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you don’t want to see when looking for a place to land.” He knew he had to get it on the ground, and fast. Tom was doing an emergency drop of fuel to offload 1500 pounds of weight they wouldn’t need. It was then that Mark spotted the fields. The

Long Beach Polytechnic High School has two fields side by side. “One is the football field and the other the baseball field. I turned almost due east and I would have had to land across the short end of the football field. The baseball field had this huge out- field area, no wires, no people on the ground, noth- ing to get in the way, so I headed for that. I flared hard near the ground because I knew I might not have enough power from the one engine to hover. So we did a short run on landing, about 30 or 40 feet,” Mark explains. The mechanics jumped out of the side cargo

door to look for fire. They had seen some sparks coming from the MGB and wanted to make sure there wasn’t any fire

through the shut down procedure and exited the aircraft. Nobody hurt, nothing bent – I would have to

say it was a perfect landing. The entire event lasted sometime around two short time, it was estimated that

minutes. In that

eight of the 12 gallons of oil in the main rotor gear- box was gone. Later investigation revealed that the driveshaft of the #2 engine was sheared at the main rotor gearbox. The T bolts on the gearbox input coupling were missing, having been turned into bal- listic missiles when you’re part of a system that is turning at 19,000 RPM.

starting. Both pilots went

Theories exist as to why it happened, howev-

er, “When that shaft broke, suddenly the engine has no load, so the RPM increases,” explains Mark. Once it hits the upper limits, the fuel control shuts the engine down. In a unique twist, had the other engine tried to take on the entire load of the air- craft, the coupling may have disconnected itself, leading to the #1 engine exceeding RPM and shut- ting down. “Surely there must be a way to relight the tur-

bine in that event,” I inquired. Nope, the H3 does not have an auto relight system. Mark sighs momentarily and says, “It sure

would be nice to fly a certified aircraft that the manufacturer still supports. Remember the H3 was designed in the 1950s. Not exactly the latest tech- nology. The problem is it’s hard to replace. Not just due to monies, but due to its capabilities.” Last month, Aero Bureau got their wish when

the LA County Board of Supervisors approved a $43 million dollar acquisition of three previously owned Eurocopter AS332L1 Super Puma Helicopters. Included in the deal was over $1 mil- lion dollars worth of spare parts, tooling and an on going maintenance package for the turbine engines. I asked Mark for some advice for pilots in

emergency situations. “Just fly the aircraft,” Mark says. “Forget everything else and just fly it. With twin engines we tend to forget some of the EPs we were taught in single engine ships. When you’re hit with a major failure like this, you need to get the ship on the ground now,” he comments. ◆


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