A privately owned Eurocopter AS350 was called upon by a local Sheriff's Commander to assist in a rescue in the Colorado Rockies last week. What makes this story amazing is the photo of the Astar Helicopter Pilot performing a Toe In with this particular helicopter. The photo was snapped by someone on the ground as the helicopter came in to drop off the San Miguel Sheriff's Commander- who is also a paramedic.
I say it is an amazing photo because I honestly didn't think you could do much of a Toe In with a Eurocopter, based on how far back their skids set on the airframe. Compare the skids on an MD500 with those on a Eurocopter, and you will see that the front of the skids on the MD500 are almost out in front of the entire airframe. This along with the shorter- 5 bladed rotor disc, makes the MD500 or MD530F an ideal platform for this maneuver. The Eurocopter AS350 does come with a lot more power however, making operations at 12,000' a bit easier.
In this case hiker Joe Yearm suffered a compound fracture just below the knee as he was descending from the 14,159' El Diente Peak. For unknown reasons Yearm was hiking alone, and in the dark, when he fell 20' into a snow field breaking his leg. Yearm was able to crawl to a nearby slope where he was discovered by two other hikers a few hours later. One of these hikers was in possession of a personal locator beacon which he used to notify authorities of the injured hiker.
On Sunday Pilot PJ Hunt was flying the AS350 helicopter for his employer Heli-Dunn based out of Phoenix Oregon, when he was hailed over the radio by Commander Eric Burg of the San Miguel Sheriff's Department. Burg advised Hunt of the pending rescue and asked if he could assist. Hunt quickly obtained permission from his supervisors and within a few minutes was landing at Burg's house to pick him up.
Hunt and Burg flew to the coordinates sent out by the locator beacon and eventually located three people on a steep rock strewn slope at 12,300'. Hunt performed the Toe In landing long enough for Burg to climb out of the helicopter and provide medical attention to the injured hiker. Burg and the two uninjured hikers then carved out a slightly better landing site for Hunt, where he was able to perform a one skid landing in the Astar. The one skid landing allowed Yearm to be loaded directly into the helicopter. Yearm was then flown to a waiting ambulance in Telluride Co.
The AS350 pictured above is registered to T. Scott Dunn Construction Inc., out of Medford Oregon.
You can read the full story here.