Helicopter Flying Dangerously Low Caught on Dashcam

Admin Flex Air News, Helicopters

A video [shown below] from a dash cam has been shared recently by RT, a government-funded news source from Russia. In the short clip, a real full-sized helicopter casually flies by the highway located in the Chechen Republic at car level. The road is an important connection between Russia and Azerbaijan. In the clip, you can see that if the helicopter was just a little closer to the ground, the incident might have had a tragic ending.

Fortunately, in the video nobody was injured or in any way affected by the helicopter.

The short clip was uploaded to YouTube on Saturday, 13 May 2017. The dash cam footage from a car driving down the highway has already racked up over 100,000 views in less than a month, plus almost a thousand likes and several hundred comments. The general response was a surprise, but a few viewers have joked about the situation. For example, one of them suggested that it would be funny to witness a helicopter stop at a traffic light. Indeed, it would, but this in fact does not make the actual situation any less dangerous. After all, the helicopter was in close proximity with ground transportation, where passengers could have been affected by even the smallest mistake.

The Mi-8 Hip helicopter, designed in the Soviet Union, is not only used as transport but may also serve as an armed gunship. The massive body of the vehicle is heavy enough to destroy a car if they come in close contact when moving. An average Mi-8 Hip weighs 7260 kg, or 16007 lbs, when empty, and even more with cargo or passengers onboard. Compared to a weight of an automobile, which can vary between 1354 kg and 2460 kg (if it is a large truck), the heli is an ultra-heavy machine. It may potentially be dangerous if used improperly, for example, in the way that is seen in the video. The highway that this incident took place on was a major one, connecting Rostov and Baku. As it serves as one of the key transportation tracks between Russia and Azerbaijan, on a regular weekday it is filled with vehicles, both private and owned by businesses.

This helicopter misuse in the Chechen Republic can serve as a reminder that road traffic can be interrupted in unexpected ways, so drivers need to stay alert, especially on long trips involving crossing borders between countries.

The Aviationist, an aviation-themed Web blog by David Cenciotti, has explained when covering this story that combat helicopter pilots sometimes use flying at low altitudes as training as well as for practice before real missions. This exercise allows them to improve their navigation skills in a non-challenging environment. While this may be a valid reason to fly a helicopter close to the ground, more caution could be shown towards the surrounding passenger vehicles. Also, official practice can be carried out on sites specifically allocated for this purpose, rather than near a busy highway.

While the video itself makes the incident seem relatively harmless, such behavior on the pilot’s part cannot continue.

Possible outcomes of the event could be worse than just a dash cam footage from a passing car. If the drivers of a passenger vehicle were particularly impressionable, for example, there would be a probability of heart attack or shock that could affect people’s driving ability. On a highway full of fast-paced traffic movement, such a surprise can turn into a massive crash involving more than one vehicle.

Even with fully healthy and fit drivers behind the wheel of all vehicles, the helicopter flying so low near a busy road is still a major distraction. Besides, any incorrect move on the part of the heli pilot would definitely reflect on the highway traffic. If the helicopter operators are inexperienced and only at the novice stage, they are not to be trusted near such an active area, filled with people and ground transportation.

While this is not the first case of a helicopter spotted flying near a busy road close to the ground, hopefully such negligence and thoughtlessness is not repeated.