bob75013
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Helicopter Rescue of Injured Skier in France

Thu Jan 10, 2019 3:18 am

Helicopter rescues happen relatively frequently. This one is pretty spectacular. It is the best helicopter piloting I have ever seen. Twice at over 7000 feet the pilot brings the copter rotor to with a few feet (my guess is about 3 feet) of impacting the side of the mountain.

https://www.foxnews.com/world/dramatic- ... rench-alps
 
trav777
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Re: Helicopter Rescue of Injured Skier in France

Thu Jan 10, 2019 5:37 am

that is straight badass
 
Max Q
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Re: Helicopter Rescue of Injured Skier in France

Thu Jan 10, 2019 7:31 am

Great job

That rotor disc is very close to touching the mountainside !
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.
 
P1aneMad
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Re: Helicopter Rescue of Injured Skier in France

Thu Jan 10, 2019 7:42 am

Full marks to these pilots! That is as good as you can possibly get.
 
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seat55a
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Re: Helicopter Rescue of Injured Skier in France

Thu Jan 10, 2019 7:48 am

The actual pickup was made using the hoist. Why didn't they use it for everything? Or longline a basket to a safe location? Would like to see the safety case for doing it this way.
 
Flyglobal
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Re: Helicopter Rescue of Injured Skier in France

Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:38 am

Impressive
 
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Richard28
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Re: Helicopter Rescue of Injured Skier in France

Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:46 am

wow... that is amazing footage... he holds it so steady... and so close.... incredible!
 
barney captain
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Re: Helicopter Rescue of Injured Skier in France

Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:59 am

And just imagine how much more impressive that video would have been had the person turned their phone 90 degrees!

Why can't people learn to take video in landscape?
Southeast Of Disorder
 
Waterbomber
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Re: Helicopter Rescue of Injured Skier in France

Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:41 am

I think that it's stupid and reckless.
One wash of wind and it's done, and the side of a mountain is the best environment for unpredictable winds.

The first rule of rescue is own safety first.
Take his license away before he kills himself and others.
 
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FredrikHAD
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Re: Helicopter Rescue of Injured Skier in France

Thu Jan 10, 2019 11:54 am

barney captain wrote:
Why can't people learn to take video in landscape?
:checkmark:
At least the video was somewhat stable, you don’t see that all the time...

Waterbomber wrote:
I think that it's stupid and reckless.
One wash of wind and it's done, and the side of a mountain is the best environment for unpredictable winds.

The first rule of rescue is own safety first.
Take his license away before he kills himself and others.


I could chechmark the ”own safety first”, that’s a given. Also, the pilot is not only responsible for him/herself, but the entire crew and bystanders. You can’t rescue someone from a wrecked helo.

I’d assume these guys have guidelines to follow and that they were within them. They’re the ones with the local knowledge and experience with the surroundings and the weather. It is not correct to state (bob, MaxQ) that the rotor was feet from the mountain as there was probably a massive snow cover which the rotor could easily handle to a cretain depth. If this is a factor they take into account or not, I don’t know. The snow could of course hide hard objects.

seat55a wrote:
The actual pickup was made using the hoist. Why didn't they use it for everything? Or longline a basket to a safe location? Would like to see the safety case for doing it this way.

That would probably have been a lot safer and would have cost a minute per person (counting 4 except the rescue ”swimmer”).

/Fredrik
 
jsfr
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Re: Helicopter Rescue of Injured Skier in France

Thu Jan 10, 2019 12:35 pm

This was on French TV news with an interview of the Helicopter crew.

Apparently this is a rare but established procedure which they train for (with strict guidelines concerning temperture, wind speed/direction and stability of the snow crust to avoid avalanches), apparently it is relatively stable once they have contact with the snow crust.

Apparently on very steep areas it is safer then winching (long winch needed and the person dangling could easily drift and slam into the rocks on the way in, not an issue on the way out), also allows for material to be provided and much quicker.

They went to some lengths to stress that this was not a Hero/Macguyver type manoevre, and that they value both safety and there own lives.... They said the only thing really unusual in this case was that there was someone around to film it....
 
B777LRF
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Re: Helicopter Rescue of Injured Skier in France

Thu Jan 10, 2019 12:49 pm

Amazing how people, armed with nothing but an opinion, and certainly nothing that even resembles the qualifications of a rescue pilot, calls this unsafe and even want the pilot fired. The Alpine rescue pilots, whether French, German, Swiss, Austrian or Italian, are the best in the world. They do this day and and day out, and spend more time training than any other body of pilots on the planet. They risk analyse every single rescue, and you may rest assured whichever method they chose to employ, is the best given the conditions.
Signature. You just read one.
 
Redwood839
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Re: Helicopter Rescue of Injured Skier in France

Thu Jan 10, 2019 1:08 pm

Waterbomber wrote:
I think that it's stupid and reckless.
One wash of wind and it's done, and the side of a mountain is the best environment for unpredictable winds.

The first rule of rescue is own safety first.
Take his license away before he kills himself and others.


I'm pretty sure a Gendarmerie pilot who trains for this sort of scenario and works in these conditions probably every day would know much better than you as an arm chair pilot.

GTOH
 
Western727
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Re: Helicopter Rescue of Injured Skier in France

Thu Jan 10, 2019 2:22 pm

B777LRF wrote:
Amazing how people, armed with nothing but an opinion, and certainly nothing that even resembles the qualifications of a rescue pilot, calls this unsafe and even want the pilot fired. The Alpine rescue pilots, whether French, German, Swiss, Austrian or Italian, are the best in the world. They do this day and and day out, and spend more time training than any other body of pilots on the planet. They risk analyse every single rescue, and you may rest assured whichever method they chose to employ, is the best given the conditions.


Agreed. Further, the forward end of the helo's skids appear to have been designed for the maneuver performed by the pilot.
Jack @ AUS
 
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smithbs
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Re: Helicopter Rescue of Injured Skier in France

Thu Jan 10, 2019 2:33 pm

Amazing piece of flying. :bigthumbsup:
 
IADFCO
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Re: Helicopter Rescue of Injured Skier in France

Thu Jan 10, 2019 5:57 pm

One thing that surprised me (but I know nothing whatsoever about snow and mountains) is the total absence of snow being picked up by the rotor downwash. I didn't expect a full whiteout because the slope is pretty steep, and there shouldn't be much flow recirculation. But the mountain side appears very very close to the tip vortices, and I would have expected that at least some snow would be entrained -- perhaps the snow version of those pictures in rainy weather that show the condensation in the tip vortices, and the wake helicoidal pattern. Could it be that the snow was tightly packed and more similar to ice than fluffy snow?
 
flyoregon
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Re: Helicopter Rescue of Injured Skier in France

Thu Jan 10, 2019 6:17 pm

Some pilots just know how to do it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2IMTOamZSU

Fast forward to 1:15

Then sometimes it just goes wrong:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PrZBY2JXmSw
 
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Mortyman
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Re: Helicopter Rescue of Injured Skier in France

Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:11 pm

Then there is this video where Norwegian air ambulance does their balancing act on the crash barrier:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bP4oscYF_5g
 
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ojjunior
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Re: Helicopter Rescue of Injured Skier in France

Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:07 pm

Redwood839 wrote:
Waterbomber wrote:
I think that it's stupid and reckless.
One wash of wind and it's done, and the side of a mountain is the best environment for unpredictable winds.

The first rule of rescue is own safety first.
Take his license away before he kills himself and others.


I'm pretty sure a Gendarmerie pilot who trains for this sort of scenario and works in these conditions probably every day would know much better than you as an arm chair pilot.

GTOH


Ditto :checkmark:
 
Waterbomber
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Re: Helicopter Rescue of Injured Skier in France

Fri Jan 11, 2019 1:18 am

jsfr wrote:
This was on French TV news with an interview of the Helicopter crew.

Apparently this is a rare but established procedure which they train for (with strict guidelines concerning temperture, wind speed/direction and stability of the snow crust to avoid avalanches), apparently it is relatively stable once they have contact with the snow crust.

Apparently on very steep areas it is safer then winching (long winch needed and the person dangling could easily drift and slam into the rocks on the way in, not an issue on the way out), also allows for material to be provided and much quicker.

They went to some lengths to stress that this was not a Hero/Macguyver type manoevre, and that they value both safety and there own lives.... They said the only thing really unusual in this case was that there was someone around to film it....


I don't think so.
I hold a fixed wing pilot's license and have seen plenty of choppers pilots go through training including engine failure simulations..
Might I mention I also got maintenance training on helicopters and IMO, helicopters are dangerous as it is, too many moving parts, too many things that can and do go wrong.
Most life insurances don't cover helicopter rides and for good reason.

This looks nowhere like there are safety margins in place.
If an engine fails out of the blue, what's next? Lose balance and smack the tail rotor.
What if a loose pack of snow falls into the main rotor? Remember that there is negative pressure above a main rotor.
What if the tip of the skid breaks?
What if the pilot gets an unforeseen cramp in one of his arms? Or a stroke?
It's all trained for right?

One question: how can the pilot get sufficient deph-perception on white snow to know that the blade tips are not going to touch?
It's impossible, so this is not good piloting but reckless piloting.

In aviation, playing Rambo eventually gets you killed.
Even Collin McRae with super-human hand-eye coordination and reflexes eventually ended up making a hole in the ground and taking his son along.

Ps. Why would Gendarmerie pilots be the "top gun"? They are not stunt pilots and neither are they precision flyers.
A quick reminder to this recent accident with pilot error blamed with a major self-complacency factor.
http://www.larepubliquedespyrenees.fr/2 ... 223056.php
 
Max Q
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Re: Helicopter Rescue of Injured Skier in France

Sat Jan 12, 2019 12:39 am

What if, so what ?

You can get killed by a bus crossing the street


This was a superb piece of flying by
a highly proficient Pilot performing a valuable service
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.
 
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Flyingdevil737
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Re: Helicopter Rescue of Injured Skier in France

Sat Jan 12, 2019 1:06 am

The New Zealand air ambulance has managed to parallel park their BK117 helo on a small street before.

That aside, this pilot has epic flying skills.
The thunder from Down Under
 
Tucker1
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Re: Helicopter Rescue of Injured Skier in France

Sat Jan 12, 2019 1:08 am

seat55a wrote:
The actual pickup was made using the hoist. Why didn't they use it for everything? Or longline a basket to a safe location? Would like to see the safety case for doing it this way.

You are wrong.
 
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seat55a
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Re: Helicopter Rescue of Injured Skier in France

Sat Jan 12, 2019 2:34 am

Tucker1 wrote:
seat55a wrote:
The actual pickup was made using the hoist. Why didn't they use it for everything? Or longline a basket to a safe location? Would like to see the safety case for doing it this way.

You are wrong.

Am not.

More seriously it is clear at the end of video that two people (looks like rescuer and patient) are hoisted. Obviously the operation is considered best practice but I don't get why. Although some info posted after I wrote helps.
 
747Whale
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Re: Helicopter Rescue of Injured Skier in France

Sat Jan 12, 2019 8:10 am

Very nicely done.
 
BlueberryWheats
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Re: Helicopter Rescue of Injured Skier in France

Sat Jan 12, 2019 8:36 am

Waterbomber wrote:
I don't think so.
I hold a fixed wing pilot's license and have seen plenty of choppers pilots go through training including engine failure simulations..
Might I mention I also got maintenance training on helicopters and IMO, helicopters are dangerous as it is, too many moving parts, too many things that can and do go wrong.


So in short, you're not a qualified helicopter pilot and you've only "seen" helicopter training. I'm sure the highly trained, highly experienced helicopter pilot knew what he was doing.
 
Canuck600
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Re: Helicopter Rescue of Injured Skier in France

Sat Jan 12, 2019 8:43 am

These types of operations are fairly common https://www.google.ca/search?q=helicopt ... 80&bih=595 In fact what is often referred to as "specialists work' in Europe is a common everyday activity for a utility helicopter pilot in North America. https://www.google.ca/search?biw=1280&b ... KFAtquN7Xk Hover entry & exits are also common.
 
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Phlogopite
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Re: Helicopter Rescue of Injured Skier in France

Sat Jan 12, 2019 10:57 am

Hello!

Long time reader here but this time I thought I could bring something to the discussion so I signed up.

I am a mountain rescuer in Switzerland so I might clear up some points here:
  • First, the video is horizontally squeezed, so that the slope looks steeper than it is.
  • This hovering technique is used every day in the Alps, nothing extraordinary to it. Nevertheless, the piloting skills and the execution of the whole manoeuvre is just perfect here. WOW!

This technique proves to be safer in some situations than winching.
  • It is first quicker, and thus beneficial to the patient but you also reduce the exposure time of the whole aircraft and crew to technical/aerology/mountain related problems which are almost equally worse during a winching manoeuvre.
  • The pilot can directly maintain the position without the need of the instructions of the mechanic. That brings us to one question raised in this topic: Yes, visibility is crucial for this kind of manoeuvre. In this case, the snow is packed by the wind and someone is standing in Y, procuring a reference to the pilot. I’ve already made such a manoeuvre in low visibility and fresh snow and the pilot was touching to reference rescuer with the nose of the helicopter to be sure not to loose sigh. Different case here.
  • Winching also have inherent potential danger of manipulation and breaking of the cable (yes, already happened).
  • During a hovering (off)boarding, the helicopter is greatly stabilized by the skid in contact with the snow.
  • This technique is very useful and quick with fit persons but much more difficult with an injured patient which cannot climb by himself in the helicopter. Thus the winching for him.

Some more information/responses to comments:
  • Basket are never used in mountain rescue, only in sea rescue. How could you land such a basket on a steep terrain?
  • The Gendarmerie pilots, particularly in Chamonix, are among the very best pilots in the whole Alps. They are most of the time former military pilots and they log several thousands of hours before doing this. Of course, they first follow specific training. Nothing to do with the typical flight instruction you see at your flight club.
  • The question of mechanical failure raised. Even if this helicopter is a twin-engine (we do the same with single engine), an engine failure would lead to a crash in hovering, yes. As mountain rescuers, we just accept this risk to complete our rescue. But we minimize it by reducing to time in which a mechanical failure would be fatal. Thus the hovering and not the winching.
  • Unless you have very fresh snow, you never want your blade to touch it. Nevertheless, the yellow tips of the blades are kind of “safety breakers” which you can fly without.
  • Regarding the condition of the snow and the whiteout: yes, in this case the snow was packed and usually, the first downwash removes the mobile fraction of the snow and then the visibility greatly improves.
  • Regarding pilot perception of the distance of the blades to the terrain: training and experience, experience, experience. They can very precisely evaluate the steepness of a slope to know whether this technique is possible of not. See also my comments on the visibility.

If you like it, take a look at this series of video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztDs0RGPjpM (6 episodes). It’s the same team of Chamonix and you’ll see much more impressive flying and rescues.

Anyway, I hope this helps to better understand this video!

Cheers!
 
asdf
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Re: Helicopter Rescue of Injured Skier in France

Sat Jan 12, 2019 9:22 pm

local media coverage here in europe brought another video where the reason behind this procedure called pinnacle manoever was explained by immediate upcoming bad weather periode.
So no time for the winch.
wgithout that manoever the injured would habe stayed at the mountaintop for a long time with a pretty open outcome on their health or maybe life.

source in next posting
 
asdf
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Re: Helicopter Rescue of Injured Skier in France

Sat Jan 12, 2019 9:23 pm

source in german with (i guess another) video
https://www.krone.at/1842206

translation:
Spectacular maneuver with helicopter mountain rescue
In the French Alps, a pilot of a helicopter has demonstrated his skills in a spectacular rescue operation. On the Anterne Pass near the French town of Passy, ​​a skier had severe knee problems, so that he could not reach the valley on his own.
These are scenes that could have come from an action film: The pilot rescued the injured person with the help of the so-called Pinnacle maneuver, in which he places the helicopter nose on land and must maintain a steady hover.
In a video you can see how the rotor blades of the helicopter come dangerously close to the slope. However, the pilot succeeds in keeping the machine steady in this precarious position while the passengers on board take care of the injured person. According to the pilot, he had chosen the difficult maneuver because the weather conditions left only a few minutes for the rescue operation. The incident took place on 2 January.
 
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FredrikHAD
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Re: Helicopter Rescue of Injured Skier in France

Sat Jan 12, 2019 10:14 pm

Phlogopite wrote:
Hello!

Long time reader here but this time I thought I could bring something to the discussion so I signed up.

I am a mountain rescuer in Switzerland so I might clear up some points here:
...

I gess I get the opportunity to welcome you to Anet! It’s always nice to get input from the real pros. I hope you don’t get deterred by some posters...

/Fredrik
 
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Aesma
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Re: Helicopter Rescue of Injured Skier in France

Sun Jan 13, 2019 12:22 am

Gendarmes are part of the French military.
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