Helicopters are the most amazing contraptions!
Just land in your back yard, and if necessary, you can take off vertically, right?
Nope. Not always.
In previous posts I said the Charley Model Hueys I flew in Viet Nam wouldn't hover, and we had to do "running takeoffs" to get them flying.
Here's a video of a pilot that is almost in that position. The video reportedly is from Sweden. The family of a 100 year old man bought him the helicopter ride to celebrate his birthday. Six people from his family join him on board the Russian MI-2 helicopter, so it's fairly heavy. The machine can hover close to the ground, but has trouble getting any higher.
The results are interesting:
It's also reported the Birthday boy got two helicopter rides that day........the second in an EMS helicopter.
Happy Birthday, Grandpa!
UPDATE, 25 June:
Aviatrix, www.airplanepilot.blogspot.com , comments she would like a better explanation of what happened here.
Again, I need you to visualize for me...........
When a helicopter hovers near the ground, it draws air from above the rotor and forces it down. That "donut" of air around the main rotor then strikes the ground, moves outbound and upward, and is then re-accelerated through the rotor. It makes the rotor VERY inefficient in a hover, because the air the machine is using to support itself is already moving as it enters the rotor from above and needs to be accelerated again.
If you recall, I said once you begin forward movement with the helicopter and the rotor begins to move into un-accelerated air, the rotor becomes more efficient. That transition into clean air is called "translational lift".
A helicopter will actually fly at MUCH lower power settings than those it needs to hover. That's how we took off in Viet Nam with Gunships that were so heavy they wouldn't hover......we slid them forward on the ground, (a "running takeoff"), until the rotor was in clean air.
This pilot no doubt was trying to accelerate the helicopter through translational lift so it would have the necessary power to climb out from the tight space he was in.......and yes, that is the reason he slid sidewards and backed up before he started forward movement.........to give himself as much room as possible to accomplish that.
Unfortunately, once he started down the narrow street, he was pretty much fully committed to the takeoff run.
One more thing.......striking a few leaves will probably not damage the rotor. I suspect the rotor on this machine could have even eaten a few fairly small branches without a problem. What finally brought his effort to an end was striking a utility pole!