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Pic of the Day: Apache Rescue

by John Reed on January 13, 2012

Happy Friday, given the amount of attention we’ve given to helicopters this week, I thougt I’d give you a killer helo image. This great picture from a few years ago shows an AH-64 Apache crew practicing a rescue technique where a soldier rides shotgun aboard the aircraft’s side sponson. It’s similar to a method AH-1 Cobra crews have used since the Vietnam war to rescue troops who can’t wait for a transport chopper. Basically, the passenger sits on the Cobra’s open ammo bay door and clings to anything he can while he’s whisked away. This method was famously used in 1968 to rescue future USAF Chief of Staff Gen. Ron Fogleman from capture by the Viet Cong when his F-100 was shot down in Vietnam.

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

4FingersOfBourbon January 13, 2012 at 1:05 pm

AWESOME!~

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McPosterdoor January 13, 2012 at 1:29 pm

From what I've heard the injured party usually gets to ride inside and the Apache non-pilot (help me out here, gunner or navigator or both?) rides on the outside. I guess that makes sense, he's not injured and can get a harness on quicker if he doesn't have it on already. Optional one-side fire support when taking off as well! XD I wonder what kind of pressure he gets from the engine intake directly behind him.

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Twidget at large January 13, 2012 at 1:32 pm

Less presure then a bunch of screaming taliban.

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crackedlenses January 13, 2012 at 3:27 pm

I've heard a story about a serviceman's daughter being transported in an Apache cockpit from an Army base due to some kind of medical emergency, but that was within our borders…..

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brianckramer January 13, 2012 at 1:36 pm

let's call them a navigunner

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Richard colon January 13, 2012 at 8:10 pm

Actually he's called the CPG (copilot gunner)

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TLAM Strike January 13, 2012 at 3:01 pm

The Russians got a better system, their Mi-28 helicopter has a cargo compartment in the back of the aircraft that you can cram a person or two in to if you had to pick up a down aircrew.

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Lance January 13, 2012 at 3:38 pm

The Apache has same compartment BUT its has survival gear in it so you cant throw it all out.

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Jacob January 14, 2012 at 5:47 pm

Well if it's a choice between survival gear and a friendly soldier or pilot getting captured, I would think you'd dump the survival gear.

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Lance January 13, 2012 at 3:37 pm

Looks fun in the summer very cold in the winter to come home that way LOL.

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JRL January 13, 2012 at 3:47 pm

A couple of packed adjustable fall arrest harnesses like we use in the construction business would take up hardly any room at all, and could be stored either inside the crew compartment, or on, or near the sponsons. Takes about a minute to put on, and then you wouldn't have to worry about a wounded passenger possibly losing their grip.

BTW, I'm pretty sure that the Apache can be flown, if not fought, by either of the two pilots.

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Riceball January 13, 2012 at 6:00 pm

If the Apache is anything like a Cobra then it requires only one person to fly it, the other crew member (the one that sits in the front) is the gunner and has no flight controls.

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Richard colon January 13, 2012 at 8:12 pm

He does have flight controls in the front and is capable of taking over operations from the pilot.

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flybratb52 January 13, 2012 at 8:15 pm

We love our CH47 pilot……he gave me the best gift in the world….our daughter..love you Col. Jim Reynolds……hookers rock !!!!!!!!

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blight January 13, 2012 at 8:51 pm

…?

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Mark January 17, 2012 at 12:20 pm

So, you are saying that basically "your" CH47 pilot delivered his load and got you pregnant? Does your husband or whoever know this? Or are you a crew member? Sounds like trouble!

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Clifton B. Sommer January 13, 2012 at 9:12 pm

That's wild! Reminds me of when I was coming out of the field to go home from Vietnam. I hopped a ride on a Loach (the LOH-1) that was crammed with mail, thus no room for me inside, so I rode from Quang Tri to Camp Evans riding on the right skid!

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Adam January 13, 2012 at 9:25 pm

its amazing what the human mind can come up with when your ass is on the line, maybe next time someone will land a jet on a freeway and pick up another pilot just as some european countries are trained to do

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Lynda January 14, 2012 at 6:53 am

God Bless the brave pilots. My late husband was a Cobra pilot in Vietnam, all of our military are hero’s. They sometimes work for days with little sleep, they don’t punch a time clock and a good thing, we couldn’t afford the overtime. It makes me mad when civilians talk about what the government “gives” military retirees. They deserve EVERYTHING they get and so much more.

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Torpedo8 January 14, 2012 at 2:05 pm

When Obama said yesterday that no one works harder than government workers, I threw up a little in my mouth. I'm sure by that he didn't mean the military, either. Apparently he wants nothing to do with business or the military. Something to do with how he was raised….

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blight January 15, 2012 at 3:44 pm

By a white woman in Kansas who then moved to Hawaii and then to Indonesia for a short spell? Or do we still think the Kenyan government paid a bunch of people in Kansas, Hawaii and Indonesia to plant a Muslim deep in American government to promote miscegenation?

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crackedlenses January 20, 2012 at 2:07 pm

You give too much credit to the Kenyan government; if there's a conspiracy, it's going to be a bunch of crooks who never see the light of day. Alternately, it could be just a media cover-up of a candidate they want who may not be totally eligible….

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blight January 20, 2012 at 1:48 pm

"bunch of crooks who never see the light of day"

Freemasons, Bilderberg Group, or the Grays?

The people who "chose" Obama are likely the same who "chose" Bush. Hard to imagine a conspiracy of amateurs who could randomly overpower the entire political machinery of DC in a single political term to put a single-term senator from Illinois into the highest office in the land.

blight January 15, 2012 at 3:57 pm

The bennies for military vets remain threatened, because the government is no longer sustainable. Then again, perhaps they should prioritize benefits for those troops who serve in combat, over those who serve in headquarters billets in Europe, CONUS, Japan and Korea. However, large fractions of the military see little if any combat, yet they take the same benefits as those who have seen too much in too little time.

Additionally, Congress seems to vote themselves sweet benefits every year while the lives of the average American go downhill, while pandering to the voters. It's not a very sustainable recipe.

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Steve January 14, 2012 at 10:25 pm

Actually, the first time this technique was ever used in combat was to pick up a 1st Cav Apache crew during Desert Storm.

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pedestrian January 15, 2012 at 3:53 pm

Can some one tell the Army simply to get an AH-60 for both attack and transport (assault/rescue) mission instead?

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blight January 15, 2012 at 3:59 pm

Mmm. There's a degree of benefit that a platform optimized for a mission gets versus taking a common platform and commissioning it to do other things.

For instance, the Vietnam era Hueys were modified into ARA variants. However, there was still a pressing need for more durable support, which became the AH-1.

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pedestrian January 18, 2012 at 1:10 am

I'm not against having AH-1/AH-64, but still think there is a need for attack utility dual purpose helicopter. The ex-USSR counterpart was Mi-24 Hind sometimes categorized as assault helicopter. It does have bad records in Afghan, but survivability of helicopters have increased with various new technology to protect helicopters from rocket and missile threats. The advantage of assault helicopter, which AH-60L may be included, is its capability to carry and support, or close air support for troops it has carried to the area, such as missions to rescue in hostile area or to destroy high value target in insurgency environment. A team of AH-64 and UH-60 may be one of the choice, but AH-60L will do the job alone.

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blight January 20, 2012 at 1:49 pm

No it won't.

The Hinds were slow, hindered by the additional weight and bulk, and by war's end were often operated empty. That's why the Soviets went back to the standard specialized gunship. The Huey and Cobra share a large number of parts, and that is the likely path of commonality in the future.

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Dvldg84 February 8, 2013 at 11:14 am

It's called a "Spur Ride" the first time I heard someone do it a Kiowa was shot down, both pilots were okay but banged and bruised. First on seen was an apache who saw a mob of men near the crash site. The Apache found the pilots off in the distance hiding in ditches. Instead of waiting for an evac they landed and loaded the two pilots. The gunner got out and the the more injured pilot in his gunner seat inside the Apache. He crossed two ratchet straps over the second injured pilot to the armament wing and got on the other wing and held on to the canopy handle and braced his feet against the engine panels. You typically in a pretty bad situation if you need to resort to this.

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William C. January 13, 2012 at 3:31 pm

The book "Apache" by UK Apache AH1 pilot Ed Macy provides a very fascinating overview of that CASEVAC they did. IIRC it seemed like they secured the casualty underneath the helicopter somehow.

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