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Chapter 2, Escape

Escape
50o N, 170 o W
7.20 hrs


When Stykes noticed the wave, he immediately yanked the stick into the right part of his stomach, slammed the collective into the floor beside his seat, and jammed the right rudder pedal as far as it would go. All the while McFarlan wound up the winch as fast as it would go, with out burning it off. The wild maneuver by Stykes brought the chopper to face the wave, meanwhile rolling back at full throttle. In the bottom of the roll, the choppers tail dipped below parallel to the main landing gear, and his ground speed indicator read -62.7 mph. he just two meters left to go in ascent, but still radioed McFarlan in the back to brace for a possible impact. He took his seat immediately and strapped down into his five point harness, head bowed and hands hugged tightly below his knees. His entire body, except for upper back and neck, relaxed as he had been trained to do in any emergency. The tail, still below parallel to the gear, twisted and moaned under the immense pressure! Just mere moments before the concrete hard slam of the monster wave, Arlene reversed the motion of the quick turn, and, going against the torque of the rotor, the helicopter climbed at a rate of 1,547 meters per second. In the last instant, the tail cleared the wave by less than half a meter! All that could be heard from McKinley’s radio was static.

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Down in the raft, McKinley was readying the large carabineer on top of the craft, so that the Stallion could lift it into the air, and take it home (back to land). He over-heard the captain telling the crew to brace. Immediately, the survivors, which had been indentified as WA pilot Bob Mack, WA crewman John Rieth, passengers Victoria Whaley and Dana Reed, were ordered to lie down in the bottom of the raft and hold on to whatever they could grasp...





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