For the second time this year we have had a medical emergency in the park that has required the assistance of the Grand Canyon Flight Crew and their "short-haul" capability. I thought I would share a couple of pictures.
The above photo is of the MD900... a NOTAR helicopter. NOTAR stands for No Tail Rotor. It is a very expensive and fairly rare helicopter, at least in the utility industry. Grand Canyon has a year round contract that is through the local company Papillion Helicopters. The MD900 was purchased special for the contract and is painted in the Park Service colors and with NPS painted on the helicopter.
Short haul is a technique where the helicopter can long line a paramedic (or other specially trained individual) into a location where landing would not be possible. The Paramedic can then conect the injured person or the litter to himself / herself and sling out with the victim. This can be seen in the picture above... the paramedic is extricating the victim using a rescue triangle.
They are then lowered to a crewmember or two who will "shag" the line... they basically help to catch the load and secure or support the victim, as seen above. Zion Helitack is not short haul qualified, however at the request of Grand Canyon Flight Crew... we will assist at the helispot to shag the line... That is one of our crewmembers in the black helping to shag.
Last year Grand Canyon Helitack did 1/3 of all their short hauls out of Zion N.P. Years previous have seen as many as half of the total short hauls that Grand Canyon does, being flown out of Zion National Park. It begs the question... are we to the point where Zion Helitack should look towards gaining the short haul qualification... hmmm.
For now... Zion Helitack will focus on Cargo Let Down and Rappel... Training starts on Tuesday!