|KC Copters Simulator|
A bit of background here: The second book in my new Gulf Coast Rescue series (Jayhawk Down) features Caitlyn Stone, a lieutenant in the US Coast Guard and her “office” is a Jayhawk helicopter.
While I’ve been a passenger in a helicopter (sightseeing flight over Alcatraz in San Francisco) I’ve never even come close to riding up front with the controls. I did a lot of research on helicopters, Jayhawks and Blackhawks in particular, for this book, but I really wanted to know what it felt like to fly one. Now granted, the R-44 is a far cry from a Jayhawk, but the sensation, the flight controls, and getting at least a feel for what I have my heroine do was a major kick.
|Runway in Sight!|
My actual flight was also about 15 minutes. I flew south, did a couple of turns then flew the approach to the airport, using the VASI (visual approach slope indicator) just like in an airplane, and actually landed the helicopter on the runway! Whoo Hoo!
Johnny then flew us sideways (which is how he flies when he has a cameraman shooting video for a local news station) with a lot more finesse than I did going straight forward. I got to
practice attempt hovering.
Ha,ha, boy that was a joke! Johnny had to rescue me a couple of times because that has
to be one of the hardest things to learn how to do in a helicopter—and something
Caitlyn has to do when launching a rescue swimmer and picking up survivors from
the ocean or off the deck of a ship while being pummeled by high winds (or in
the case of the first book in the series, A
Dangerous Leap, in the midst of a hurricane). Just getting a taste for her
job gave me a whole new perspective that will hopefully translate to more
|My Pilot, Johnny Rowlands|