Oh No! Not Another Accident!

Oh No! Not Another Accident!

 This story could be titled Oh no, not another accident or to be more truthful How to give a helicopter a bath!


If you keep up with aviation news you may have heard about a Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) helicopter that crashed in the Arctic.

Do not panic! The above is not another accident! It is actually a helicopter landing on water. The bottom of the helicopter is shaped somewhat like a boat hull. It is designed to land in water. The one in the video is a HH-3F Pelican, a variant of the Sikorsky S-61R which the Canadian Coast Guard had in its inventory until 2011.

Here is a video of the same helicopter showing this landing occuring: 

From the scenery around this video I am assuming it is saltwater which to anything metal is corrosive. It has to be washed off afterwards. Now what would be the best way to wash off a helicopter?

I was on board our Canadian Coast Guard S-61 (designated as CF-DOH or CG-253) when it landed in the saltwater on the west coast of Canada. It was quite an experience viewing it out the window, but when they opened the doors, the rotors were still turning and they launched a small rubber inflatable boat to check something nautical!. Unfortunately I do not have any video of the landing, but the two photos below were taken at the time.

 Ed Hartt197Ed Hartt199



Below is a video of the helicopter before it was sold in 2011. Note the boat-shaped bottom mentioned above. It survived the bath(s) in salt water, but how?

Their method of washing the helicopter was landing in a fresh water lake and motoring around the lake for fifteen (15) minutes or so, and then returning to base. I take it this worked, but unfortunately the lake was also the fresh water supply for the nearby town. When those responsible for the fresh water found out, all hell broke loose and the helicopter was banned from landing in the lake forever more. 🙂

How they washed the helicopter after that  I do not know.

You will also notice the title of this film is called The Rain King. This is appropriate because the town was Prince Rupert, British Columbia, also known as the City of Rainbows!

[private]from Canadian Coast Guard ARCHIVED – 5  Fleet Renewal

Archived Content
Information identified as archived on the Web is for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It has not been altered or updated after the date of archiving. Web pages that are archived on the Web are not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards. As per the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada, you can request alternate formats by contacting us.

Decommissioned Assets

When vessels and helicopters reach or surpass their useful life, they are decommissioned by Coast Guard. Decommissioned vessels are usually sold as a whole, but can also be sold for parts or recycled. In 2010–2011, two Coast Guard vessels were decommissioned: CCGS Pandalus III and CCGS Shark. Additionally, CCGS Wilfred Templeman and CCGS Nahidik were not used for any programs and were declared surplus in 2010–2011. Finally, Fleet disposed of one helicopter in 2010–2011, the CG 253, a Sikorsky S-61.

Date modified: 2013-06-25[/private]


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Retired (2001) British Columbia lighthouse keeper after 32 years on the lights.

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