~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ So I'm paired up with a copter, 3HL. It's basically the same as my copter back home. After all the initial inspection stuff, I just hang out at the helipad waiting for orders. Oh--and I have a trainee, too. My part in fire suppresion right now is filling out paperwork, checking safety things, basically getting other people to the fire......My new name is 3HL manager, Pad 14--on the radio at least.
"3HL manager we have a mission for you. Water dropping in division Lima, contact Helco" "3Hotel Lima copy" ho hum. Teach the trainee more paperwork nonsense. Maybe I'm helping fight the fire by reducing the number of trees through paper waste.
"3HL manager...Umm....your helicopter is down"
For some reason, whenever something happens thqat makes my pulse go from 56 to 200, my reaction is to put on a calm, unaffected attitude. Channel the fast moving brain. Besides, this will be a great learning opportunity for the trainee..."3HL Manager---what was his last position?" I learn the pilot had to put down, and called out a Lat/Long. 'K, that tells me a lot--where he is, he's probably OK, and he's probably just shut down for some mechanical issue. Grab the mechanic. Find the general area on a map. (RBG woulda come in handy here) Call CHP to follow us in, partly to shut the road if needed, partly so we can speed.
After some searching, I contact Helco. They lead us in to the general area, where we find our copter and pilot both lounging righ tnext the the Merced. We scramble down and start pulling things apart. I won't bore you with mechanical details, but we figured a way to get him up and limp back to Pad 14, but I need the state lead mechanic to approve the plan so I drive back to Briceburg and get the nod to fly back. The rest of the day is spent repairing the copter at the base.
OH---'we' saved the park. Again. WE've got it pretty much contained, I'll probably go home soon if there is nothing else burning elsewhere