A good pilot/skydiver friend of mine, who I’ll call Geno because that’s his name, OK nickname but let’s not split hairs, had a scary story about one night one the flight deck of a destroyer many years ago.  That particular dark and stormy night somewhere in the south Pacific Geno had flight deck duty when the call came in that a helicopter was coming in to land.  Geno ran up to the landing platform and was knew right away that that recovery was going to be hairy.  Geno’s job that night was to dash under the helicopter as soon as it touched down and attach a tie down chain to one of the landing gear mounts, or something.  The deck was pitching and rolling violently and the pilot was having a difficult time but eventually managed to slam the helicopter onto the deck.  As soon as the wheels made contact Geno dove under the belly of the helicopter and successfully secured his chain.  As he was rolling out from under the helicopter the deck rolled hard and the helicopter came off the deck because the sailor on the the other side hadn’t yet secured his tie down chain.  Now I’m sure you you can imagine how well a helicopter flies with one of it’s wheels tied to a pitching flight deck but I’m pretty sure you can’t imagine how scary it would be to be lying on your back on that landing platform watching the show and wondering just what part of the helicopter is going to hit you when it crashes.  As the pilot tried desperately to control his aircraft Geno rolled back under the wildly swinging helicopter and against SOP hit the quick release on the chain setting it free.  As the helicopter shot into the air it’s tail wheel took out part of some sort of railing off to one side of the landing platform and flew away with it dangling from it’s tail.  Geno told me that when the helicopter came back for another attempt at landing the mood on he landing platform was just a little bit tense.

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