Hollywood pilots told to slow down after scares

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A HELICOPTER operator which provides aerial filming for Hollywood blockbusters has ordered its pilots to slow down after two of its aircraft were damaged in almost identical incidents eight days apart.

Two helicopters were damaged by low-hanging cargo hooks which were blown upwards due to the pilots flying at maximum speeds. The incidents were revealed yesterday in the latest official bulletin by the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB).

The first incident occurred in Cairngorms National Park on 8 October. The AAIB bulletin said: “The pilot reported that the helicopter encountered localised severe turbulence while flying at the maximum allowed airspeed for the configuration, 80 knots (92mph).

“This caused it to sink rapidly, about 60 to 80 feet. The pilot heard a bang and immediately realised that the chain had struck the aircraft, probably in the region of the tail boom.”

An almost identical incident occurred eight days later in Kettlewell, North Yorkshire, involving the same model of aircraft. Both pilots, who were aged 60 and 66 at the time of the incidents, landed the helicopters safely and were unharmed.

According to the company’s website, the model of aircraft involved in the incidents was used for aerial filming on Batman blockbuster The Dark Knight Rises, which was filmed in various locations around the UK including the Cairngorms. PDG also worked on the opening scenes of Ridley Scott sci-fi reboot Prometheus, which were filmed on the Isle of Skye.