WATCH | This botched take-off has helicopter pilots scratching their heads in utter confusion

2019-12-31 08:45 - Selene Brophy
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This pilot's lack of situational awareness has other pilots utterly confused.

The clip, captured and shared to twitter by FAA Helicopter Pilot Examiner Matt Johnson, shows a helicopter lift-off attempt by a pilot that goes completely wrong.  

The tail appears to clip the fence to the helipad, with some mini-buses seen in the background. He comments, "SA is a real thing"- but this is not in reference to South Africa, instead it's an abbreviation for "Situational Awareness". 

According to commercial pilot Alan Robertson the incident took place outside Sunninghill Hospital, in Sandton, Gauteng.  In the video and you will see the registration is ZS-RBL. ‘ZS’ is South Africa. You can see the Netcare logo just under the main rotor mast and ‘082 911’, operated by NAC (National Airways Corporation)," says Robertson.

Others who have commented on the post speculate the helicopter also hits a sign just outside the fence. Yet another helicopter pilot Spencer Alan states, "I don't think he actually hits the sign. If you look at the bottom of the sign it's well outside the fence, and comes out unscathed. The fence is pretty typical for a lot of landing pads. Dude just didn't notice his right drift on takeoff or clear his tail."

Johnson, however, continues to lament what he best describes as "p*ss-poor handling". 

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The key take-away here?

Always be aware of your surroundings, whether you're in control of a helicopter, motor vehicle or simply in a public space. As one master veteran pilot and military strategist John Boyd put it, being in a relaxed state of alertness is not only the best way to make the most of any situation life throws at you - it also means you'll undoubtedly avoid mishaps like this. 

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