The TCSAR crew getting in some classrooom time at the Sheriff’s Office.
As a volunteer member of Teton County Search and Rescue, one of the new tools and techniques I am training for is for the ability to do a short-haul from a helicopter. This is basically when your are suspended beneath the helicopter with a 100′ cable and flown a short distance to a specific location. We are just finishing up with the classroom side of things and will get going training with the heli soon.
Now…dangling yourself below a helicopter may sound kind of dangerous, but the truth is that it can often be a lot safer than the alternative of rappeling. While rappelling from a helicopter to access hard to reach locations does have it merits for long distance insertions, short hauling is much safer because it reduces some of the hazards relating to the human element and getting tangled with the rope in windy sometime associated with rappelling. Obviously the ability to drop someone off at a location that may be too small to land in is an obvious benefit of the short-haul. Toe in landings can be dangerous to say the least and many of the auto-rotate hazards (when the helicopter instantaneously rolls over when close to the ground) can be greatly reduced by getting up off the deck a bit. Helicopters like balance, and centering the weight directly bellow the rotor-blades make the load more controllable and predictable. This will often allow the helicopter to carry more weight as well…hopefully that means my skis!
Anyway, things should start to get a bit more interesting with the trainings when we start working with the ship and I’m getting kind of excited. Maybe I can wear the helmet cam on some flights!
The short-haul might help in this rescue!