Participants in Helicopter Awareness Training are invited to share close calls they have experienced then use the protocols from the course to explore ways to mitigate real hazards. In no particular order these are direct quotes of some of those recollections....

- "Tail strike at 10' above helipad in 206. Hard landing. Pilot shut down. Looked at tail rotor. Took off."

- "In the trees we were set out; crouched left front of the machine waiting for pilot to take off. The pilot apparently lost situational awareness and raised ten feet & rotated in place ready to take off. We flattened ourselves on the forest floor as the tail (rotor) went over our heads."

- "Student (who had received training!) approached the helicopter from the uphill direction. Yelling from the crew stopped the student in time."

- "End of day at remote site, EC 120 with 4 passengers (max load). Took off along esker to maximize lift but encountered juvenile muskox walking up esker, about 50 m down esker (beyond slight rise)."

- " Bent tail rotor (hit tree) on landing in clearing."

- "Colleague approaches helicopter. Baseball hat gets blown off his head and he jumps /reaches to catch it. Hat destroyed by rotors (no damage, able to fly home). No damage to human either."

- " Helicopter (XXX) going down for emergency landing at Duti Creek." Forced landing autorotation from 1000 ft due to broken blower belt. I had to spend two nights in the bush with only emergency rations and a space blanket because it 24 hours for helicopter to get back to camp."

- " The pilot's normal daily start pattern was interrupted while engineer was standing on cargo basket looking under the cowls. Pilot thought he was ready to go and took off. Engineer jumped off. Pilot landed."

- " NW Alberta - Jet Ranger. Hot Humid morning, full fuel, with 3 passengers plus NO WIND. Landed while cool morning air, tried to lift off an hour later. Struggled to get up, overtorqued and landed from about 15 feet up HARD!!! Had to shut down, inspect machine, then split up crew until some full fuel was burned."

- "Backseat passenger gave pilot the thumbs up before other passengers had their seatbelts on."

-  "Sling loads catching in trees."

- " Metal clip board left on float of helicopter. Fell off in flight."

Crew always work together - it is in everyone's interest


Even if you are a sightseeing passenger

Highly engineered blades for heavy lift

If you can't see, you can't go.

If the pilot is long lining his attention is focused on that. You as crew can help with the awareness of everything else (like other aircraft, trees, weather, wires, etc)

Tesla electric one blade helicopter

Training is serious business

It is not a joke to say the mantra "lives are at stake" - you will live with the decisions you make for the rest of your life.

Sometimes it is more efficient to be on the ground to make a new plan

Remember - life is fun!

Even though the pilot can see, the crew uses hand signals to direct him.

How clean is your helipad? Hip Chain used by surveyors could bring down a helicopter.

You aren't going to see this even if you are paying attention - stay away from the tail.

Finding a landing spot sometimes takes creativity

Professional use hearing defenders to not only protect their hearing but more importantly, their thinking.

Notice the pros walk close to the helicopter, even when it is shut down, staying away from the rotor tip hazard.

Even a slight uphill can put the tail rotor away from hazards or deep into them.

A pro stays put while the machine takes off - this ain't the army. No one is shooting at you.

Sometimes the best fuel tank is on the outside - helicopters are pretty much always limited by weight.

If you can see the stripes, you are in mortal danger