Monday, June 26, 2017

Memories - II

Thinking about that video from yesterday, I began thinking about rappelling.  Sometimes, the helicopter couldn't land (either because of rugged terrain or unfavorable vegetation) to let the passengers out, so we learned to get out on ropes.

The UH-1 helicopter would normally carry a crew of three and eight passengers.  We'd get out, two at a time from ropes suspended from the ceiling of the helicopter  Normally these ropes are 100 feet long and we used a double-strand in our carabiners, so the length of the rope from helicopter to ground was about 50 feet.

The problem comes in limited visibility, or when the pilot isn't paying attention.  It is entirely possible, as people get out of the helicopter for it to rise in the air, above the LZ.  A soldier might  run out of rope before he hits the ground.

Let me be the first to tell you, when your back hand feels the rope run out, I don't care how fast your reflexes are, you cannot grab that rope with your front hand.  That just ain't gonna happen.  At that point you're in free-fall, and generally, your feet are just a couple of feet off the ground.  But, there for an instant, you're scared spitless.

Oh, the joys of Army aviation.


Retired Spook said...

When you run out of rope, either fast-roping or rappelling, you cease to do either activity, and begin to perform and entirely different one. It's called "falling." Trust me, a fall from 6 inches above ground, at night, in the dark, is the longest fall in the world!

Old NFO said...

Nope, that's why I went Navy... :-)