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NEWS | May 21, 2021

Aviation: Helicopters No Match for Wires and Towers

This article has information that will save lives!

The U.S. Army Medical Department Center and School invited the media to a demonstration of a real world MEDEVAC mission.
Photo by Francis Trachta


An aircraft is a powerful machine that shoots, maneuvers and travels at high velocity. But it’s no match for wires and towers.

Attention to detail is a must for pilots, copilots and crew. When it comes to spotting wires and towers, the eyes have it. That means everyone’s head must be on a constant swivel so that your aircraft doesn’t make contact with wires and towers.

Wires and towers can destroy aircraft and kill personnel. So slow your speed as you go low.

Here are six things you can do to protect yourself and your aircraft from wire and tower strikes while flying:
  1. Follow the training support package (TSP) and standard operating procedure (SOP) for Terrain Flight Operations. 
  2. Ensure leaders supervise and enforce the standards in the TSP and SOP.
  3. Get the daily updated operations master hazard map and updated software for aircraft map applications.
  4. Mark wires and understand the pitfalls of wires through low barrier areas and in unfamiliar terrain.
  5. Use terrain flight altitudes when necessary and avoid excessive speeds at low altitudes.
  6. Maximize crew coordination and use every set of eyes.*
  7. Fly slower as you go lower to give yourself and the crew enough time to identify upcoming wires.

Note (5/21/2021): For additional information, click on the two May 2021 Flightfax articles below:
* Update (12/8/2022): A seventh step was added since this article was originally published. To view a poster of the seven steps from the US Army Combat Readiness Center, click HERE.
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