Pave Low John · 2 hours ago
Funny, I must have done hundreds of stokes litter recoveries in MH-53J (and M-model), and probably thousands of fast rope inserts, to boats, buildings, daylight or NVGs, you name it. But I don't remember any PJs or other team guys coming up to me later on and saying "Dude, that was way too much downdraft, we just can't work with this helo". I even did a few AIEs myself. Wasn't the easiest downwash to handle, but nothing you can't overcome with a little foresight.
On the other hand, I have watched the debacles at Hurlburt Field when they have tried to do fastrope training out of the CV-22s. They have to weigh the ropes down, so they don't get blown straight off the tail at a 45 degree angle. So right there, the FE can't pull the rope back in if something goes wrong. They also have to hover at some ridiculous height, just to stay out of ground effect, otherwise they'll pummel and/or cook whoever winds up under the prop-rotors. And they keep burning the grass and setting fires in the LZs, not a real good quality in a SOF aviation platform, tends to let the enemy know what just landed there.
And rope ladders are a complete no-go. I knew an FE named Bud Dow when he had just finished being a test Flight Engineer up at Pax River back in 1998. They tried one rope ladder deployment and had to cut it loose after the rotorwash started corkscrewing it so bad, the bottom rung was disappearing under the nose and almost hitting the bottom of the nacelles. Never saw that happen in a Pave.
I also used to fly around with Toyota Tacomas in the back of a Pave (5th Group used to have a bunch of black ones in Djibouti and J-bad). Never seen the CV-22s carry anything with four wheels that the teams would actually use. We also used to stack two Zodiacs and 12 dudes in the back of a Pave and deploy those at 10 feet and 10 knots. Good luck trying that in a tilt-rotor.
So no, I don't see how the CV-22 and Pave Low have the same disadvantages. The CV-22 flies about 80 to 100 knots faster than a Pave. That's it. It can't fly higher, the altitude completely kills any power margin a tilt-rotor might have. It definitely isn't giving the 'customers' what they want, they pretty much hate the thing. Honestly, I'm just praying there are no more crashes that kill anyone I know. I already have three friends that have been killed by the V-22, I don't need any more.
If I'm bitter, it ain't because the Pave Low got replaced. The Pave was old, required too much maintenance and leaked hydraulic fluid on all my flight gear. But they could have replaced them with MH-47s, MH-60s, EH-101, anything that could 1) do team work and 2) not crash. Any bitterness I might have is a result of that 'crashing' part. That and all the flat-out lies I hear from colonels and generals when they talk to the press. Guess it would be too much to actually expect commissioned officers to tell the truth in a public forum.
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Sometimes, when doing a vendor-friendly article, things don't always work out. As seen from this comment...