Sunday, February 24, 2008

Risk, Death, Planes, and Helicopters

If all went according to plan (this post having been written a couple days in advance), as you read this, yesterday I flew to Vegas and sometime around today I may even be touring the (awe-inspiring — but artlessly water-carved) Grand Canyon in a helicopter.

And both those things entail risk, baby, like Vegas itself.  If things went badly, though, I am now entitled to say with certainty that there is no afterlife, and all this month’s debate on the blog can come to an end, along with milennia of speculation.

Some related items to fill up the resultant free mental time, though:

•Interestingly, a recent Drudge-linked story was a reminder that if you want a low-risk flight, perhaps the last thing you want is a religious pilot on your plane.

•If your faith in helicopter pilots — or metal anti-electricity suits — is less than complete, you may not want to do this job for a living.

•In marginally related news, I was recently fixated by an ad for tiny remote-control helicopters from a company called HavocHeli.  They are only about five inches long and incredibly precisely maneuverable, with two top/horizontal rotors, one above the other (and the top one smaller) — which makes me wonder if this portends the eventual replacement of single-top-rotor real helicopters by double-top-rotors ones, in which case it’s sort of like I just saw my first single-wing plane after growing up with biplanes.

•Remote-control-helicopter owner and Terminator viewer Chris Nugent notes that remote control copters may, alas, pave the way for the machine conquest of humanity, as hinted by this PBS science video.

•And on a more lighthearted note, a cute reminder that even the gentlest among us can survive difficult situations: like being a kitten lost in the New York subway system for a month.


jenny said...

you can buy yourself a little helicopter (i gave a pair to my brother and his partner for christmas, and can attest that they do fly, and provide at least fifteen minutes of fun and amusement) of generally the sort you’re describing. and double rotor helos have been around since vietnam, although side-by-side, not stacked (and may still be in military service; i’m not sure as i haven’t had much to do with that community in about a decade). ah, the thwump-thwump-thwump of 46s. takes me back. and i have this odd recollection that there was talk of replacing them with a twin-rotor that wasn’t stacked or tandem, but offset at opposing angles with rotors interlaced. but i can’t find a reference online, so i may be imagining it.

Todd Seavey said...

Ended up not doing the helicopter after all — but did see a very flu-wracked George Carlin apologetically cut short a performance after a mere seventeen minutes. The best moment may have been when he blew his nose, then held up the snot-filled tissue and said: “E-Bay.”