If you have ever wondered how much of an effect rotor downwash and rotor tip vortices have on passing, landing or airplanes that are taking off, you need to watch this video. More than 25 seconds after a Blackhawk departs the runway, an incoming Cirrus suddenly hits the turbulent air left behind by the Blackhawk and flips over before touching down.
Here is a report from a friend of the pilot:
“The pilot in this video was not hurt critically; he had some scrapes and bruises, was shook up, but basically came out of it in good condition. I spoke with him yesterday and he was happy to share his experience for the good of safety. This event took place at a non-controlled airport.
In the video, you can see that a Cirrus SR-20G2 aircraft was flipped on final by a Blackhawk helicopter’s downwash. The pilot of the Cirrus said that as soon as he realized that he was in turbulence he went to full power with ailerons and rudder full right, but to no avail, the turbulence forced him over and the wing tip struck the runway.
The Cirrus was on left downwind, heading South and about to turn base for a full stop landing, the helicopter was on the numbers. The helicopter pilot departed to the North, he also side-stepped to the parallel taxiway to get out of the fix-wing’s way. The winds were about 3kts at the time. What is truly remarkable is that the event happened ~28 seconds after the helicopter departed (the turbulence was still there).
While speaking with the pilot of the Cirrus he said that there was another similar incident a few years ago here in Colorado, he is sending me info on that and I will pass it on as well. In that situation a very high time Air Force Instructor pilot departed in a Diamond 20 and encountered the same issue, only it was ~75 seconds after the Black hawk had departed and was at 40ft on departure. I believe both in the Diamond were ok then as well.
Please pass this video on to others and discuss it with your students and fellow pilots.”