This story was probably the one that had me the most at risk or worried for my life.
I was on the skid of a 212 to inspect some fiber that was reading as damaged. It was failing at a location, so we needed to do a visual inspection to verify the reason. As we were hovering, and I was inspecting, we covered about 30ft of the fiber and were coming up close to the tower. We continued past the tower with the tail of the helicopter now in the direction of the tower (as that was the direction that we were working).
I was watching the tail and keeping an eye on it. At this point, I knew it was not proper procedure to work in that position, from the Heli. With the tail in that direction, the tower was out of the pilot’s sight. But I figured, we were almost finished and… it was one time thing.
Then the action happened. The tail started to get too close to the tower. I started telling the pilot to get the tail away, “Tail away tail away”! I started to get excited since he wasn’t tailing away.
I kept talking and signaling and then the tail boom contacted the tower, peeling aluminum off the boom wing. Luckily, we got away and landed safely on the ground.
The pilot and other spotter were shaken up. I was just relieved we landed and that it didn’t contact the tail rotor.
This story is important because it made me realize the importance of not cutting corners. And, that you must speak up when you know something’s wrong. Working safely and following proper procedures are necessary to avoid being involved in situations that could have major consequences. They could save a life or yours.
Bo Lindell - Lineman