You know those airbags in your car? Did you know they are very similar in nature to the airbags deployment system used to crash land the Mars rover on the surface of Mars? Did you know that one company is making external airbags for helicopters and rotorcraft? It's all true. There are critical altitudes for helicopters incase of engine failure, altitudes that if the engine quits the helicopter will come crashing to the ground. Normally if the engine quits in a helicopter it can auto-rotate and the rotor blades spin around like a pin wheel or like the Da Vinci model helicopter. This keeps the aircraft gliding and as long as the pilot glides at the proper ratio, the helicopter hovers to the ground and just before getting their it changes the pitch of the rotor blades enabling the helicopter to take a bigger bite out of the air and thus flair for a soft landing.
The problem comes when you are too low to set up a stable and proper glide, in this case a helicopter is quite vulnerable to total loss. If the aircraft is hovering low to the ground with a full load it is even more dangerous, yet one company has come up with the solution; good ole' airbags, which deploy just before crashing to save the occupants and airframe from total destruction. Obviously it would be good for all helicopters to be equipped with this, however when you think about the missions of our Middle Eastern Troops traveling by helicopter and the number of lives lost, this could be the perfect safety item. If a crash comes over water it could be inflated giving everyone onboard those few extra crucial seconds to get out alive.
Such a system should be installed in all Presidential Helicopters as well like Marine One. The company that makes these is RAFAEL and the name of their product is REAPS Rotorcraft External Airbag Protection Systems. We are just losing way too many troops to helicopter accidents, which have nothing to do with actual combat and we all know we must protect the top brass and our nations leadership too. Think on this please.
"Lance Winslow" - If you have innovative thoughts and unique perspectives, come think with Lance; www.WorldThinkTank.net/wttbbs