Video: Helicopter Rescues RC Model Airplane from Trees

Pilots make a kid’s day; and maybe raise other pilots’ concerns.

This video is almost sure to start a lively debate on safety. A flight instructor and student in a Robinson R22 with an onboard video camera are shown flying over a group of RC modelers, and one of the men notes that a P-51 scale model has crashed into the treetops. They decide to descend and pluck the model from the branches.

The operation is successful and everyone leaves happy, especially the men in the helicopter (caution: strong language in the video as they express how cool it was). But some might question, “What if the maneuver had resulted in an accident?”

The instructor in the left seat is apparently a skilled aviator and seems to have assessed the situation with expertise. Several times he asks the other man (it’s not clear if he is a rated pilot though he is doing the flying during segments of the video) to check the tail and check the rotor clearance as he approaches the treetop.

How impromptu was the decision? Was a dangerous amount of bravado involved? When the left-seat pilot notices the crashed model, he expresses “how cool” it would be to rescue it, and the other man says, “Do it.” Is it clear enough who was making the decision, and why? Or was this just a simple case of good airmanship coming to the rescue with a prudent, well-executed maneuver?

Watch the video and decide for yourself.