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Instructor - David Kovar
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  1. Instructor - David Kovar • • Fixed wing and rotorcraft pilot • Domestic and international SAR responder • MSF, Inland SAR School, SAR Tech II, SRT I, various animal rescue courses, Rescue Systems 1, WFR 1st Special Response Group

  2. Source for materials. This presentation is based on: K-9 HELITAC Helicopter Safety For You and Your Dog by Nicholas J. Razum Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department 1st Special Response Group

  3. Additional Resources Mountain Rescue Association “Helicopters in Search and Rescue Operations” 1st Special Response Group

  4. Required equipment Long sleeve shirt Long pants Boots – prefer leather Ear plugs Safety goggles or glasses, secured. All helmets must have chin strap. No hats. (Stuff in pack.) Canines Flat collar Harness Less than 6 foot lead. Some operators now require muzzles. 1st Special Response Group

  5. Recommended equipment • Nomex clothing. • Leather boots. • Nomex or leather gloves. • Flight helmet • Ear plugs. • Safety goggle. • No synthetics. 1st Special Response Group

  6. Approaching – “Do Nots” • Never approach without permission. • Do not approach while rotors are slowing to a stop. • Never approach helicopter from rear. • Do not approach while carrying any long items – skis, antennas, probe poles. • Never approach while carrying burning items. • Never approach from uphill. 1st Special Response Group

  7. Approaching – “Dos” • Wait for signal from pilot or crew chief. • Secure all loose items. • Approach within 45 degrees of the nose. (Blackhawks are an exception.) • Ensure that dog is completely under control. • Wear all appropriate safety items. • Know your true weight of each item – self, canine, and pack. • “Break” your canine prior to approaching. 1st Special Response Group

  8. Helicopter safety zone • Do not approach from rear of helicopter. • Use care when approaching from sides. • If possible, approach within 45 degrees of nose. 1st Special Response Group

  9. Approach with low profile 1st Special Response Group

  10. Approach from downhill 1st Special Response Group

  11. Entering helicopter. • Load your dog in first. (Be prepared to lift.) • Enter the aircraft and secure yourself. • Secure your canine. • Don helmet or headset • Familiarize yourself with operation of doors, intercom, etc. 1st Special Response Group

  12. Exiting helicopter • Stay secured until instructed to disembark. • Remove helmet/headset and secure. • Unstrap yourself and disembark. • Rebuckle safety belts. • Unstrap canine and maintain control. • Depart in direction indicated by crew chief or towards front of helicopter. 1st Special Response Group

  13. Control of Canines • Canines must be calm and completely under control while approaching or in the helicopter. • Handlers may not drag, carry, or force an uncooperative canine towards the helicopter. • Handlers may carry a calm canine. • The safety officer and crew chief may require the team to depart the operational area if they judge the canine to be out of control. 1st Special Response Group

  14. Control – positive obedience • Focus the canine’s attention on the handler and keep it there. • Practice heeling in the parking lot with rewards. • Approach the flight line with canine still at a heel. 1st Special Response Group

  15. Rotor wash • Most canines balk at the rotor wash more than anything else. • Most intense just outside of the rotor tip path. • Canine may relax once they push through the wall of air. 1st Special Response Group

  16. Securing the canine • Possible ways to secure canine in helicopter • Sitting sideways, utilize normal seatbelts. • Secured to a hard point on floor or wall. • Not secured at all, even with doors off! (Hang on tight.) 1st Special Response Group

  17. Canine considerations • “Break” canine (and self) prior to flight. • Maintain positive control. • Put canine in escape-proof harness/collar. • Maintain GOOD grip on leash. • If canine is not under control, do not force. • Reassure canine by talking softly in ear. • Be prepared to carry canine to helicopter. • Low frequency vibrations disturb canines. 1st Special Response Group

  18. Types of Helicopters • Light – 1 to 7 places. B206B, MD500, Lama • Lighter vibration, moderate wash. • Medium – 8 to 16 places. Huey, Blackhawk • Low vibration, major wash • Heavy – Chinook • Very low vibrations, very powerful wash 1st Special Response Group

  19. Light Helicopter • Bell 206B2 • “Jet Ranger” • Four passengers 1st Special Response Group

  20. Medium Helicopter • Sikorsky Blackhawk • Crew of 4, 16 passengers 1st Special Response Group

  21. Heavy Helicopter • Chinook “CH-47” • Seats 33 1st Special Response Group

  22. And if you see this … • If you see this coming to pick you up, just start hiking …. • Actually, it’s a Russian MI-4 and a great workhorse. 1st Special Response Group

  23. Seating and Configuration • “Normal” seats, two point lap belts • Copilot seat, three point harness, controls installed. • Military sling seats • No seats, strapped to floor. • Doors on or off 1st Special Response Group

  24. Brief LZ notes • Should be aligned with prevailing wind • Minimum of 60 feet on a side, clear,level and solid surface. • No power lines or obstacles on approach or departure path. • No loose items on ground. 1st Special Response Group

  25. LZ Notes - II • Tell inbound pilot • Location • Elevation • Wind direction and speed • Air temperature • How many to go • Total weight • Type of obstacles and weight • What frequency you’re using. 1st Special Response Group

  26. LZ Notes - III • Indicate wind speed with smoke canister • Tell pilot you have it, and wait for instructions. • Improvise windsock • Firmly attach it • Put your back to the wind, arms outstretched. 1st Special Response Group

  27. Safety Notes • Do Not Touch Anything. Do Not Allow Canine Tail to Flip Switches! • Advise pilot/CC of any explosives or flammable objects, including flares. • Always get permission before approaching. • No loose objects or raised objects. 1st Special Response Group

  28. What if’s …. • Equipment flies loose? • Let it go. Do not chase it. Inform crew. • Canine balks? • Stop, return to comfortable spot, try again. • Canine balks again? • Exit area via path you entered on. • Canine breaks loose. • Do NOT chase it. Notify tower via safety officer. 1st Special Response Group

  29. Today’s Exercise - Helicopter • B206B2 • Jet Ranger w/ high skids and dual controls. • Seats three in back, one in front. • Two plus dog in back, one with no dog in front. • Or one plus two dogs in back, one in front. • Two point lap belts at all positions. • Crew chief and pilot. 1st Special Response Group

  30. Today’s Exercise - Procedure • Queue at the fence and do not enter the airfield without permission from crew chief. • Proceed to crew chief and wait for permission from the pilot. • Proceed towards helicopter, escorted by CC. • Conduct hot load. • Exit along same route. 1st Special Response Group