Well, you don’t have to talk to many rescue pilots flying helicopters in the military to realize what a dangerous job it is. It’s one of the most difficult jobs in the military because there are lives at stake, and you must rescue people in distress who may or may not be able to help themselves as much as you need at a time when you may have enemies shooting at you. Not only must you save the downed pilot, but you must also ensure that he or she is not shot up by the enemy as you hoist them aboard – all the while you need someone to return fire, and make sure they don’t hit your helicopter.
What could go wrong you ask, besides everything? Precisely my point, now then, there was an interesting article in Defense Daily on June 3, 2009 titled; “CSAR-X… Canceled for Convenience” by Staff Writers, with an interesting picture of a military rescue helicopter picking up a downed pilot, and hoisting him up while taking a significant amount of fire and dishing out a significant amount returning fire to the enemy during the rescue operation.
Is there a better way to protect the downed pilot as you are reeling them in? I believe so, and I suggest that we build some sort of tube with Kevlar skin, and some sort of a ladder system inside. This could be lowered, and they can grab on the inside, and the outer skin would be lowered around the circular ladder system. Once the individual was fully enclosed the bottom would cover up, and they would be fully protected from any small arms fire, and it would be much easier to get them aboard the helicopter, as they wouldn’t be dangling outside, but they’d be secured inside the tube in an easy to recapture protected structure.
Does it have to be a tube you ask? No, it could also be a small box, or something shaped like a house home plant pot. In the case of the pot, the pilot could merely get inside and sit down. This would decrease the need for height, and make it easier to get inside of the helicopter, and it would protect the pilot all the way up. It seems as if we should come up with a better way to do this, because the systems we have now are not good enough.
Yes, I do have some sketches and more ideas if you’d like to discuss is much higher level. Such a system could also be used for evacuation, Coast Guard rescue, or a number of other things. Please consider this.