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Special Operations

e. Helping the Flightcrew Locate the Scene

1. If the LZ coordinator has access to a GPS unit,

the exact latitude and longitude of the LZ should be

relayed to the HEMS pilot. If unable to contact the

pilot directly, relay the information to the HEMS

ground communications specialist for relaying to the

pilot, so that they may locate your scene more

efficiently.  Recognize that the aircraft may approach

from a direction different than the direct path from the

takeoff point to the scene, as the pilot may have to

detour around terrain, obstructions or weather

en route.

2. Especially in daylight hours, mountainous

and densely populated areas can make sighting a

scene from the air difficult. Often, the LZ coordinator

on the ground will be asked if she or he can see or hear

the helicopter.

3. Flightcrews use a clock reference method for

directing one another’s attention to a certain direction

from the aircraft. The nose of the aircraft is always

12 o’clock, the right side is 3 o’clock, etc. When the

LZ coordinator sees the aircraft, he/she should use

this method to assist the flightcrew by indicating the

scene’s clock reference position from the nose of the

aircraft. For example, “Accident scene is located at

your 2 o’clock position.” See FIG 10−2−6.

FIG 10−2−6

“Clock” System for Identifying Positions

Relative to the Nose of the Aircraft

4. When the helicopter approaches the scene, it

will normally orbit at least one time as the flight crew

observes the wind direction and obstacles that could

interfere with the landing. This is often referred to as

the “high reconnaissance” maneuver.

f. Wind Direction and Touchdown Area

1. Determine from which direction the wind is

blowing. Helicopters normally land and takeoff into

the wind.

2. If contact can be established with the pilot,

either directly or indirectly through the HEMS

ground communications specialist, describe the wind

in terms of the direction the wind is from and the


3. Common natural sources of wind direction

information are smoke, dust, vegetation movement,

water streaks and waves. Flags, pennants, streamers

can also be used. When describing the direction, use

the compass direction from which the wind is

blowing (example: from the North−West).

4. Wind speed can be measured by small

hand−held measurement devices, or an observer’s

estimate can be used to provide velocity information.

The wind value should be reported in knots (nautical

miles per hour). If unable to numerically measure

wind speed, use TBL 10−2−3 to estimate velocity.

Also, report if the wind conditions are gusty, or if the

wind direction or velocity is variable or has changed


5. If any obstacle(s) exist, ensure their descrip-

tion, position and approximate height are

communicated to the pilot on the initial radio call.