Multimedia essay by: David Johanson Vasquez © All Rights
The Robinson R22 helicopter is often described as a sports car version of helicopters — ultra light in weight, it takes off quickly and is so responsive it will literally make your head spin. Weighing in at only 1200 pounds fully fueled, it often feels like you’re wearing the helicopter like a “jet-pack” rather than riding in it. As a thrilling life experience, helicopter flights are at the top of the list, however, it requires the highest level of professionalism to safely fly and be involved with helicopter operations.
Video by: David Johanson © All Rights
The Initial Reason for the Project As a multimedia specialist who produces stories supported by photography and video content, I’ve used a variety of helicopters for an image capture platform. Everything from the compact, high – performance Huey 500D up to the large tandem rotor Kawasaki KV 107 (a licensed version of the Boeing Vertol BV107 “Chinook” helicopter.)
The Robinson R22 Beta II Helicopter was arranged for me to use ◊ as part of a six-month photography contract with the Port of Seattle. In between locations photographed for the Port, I shot video content for multimedia educational applications.
Multimedia Enhancements For Greater Learning This multimedia video includes Ξ graphic overlays, lower third titles and an integrated color key, which indicate: Θ Seattle historic architecture (Smith Tower),↔ municipal, transportation and infrastructure information along with the ↑ R22’s performance ratings. The style of writing for this multimedia essay structures information using bold and italicized text to optimize key content for quick scanning by readers. For assessing your recall and comprehension a quiz is included at the end of this essay. You’re also invited to explore provided web links related to essay content. Your opinions and insights on how to enrich this multimedia experience is valued, so a comment section is provided for suggestions.
Advantages & Challenges For Image Capture From Helicopters
The advantages of using a helicopter over an urban setting are many, including: multiple low angle views, which are unavailable when using fixed winged aircraft, hovering over specific areas, an efficiency in reaching desired altitudes for a variety of perspective views.
◊ Aerial photography and especially video are challenging to produce in a helicopter compared with using fixed winged aircraft. ↑ Two major issues, which can hamper imaging are: vibrations and noise caused from the engine next to the cab and rotor vibrations caused from elastic torsion deformations while flying. Aerospace companies such as Boeing and big budget feature film projects will occasionally use high-end aerial photography, which have specialized cameras mounted into their aircraft. This specialization can reduce some aerial photography vibration issues associated with hand held cameras, but it requires a large budget to justify the expense. The R22 helicopter is a very light aircraft, the summer afternoon, which was used to shoot these aerials, had strong turbulence, so some scenes will have unavoidable vibration and noise in them.
This is the first of two videos, which features aerial views of Seattle provided by Helicopters Northwest out of Θ Boeing Field. The second video, soon to be posted, shows the return for refueling and includes initial mechanical issues getting the helicopter back in the air. In regards to refueling, it’s critical a helicopter has been properly grounded before operations begin. ↑ Helicopter rotor blades are capable of generating large amounts of static electricity — especially in dry, dusty environments, which can pose a serous threat to both flight and ground crews.
The Outcome From Rare Helicopter Accidents Are Usually Tragic… But There Are Exceptions
One of my first jobs after graduating from college was with KREM-TV (King Broadcasting) in Spokane. A few years after I moved on from working with the station a tragic accident occurred with its news helicopter. The helicopter had just picked up Gary Brown —an outstanding KREM videographer (who I remembered as always being upbeat, positive and friendly) — when its rotor blades suddenly struck guy wires supporting the station’s transmitter tower. Both the photographer and pilot were killed instantly.
I’ve included a link below, which has an article with an accident scene photo from the Spokane, Spokesman Review in a Tuesday, May 7, 1985 addition. The story has comments from a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) official coordinating the accident’s investigation. Ironically on the same page is a syndicated, New York Times story of a larger helicopter accident, which occurred on the following day of May 6. That tragedy involved the loss of 17 Marines in a massive Sikorsky, CH-53 Sea Stallion off the southwestern coast of Japan. A joint operations helicopter reported witnessing the CH-53 suddenly lost power and dropped 500 feet into the sea.
About ten years ago a friend of mine survived a helicopter crash, with only a few scratches. He had bought a used helicopter from a sheriffs department to start his own flight service business. Over time, parts needed to be replaced with upgrades and he was sold a defective fuel-line, which failed while in flight. He was approximately 100 feet in the air with two clients when the helicopter’s engine shuttered to a stop. Fortunately he got his helicopter into ↑ auto rotation ( helicopter emergency procedure, which shifts rotor blade’s pitch to use stored kinetic energy to make a “soft landing”) and as they began descending, the helicopter’s skid caught the center of a tree and its branches helped them slow the descent even more.
Education and Training Is the Key to Helicopter Safety
Overall, if you consider how many hours and flights in a day helicopters perform flawlessly — they are safe and reliable. What these specialized aircraft can achieve in vertical maneuverability and performance is nothing short of marvelous and amazing. ↑ To ensure engines and structural frames are safely maintained the FAA certifies aviation mechanics using two certifications. Helicopter mechanics are required to have: an air frame mechanic and or a powerplant mechanics certification. Most employers prefer their mechanics having both certifications, which requires 1,900 hours of coursework in order to pass oral and written exams that prove their skills.
Each video in this multimedia essay demonstrates the essential level of professionalism required for aviation operations during a high volume of jet and helicopters landings and takeoffs at Boeing Field.
Now, just sit back and take in the sights! ~
Questions For Continuous Learning and to test your recall?
1.) What are the advantages and disadvantage of using a helicopter for aerial photography?
2.)Name one of the first skyscrapers, which also was the tallest building on the West Coast until 1962?
3.) What is the most important overall requirement for flying helicopters?
4.) What is the name of the emergency procedure for when a helicopter’s engine fails inflight and what process takes place for a soft landing?
5.) Name the FAA requirements for being a helicopter mechanic and why are they necessary?
6.) Describe the multimedia enhancements on the video, which were used to promote greater learning.
Integrated Learning Color/Symbol Key for Career Technical Education:
↑ Navy Blue — Aerospace Engineering related including: aerodynamics, structural dynamics & avionics
Ξ Dark Green — Multimedia & graphic design techniques used for Integrated learning
Θ Maroon — Historical structures, locations and or districts
◊ Indigo — Professional photography & video production
↔ Purple — Civil engineering related
References: (Click on these sites to learn more on the subject)
The Kopp-Etchells Effect: Eerie Halo of a Helicopter’s Rotor Blades in a Dust Cloud – Neatorama
The Spokesman-Review – Google News Archive Search
Robinson Helicopter Co.
Helicopters Northwest – Boeing Field
Intersting facts about the historic Smith Tower
HistoryLink.org- the Free Online Encyclopedia of Washington State History
Smith Tower – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Walking Tours (Self-Guided) – Visiting Seattle – Seattle.gov
Downtown (Central Business District) guide, moving to Seattle | StreetAdvisor
CH-47JA Helicopter | Helicopters | Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. Aerospace Company
Boeing CH-47 Chinook
Boeing: History — Products – Boeing CH-47 Chinook Rotorcraft
MD Helicopters MD 500 – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Boeing: History — Products – Hughes OH-6 Cayuse/500 Military and Civilian Helicopter
Helicopter Safety | Flight Safety Foundation
King County International Airport/Boeing Field
Port of Seattle