Video Shows Helicopter Pilot Escaping Death by Regaining Control at Last Second

The pilot was moments away from death.

Heart-stopping footage shows a helicopter moments away from crashing into a mountain before the pilot regains control at the very last second. The incident happened in Merano, Italy, during a training exercise for Italy's specialist Alpine army. The close call is being called "proof of a miracle"—not surprising when you consider how close the pilot came to being killed. Here's what the footage showed.

1
Training Exercise

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Dramatic video footage shows the AB-205 helicopter heading straight for the side of a mountain. At seemingly the very last second, it turns around and avoids crashing into the rocks. The chopper was taking part in a joint international exercise with the 4th Army Aviation in South Tyrol. Here's what happened to the helicopter, and why the pilot was inches from death.

2
Here's What Happened

David Cenciotti/Instagram

So what happened? "You may have already seen this video as it is doing the rounds," says aviation expert David Cenciotti. "Still you probably don't know what you are actually watching. Well, I've got some details for you. This happened in Italy and the one depicted is an AB-205 (UH-205A) of the Italian Army during mountain training." Keep reading to learn more and see the video.

3
Standard Procedure

White helicopter in flight, huey
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Because of the high altitude, the helicopter was veering toward the right, which the pilot attempted to correct. "What happened is something that Huey pilots know very well: under pretty specific conditions (wind from 10 o'clock, high altitude, etc.), the helicopter starts rotating on the yaw axis to the right. As a consequence, the pilot reacts with the left pedal to counter the rotation," says Cenciotti.

4
Out Of Control

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As a result of the attempted course correction, the helicopter spun out of control—and there was nothing to do but let it until it stopped. "But there are chances that when the pedal reaches the stops the helicopter doesn't stop rotating," says Cenciotti. "If this happens as the chopper is still in the air, then you just need to let it go until it stops. So, it rarely happens, but it does (so much so the German variant of the Huey has the tail rotor on the other side)."

5
A Miracle

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At one terrifying point, the footage shows the helicopter completely sideways with its nose down toward the rocks. "The difference is that in this case the helo had already touched down and the risk of crashing is pretty evident. A pilot I talked with considered this video: 'the proof of a miracle,'" Cenciotti says. The pilot no doubt agrees! 

Ferozan Mast
Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for making science and research-backed information accessible to a general audience. Read more
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