Helicopter Flyover

Helicopter formation

Helicopter formation

While I was puttering around outside (an admittedly rare occurrence), a deep thuttering over the northern horizon eventually resolved into a formation of four helicopters. Hard to tell at this range, but they looked like Black Hawks southbound for the Stewart Air National Guard field.

Our Larval Engineer reports that the college ROTC contingent includes some pilots-in-training who regularly land Black Hawks on the campus outfields.

We are, fortunately, not in a part of the world where Bruce Cockburn’s commentary applies…

  1. #1 by Aki on 2012-03-16 - 09:39

    Those magnificent men in their flying machines.

    “Norwegian Hercules plane vanishes en route to Sweden”

  2. #2 by PeterNL on 2012-03-16 - 13:42

    Don’t think I’ve ever seen a Black Hawk in real life. Plenty of Apaches and Chinooks here though. One of the benefits of living nearly on an airforce base (Woensdrecht; was quite a bit of news in the early ’80s, when the intention was to station Pershing cruise missiles there).

    Once had the pleasure of a Chinook passing low and close by me on the base, whilst greeting with his claxxon. Quite a racket it made….

    Oh – you may not need an anti-aircraft missile…. I used to throw boomerangs around a lot on the base at the end of the runway, back when I was still flying gliders. But whenever an aircraft approached I stopped… wouldn’t want to bring an aircraft down inadvertently…. would make a terrible mess and really ruin my day, I expect.

    Maybe extrude a few boomerangs and ‘innocently’ play around with them when the helicopters fly over again? I’m sure it would make a few Australian aboriginals very proud if you succeeded in bringing down one of those Evil Black (TM) helicopters with one…. :-D

    (but maybe I should be more careful of my words… before you know it I could be arrested for ‘inciting terrorism’….. Secret services just have no sense of humour! )

    • #3 by Ed on 2012-03-16 - 14:59

      you may not need an anti-aircraft missile

      Not me! I’m in favor of ’em, although choppers certainly have been misused…

      The Stewart ANG base has a collection of C-5 and C-130 cargo planes that make routine training flights over the area. A C-5 always seems to be hanging in the sky, because it’s big enough to trigger the full-moon-in-the-trees optical illusion: it just can’t be that far away, so it must be moving at walking speed!

      • #4 by PeterNL on 2012-03-16 - 15:23

        Nice! I recall when a C5 Galaxy landed here once. Very impressive sight. Makes one wonder how they manage to stay up in the air…. it’s counter-intuitive….

        Around here we mostly see Pilatus PC-7 Turbo Trainers and F16s. And lots of Fokkers, as the maintenance/repair department of Fokker (now Stork Aviation) is located on the base. And occasionally an Antonov or C5, or C47 or a B17…. :-)

        • #5 by Ed on 2012-03-16 - 16:33

          or a B17…. :-)

          Used to be, every few days they’d darken the skies in your part of the world. Commuting to work, as it were.

          A story I can’t find right now, somewhere in One Last Look, about a Dutch daughter who was terrified when those B-17s rumbled overhead. Her father took her outside, pointed to the formations, and said “Listen, child. That is the sound of angels.”

        • #6 by PeterNL on 2012-03-16 - 18:23

          There was very severe fighting in this area (Woensdrecht), as it had an airforce base, plus who controls this area controls most of the entry into the province of Zealand.

          The remnants of the fighting are still to be found everywhere. Plenty of unexploded ordinance (250 lb & 500 lb bombs) left, where the B17s missed the runway (often missing by a few km….). At most major works (building, excavating, roadwork) stuff gets found. The bomb disposal units don’t have to worry about unemployment, even 65 years later.

          When my brother built an extension to his house (not even close to the base, but nearly exactly in line with the runway), a big hole needed digging. The operator was very reluctant to start digging without ‘radar’ sounding of the area. We also seriously considered adding thick steel plates to protect the operator. In the end he went Nike-style: ‘just do it!’

          When my brother’s neighbour did some work in his garden, he found a nice little unexploded mortar round. Admittedly, not a 250 lb-er, but still plenty of ooomph to ruin your haircut.

          Let’s just say it’s the gift that keeps on giving, 65+ years after the fact. But it could be worse… Living in Ypres can occasionally still be very, err, ‘exciting’, I hear…. And those are leftovers from WW-1!

          • #7 by Ed on 2012-03-16 - 19:23

            often missing by a few km….

            From what I’ve read, the whole “precision bombing” notion didn’t really start working until very late in the war. At first, if the planes delivered the ordnance to the right time zone, that was pretty good. Considering the, mmmm, distractions along the way, it’s hard to argue they should have done better.

            Those fuzes don’t age gracefully, either!

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