Monday, April 25, 2005

True story...

Read this first...

You may ask yourself how this could happen. And my answer is fairly easily. In fact, it almost happened to me once. (not the severed, the plane part)

For my old job, once in a while we'd have to hop in a helicopter and take some aerial photographs of projects, lands, or whatever throughout Delaware. So we'd either charter a chopper or if the State Police didn't have anything better to do, they'd take us up.

My job was the navigator. I sat in the co-pilot seat with my maps and reference points and directed the pilot from project site to project site. The photographer sat behind me with the door off the side and took pictures as directed.

Image hosted by

One trip, we were down near Laurel, DE taking some shots. I wasn't paying attention outside, rather I was trying to plot our next course while the photographer was getting his last few shots. All of a sudden the pilot comes over the radio and says "oh shit."

Not the first thing you want to hear from any kind of pilot.

If you've never ridden in a helicopter before, I can tell you that a good pilot will make it seem like you're floating on air. A bad (or evil) pilot will get you sick. Ours was a good pilot.

So anyway, after the pilot's declaration, I said "what's wrong?" And I immediately turned to make sure that our photographer hadn't fallen out. "We've got jumpers!"


"Jumpers! Over there."

Sure enough, about 500 yards away in brightly colored jumpsuits were a half-dozen skydivers.

"We've got to go. NOW!" the pilot insisted. "We'll suck them right to us if we stay here!"

"Holy shit! GO GO GO!"

And with that, he yanked the stick right and we shot sideways like I didn't know we could! My papers went flying. I about lost my lunch. Once we were clear he explained to us that even at that distance we would have pulled them right into the blades and killed all of us.

And if you think that was scary, the State Police pilots are former Air Force. I learned never to eat at all on days we'd go up with them...