PPRuNe Forums - View Single Post - Want A Job Catching Spacecraft With A Helicopter?
Old 13th Aug 2018, 10:39
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John Eacott
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Gold Coast, Australia
Age: 71
Posts: 4,145
Genesis space probe recovery (incl video)

How did they get away with a five metre hook!

Thread drift; swanning around the AFWR in the Caribbean we came across a missile floating around, still attached to its parachute. Crew decision was that it would look like a pretty good trophy to take back to Ark Royal so we dug out the grappling hook and attached it to the winch whilst going into a hover, trawling the hook to catch the prize. No problems so far.

Clear to winch up, no problems. Then the downwash caught the parachute and things went pear shaped very quickly as ten ton of Sea King pulled sideways as fast as possible to avoid being downed by an angry parachute.

‘Get rid of it’ we cried from the front.

‘What, cut the cable’ from the back.

‘Don’t you dare cut the cable’, etc etc until the pull on the grappling hook was enough to straighten the prong and the chute fell off.

Very chastened crew made Charlie time and landed just far enough left of the spot to sneak the damaged hook off down the catwalk for a rabbit job to have it returned to a normal shape, and a lifelong respect for the vagaries of an inflated parachute anywhere near a rotor
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