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Working In The Wind

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Working In The Wind

Old 1st Dec 2023, 06:05
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Post Working In The Wind

Story by Bill Reid about working in the wind. Have a read and feel free to add your 0.2c as well.

Working In The Wind
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Old 1st Dec 2023, 07:38
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Excellent article and some great photos, Ned.

Remembered an incident in the Scottish hills a few years ago. Searching for an overdue hill walker on a very blustery day, we were checking out the route he'd left details of.

RAF Wessex, generally bags of power in hand. Flying along tucked in under the turbulent air, checking the lee side of a ridge path, we spotted a casualty lying some 300 ft down the side of the fairly steep ground. Curiously there was no tell tale skid marks in the snow from the top of the ridge path.

Quite often in previous searches one could spot a casualtiy who had slipped from higher ground by the black looking skid through the snow field to where rocks jutted out, then followed by a redder coloured skid as blood made its presence known, to a small dark blob, curled over lying on more level ground.

Anyway this casualty was lying with no tell-tale sikd marks or tracks of any sort in the snow. Almost as if he had been dropped into position. Later we found out he had; a violent gust of wind had picked him up off the top of the ridge and blown him airborne about 300 ft down to his resting position. A deep bank of snow had cushioned his landing a little but he was fairly broken.

As usual we winched the winch man down to the casualty with the stretcher and the moved off a way to give the winchman some peace to prepare the casualty for lift.

As we moved away at a high hover taxi the collective level started to creep up until I was pulling max power to maintain height above the steeply sloping ground. wW were now descending to the base of the valley about 500ft lower. I had no height in order to increase air speed, so I simply aimed as best I could for a flat spot in the valley. That down draught was a biggie ! Luckily as it reached the valley floor it had to stop going down and start spreading horizontally. We touched down and the waited for the winchmans radio call to collect him and the casualty. We breathed, briefed and discussed escape options and mentally prepared ourselves to return to that windy spot up the side of the valley, to complete the rescue.

Scottish hills; not very big but still often surprising !
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