Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Another Safe Return

These last few flights I've actually been nervous, could be because of that post I did a while back about all the bad things that happen I the last month of the deployment. Or those stories you hear about "that poor guy" who was supposed to go home in a couple of days but catches a bullet. I don't want to be him! It didn't bother me months ago when I had a bunch of missions ahead of me. I'm just being superstitious, seems to be in the air lately.

Just got back from a CASEVAC standby a couple of hours ago, we do that standbys when somebody on the ground is doing some sort of high risk operation and they need someone to come and get them real quick in case something goes wrong, I'm there to handle the injured. Unless something goes wrong, our job is to just sit and wait till we get the call. We gear up and fly to a forward operating base to get closer to the action. It was a peaceful flight out there, flew over one of the lakes and it was so calm that you could see the stars reflected in the water. We landed and topped off the tanks and picked up a few packs (people that are flying that aren’t crew) and flew to another smaller base to wait. The helicopter I fly in is a CH 46's and if you wonder what you what they look like check out my fotopage, there must be hundreds of pictures scattered around. They're known for being somewhat rough in the flying department, meaning they vibrate more then other helicopters. I've been flying in them so long that in the air, unless something is broken, I don't even notice. The only time that it bothers me is when we ground turn or taxi. On the ground the aircraft sitting still the aircraft the interior of the aircraft is doing fast little 3 inch circles, shaking and rattling and wallowing in a cloud of hot exhaust. Sure it's safer being on the ground waiting, no body shooting at you and no injured people in the back. But the bird is shaking so much that it's hard to do anything except make noises like you do when someone is tapping your chest, not that anyone would hear you due to the noise. Reading becomes a chore which I try anyway, you have to use both hand and anchor your elbows to your ribcage, note, not your belly, to keep the movement of the book in time with the movement of your head. If you mess up you get motion sickness, some people do anyway. I've never thrown up from it but do get nauseated and feel like crap for a couple of hours. Each 46 is different, the oldest is 40 years old as of a couple of months ago, some don't shake that much on the ground while others feel like a bully holding you up by your shirt and shaking you, he didn't get my lunch money last night but it was a close thing. I'm famous for being able to fall asleep anywhere but last night I fell asleep for a half hour and my mouth and jaw were sore from my teeth bashing together. Should have wore my mouth guard from martial arts. We were only ground turning for 3 hours and I've done it for twice that time and it didn't bother me this much, I sure was glad when we took off and went home.

No comments: