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Showboating Is Bad For You

AH-64D Apache Longbows appear in both Left With The Dead and The Rising Horde, and they do what they’re supposed to do because they’re piloted by disciplined aircrews who understand that in order for everyone to go home at night, they can’t screw around.

Alas, in real life, some guys forget that high speed approaches at high altitude that end with power bleedoff can result in settling with power, and at 60+ knots, contact with terra firma can culminate in tail rotor separation…which in turn results in a total departure from controlled flight.

Check out the video here.

At least this one didn’t have the Longbow millimeter wave fire control radar installed. I wonder if the Army’s Safety Center will award the pilot and his CPG with the Broken Wing Award before they prosecute them?

Gee, I've got the collective pulled into my armpit, why are we still sinking?

Gee, I’ve got the collective pulled up into my armpit and the power control levers full forward…why do I still have that sinking feeling?

Skids are for kids–woo-hoo!

Are we flyin’ or drivin’?

Pop goes the weasel!

Look at all the troops standing near the initial impact point. Those guys could’ve been killed.

  1. March 22, 2012 at 11:31 am


    • March 22, 2012 at 11:33 am

      I know tons of Apache drivers, and there’s not a one of them that can defend this. Not that they want to, of course.

  2. March 22, 2012 at 11:40 am

    was it seriously a bone-headed pilot error? or an equipment malfunction?? It looked, in the video, as if it barely slowed before plowing up the field…

    • March 22, 2012 at 12:09 pm

      Well yeah, it was moving around 60+ knots coming out of a dive. But the nimrod in the back seat didn’t take the mountainous altitude into consideration and didn’t realize he was coming out of a low-energy condition as a result of the pull-up he’d just turned out of. Totally the pilot’s fault.

  3. March 22, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    wow…thankfully nobody was killed—cept the chopper of course–even if he was a nimrod, hope he n his gunner/navigator were okay.

  4. Steve
    March 22, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    Apparently, he wasn’t doing anything that ALL the Apache pilots do when going to this particular outpost. This time, of course, it didn’t go quite to plan (which is why this kind of stunt is off the books). Amazingly, nobody was killed or even seriously injured.

    • March 22, 2012 at 6:29 pm

      Very few guys are going to make an approach like that unless they’re hot dogging it. I remember the brigade commander at Campbell flipping out when someone was passing pictures around of one the 101st’s Black Hawks doing rolls–Destiny 6 pretty much took care of that for the rest of time.

      • Steve
        March 23, 2012 at 1:34 am

        They are hot-dogging it, yes, but it’s a pretty regular thing at that outpost, or so David Axe would have us believe:

        “During my visit in January, the Apache crews made a habit of buzzing low over the boys’ school as a demonstration of American power … and as a morale boost for the isolated troops.

        But that low-flying prowess is risky, as the fortunately bloodless crash proves.”

      • March 23, 2012 at 8:26 am

        Well, I’d imagine the full power passes and climbouts are over now. You can bet there are a bunch of battalion commanders getting their asses chewed off, and in turn they’re going to be landing on their troops with both boots. I mean, everyone has video capability now, so accidents like this aren’t just read about in a newspaper, they’re seen by millions of folks minutes after they happen. Looks bad, and the U.S. taxpayer now has to pay for another AH-64D.

  5. Steve
    March 23, 2012 at 11:28 am

    Yeah, it’s all fun and games until somebody breaks their Apache. Still, compared to the projected per-airframe cost of an F-35, replacing this is practically a rounding error…

  6. March 23, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    If it wasn’t for the snow, this would have been very ugly.

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