Thursday night, 06 August 2009
I made this photo last night in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. This Landing Zone is very dangerous. A few weeks ago, another helicopter was coming into this LZ and was shot down at the last minute, killing all passengers and crew. Two children on the ground also were killed. The sparks coming off the rotors occur when the helicopters land in hot, dusty conditions. The landing itself occurs in a dangerous “brownout.” Brownout danger is compounded by the sparks which light up the dust and can confuse pilots who are wearing extremely sensitive nightvision goggles.