The Unpredictable Dangers of Birds to Pilots: Insights from a Helicopter Pilot

Officials have recently revealed new information regarding a tragic medical helicopter crash near Hydro, Oklahoma, which claimed the lives of three individuals. According to a preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board, the crash site was found to be surrounded by several geese carcasses. While pilots maintain complete control inside the cockpit, they are often confronted with uncontrollable circumstances outside the aircraft.

KOCO 5 had the opportunity to speak with Chase Rutledge, a helicopter pilot, about the perils that birds pose to pilots. Rutledge expressed the heart-wrenching reality of covering numerous airplane and helicopter crashes, acknowledging the difficulty in dealing with such incidents, especially when they hit close to home.

The helicopter crash involving Air Evac LifeTeam members has had a profound impact on the pilot community in Oklahoma. Federal investigators now believe that geese were the cause of the accident. Rutledge explained that the collision occurred when the geese were flying low, and he stressed the heightened concern during this time of year when geese are traveling and migrating, particularly at night.

The NTSB’s report discovered geese carcasses near the crash site and even embedded in the medical helicopter. Rutledge emphasized the potential danger if bird remains were to interfere with the aircraft’s controlability, especially if they were to become dislodged and enter crucial components such as servos.

The helicopter crash transpired shortly after the Air Evac LifeTeam had dropped off a patient at Mercy Hospital in Oklahoma City. Rutledge, who captured a bird’s-eye view of the scene the following day, mentioned the possibility of the helicopter’s blades detaching if they were significantly damaged by bird collisions.

The report indicated that the helicopter was flying at an altitude of 500 to 600 feet above the ground, traveling at approximately 110 knots. Rutledge noted that the limited ambient and natural lighting in the area could have affected the visibility of the birds, making it challenging to detect them during that time.

This tragic incident serves as a stark reminder of the unpredictable dangers that birds pose to pilots. While pilots are in control within the confines of the cockpit, the external environment, including bird activity, can present significant risks. Increased awareness, especially during migratory seasons, and enhanced preventive measures are necessary to mitigate these hazards and ensure the safety of pilots and their passengers.

FAQ Section:

1. What new information was revealed about the medical helicopter crash near Hydro, Oklahoma?
– According to a preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board, the crash site was found to be surrounded by several geese carcasses.

2. How did the crash impact the pilot community in Oklahoma?
– The helicopter crash involving Air Evac LifeTeam members had a profound impact on the pilot community in Oklahoma.

3. What was believed to be the cause of the accident?
– Federal investigators now believe that geese were the cause of the accident.

4. When is there a heightened concern regarding geese and bird activity?
– Rutledge explained that there is a heightened concern during this time of year when geese are traveling and migrating, particularly at night.

5. What potential danger did Rutledge emphasize regarding bird remains?
– Rutledge emphasized the potential danger if bird remains were to interfere with the aircraft’s controlability, especially if they were to become dislodged and enter crucial components such as servos.

6. What was the altitude and speed at which the helicopter was flying?
– The helicopter was flying at an altitude of 500 to 600 feet above the ground, traveling at approximately 110 knots.

Key Terms/Jargon:
– National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB): An independent U.S. government investigative agency responsible for civil transportation accident investigation.
– Geese carcasses: The dead bodies of geese.
– Cockpit: The area of an aircraft where the pilot sits and controls the aircraft.
– Controlability: The ability to control or manipulate something, in this case, the helicopter.

Suggested Related Links:
1. National Transportation Safety Board
2. Federal Aviation Administration
3. Air Ambulance Network