Comments about technological history, system fractures, and human resilience from James R. Chiles, the author of Inviting Disaster: Lessons from the Edge of Technology (HarperBusiness 2001; paperback 2002) and The God Machine: From Boomerangs to Black Hawks, the Story of the Helicopter (Random House, 2007, paperback 2008)

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Best in Class: Precision hoist work with helicopters

Passing along this video of a helicopter crew and riggers assembling a tower atop the Incity skyscraper in Lyons, France, by raising sections on a long cable:

Whether it's short-lining or long-lining, moving external loads by cable takes extraordinary skill: to pilot the helicopter while looking far below, to keep the load from swinging and then to set the load within an inch or two of the desired spot, and to avoid tangling or hitting things along the way. 

While researching The God Machine I heard many stories of pilots who brought themselves down while carrying loads on cables.

One of the striking sidelights in the helicopter world is that pilots have the authority to punch off a cable-slung load if they are sure it is going to cause the helicopter to crash: not a happy ending, particularly if there's a person on the end of the cable. 

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