Desert Run by Helicopter: 100 feet @ 100 knots

Another video for your consideration and comment.

Every once in a while, I find myself alone in my helicopter with a long stretch of empty desert between where I am and where I need to go. It’s these times that I get down and dirty (so to speak) and hone my high-speed, low-level flight skills.

You might ask why I need to do this. Well, occasionally I get called for video jobs that require me to chase race trucks on off-road tracks out in the desert. I did the Parker 425 three years in a row, and I’m hoping to do it again in February. Practicing with no one else on board is a good way to keep my skills where they should be when I need them — without putting someone else at risk with this relatively dangerous kind of flying.

The most recent time I had this opportunity was about two weeks ago, when I had to fly from Aguila to Phoenix, AZ. There’s a lot of empty desert along the way. To make the situation even better, I was flying late in the afternoon, with the sun mostly behind me. You can bet I didn’t hesitate to hook up my helicopter’s GoPro “nose cam” to capture every moment of this 40-minute flight.

Here’s nearly two minutes of it, set to music, for your enjoyment. If you live in Wickenburg, you’ll probably enjoy seeing my view of Vulture Peak.

What do you think?