passes the 12 0'clock position cyclic is reversed to LEFT as nose settles at 2 0'clock. Carry out standard emergency checks and endeavour to maintain speed and a stable 2 0'clock position in level or descending flight. (Largely depends mainly on A/C weight)
Select the best available emergency landing site using cyclic to achieve a 400 to 500 feet final position. Once certain of reaching the LS, lower lever (cyclic from LEFT progressively to RIGHT as the 12 0'clock position is passed) to commence descent allowing nose to return to the LEFT 10 0'clock position maintaining 60-70 knots. (Lever down/cyclic right ... lever up/cyclic left is a good dictum.)
Maintain descent in 10 0'clock attitude until A/C is around 20 feet above the landing surface when lever is raised (nose going RIGHT) using progressive aft cyclic to minimise skid contact speed. Allow nose to pass the 12 0'clock position until 2 0'clock when throttle is closed smoothly and fully ... nose commences LEFT yaw and as it passes the 1 0'clock position, cyclic is pushed firmly forward to make skid contact at a 'dead ahead' 12 0'clock position or as best as can be achieved and at the lowest ground speed. Depending on skid contact and grip, nose may well continue to yaw LEFT, possibly to a 180 degree 'skids in contact' turn as happened on my third T/R failure experience.
The above notes are offered more as a discussion point on the general handling and need to be modified for type variations. (obviously read left for right etc on the French types) I appreciate the vast level of similar experience out there and I'm sure our thread will benefit from other views, but the above suggested handling worked for me at Cranfield 1986 and Biggin Hill in 1999 with nil airfame damage.
Naturally I'm happy to enlarge on any aspects of the above as required.
24th Jul 2011, 23:56
Dennis, I note your comments about lefts and rights ("lucky left / "rotten right" as I've heard it referred to many times, especially by Sikorsky exponents).
The term is also used about which is the "lucky", or helpful side for a crosswind to be blowing from, if there is a choice of landing direction.
I used to alternate between American and French helicopters (different main rotor directions) and wanted to remember which side was "lucky" or not.
I realised many years ago, after many years of flying and instructing on French helicopters (and quite a lot of experience of running a simulator for them), then later having to convert to back Sikorskys and finding it difficult to unlearn old habits, that the "lucky side" is always the retreating blade side.
If an acceptable approach can be set up with the nose offset out to the retreating blade side, raising the lever to cushion for landing will tend to align the nose back towards the 12 o'clock position, which is obviously what is needed at the very final stage.
I reckon I can probably remember the retreating blade side from the start up (!) so hopefully any confusion might be alleviated "in the unlucky event of".
"Rolling off the throttle" cannot be done on many larger types, especially FADEC equipped turbine ones, or not easily in those with roof mounted engine controls, especially twins.
BTW, I know of one middle eastern pilot who suffered a T/R driveshaft failure in a Puma at 140 kts. It flew straight at that speed. So he ran it on at 140 kts! Surprisingly, it stayed upright on its wheels but not surprisingly it used up all of the very long runway to stop.
24th Jul 2011, 23:58
As many folks fly both left and right turning rotor systems interchangeably....I leave out the "stick left/right wording" and suggest using "cyclic as needed to achieve the desired pitch/roll attitude". That way one is reacting to the situation instinctively rather than having to start by deciding which aircraft they are sitting in at the time....then applying the correct technique. The goal being to reduce confusion or delay when one finds helicopter flying does in fact demand prompt response to quickly changing conditions of flight.
25th Jul 2011, 01:00
To answer the original question:
I was an IP in the AH-1G, and regularly practiced TR failures to the ground of three types:
Stuck pedal left (high power; stuck in cruise; and stuck low power. A complete loss of thrust was briefed but not flown.
The IP would block the pedals with his feet, and the PUI would practice a landing using the approved technique, to a full stop. Involved speed control and rolling back the throttle for high thrust, or cutting throttle if low thrust.
25th Jul 2011, 03:05
How did the H model compare to the Cobra for weather vaning....streamlining with airspeed?
25th Jul 2011, 05:29
If I pontificate too much then I am in danger of sounding 'expert' when it comes to T/R failure, and that I am fortunate to say I am not. In my book if you haven't done it then your opinion does not have the same value as someone who has and those that become 'expert' by reading about it are 'academics' and should be trusted with great caution.
I do worry about the notion that this failure can be dealt with according to a complex 'recipe'. Each type will be different and the speed with which events unfold (check out the you tube videos of the Sea King landing on the frigate, the French Puma making tactical landing and the S76 landing in the school-yard in Ireland) necessarily mean that you need to make your first reactions immediately and that means it must be an instinctive reaction.
The AW139 sim indicates that it is impossible to fly (this aircraft) level with a drive shaft fail at any meaningful weight but it is possible to reduce the rate of decent provided airspeed is maintained at 120 kts and above.
Sycamore It is not possible to set the CG outside the normal limits but I will have a look at what 'fudges' are possible.
Collective position does not necessarily correlate with pedal position for as airspeed increases the airflow around the fin offloads the T/R so 80% PI in the hover is not the same as 80% PI in forward flight. The hover would equate to a high power (left pedal) and the cruise would be close to neutral.
I recommend a low speed handling check at a safe altitude if you have stuck pedals. You can then verify the lowest speed for safe approach and run it on at a margin over that speed, keep the lever up, the nose up at 10 degrees and let the aerodynamic braking bring the aircraft to a stop.
Next time you come for recurrent training look me up - happy to discuss further.
SAS - I venture to suggest that your MBB105 was not equipped with HUMS and all manner of monitoring systems that will tell (expensive) tales on those who experiment with 'exciting' training manoeuvres and get it slightly wrong. Better come and visit your friendly local sim centre and try out your ideas in comfort and safety. A red screen is a lot easier to live with than a red face. :)
25th Jul 2011, 13:43
Working with the Israeli Air Force investigating a Bell 212 crash that occurred when there was an overloading of the hoist....I came up with a way to alter the lateral CG to meet their calculated Lateral CG.
Look into your screens....find the one that allows for individual seat loading....and you should be able to load the aircraft in a manner to approach the necessary lateral or forward CG.
Place the aircraft in the flight regime you want.....call up that screen having loaded the "new" weights.....then punch "Enter". See what kind of reaction you get! You might have to punch in a Tail Rotor failure of some sort as well.
One of the ways I teach Loss of Control....during a Max performance takeoff...I allow the power pedal go forward but do not let it return....and induce the failure as naturally as possible. Some folks like to put the pedal fully forward.....but as one recalls a Bell 204/5/212/412 all have exactly four bolts holding the tail boom on. The training evolution is only to provide sufficient input to demonstrate the reaction one will confront....not duplicate it. Why stress the aircraft unnecessarily?
If you are yawing at or less the approved rate of turn for the aircraft....what need of HUMs does one need? The fact the aircraft is spinning due to a lack of control response does not necessarily over stress the aircraft.
The main difference in doing it in the real aircraft and the Sim....is one's subconscious self is aware of a "risk" where in the Sim it takes a lot of time to forget it is only an Adult Video Game. Sometimes you can get so wrapped up in the Sim you do forget....but it really is rare.
As to HUMS and all.....one should never let the aircraft get to a situation that creates excessive loading or puts the aircraft into a situation the Instructor cannot safely recover from and land the aircraft. There is a huge difference between being silly and being professional.
Perfect example is Dennis Kenyon, The Redbull 105, Herr Zimmerman, and Nick Lappos.....all who have done some very amazing things in a helicopter but did so in a very calculated way. Tail Rotor failure training is no different.
I prefer doing it to the multi-colored pencil method so prevalent in the UK.
25th Jul 2011, 15:32
SAS, and Dennis - With as much respect as I can muster (ie. lots) I should point out that in my comments about HUMS I did mention that excursions may be unplanned/inadvertent/unintended, but before HUMS you would not have been aware and fully under the impression that you were working within the limits blissfully unaware that you were pushing some important bits a little too hard.
Dennis has a dilemma for his three tail rotor failures are either a statistical anomaly, he was very unlucky, or perish the thought, he was in fact a bit too hard on the important bits. It's a good bet that Nick's ARMY days aircraft wasn't 'wired' so maybe he would let us know how close to the margins he was able to work later in his career when flight testing the S76 etc.
A wild guess would suggest that the average pilot would have 0.001 of a tail rotor malfunction in his career (ie. one in a 1000 helicopter pilots would experience a T/R failure) so three would worry the hell out of me.
SAS - The problem with our system is that the CG computer will only accept loads that are physically possible. If you try to push it into the extremes it simply returns you to the correct part of the CG envelope. Rearward extremes may be possible but not forward extremes. It will be handy if data from Macau is available for scenario training.
25th Jul 2011, 17:13
I have a friend who has crashed 13 times in the OH-6A....11 in the Army and 2 in civvie life. The fact he is alive after a year flying Scouts(Recon) in Vietnam is proof statistics are not infallible.
Nick will explain how the laws of probability work as he has posted on that topic in the past. Just because you have your career tail rotor failure today does not in any way limit you from having another one tomorrow or a third one the day after that.....although having had the first one you may be less likely to have another one ever.
We also know HUMS is less than perfect.....if you recall a Bond aircraft losing its rotor head over the North Sea a while back. That aircraft was in cruise flight...calm air....well within all limitations...and HUMS gave no useful warning as I recall.
Let's practice Airmanship....learn to "fly" the machines we ride in...and improve our professional abilities every way possible. Leave all them colored pencils at home, put on your Pickle Suit, and go flying. It is supposed to be fun you recall!
25th Jul 2011, 18:29
If I had a friend that crashed 13 times I would be in awe at his ability to survive ...... but I would not be too enthusiastic about going for a ride with him.
I agree with your assessment of the laws of probability but you can stack the odds against you if you explore the limits of the envelope (and sometimes beyond) on a regular basis.
FDR/HUMS has an excellent record when it comes to recording exceedances but it is, and will continue to be the case that identifying the vibration signature of an impending failure for the first time against a myriad of background vibrations is very very challenging.
I could not agree more that pilots should get to know how to handle their machine but as long as we have a plethora of accidents caused by poor handling and poor judgement I will be troubled by the continued reliance of the industry on instructors who originate from the CFI/CFII system that permits newbies to gain flight hours teaching the next generation. But that's another thread creep too far and may need a new thread to take the subject on.
25th Jul 2011, 19:13
The military crashes resulted from various forms of FOD....mostly 7.62mm sizeds chunks of fast moving lead....less one occasion where it was half inch sized pellets. The civvie end was a tail rotor failure when a Sea Gull committed Hari-Kari in the small fan....and the othere was an engine failure following that lovely engine named after a Female choked itself on some compressor blades. Amazingly enough the two civvie landings were minor damage only as in his words...".there was someplace to go and it was all getting to be old hat by then."!
Practice must make perfect I guess. Oddly enough he has never hit the Lottery!
25th Jul 2011, 20:17
Over the years I was provided with the opportunity to teach and evaluate varying levels of pilots from initial qualifiers to test pilot trainees in the U/TH-1E and L series (Bell 204) UH-1D/H Bell 205 and the AH-1G/J/S and T. The profiles were all very similar with little change between models. At Whiting Field in Milton, FL (Boo Weekley’s home town) our Squadron Flew approximately 50,000 flight hours per year. It may sound like a lot but we had more than 100 machines with approximately 60 flying each day. We wrecked 1 machine each year doing tail rotor malfunction training. I don’t believe that the unit ever had an actual tail rotor malfunction emergency.
We utilized a procedure very similar to that trained by our brethren at Ft. Rucker. We flew a flat power on approach to a long smooth landing area. As the aircraft decelerated we would keep close track of the yaw angle with respect to our ground track. Typically, the nose would be cocked out to the left. If it stayed left we would continue to slow the aircraft until the nose began to move to the right or we came to a hover. In the case of stuck pedal high power situation we may elect to land with the nose turning to the left. If the yaw rate was considered too excessive we had the option of beeping the governed RPM down to the lowest achievable speed. This would increase the torque required while simultaneously reducing tail rotor thrust. If the nose began to move right of our track we would reduce the twist grip to check the yaw rate and land. Once the twist grip was moved we were committed to land.
25th Jul 2011, 22:10
Yes Geoffers ... right on, as two of the three failures occurred during a max power manoeuvre with firm left pedal on ... (Enstrom) although the type's slack T/R cable rigging and oil-softened T/R blade flapping stops enhanced the situation allowing the upgoing blade to intercept the left hand control cable. Following the Cranfield incident, the Menominee factory re-positioned the control cable outlet position further inboard to increase clearance twixt cable and the upgoing blade. I now only display the type with cable rigging re-tensioned to maximum MM limits AND with replacement flapping stops fitted when required. The 3rd Biggin Hill occurrence was due to this not being done. Positively my fault.
Crosswind situation ... I completed the BH landing with a 3 0'clock breeze and a touch down on the right skid which helped maintain landing direction til around 40 knots when left yaw took over and the A/C finishing some 150 degrees left. And just to emphasise as Geoffers points out, my notes are only applicable to the light piston types with T/R cable control and a sizeable keel surface. Dennis Kenyon.
Arm out the window
26th Jul 2011, 23:55
Where's 35 Year Pilot?
You started out asking about tail rotor failure practice by military operators, got good replies from respected people and disappeared. A bit of explanation wouldn't go astray.
27th Jul 2011, 03:05
I am sorry to respond so late. Thank you everyone for the replies - they are truely inspiring accounts.
My enquiry was to see if the USA Huey pilots trained to the ground stopped because a friend of mine had a tail rotor failure (in the cruise) in the Sinai Desert (El Gorah) and had a lot of US observers on board. The observers believed that their US pilots never trained the recovery to the ground and so they (observers) expected to die when the chopper was slowed on approach.
It turned out the Australian pilot was well versed in the technique and pulled off a great landing. The US observers bought beers at the bar for a month!
Your answers have cleared up this story. It was the observers who were mistaken about their US bretheren's skills.
Arm out the window
27th Jul 2011, 05:05
Ah, gotcha. Cheers.
I think I may know the person you're talking about then, we overlapped for a few years in the Huey world.
27th Jul 2011, 12:09
Nice well sourced question.....and full explanation of what you were really trying to achieve but failed to accomplish. Back under the bridge lad!
27th Jul 2011, 15:48
Jack Carson: Whiting Field, TH-1E and L, was where I earned my wings. (HT-18, CDR Tilt was CO ... always thought that was a great name for a helicopter squadron CO that flew a semi rigid rotor system ... )
Good training there, I recall the stuck pedals training as being one where the IP's were very, very careful. (I was there when a Huey had the tail boom fall off and all of the Huey's were grounded due to them finding corrosion in those magical four bolts on more than a few of the birds in the hangar. No Xs until new bolts could be had).
27th Jul 2011, 19:31
I was there from April, 1975 through October, 1978 and have nothing but fond memories of my tour. The TH-1Ls were relatively new at the time. The fleet was augmented with tired Marine UN-1Es and Army UH-1D/Hs. Stuck pedal training and full touchdown autorotations were the high light of the tour. To this day, I am always amazed when I run into one of my old students, even now, 30 plus years later
All the Best
28th Jul 2011, 12:17
I had a cargo door come off of a Huey in the Nam thing. Took off the tail rotor and gear box completely.
A battery in the nose and 5 Grunts on board. Put it down in a rice paddy without another scratch.
Believe me, THAT was to the ground...you bet!!
28th Jul 2011, 12:38
Care to give us a detailed account of that bit of fun? It would be interesting to hear all about it! Being a Chinook driver....we did not care to even think about Tail Rotor failures!
Arm out the window
28th Jul 2011, 21:15
Although it must have been pretty eye-watering for you, it's good to know that losing the T/R and gearbox doesn't necessarily mean it's going to pitch down uncontrollably with the C of G change, as some people have said to me at times.
Were you airborne for much time after it happened, and did you have much rearward cyclic left? What did you do? Good on you for putting it down safely.
31st Jul 2011, 09:33
What a fantastic discussion!
I have the fondest memories of my very modest military 2,000 hrs in Hueys and the highest respect for any rotary pilot who can survive a career in the machines with the stress of low flying, (limited) performance, wire strikes, gearbox chip lights, tail rotor failures, vortex rings, PIOs .. blah blah.
I am an ex military "jack of all trades - master of none" pilot (Caribous, Hueys, small jets) but had a recent fixed wing incident where some of the basic skills of chopper flying (flying at the limit - not beyond) and respecting the machine proved to be a great asset on the day.
I only did it for 2,000 hrs on the Huey - you guys did it for a career. I loved my time on choppers and think I am so much the better for it.
I have the utmost respect for you all. Thanks for the discussion.