Saturday, May 7, 2011

Vietnam -- The upside down world of a CH-47 helicopter

Sometime in September of 1970, I finally gave in and actually watched a movie. And fittingly enough, it was MASH. So darkness arrived and the cool air of fall was finally starting to roll in.
Across the street from our headquarters area was a company of CH-47 Chinook helicopters. They are loud and they make some really weird noises. For example, when one starts up, there is a smaller turbine that runs the hydralic system.  So, you hear this high pitched EEEEREREEREEEERREEE sound and when the pitch in the blades happened you could also hear the pump change tone as well.  Kind of like listening to Iron Man's suit today.
So about half way through the movie, one of these helicopters began the process of starting up. Few paid it attention as Hot Lips was about to have sex with Klinger -- okay, I made that up. The point is, we've all gotten pretty use to the noises these Chinooks made, so hearing one startup at night was no cause for alarm.
I heard the twin engines start and listened while the helicopter took off. Everything sounded normal until there was dead silence. I'm here to tell you that when a Chinook helicopter crashes there's more metal flying around then 6 122mm Russian made rockets. Makes more noise, too. Especially when it is up close and personal.
Needless to say, the show was over and everyone was running for their lives.  But not me.  Fact is, I knew what happened and the sirens didn't go off, we didn't head for the outside parameter and everyone calmed down in a few minutes. We went to bed.
In the morning, you could see the Chinook laying upside down looking for all the world like a upside down half shell turtle.  Blades were everywhere and other Chinooks had been damaged.
I've never, ever seen the Movie MASH to its completion.  Don't think I ever will. Too afraid some airliner will crash in my back yard.

No comments: