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Old 4th Jan 2009, 21:26   #1 (permalink)
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Helicopter-mounted wrecking ball

Inspired by the thread "Helicopters based on boats" (it'll never happen; boats have poor downward visibility and lousy autorotational characteristics...): a St. Louis Helicopters K-MAX using a 2 ton wrecking ball for chimney demolition work last August.

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Old 4th Jan 2009, 23:48   #2 (permalink)
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Why would you ever do that, surely there were better options.
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Old 5th Jan 2009, 00:18   #3 (permalink)
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Why not. The Kmax was designed for utility work, so work away. As long as you're not damaging the aircraft or making it unairworthy while doing it then there should be no problems.
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Old 5th Jan 2009, 00:31   #4 (permalink)
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Fred Dibnah is rotating in his grave.
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Old 5th Jan 2009, 02:24   #5 (permalink)
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Fred Dibnah is rotating in his grave
That would be autorotating, I take it?

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Old 5th Jan 2009, 07:48   #6 (permalink)
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One might think that if the ball penetrated and then rotated, trying to pull its fulcrum down, that it might impart a tremendous peak "tension" weight on the helicopter. Might be liable to tear the fork right out out of his nightie


A case of dynamite and a couple of lads with a bit of imagination would be far better, or perhaps one could round up a few suicide bombers and convince them of a goodly cause.

or give the local artillery mob a bit of casual cannon fodder, anything.
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Old 5th Jan 2009, 08:04   #7 (permalink)
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I would of said that they did use there imagination here. Good on you lads.
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Old 5th Jan 2009, 11:29   #8 (permalink)
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Many years ago , we used a chain, cable, multiple truck inner tubes and a additional chain slackline as a type of cheap shock absorber, all attached to a old Cat engine block.

This was to break down the shale type rock face on remote railroad cuttings to prevent the loose chunks falling on the track layers. It worked great, but the engine block(s) fell apart pretty quick ...

we tried a fuel drum filled with concrete and re-bar and that 'nearly' worked.

Then we welded 4 chunks of RR track together but wasn't heavy enough and spun like a top.

Finally we bought a solid steel anvil and welded a collar around it, similar to the thing you see on dogs and cats after a surgical operation, but in our case to protect the chain...
It worked great until I got too comfortable with it...I went in too low with a swing and brought a massive chunk of rock face down on the anvil and buried the whole shebang and about 30 feet of chain.

Needless to say I was at the other end of the chain,cable and swivels...

Two things happened !

1) I started losing my hair...
2) I promised myself to never do anything with a helicopter that I hadn't seen
someone else do first.

All joking aside...Innovation with helos is what keeps the game so interesting!...
Innovation is far more limited by regulation today than it used to be, (nope, not gonna go there!) and swinging a wrecking ball (or home made substitute) probably needs a new rotorclass load-combination class all for itself

I suggest Class C-BB (Big balls).....A load touching the surface or anything else , very briefly but with malice and aforethought

ps....CG, relax, I'll never tell...

Last edited by 170'; 5th Jan 2009 at 11:45.
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Old 5th Jan 2009, 12:29   #9 (permalink)
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I think it's great really.

A new use for a Heli, more work for a pilot........
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Old 5th Jan 2009, 17:25   #10 (permalink)
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Wonder if they ever thought what this does to the helicopter?

Remember the early days of the fat starflex on the 350. On longline work we figured out it was like being on the end of a cracked whip. Cracks in the starflex. Fitted a rudimentary "snubber" - piece of old car tyre in series in the longline and it stopped it. Skinny starflex was also a proper fix for it.
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Old 5th Jan 2009, 18:24   #11 (permalink)
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i think this is an idiotic use of a helicopter...and no doubt the FAA approved the operation (I'll assume N-registry for argument's sake!).

yet one can depart from a VFR airfield under 0-0. Go figure...
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Old 6th Jan 2009, 02:59   #12 (permalink)
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no doubt the FAA approved the operation (I'll assume N-registry for argument's sake!)
Why do you think the FAA would need/want to issue specific approval for this operation?
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Old 6th Jan 2009, 12:46   #13 (permalink)
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I knocked the unstable top from a factory chimney in Devon just by pushing it with the main wheel of a Wessex 5. Worked brilliantly and we got a nice bottle from the factory owner. I've got a picture somewhere and I'll see if I can find it. (I suspect that the undercarriage of the Wessex was a lot stronger than those stuck on nowadays judging by the thumping they took doing engine off landings without using the collective................ but that's another thread I suspect!)

PS FAA? Who they? Keeps coming up and they seem to lack a sense of humour.............(I thought it stood for Fleet Air Arm - and they certainly don't lack a sense of humour)
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Old 6th Jan 2009, 15:06   #14 (permalink)
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It is far better to be silent and thought a Fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt!

The very essence of helicopter flying and the future of the industry is to find as many uses for the aircraft as possible. This appears to be yet another innovative approach to that.

Why are we inundated with a chorus of voices shouting down others productive use of the aircraft?

As long as the operator, pilot, and engineers (mechanics for you FAA types), exercise sound decision making in the carrying out whatever operation they do....then the industry prospers.

If we applied this "inside the box thinking" so common to the non-North American or from the Down Under crowd....the industry would never progress.

Think back to where we are today...longlines, water buckets, wire stringing, mustering, crop spraying, construction work, EMS, ENG, survey, seismic, the whole myriad of uses we put the aircraft to...all because someone, somewhere, sometime....thought outside the box.

Lute, old lad, I suggest you go back to a quiet corner and re-think your views on the helicopter and the folks that made it what it is. You certainly are not going to be one of them as evidence by your comments.
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Old 6th Jan 2009, 16:16   #15 (permalink)
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SASLess is dead on with this.

While I suspect this certainly wasn't the most cost-efficient method for bringing down the chimney, it's good entertainment.

I'm sure there was a goodly bit of hand-wringing about the "smart" use of helos the first time someone clipped onto a high-tension line and disembarked a passenger or two...
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Old 6th Jan 2009, 16:38   #16 (permalink)
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I somehow expect that it was the best and most efficient way of bringing it down.

SASless - right on there. It brings back memories of the great toe-in landing debate................
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Old 6th Jan 2009, 16:42   #17 (permalink)
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College Alumni?

Understand that the chimney was on a local college campus.

Owner (female) of the helicopter company is/was old college alumni?

College gets national coverage, college gets chimney removed for free, owner gets national coverage, local contractors get seed planted for future use and pilot has a great fun filled day.

Ain't America great.
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Old 6th Jan 2009, 23:28   #18 (permalink)
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I'd love to see a video of this...

One wonders how they would even fly this...

You can just imagine patterns (circuits for those of you yonder)....
The r/t soundtrack would be amusing...

"Reporting left downwind, abeam chimney..."

"Long finals.... long chimney"
"Short finals... short chimney"

"Reporting left downwind, abeam, uhm, uhm, where the chimney used to be"
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Old 6th Jan 2009, 23:53   #19 (permalink)
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The helicopter is now in New Zealand (ZK HEE). Skywork Helicopters
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Old 7th Jan 2009, 00:49   #20 (permalink)
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I've seen the pic in Vertical. Short description says it was over with in 9 (nine) minutes. I don't know the start-up and shutdown times in K-MAX. Someone can elaborate on the total hire cost.

I had the same idea for the first split-second. Then, why the heck not. I would not do it with just any helo, though..
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