Grand Illusion [The Unfriendly Skies]

Posted by Christian DeBenedetti in Close Calls, Flying the Unfriendly Skies, Off The Map, Vegas | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

See the canyon in safety — and style!

My wife and I went to Vegas for our March break and decided to tour the Grand Canyon by helicopter. We took off from Boulder City and things were going great. The pilot was giving us the history of the area and showing us the sights. Beautiful!  As the helicopter came over the ridge of the canyon, the view was breath-taking as the ground seemed to disappear.

Suddennly alarm bells started going off and the pilot got really, really serious. The alarm stopped and everything went back to normal….then they started again. The pilot then told us to brace ourselves — we were going down! Our pilot crash-landed the helicopter on a small patch of grass between the Colorado river and the wall of the canyon. The pilot told us it was a complete engine failure, but all 6 passengers + pilot walked away without a scratch. We were stranded on the floor of the canyon, taking pictures and waiting to be rescued by…another helicopter. We were then brought back to Boulder City in another helicopter…it was the scariest ride in all my life. I don’t fly anymore because of the events of that day. —Robert Woodburn, Galloway, New Brunswick was one of the top ten finalists in the 2010 World’s Unluckiest Traveler Contest, from TravelGuard Insurance, beating out some 800 other tales of woe.

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2 Responses to Grand Illusion [The Unfriendly Skies]

  1. scrungy doolittle says:

    My nephew was the pilot and did a hell of a job bringing the craft down. The engine lockup was due to a design problem in the engine, that caused oil starvation, coked the oil passages (that means that the oil burnt and solidified.) The bearing was welded to the race.
    The pilot is a licensed helicopter instructor, and is now a designated examiner for Northern California. Robert, you should fly again, don’t let that stop you. The pilot has thousands of hours of flight time, and that is the first and only time he ever experienced a full engine failure….
    You take a much larger chance than that everytime you get behind a wheel….
    Cheers

    [Reply]

  2. My son Oren G. Breedlove was the pilot who brought that helicopter down saving the lives of all on board. It was the first time in 35 years that a helicopter with engine failure was landed without casualties.

    [Reply]

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