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Video: This guy is a good helicopter driver!!

Hope you haven't seen this before. A Lynx helicopter landing on a rolling ship at sea! Great piloting skills. ( More...

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pbthorax 6
Thank you for posting this, it made me very proud as a Dane and a former ASW officer in the Royal Danish Navy. The ship he is landing on is the patrol vessel, HMS Ejnar Mikkelsen, named after a Danish polar scientist, its deplacement is 2050 tons, length 72 meters, width 14.6 meters and it is mainly deployed in the North Atlantic, and what you see behind the ship is most likely the Faroe Islands. Seen from the pilots view you can catch a glimpse of the Danish flag. I now work as a transplant surgeon in the US and have been in many helicopter landings atop of different hospitals, but nothing I have experienced beats this.
Nerves of steel combined with highly absorbent diapers. Nice piece of flying.
Nerves of steel , sure. But about diapers , not sure! Guys like him/her may not care much for undies ;-p
ltcjra 4
The lynx is the fastest helicopter on the planet; and is also the only helicopter capable of a true loop; many can backflip but its a party piece of the lynx.
Go to and see a photo of the British Army version doing a loop.
bbabis 5
There is no doubt that the Lynx is a great helicopter and the fastest "conventional" helicopter but its speed has been far surpassed by several "compound" helicopter models now. Also, a Sikorsky model did a true loop in 1949 and many others have done it since. Look up the Redbull BO-105 routine. It is truly unbelievable.

As far as this ship landing goes, the pilot did a great job while the Lynx and its systems allowed him to accomplish it. It was a limitations test to see if it could be done and the answer was yes but you wouldn't want to do it everyday.
canuck44 5
...or any night.
AWAAlum 3
Interesting, because I worked at McDonnell Douglas at the Apache (AH-64) facility. Periodically the Army would approve an air show for the employees and that puppy did a loop! Couldn't believe my eyes.
casper jones 4
All respect to the pilot, he's awesome and a amazing landing it is.
Here is a good lesson in patience. The ability of this well-trained pilot to wait, and restart the approach until everything lines up properly. This as opposed to becoming over-anxious and setting her down on a whim and a prayer. Boy, an error here would be co$tly. Also, notice the ship enters a bit of a lull or calm in the wave pattern just prior to the Lynx's landing.
Lull or calm ! May be the Lord of the seas , Neptune, became merciful and rewarded the pilot for being patient and skillful. Or on lighter side, some mermaid came to his aid by calming down the lord Neptune using her charms .
Zany4God 3
Amazing flying. Couldn't help but notice what looked like a Garmin GPSMAP 296 or something close to it on the instrument panel of the left seat. That is also amazing.
oowmmr 2
That was insanely awesome.
sirelliott 2
Is that the hold down deploying at 2:05?
It's a device called "harpoon" that grabs a grid on the deck and pulls the aircraft down with a 3000 pounds force. It is commanded by the pilot (a small button on the collective) and allows the aircraft to turn to face the relative wind on take off. The combination of the harpoon and the negative pitch of the main rotor allows the Lynx to stay on the deck at +40 degrees of roll.
A bit of education for me , if you please ! Is this system similar or comparable to landing of fighter jets on aircraft carriers ?
Ken Lane 2
I've been on a carrier when swells were deep enough to wash over the elevators at the hangar deck level, about 40 feet above the waterline. In one storm, they washed over the flight deck at ninety feet. It takes a lot to rock a boat nearly 1100 feet long but it can happen. And, I slept like a baby down on the second deck, just below the hangar deck!

I don't know what the standard is for maximum deck pitch change but it can't be more than ten to fifteen degrees. I've not been aboard where it changed more than three to five degrees during flight operations. Usually, heavy pitch and roll will be during a storm so there's no optional flight ops during that time.

As for landing systems, they have the ACLS or Automated Carrier Landing System which is similar to an ILS approach coupled to autoland. But, it's good only for so much of a deck pitch so manual flying comes into play along with seriously good skill and a little luck catching the deck at near the ideal pitch.

PBS has a couple videos on Youtube, "Landing on a Pitching Deck".
No, it's a totally different system. It works only after the helicopter has landed and its purpose is to secure the aircraft to the deck. There is a strong grid on the deck and the harpoon, when activated by the pilot after touchdown, extends itself and grabs the grid with a kind of pair of pliers. As it is located in the center of a circle made by the wheels, it allows the helicoper to turn into the wind to takeoff.
You need not be a pilot to appreciate this perilous landing where neither the sea nor the weather seem less than hostile !
Just vee bit short of the 'Perfect Storm' conditions ! Or like the prelude to that .
No ?
Jerry Nash 3
I thought landing my Cessna 172 in a 40MPH crosswind was good!!! Nothing, compared to this!!
Peter Achs 3
40mph crosswind in a 172... Really?
In the Brazilian Navy we say that there are two kinds of people: those who flies the Lynx and those who wants to fly the Lynx. It's a superb aircraft and I enjoyed every moment piloting it!
canuck44 1
Great job especially with no haul down unit (bear trap), no horizon bar on the ship, LSO using flags instead of voice communications and it appears ship not turned into wind.

You know he had those five seconds of breath holding after he hit deck and bottoming his collective (if the Lynx has one)to be assured that he is not going over the side.
jpepp pepp 1
Dwight Hartje 1
Now that's acrobatics! Cool video!
sparkie624 1
Great Video.... But I think that pilot needed his head examined... that was crazy...
ADXbear 1
Awesome... but not me...
steve rogers 1
I can do that in my dreams maybe , but in real life there would have been a few diaper changes for sure .
Peter Martin 1
what a fantastic pilot- amazing landing
pjbonner 1
Made me feel seasick just watching it!
Fidel Mendez 1
Truly outstanding,amazing.
Russ Brown 1
A tough sea, a small ship, great LSO, great pilot, fine machine.
After riding helicopters in an offshore environment for over 30 years I'd ride this this fellow any day
Lee Sulecki 1
I was okay until they showed from inside the cockpit. Either drop a rope and let me repel down to the ship, or I really don't need to be on the ship.
Sue Jillings 1
Wow Amazing Pilot!! Pure Skill !!
sending this to my helicopter pilot buddy
Thank you very much for to show me how it is not easy to stabilise an helicopter sometime!
David Sims 1
That takes some skill. Maybe someone can answer this for me, why are the main landing gear on the Lynx turned out so much?
ltcjra 4
The non-retractable tricycle-type landing gear is designed for the helicopter to operate from small ships in Sea State 6 and features oleo-pneumatic struts, which absorb the shock of a 6ft/s descent rate.

A hydraulically operated harpoon deck-lock securing system secures the helicopter to the deck. The main wheels can be towed out, allowing the aircraft to turn into the wind while the deck-lock harpoon remains engaged. This removes the need for the ship to change course before the helicopter departs.
bbabis 1
That harpoon system is very clever and much needed. It sure beet the hell out of Velcro!
joel wiley 1
Thanks for the posts. I take it the harpoon deployed there at the end? First thought on harpoon was "A dead whale or a stove boat" 8). Remarkable airmanship landing in those conditions.
It's the deck ops configuration (main wheels toed out and locked) because the Lynx doesn't have brakes. When you are on the deck harpooned to the grid, if you need to face the wind unlock the wheels, turn the nose gear 90° and turn with pedals. When on positon,align the nose wheel and lock the main gear. To land on an airport the configuration is similar but with wheels unlocked. If you need to do a running landing the toe out wheels brakes the helo for you.
smoki 1
Give credit where credit's due. He did a nice job of getting the helo aboard without bending or breaking anything. Been there done that insofar as landing aboard USS boat both day and night with a pitching rolling deck in rough seas in fixed wing tactical jet without benefit of the ACLS (automatic carrier landing system) or "needles" with weather down to minimums. Tension? I'm talking major tension especially when there's been 3 preceding approaches all resulting in bolters and the fuel is getting low with the possible need to find and join the overhead tanker for fuel and a bingo field that's some distance away. Just another day or night in the life of a naval aviator.
Otniel Ocampo 1
This pilot is not human!!! LOL!!! Awesome landing nevertheless!!!
Michel Petit 1
Amazing! Fantastic!
Joe Ware 1
Would love to hear the cockpit chatter.
Bob Ziehm 0
Is there a point where helicopter speed and aerobatic capability draw away from the primary purpose of a rotary wing aircraft?


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