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Heli chopping trees down in Vietnam

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Heli chopping trees down in Vietnam

Old 15th Feb 2009, 14:51
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Heli chopping trees down in Vietnam

Just in the middle of a good book, the plot talks about a pilot in Vietnam flying Hueys, and specifically when extracting troops from a hastily made LZ if the hole in the trees made wasnt big enough then the pilot would carefully trim light vegetation out of the way to make it big enough to land. Is this true??
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Old 15th Feb 2009, 15:55
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General,
The degree of risk to blades was associated with the peril to the folks you are picking up and the amount of expected damage. Rarely would an Aircraft Commander risk damage for routine operations, but he might plan to chop 1/2" branches if the folks below were wounded and the enemy was closing. It was common to mow elephant grass in a normal pickup, this would seldom harm a blade, except when a woody bush was hidden in the 6 to 8 foot long grass.

No administrative action was taken if the blade damage lead to some saved souls.
I have seen these decisions made daily back then. Blade damage from branch strikes and bullet holes was prevalent enough that our pathways across the dirt in the troop basecamp area (I was in a Cav unit - hooah!) were paved with Huey rotor blades, and the foot rail in our tiny O Club as an OH-6 blade turned upward.
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Old 15th Feb 2009, 17:21
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It was not all that unusual to fly into/out of holes in the forest that did not allow for a simple vertical flight path but required the aircraft to move about on the way down and back up to clear tree branches that were sticking out at different places and heights. Even more common was having to do hover pickups and drop offs at the bottom of the hole because there was no way to land to the ground. The difficult thing to judge was how much smaller the hole would get as you hovered down into the thing and the airflow through the rotor system began to pull the limbs downward. It was not unusual to hover you way down and have to chop your way out as a result.

As Ramen correctly states....blades were expendable items and were lower priorities than picking up severely wounded Soldiers and Marines.

The Wounded were top priority....followed by getting ammo, water, medical supplies, and food into the troops.
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Old 15th Feb 2009, 17:45
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Thanks for the informed and interesting replies!
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Old 15th Feb 2009, 17:47
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Ramen noodles:

our pathways across the dirt in the troop basecamp area (I was in a Cav unit - hooah!) were paved with Huey rotor blades
And another use for the old rotor blades here:

27 Rotor Blade Table
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Old 15th Feb 2009, 19:42
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Sounds like Chickenhawk your reading
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Old 15th Feb 2009, 21:23
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Tripwire actually, by Lee Child. A bit dull, but taught me this anyway!
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Old 15th Feb 2009, 21:47
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I was about to say Chickenhawk too!

An excellent book, even if like me you know nothing about helicopters.

I'm on my 3rd copy now. I keep lending them to friends and never get them back!
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Old 15th Feb 2009, 23:08
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I have a 21 day trip to Vietnam scheduled for end of June and early July....starts in Hanoi and hits all four Military Regions in what was South Vietnam. The area around Katum, Tay Ninh, Dau Tieng, Loc Ninh, An Loc, Bu Dop, and Song Be will be two full days. Many an interesting flight done in that area all those years ago.

We are still looking for folks to go along.
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Old 15th Feb 2009, 23:33
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on the same topic there is a video (dvd) called the last great adventure which has footage of a hughes 500 cutting down branches in New zealand, a bunch of Kiwis doing live capture of deer well worth a watch
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Old 16th Feb 2009, 00:15
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A Hiller 12E MR Blade will go through a 2" diameter branch(living tree) without damage, & an R44 blade can sustain a direct hit with a mosquito with nothing more than superficial damage, as long as you get it on the leading edge.
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Old 16th Feb 2009, 03:12
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an R44 blade can sustain a direct hit with a mosquito with nothing more than superficial damage, as long as you get it on the leading edge.
Heard a story recently from a highly reliable source about a McDonalds hamburger wrapper bring down an R22. If you liked Chickenhawk, you will like To The Limit.
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Old 16th Feb 2009, 03:36
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Op you'd probably very much enjoy Chickenhawk. Flat beats the pants off anything written by Lee Childs. (BTW, my feeling is once you've read one Lee Childs book, you've read 'em all. On the other hand, books with the calibre of Bob Masons' writing only come along every few years.)
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Old 16th Feb 2009, 10:40
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I once watched a TV documentary about helicopter ops in Vietnam and one of the interviewees was Bob Mason.

He comes across as a thoughtful, insightful guy. I always recommend "Chickenhawk" to anyone with even the slightest interest in rotary wing aviation or indeed the Vietnam war.

Chickenhawk: Robert Mason: Amazon.co.uk: Books

There is a sequel apparently, called (I believe) "Chickenhawk - Back in the World". All about his experiences post-Vietnam. Amazon list it, but it seems quite elusive.

Chickenhawk: Back in the World : Life After Vietnam: Amazon.co.uk: Robert Mason: Books
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Old 16th Feb 2009, 10:45
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There is already a lengthy thread about "Chickenhawk" and other books, here.

Shall we keep this thread on track and avoid another book review
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Old 16th Feb 2009, 13:15
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Thumbs up Making landing areas suitable

As my fellow Vietnam vet's mention we had no qualms about making the landing zone (LZ) fit by using the rotor blades of our UH-1D's. Any smaller branches and bushes were no problem.

In the Mekong Delta there were lots of Mangrove Swamps. In order to have a clear landing area B-57's & or F-100's would drop a large bomb to clear the Mangrove's. The size of the bomb dictated the size of the clear area. The number of bombs dropped dictated the number of LZ's & helicopters that could land at the same time.

Then the biggest problem was for the troops we were dropping off. Once they departed the helicopter they were knee deep in mud, etc. To extract them later we would hover just above the mud and they would hold on to the skids. When they were ready we would slowly pull pitch and they would "pop" out of the mud like a cork in a bottle. They would then climb into the aircraft. We always felt sorry for them and what a great bunch.

I was with the 121st Soc Trang Tigers in 1968.
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Old 14th Mar 2009, 13:52
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Hi!
What do you think now in Vietnam we still have this type of the helicopter? I can said now we still using this type of the helicopter. But the spare parts very difficult to findown, Just in Thai lan only.
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