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Helicopter Longline

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Helicopter Longline

Old 19th Jun 2010, 12:27
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Helicopter Longline

Does anyone know the length of the longest line ever used in heli-lifting?

A recent visitor to the Swedish Defence Helicopter Unit told us that in Papua New Guinea a Kamov 32 used a 350ft line to recover a downed helo from the side of a mountain - can anyone confirm this? Preferably with pics!

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Old 19th Jun 2010, 12:55
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Think I've heard of a 400 footer being used here in the US for mine shaft rescue where they couldn't get a crane but I'll need to check my source.

The twilight zone for the civilian helo world is New Zealand so ask your Aussie friend to give you the gen from there. Those Kiwis do any damn thing including linking multiple lines (just for the fun of it) as well as using chains (disaster) for lifting their shit!
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Old 19th Jun 2010, 14:13
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Last month was demobing a drill back to a camp. had 2500ft of waterline to p/u so we slung it in 600ft lengths on end of a 100ft line to a tight spot in the camp and coiled it up on the way down. 700AGL before load left the ground....does that count Try it using Vert ref window in an Astar, looks a long way down fun times but doable no problem . Also use 200ft line on a regular basis.
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Old 19th Jun 2010, 14:19
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as well as using chains (disaster)
just out of curiosity, what is the problem with chains?
Assuming you use a swivel of course
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Old 19th Jun 2010, 14:26
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not any worse than a steel cable or a poly line...

are you saying they are more likely to end up there? Why?
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Old 19th Jun 2010, 14:56
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Chains snap because they possess no associated stress transfer conduits. With steel rope this is catered for by multiple strands which transmit these stresses. Should excess load or abrasion begin to take its toll the rope will begin to fray and which process is not instantaneous but gradual.

With a chain there is a single point (at the top of each loop) where the entire load is carried. This combined with the brittle nature of the metal loops (as opposed to the flexible property of steel rope) makes chains highly vulnerable.

If you value your life and the lives of others then only lift using double-swaged co-axial steel rope!

RIP "Ray" who was slinging in NZ in 1989/90 with a chain which snapped and on the recoil entered the main rotor of a Hu500. All killed. He was a dear friend!

Last edited by Hell Man; 19th Jun 2010 at 15:07.
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Old 19th Jun 2010, 15:20
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newfieboy ... It should have been a nice photo if you could have taken one!

Hell Monkey We use straps for load lifting in the Swedish Defence. They seem to work okay.
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Old 19th Jun 2010, 15:24
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Swedish: I didn't think your 109 LUHs had cargo hooks? And ... I thought we were discussing longlines not general lifting!

Straps are okay, some similar principals as with wire rope but ... they are usually lighter. Don't know if I'd like to be chugging around with a 100 ft strap!
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Old 19th Jun 2010, 16:27
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Haven't used a steel line in about 10yrs, we use the kevlar/spectra lines, nice and light, easy to coil up and can chug around all day at 100kts with empty hook And supposedly, not meant to come back at you like a big bungee if anything down below lets go. I do question that claim though, as I had a load let go through the choker snapping once and was pretty sure looking in the mirror when it let go that line was definately on its way up to meet me, as I punched it off. After I landed we discovered marks on the tailboom imprinted in the soot that looked remarkably like the pattern on the line All the customer was worried bout was his shack that had let go, wanted to know what shape it was in, well after a 800ft freefall, it didn;t take a rocket scientist to figure it was in the same shape as my underwear......pretty much f##ked..............
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Old 19th Jun 2010, 16:36
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Swedish,

My engineer did get pics, he is on another job right now, will pm him, see if he can post pics,

Cheers, Newfie.
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Old 19th Jun 2010, 17:37
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Space Elevator
9-5-09 Northwest Helicopters is participating in a joint scientific experiment with Space elevator games which is sponsored by NASA. This experiment, in which a robot elevator climbs a cable in theory into space, climbs up a 4100 foot cable during a class C external load from one of our MD helicopters. This is the longest known external load cable operation ever attempted by helicopter. Vertical reference was attempted at first but with the ultra long line was not deemed accurate enough for the experiment. A GPS horizontal guidance system was installed next and that proved to be a winner. The pilot kept the helicopter within a close 10 meter area just by flying the guidance system and the test was a success.

Doug Uttecht flying Northwest Helicopter's MD-530FF unofficially appears to hold the world record for the longest single pilot helicopter longline operation in the world; this was a 4100’ class C external load. This is the vertical raceway tether for the 2009 Power Beaming Challenge - a technology prize competition managed by the Spaceward Foundation, with cash prize provided by NASA's Centennial Challenges program.

For more information see:
The challenge homepage: The Space Elevator Games
NASA's CC program: Centennial Challenges
The Spaceward Foundation: The Spaceward Foundation

Helicopter Flight Services - Home option=com_content&task=view&id=124&Itemid=51
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Old 20th Jun 2010, 05:36
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Chains snap because they possess no associated stress transfer conduits. With steel rope this is catered for by multiple strands which transmit these stresses. Should excess load or abrasion begin to take its toll the rope will begin to fray and which process is not instantaneous but gradual.

With a chain there is a single point (at the top of each loop) where the entire load is carried. This combined with the brittle nature of the metal loops (as opposed to the flexible property of steel rope) makes chains highly vulnerable.

If you value your life and the lives of others then only lift using double-swaged co-axial steel rope!

RIP "Ray" who was slinging in NZ in 1989/90 with a chain which snapped and on the recoil entered the main rotor of a Hu500. All killed. He was a dear friend!
Thanks, that makes sense.
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Old 20th Jun 2010, 06:36
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Newfie: Tell me more about the kevlar/spectra lines coz I've not been longlining for some time. The wire ropes were always reliable and the added weight was a comfort when transiting with an empty hook (50% of the time).

Rotormatic: Seems like you've nailed the answer to Swedish's question. A 4,000 ft line, really ... damn! Please can you tell me what the load categories are; Class A, B, C etc.
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Old 20th Jun 2010, 07:51
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From FAR 1 in the states:

Rotorcraft-load combination means the combination of a rotorcraft and an external-load, including the external-load attaching means. Rotorcraft-load combinations are designated as Class A, Class B, Class C, and Class D, as follows:

(1) Class A rotorcraft-load combination means one in which the external load cannot move freely, cannot be jettisoned, and does not extend below the landing gear.

(2) Class B rotorcraft-load combination means one in which the external load is jettisonable and is lifted free of land or water during the rotorcraft operation.

(3) Class C rotorcraft-load combination means one in which the external load is jettisonable and remains in contact with land or water during the rotorcraft operation.

(4) Class D rotorcraft-load combination means one in which the external-load is other than a Class A, B, or C and has been specifically approved by the Administrator for that operation.
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Old 24th Jun 2010, 09:26
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I wonder about the weight of a 4100ft line ? And the pilot must certainly keep it under tension in order to have "only" horizontal reference to worry about : I bet there's somewhat of a bounce ...

Details would be greatly appreciated

Edit : sorry, everything is explained on the website !
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Old 24th Jun 2010, 09:41
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4000', wouldn't be a NZ pilot, we try not to go more than about 5' off the ground.

i lifted some 600' long plastic pipes, at the end of a 100' line, thought i was pretty clever. hard to see the bottom and pick when i was touching down. had a guy on the ground and used the alt, just kept driving down and forward where i had to lay it out. biggest problem was laying down as the ground was rolling, and sometimes the pipes decided to start heading down the hill as i was halfway through laying it down....

weight on 600' was alright for a JR, can't remember, about 400kg ish, but was full of crap, so pickup made a mess at the downhill end as i was taking the other end up...
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Old 5th Nov 2012, 13:00
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long line

I've made a rescue on the face of a mountain with a 980ft line. About 270ft of winch, plus 710 of fixed rope. Two person recovered.
Other times, for material transport, with about 950-1000ft of steel rope.
Thousand of times with 300-330ft.
Take your time, be relaxed, nothing exceptional.
Pigi

In this pic you can see only the 710ft of rope because the winch cable was completely retracted, after the rescue


Last edited by pigi; 5th Nov 2012 at 13:02.
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Old 5th Nov 2012, 16:32
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In this pic you can see only the 710ft of rope
And even that is not so easy to see!
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Old 6th Nov 2012, 20:16
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1,570 ' line too place a data recorder on the sea floor on the west coast of Oregan.....moving water sucks for vertical reference work..!!!
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Old 6th Nov 2012, 21:21
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Spectra and Dyneema are very low stretch Less than 1% stretch at 20% of break strength. Since most of us use ropes that are way overkill they remain at less than 1% at the loads utilized. They should not bounce back hardly at all. Nylon or any rope that stretches will bounce back...
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