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Low level ops over Washington DC

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Low level ops over Washington DC

Old 2nd Jun 2020, 11:40
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Low level ops over Washington DC

Without going into the political side of things or the sad event that sparked this, any thoughts on this kind of low-level operation? https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zon...-show-of-force
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Old 2nd Jun 2020, 21:45
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It's all political and nothing to do with how to operate helicopters.
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Old 2nd Jun 2020, 22:53
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Originally Posted by Jhieminga View Post
Without going into the political side of things or the sad event that sparked this, any thoughts on this kind of low-level operation? https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zon...-show-of-force
Common practice nowadays, used for sandblasting people that avoid social distancing on beaches, clearing rioters from cities and as always news reporting at any height they see fit to fly at!
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Old 2nd Jun 2020, 23:31
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Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
It's all political and nothing to do with how to operate helicopters.
It has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with foolish way to operate helicopters.
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Old 3rd Jun 2020, 00:38
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Originally Posted by JimEli View Post
Everything to do with foolish way to operate helicopters.
Really? Any way to operate anything that safes lives, protects property, businesses and countries is fair game in my book!
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Old 3rd Jun 2020, 01:16
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Originally Posted by nomorehelosforme View Post
Really? Any way to operate anything that safes lives, protects property, businesses and countries is fair game in my book!
I'll take it that you are an advocate of hovering ~100' atop a riotous crowd on a cluttered city street at night as appropriate. Quantify how many lives and businesses this stunt saved? And how many lives would have been saved if the tail rotor hit something, or some idiot put something through it? What if the downwash lifted street signs or other projectiles? Ever consider the negative aspect of just the publicity if that occurred? Please show me the Flight Manual section that covers use of the helicopter as a water canon.
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Old 3rd Jun 2020, 03:09
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Jim, I have operated choppers for police ops, and at times needed to use the aircraft downwash to control what was happening on the ground / water. Ya does what ya gotta does.
I did notice some of the ground people trying to throw something at that chopper on TV. Their "negative aspect" isn't considered, only the actions of the good guys? Do you really place a greater priority on protecting the rioters than protecting the police?

I wonder what these people think they are going to achieve by destroying anything they can find. Perhaps "USA" stands for the Unstable States of Anarchy.
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Old 3rd Jun 2020, 06:35
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Downwash is a rubbish tool for crowd control, that operation is on the wrong end of the risk/reward curve.
Use the right tool for the job, there are plenty and a helicopter isnít it.
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Old 3rd Jun 2020, 07:24
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The decision to use the helicopters as a show of force to intimidate the crowds was a political one. The guys flying them are just doing what they have been told and I suspect some of them wouldn't agree with it.
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Old 3rd Jun 2020, 08:01
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My apologies for starting down this road. I was looking for thoughts on where hovering at 100' over a crowd in an urban setting fits in your risk model? These are twin-engined helos, but what are your options if you lose one engine in such a situation? As someone said, ya gotta do what you gotta do, but where would you draw the line, from a helicopter performance and risk standpoint?
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Old 3rd Jun 2020, 08:05
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I didn't use it on a crowd, it was on a single person and another time on 2 people.

Amazing how quickly some windblasted water in the face changes a swimming escapee into a sinking drownee. He was rather happy to see the boatful of plods row out to greet him. A 14-yo ratbag from a kids detention centre who stole cars for fun. Now he would be 51 and a resident of a prison, I expect. Recidivism at its best.
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Old 3rd Jun 2020, 09:04
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There's the famous image from quite some years ago of a UK Police BO-105 being used to move protesters in a field by flying at about head height and used in the same way helicopters are used in Oz for cattle herding. Unfortunately I can't find a copy online.

If just one of the protesters had been injured, or used a rock to defend themselves the story would have been very different. If someone sees an agent of the state trying to stop them protest, sure as eggs is eggs it'll turn nasty at some point. And the damage averted by a fallen tree branch would be multiplied many times if an aircraft came down, and it would be cold comfort to blame that on the protesters.

Similarly with the swimming escapee. While I'm sure a rapid risk assessment was done at the time, had he drowned then there would have been some awkward questions asked I'm sure.
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Old 3rd Jun 2020, 09:50
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Jhieminga - Your options depend on how much power you are pulling and if you are below your calculated OEI hover weight out of ground effect. If you are heavy and lose an engine you are probably into the crowd, if you are light you can flyaway. Helicopters use more power to hover than in forward flight (up to a point).
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Old 3rd Jun 2020, 11:22
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Originally Posted by Jhieminga View Post
My apologies for starting down this road. I was looking for thoughts on where hovering at 100' over a crowd in an urban setting fits in your risk model? These are twin-engined helos, but what are your options if you lose one engine in such a situation? As someone said, ya gotta do what you gotta do, but where would you draw the line, from a helicopter performance and risk standpoint?
personaly I donít think it will be an effective tool - an annoyance for the protesters but not effective, as long as you stay as high, as necessary to prevent things thrown at the helicopter.
The Lakota used - should well be within OEI HOGE conditions to allow a fly away after engine failure- unless its loaded to the top, which isnít really likely
if you could add some teargas to be spread - totally different story 🤪
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Old 3rd Jun 2020, 12:03
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In some cases they were very low... 3-4 rotor diameters, and below the rooftops of adjacent buildings. And the crowd seems undeterred!

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Old 3rd Jun 2020, 16:08
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Originally Posted by Jhieminga View Post
My apologies for starting down this road. I was looking for thoughts on where hovering at 100' over a crowd in an urban setting fits in your risk model? These are twin-engined helos, but what are your options if you lose one engine in such a situation? As someone said, ya gotta do what you gotta do, but where would you draw the line, from a helicopter performance and risk standpoint?
This Lakota should have fly-away capability after the loss of a single engine. But again, think it terms of other catastrophes. Things like, main and tail rotor impacts, projectile damage, wire strikes, obstacle collisions, downwash blowing items into rotors, etc.

The FAR for minimum safe altitude has a subtle distinction. For an airplane, 91.119 references an emergency landing without undue hazard to persons/property on the surface after a power unit failure. However, for a helicopter, it simply states, the operation must be conducted without hazard to persons/property on the surface.

As for the risk/reward, to employ the aircraft in a similar manner I would need an imminent and significant life saving requirement. Protecting property or shooing rioters doesn’t cut it.

FWIW, as a retired LE pilot, I have been here in both smaller and larger helicopters.

Last edited by JimEli; 3rd Jun 2020 at 16:39.
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Old 3rd Jun 2020, 18:01
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Improper use of the distinctive emblems of the Geneva Conventions?
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Old 3rd Jun 2020, 18:30
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DoE Airborne

Nellis based NEST are also airborne with one of their 412 over the capitol ..i...probably precautionary

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zon...-amid-protests

cheers
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Old 7th Jun 2020, 00:21
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Not sure if this is same.

"The Department of Defense said Friday it had grounded one of the National Guard helicopter pilots who performed low-flying maneuvers to disperse crowds of protesters in Washington, D.C., on Monday evening, according to multiple reports. Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy told reporters that the helicopter crew was grounded pending results from an internal investigation, according to local CBS affiliate WUSA9."

And from The Hill:

The Department of Defense said Friday it had grounded one of the National Guard helicopter pilots who performed low-flying maneuvers to disperse crowds of protesters in Washington, D.C., on Monday evening, according to multiple reports.

Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy told reporters that the helicopter crew was grounded pending results from an internal investigation, according to local CBS affiliate WUSA9. A Pentagon spokesman told the outlet that the move was standard procedure during such investigations.

The aircraft was one of two Army National Guard helicopters that hovered between 100 and 300 feet above the streets of the District on Monday night, according to an aircraft tracker. Gusts from their helicopter blades were aimed at dispersing crowds of protesters.

Maj. Gen. William Walker, the commanding general of the D.C. National Guard, said in a statement on Wednesday that he had "directed an immediate investigation into the June 1 incident."

"I hold all members of the District of Columbia National Guard to the highest of standards," Walker said. "We live and work in the District, and we are dedicated to the service of our nation."

The New York Times reported Saturday that top Pentagon officials ordered the Guard pilots to perform the low-flying maneuver called "persistent presence." The paper said McCarthy was one of the officials who authorized a portion of the planning for the helicopters' operations on Monday.

Eyewitnesses on the scene said the force of the helicopters' rotor blades caused debris to stir in the streets, even causing some tree limbs to break and nearly hit bystanders, according to the Times.

Videos circulated on social media showed red and white cross markings on an unarmed Lakota aircraft, indicating its affiliation with medical responses.
Human Rights Watch said in a report that "the emblem is a universally recognized symbol of medical aid and is protected under the Geneva Conventions."

"Its misuse is prohibited under the conventions and it has no place in a 'show of force' or to forcibly disperse protesters," the organization said.

President Trump ordered the activation of the D.C. National Guard to quell protesters amid ongoing demonstrations in the city, and the Guard previously said it was considering the use of a UH-72 medical evacuation helicopter in the Joint Task Force D.C. operation, WUSA9 noted.
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