Self-Help: How to escape in a helicopter part II

So, there you were, escaping from an evil mastermind in his sweet unattended helicopter. Your feet are on the pedals, your hand is on the collective, and they’re not moving. The joystick is pushed lightly forward, maybe 1/4 to 1/3 of the way, because that’s all you can handle, and the helicopter is moving at roughly the speed of a car on a highway. If any of this didn’t make sense, read the first post again.

Take a look outside. If the trees/mountains/houses are getting bigger, lift the collective a tiny bit. If they’re getting smaller, lower it a tiny bit. Don’t worry too much if the helicopter turns a little when you do this, just keep that joystick pointed (lightly) in the direction you want to go.

Eventually, you’re going to want to land. If there are nothing but small clearings and mountains around you, I’m sorry, I steered you wrong. You should never have gotten into the helicopter, and you’re going to die. But if there’s a flat field or a lake, you’re golden.

Here’s the thing. There’s a magic speed below which a helicopter—in the hands of someone who is not a pilot—goes from being something a particularly bright child could fly to being a spinning, tilting, death-inducing mechanical mule. You’re currently in bright child mode.

Between bright child mode and death mule mode is the speed at which it is safest to land.

Take a look around and find that flat area. The longer and further away it is, the better. Remember I told you not to mess with the pedals? We’re going to mess with the pedals. Moving your foot no more than an inch, push the pedal that’s closest to the flat area. Don’t try doing it with the joystick. The joystick is many things for pilots, only forward for you. Once the flat area is straight ahead, push the other foot in no more than an inch. Everything should be stable. Now it’s time for magic.

The gripping conclusion to your escape in the next post.


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