By the Left Coast Rebel
This has to be seen to be believed (LANGUAGE ALERT):
Description of the video from the fella the I assume shot and uploaded it:
AH-64 Apache helicopter crash in Sharana, Afghanistan. The pilot was executing a maneuver known as "return to target". No one on the ground was killed and both pilots survived, possible criminal charges were laid.
This pilot is in some serious doo-doo. Given that he is lucky enough to be alive and likely should have killed several people on the ground (by showing off), I'd say they should throw the book at him for pulling off this stunt.
A commenter at Youtube notes that @ 0.24 on the video, the chopper comes precariously close to several guys on the ground.
I took a couple of screenshots highlighting this...
|A screen shot at 0:25 into the video clearly shows several individuals on the ground the split second before the Apache helicopter slammed into the snow just a few feet beyond them.|
|This zoomed-in screen shot (@ 0.25 in to the video) clearly shows the individual directly below the Apache right before it slammed into the snow.|
Updated: Michael Wardell checks in and comments:
As a Pilot of non-rotor wing craft, I will opine as such.
Combat is when you do stunts like this!...anyway
After the Hammerhead or stall turn, the pilot seems to loose perspective as to how high or low, he might be, as he recovers from his turn. He may have also pulled too many G's and almost passed out. After the turn, he dives to increase speed then levels his helo out but doesn't yank the collective to stop his decent soon enough, thus slamming into the terrain. If he understood that he was about to play dirt dart, I believe he would have pulled up HARD on the collective and HARD back stick to avoid crashing and just bang the tail wheel out of wack. Shadows also indicate that he may have pulled up into the sun and temporarily blinded or impaired his vision. If you look directly into the sun for a moment, you get a dark dot that blinks away in about 10-15 seconds, too late to realize the impending impact.
The Army and maybe the NTSB will have no fun (pun intended) piecing this thing together.
I am glad, ecstatic, that the the Pilot and the Gunner and ground troops lived! It's better to loose your wings and your job with the luck of not killing others than to have the chaplain visit your, and others' wives' and kids and tell them "Daddy is, or you died, because you, or others, were stupid.
An Old and not bold Pilot