Click an image to see it full-size.
The helicopter in these pictures is the CH-47 Chinook. To me it is an ungainly looking; flying bus that seems like it shouldn’t be able to fly.
I am not a big fan of flying. I am not afraid of flying and over here I will take a flight over hours in the back of a MRAP any day. But I have never enjoyed it, especially in this day and age of all the wasted time one must spend in the airports. I would much rather drive. I think it is a control thing. I do not enjoy being cooped up in the airport or the airplane.
Another problem I have with small airplanes and helicopters is I have a tendency to get a little queasy in them, especially when it is hot, stuffy and crowded. It helps me to be able to sit by the window or door, especially if it is open so I can get fresh air. Chinooks are my least favorite helicopter to ride because you sit in them sideways with your back against the wall and unless you have the seat next to the door gunners it quickly becomes stuffy. They are also noisy and reek of exhaust gas, hydraulic fluid and everything else stuffed inside of it.
But even though they are not my favorite mode of transportation, I like them as a modern marvel of machinery. I think they are a miracle of modern engineering and love watching them fly. They are huge, they are noisy and they create an incredibly powerful windstorm that his hard to fathom. I have seen people knocked off their feet because they had underestimated the force of the air blast created by those two monstrous rotors. In fact one of the guys standing with me when I took some of these pictures lost his footing and fell into the concertina wire as the aircraft flew over us.
The pictures of these Chinooks were taken on different days. They were recovering an AH-64 Apache that had landed just short of the FOB. The first shots of the aircraft bring in the recovery team were taken late in the day and I was far enough away that I was able to get some great shots of the thick brown dust cloud. The others were taken early in the morning as the extracted the aircraft from the site. I positioned myself in what I thought would be a great spot to get some clean shots, but I badly miscalculated.
As the aircraft came in to pick up the recovery team before hooking onto the Apache I was quickly engulfed in dust so thick I could scarcely see 10 feet in front of me. I quickly scrambled further down the embankment attempting to escape the dust cloud, while avoiding becoming entangled in the concertina. As I got to the edge of the swirling dust, I noticed my camera was covered in a thick blanket of dust and of course I had the lens cap off prepared to take pictures. I quickly wiped it off with my fingers as best I could, hoping to get some decent shots when the Chinook emerged from the dust.
The dust thinned out as the aircraft lifted back into the air and into position to hook up to the grounded Apache. Between the haze of dust in the air and the film of dust on my lens I wasn’t able to get a great shot of the Apache slung below the Chinook, but it was an impressive sight in real life.
Thanks for looking!
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.