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Massad Ayoob on Guns

Want to Comment on a blog post? Look for and click on the blue No Comments or # Comments at the end of each post.

Massad Ayoob


Sunday, January 27th, 2013

…Be afraid of when the aircraft suddenly STOPS flying.

Yesterday, my friend John Strayer and I went aloft to try our hand shooting feral hogs from a helicopter with .44 Magnum revolvers. Our mutual friend Norm Ambrozy, who had arranged the hunt, was on the ground awaiting his turn in the little Hiller, a UH12B I believe.  This increasingly popular – and by all accounts, exhilarating – method of pest eradication has come about from overpopulations of the wild hogs absolutely destroying farmland in several parts of the country.  We thought it would be even more challenging with six-shooters.  It’s normally done with AR15 sporting rifles and, yes, those evil “large capacity magazines” which so upset the White House.

A few minutes into the flight, as we were zoning in on an oinker that had run under the canopy of some tall pines, the engine lost power.  We won’t know exactly what happened until the FAA completes its investigation, but when the main rotor hit the first treetop, the die was cast. Autorotation doesn’t work without rotors, and you all know the old joke about a helicopter’s glide path.

We ended up nose down and kinda upside down.  And grateful to be alive.  I’d like to also personally publish my gratitude to those who expressed concern when they heard about it on the Internet, and to the pilot, Graham Harward, who “brought us back alive.” Cuts, bruises, pulled muscles and stiffness, but since none of the stiffness involves rigor mortis, ain’t none of us complaining.

The flight provider describes their service as “helicopter adventures,” and that was certainly truth in advertising. I had told my sweetie, the Evil Princess, that I was going on a 4-H program: Handgun Helicopter Hog Hunt.  When we were sopping up blood en route to the hospital, she texted me from home, “Change the title to Handgun Helicopter Hog Hunt Hurtles to Harrowing Halt.” That pretty well described it…


 The helicopter warms up and pilot performs pre-flight checklist.



One of the ground crew snapped this shot just before liftoff, showing dimensions of cabin. From left: Mas, pilot Graham Harward, and John Strayer.



Heading out for hogs, at about a thousand feet, from inside the Hiller.



The last photo from inside the cabin before power was lost, showing approximate elevation when engine failed. John has his eye out for the hog he just spotted, and camera does not show the S&W .44 Magnum in his right hand. He never lost it throughout the crash, holstering only after he extricated himself from the downed bird. His index finger stayed outside the trigger guard, and his muzzle in a safe direction, the entire time.



Final resting place. That’s broken tail boom and what’s left of tail rotor at upper left, landing skids on upper right.



Crushed nose and cabin on port side, where John crawled out after crash.



Mas and pilot exited from here, on starboard side of crushed cockpit, now pretty much upside down in palmetto.



Minutes after the crash. John Strayer, left, and pilot Graham Harward are bloody but unbroken.



A few hours later at the crash site.  John, Graham, and Mas with pieces of main rotor.



Folks tell you that when you have a lucky day, you should buy a lottery ticket.  This time, it didn’t work. No complaints, though.  As John Strayer said, “We’ve used up enough luck for one day.” Note the tabs on the computer…


132 Responses to “DON’T BE AFRAID OF FLYING…”

  1. Richard Says:

    I thought that landscape looked a lot like my home state of Florida. Freaking hogs can be seen on the side of the road some mornings trying to hitch a ride to the next county. Thank God you landed semi safe. Could have ended up shooting gators.

  2. Kathy Jackson Says:

    So thankful you’re all okay!

  3. Kenneth Rangen Says:

    What is it they say about any landing that you can walk away from??

    Anyhow, damned glad there were no serious injuries, or worse, fatalities. I’d sure miss reading your articles in the magazines that I buy.

  4. Amter Says:

    Wow. You are a lucky man Mass.
    I’ve flown in Bird’s. I stopped doing so this year. They crash too often.

    I’m glad you are survived with little or no injuries. You have a purpose. You know that purpose. We need you to fulfill that purpose.


    MAG40 Graduate.

  5. Dale Says:


    So glad you are ok!!

  6. Tim Arrington Says:

    Thank God you all survived! God’s not finished with you yet. I love your writings and value your wisdom.

  7. Drew H. Says:

    Very glad to hear that you and the others are all right. My uncle flew choppers with the army, and he has told me that an engine failure at that altitude can be a quick recipe for death, even with a fine pilot. I have always enjoyed reading your stuff, and I am grateful for all of the life-saving advice I have learned from you. I am glad that you’ll be around a while longer to teach me more.

    P. S. – I’m just curious, in this case, would you be justified in shooting the helicopter? (I had to ask.)

  8. Mike M Says:

    A Rolling Rock walk away. “Any landing you can walk away from is a good landing — some are better than others.” Glad the 4H group is safe and generally in good condition.

  9. Glenn Geiss Says:

    Wow,you all are so very lucky to have gotten through such an event relatively unscathed. Glad everyone is ok.

  10. Zac Frey Says:

    Mas, you are truly one of my idols, and I hope that when I begin working as a trainer that I can be 1/10th of the instructor you are. Glad you and Jon are safe.

  11. anthony semone Says:

    Ahh, brother Mas, I thought I told you not to be aviating around in choppers 😀

    Damn glad to hear that you and your compatriots are okay. Way back when I was training for my PP license my instructor told me any landing you can walk away from is a good one. 😀 so glad you’re okay


  12. Vince Says:


    My Momma would be the first one to tell you to act your age!

    Now we both know there is no fun in that. I’m just glad you still have your Cheshire grin as I fear you may have used of one of those nine lives yesterday.


  13. Brian Says:

    Glad to hear that everyone is ok, and it goes to show any landing you can walk away from is a good one.

    p.s. did you find the hog?

  14. Jim Preston Says:

    Mas, looks like your face hit the instrument panel. Hope the panel is okay!

    The only airplane crash I was a part of ended with me ejecting from an A-10. Good for me, bad for the machine. Glad we’re both survivors!

    All the best,

  15. Doc Martin Says:


    Glad your OK. What doesn’t kills us makes us stronger and all that….

    BTW, are those bullet holes in the canopy by your feet, or just stickers being funny?

  16. Jeff in WI Says:

    Holy crap Mas! Thank God you and the boys made it out okay. From now on stick to something safer…like mountain climbing.

  17. Higgy Says:

    Glad to see you guys are ok.
    I guess instead of armed bears, we have armed hogs now… 🙂


  18. James Says:

    Damn, I’m glad you survived this. General aviation can be very unforgiving. And you made it out unscathed.

    In my decade+ of skydiving, I’ve seen many very close calls in aviation and incidences where the result was not fortunate . Even when the end result is walking away, one sits down and sheds tears afterwards in your realizations.

  19. Robert Says:

    Glad you guys made it out ok, Mas.

  20. Rob L Says:

    Glad you made it OK!

  21. Edge Says:

    Holy crap! Glad y’all made it!

  22. Bob in Texas Says:

    Glad you’re all OK. We can’t afford to lose you.

  23. Stu Strickler Says:

    Glad you all are OK! Thanks for sharing that story.

  24. LarryArnold Says:

    Based on observations while jumping out of them in Vietnam, it’s my considered opinion that helecopters really cannot fly. The only reason they get into the air at all is that the pilots who fly them are crazy enough to believe they can.

  25. Sian Says:

    @Jim Preston Impossible. A-10’s don’t crash, they just sometimes try to move more mud than they should.

  26. Lew Says:

    Thank you Graham Harward for getting the guys back in one piece! After all these years I’d miss Mas’ columns…

  27. Roger in NC Says:

    Glad you got to ride in a “Pork Chopper”. Also glad you are not dead. Give it another try soon. These things hardly ever repeat and if they do, it always makes for a good story. I only experienced a few engine failures (4 or 5) in my 4,000+ hours piloting helicopters and (almost) never scratched the aircraft. But then, I tried not to autorotate into trees.

  28. Ron Liebman Says:

    Glad you and your buddies are safe and sound, Mas! We need you here!!!

  29. Anthony T. Says:

    Yeesh… well, glad you all walked away from that one. We definitely need your sensible voice for gun owners more than ever right now.

    Plus, I was kinda hoping for an LFI/MAG refresher with Semone in Harrisburg this upcoming August. Try not to go anywhere! 😉

  30. Jack Zeller Says:

    Too cool! God Bless!

  31. Marc-Wi Says:

    I guess every thing I want to say has been said many times over. Glad it wasn’t worse. had a lot of karma working for you guys.

  32. Jim Willis-Live Oak FL Says:

    The FAA investigation, will probably determine that the cause of the crash, was due to being shot-down, by a liberal, left wing, non-violent,
    anti assult weapons protester !!

    —Seriously, the wife and I are greatfull that, you, John and Graham,
    were able to walk away w/o serious injury.

    Jim & Craig Willis

  33. JohnB Says:

    Glad everyone is okay. Adventures like that I don’t need.

  34. Reed Cooley Says:

    glad everyone is okay, I have enjoyed reading MAS for years. ” Any day above ground is a good day.” What a story to tell!!!

  35. Jon Says:

    Wow! The headline that you’d been in a crash had me horrified – it’s incredibly relieving to hear that all three of you got out OK. And in style, no less! The whole “two is one, one is none” mantra is a bit more dramatic when tested with aircraft, I think it’s safe to say…

  36. RichNH Says:

    Good Lord! Very thankful you all made it out in one piece!

  37. Jon Says:

    Mas, Wow… I’m thankful you were all OK. As a graduate of your MAG-40 class in Iowa a couple years back I have all the respect and appreciation in the world for the education you provide folks. Hope you have many more years of teaching and supporting gun rights. Hopefully I’ll catch another class from you in the future. Take care Sir!

  38. Tom606 Says:

    Glad everyone is OK!

    That said, is it morally ethical to hunt from a moving vehicle, especially an aircraft? I know there are many hogs out there which need harvesting and I have no problem with humanely killing them. However blasting them from a helicopter and very likely wounding the animals with no way of tracking and finishing them off seems careless. Anything I hunt ends up dead very quickly and does not suffer. Personally, I would never use an AR-15 in a varmint chambering like .223 for hunting big game or even large pest animals unless I can get a clean head or neck shot at fairly close range. The 5.56mm/.223 Rem. was based on a varmint cartridge, designed to wound enemy combatants instead of stopping them. Game animals and even varmints deserve a quick, humane demise. Now, slimy liberals and Communists on the other hand…

  39. Jack Finch Says:

    “Sigh”… I’ve told you about hard landings in Vietnam and seems you’ve joined the club… Come on out here to Colorado and we’ll go flying in a Kiowa in the Royal Gorge, do some nap of the earth stuff followed by chandelles and then fall off’s into the gorge. Shooting wikd hogs from the air will pale in comparison. Bring Gail, “She who must be obeyed” and we can tempt death together… as in the group that flies together, dies together. OK, enough gallows humor… seriously glad you three made it out better than might be expected under the circumstances. Remember,John Paul Vann went into the trees and died in June 1972. Count your blessings and subtract one of those nine lives… Be safe Mas.

  40. Kenneth Fail Says:

    Thanks to God for your safety.
    Didn’t know the recoil from Model 29’s was THAT bad!!!

  41. Mas Says:

    Brother Finch, you’ve heard me say this before in different contexts, but…

    I’ll wait for you HERE. 🙂

  42. Roger Willco Says:

    I totally agree with Tom606. All of you shooters with AR-15s should consider upgrading to AR-10s and 7.62 x 51mm NATO. I know that’s an old, eternal argument, but size really does matter at close range. After all, they were going to shoot hogs with .44 Magnum, not 9mm Parabellum. Oh well, just keep shooting till the threat goes away.

  43. Jack Says:

    God was definitely with you yesterday Mas. So glad that you, your friend John and the Graham are all blessed to be alive and well. I saw it on FB this morning and showed my wife, we were talking how lucky all of you were to come out of that one.

    I worked an aircraft accident here in Central Florida where the small plane hit pine trees from a stalled engine in an area just like your photo’s the occupants were all deceased when they hit the ground another crashed by my house same ending. I also lost a Lieutenant in a to a similar crash in the late 70’s when his engine stalled. Considering those odds you guys were very lucky.

  44. John Says:

    Mas, Sometimes you dodge the bullet and sometimes you dodge into the bullet. Keep dodging
    John M

  45. Roger Says:

    Mass, we need you man, you are here for a reason and you know that reason stay out of those birds and complete your mission, thank God you are safe.

  46. Spencer Says:

    So grateful that you walked away alive, Mas!

  47. Jo Ann Says:

    You were SO dang lucky – so did you get any hogs? Jo Ann

  48. Ron Says:

    Mass, as my old dad and drill sergeants used to tell me, “Let that be a lesson to you.”
    War story from an old Vietnam veteran; the closest I came to being hurt was in helicopter, not once but several times. You are almost as old as I, so wise up, old fart! 🙂

  49. Spencer Bennett Says:

    Glad your OK!

  50. John Says:

    Thank The Lord for saving you!!!
    We need you to keep up the teaching, training and fighting for our rights!

  51. joe Says:

    mass how many lives you got left? this will be quite the story to be told and retold, reminds me of Hemingway’s luck in Africa, (2 crashes in 1 day), glad you are still alive! we need your rational thought in this world

  52. Cat Gibson Says:

    Greatful your Guardian Angels hitched a ride with you guys!!! Amazing write-up and love that you were able to post pictures with it. OK it’s official…you are my favorite writer of all time… you can stop the Arial adventures now…we NEED you here on earth with us!

  53. Cat Gibson Says:

    I forgot to add…taking some of your classes is on my bucket list…so…. stick around…OK?

  54. wvumounties8 Says:

    Mas, Glad your ok and that all 3 guardian Angels were at the ready.

  55. Dave--VA Says:

    I’m very relieved that you & your friends survived this time. I hope you decide to lay low for awhile. None of us want to read a headline like this:


  56. Randy Says:

    Thank God you’re OK. Helicopters are fun to fly in as long as you don’t think about the mechanical things that can go wrong.

    If at a high altitude under speed if a power loss occurs and the pilot is skilled enough they are capable of auto rotation to a controllled crash. In your situation that wasn’t feasable.

    You must of had a guardian angel looking over you 3.

  57. Eric R Says:

    Thank God you are OK, but don’t tell the anti-gun crowd that a helicopter posed far more danger to life and limb than a .44 magnum – it does not fit in with their preconceived world view.

    Hope the copter landed on a hog or two!

  58. Joshua Streiff Says:

    Glad you and you compatriots are ok. That’s alot of smashed metal to walk away from.

  59. John Queen Says:

    Excellent landing … Just remember any landing you can walk away
    from is a good landing.

  60. dr Says:

    Glad you did not get hurt! We need your voice! I can just image the liberal headlines, “Party Killed While Hunting with Dangerous Handguns.” No mention of a helicopter…….

  61. Miguel Says:

    Message from the wife: For the next hog hunt….walk.
    Glad you guys are OK. Damn!

  62. Old NFO Says:

    Truly thankful y’all all walked away from that.

  63. Mike Sweeney Says:

    Sheesh! Glad to hear no one was seriously hurt.

  64. Dave Says:

    Just because we think you’re a rock star, doesn’t mean you need to go out like one! Glad everyone is safe!!

  65. Kevin A. Says:

    I echo what everyone else says. I’m glad things worked out in your favor in the end.

    As to those who commented on using AR-15’s to hunt Hogs, remember .223 is only one (very popular) cartridge available. Try an AR-15 chambered for 6.5 Grendel.

  66. Marty Says:

    Who knew you were going up? Maybe somebody was trying to shut you up? I sure hope not. Love you Mas.

  67. Backwoods Engineer Says:

    So thankful to God y’all are all right. Lots of well wishes on my blog:

  68. Joe Says:

    Good to hear that you are well! We would have missed you big time.

  69. Ronnie Coleman Says:

    I am happy to hear that Mas and his friends are OK. Mass is a treasure. I wish he would help take the gun rights argument to congress. He is clear, knowledgeable and persuasive.

    Please consider after you heal up.


  70. Kirt Says:

    Very glad this story had a happy ending!

  71. Joe Ballman Says:

    I fell 2 and a half stories once…it was kinda’ fun on the way down. The sudden stop was a little jarring…

  72. Mick Says:

    As with the rest, glad you’re all safe and relatively sound. Kudos to the pilot, the overall fitness of all three, and especially The One who looks out over all.

  73. E. Logan Says:

    Mas, I’m so glad y’all are OK! Rack up one more “Y’all ain’t gonna believe THIS sh*t!” experience for bragging rights, I guess. I know you’re not a Texan, but it still works. 😉

  74. Craig Nishida Says:

    Very happy to hear you’re safe.

  75. WT Says:

    Mas, thank God you and your compatriots are safe and sound! You can cross that experience off your bucket list!

  76. AixSponsa Says:

    I’m a comm. fixed and rotor pilot with 4,000 hrs. When you leave yourself NO safety cushion, NO way out, using only wishful thinking and exercising no forethought to mechanical or human failure (just like guns), then you reap what you have sown. I’m glad things turned out so well for all concerned.

  77. JohnM Says:

    Thank God you were all spared. Mas, the shooting community needs your leadership now more than ever. Stay safe, please!

    John Mattre
    MAG 40 grad

  78. Brent Mohrman Says:

    I can’t say anything that has not already been said but will add my voice to those that are glad you and all occupants are safe. It must have been terrifying.

  79. Paul Edwards Says:

    Never having had the Adventure of flying in one of those wingless contraptions, I can only pass on what an old friend, and retired military helicopter instructor pilot told me.

    As far as he, and many of his fellow I/Ps were concerned, the Huey’s they flew were the only aircraft which they firmly believed sat on the ramp, all night, plotting how kill the first idiot pilot who was rash enough to try make the fly, the next morning.

    Of course, that is only the opinion of one who had many hours of experience with the things, so you’ll have to arrive at your own conclusions.

  80. J. Scott Vaughan Says:

    Dang it Mas, take care of yourself. I haven’t taken MAG 40 yet. How’s your cholesterol? 😉

  81. Brian Downey Says:

    Grateful you all are safe.

  82. TXCOMT Says:

    Like everyone else here, I’m glad you made it, Mas. As for future chopper rides, may I suggest staying away from recipe engines and hunt for hog only in twin-engined jet jobs? Two is one and one is none, as they say!

  83. TXCOMT Says:

    Err, recip engines…autocorrect strikes again!

  84. Maurice Robkin Says:

    Mas, I just heard about your crash. I’m so glad you walked away. That makes it a good landing, right? It would be a strange world without you.

    Remember, eat dessert first.


  85. Matt in Tampa Says:

    Losing you would have been a tragedy for your family, for gun owners, and for our country. I firmly believe that, and I am *extremely* happy to see you survived!

  86. Jim Chun Says:


    VERY glad everyone is safe!! That doesn’t look like a good place to have been…..well, up to when the hog was spotted but before the bird stopped flying!!
    Be well all & say an extra prayer.
    Best Regards,
    Jim Chun

  87. Russell Middleton Says:

    Relieved to hear all of you had a safe landing.

  88. HarryL Says:

    Mas – Was very glad to see you and compatriots came through the crash bloodied but OK…..thank the Lord you all were only a hundred feet or so up since it came down like a rock after hitting the trees….He was looking after you all that day….

    Beside that – we still have to have you to finish the second half of our MAG40 class with you and the Evil Princess in SC in the near future…best, HarryL 1/28/13

  89. Mas Says:

    Brent: Oddly enough, it wasn’t terrifying. Only time to focus on what needed to be done (crash position, ride it through, exit). No time to be terrified before or during…and once it was over, nothing left to be terrified of, just urgent focus on getting everyone out.

    J. Scott: Cholesterol is fine. Adrenaline, on the other hand, was somewhat elevated…:-)

  90. James Says:

    Thankfully you all made it out alive in that crash. Aircraft do not have crash designs built into them like cars, so when a crash happens, they fall to pieces in a hurry. But that should not deter you from trying the experience again. The smaller helicopters are more prone to problems than the more expensive and bigger helios. Hope your next adventure will be more rewarding.

  91. Rick W Says:

    Glad you’re OK. I live in the county where your adventure occurred and I know that things could have been MUCH worse. I’ve been reading your articles for decades and they have given me a lot of knowledge and information. I am a retired Deputy Sheriff and have relied on your teachings many times. Obviously you have work left to do here and were spared the ultimate outcome. Prayers are with you.
    Rick W. 1-28-2013

  92. the Northwestern Diamondback of THR Says:

    Yow, scary. The Man Upstairs definitely keeps a real good overwatch for you, amigo… Glad to hear no permanent injuries.

    Though, now you might have a better idea why the piece that holds the rotor on is called the Jesus Nut…

  93. Firehand Says:

    Can’t remember where first read it, a specops guys stated ‘A helicopter is not an aircraft; it’s a bunch of parts temporarily flying in very close formation.’

  94. Bert DuVernay Says:


    I’m glad you’re OK. See you at ILEETA!


  95. Woody Says:

    Mas, truly the ESSENCE of life. You’ve lived it, now TOAST it. !!!

  96. Chuck Says:

    Any landing you can walk away from, is a good landing!

  97. Troy Anderson Says:

    Glad to see all you guys are ok, Hope to see you Grounghog day @ Gateway. I haven’t got to shoot on your squad yet.

  98. Myles Says:

    Glad to hear everyone walked away from that. I never fail to be amazed when anyone survives a crash in a flying lawnmower.

    And Don’t Do That Again.

  99. John Blatchford Says:

    Glad all are without serious injuries.
    You mean a lot to many.

    John Blatchford

  100. Eben Fowler Says:

    Wow! What an experience. Glad that you and your friends made it out of the ordeal safely. Lots to be thankful for.

  101. Gary Says:

    Don’t be surprised to find out that the aircraft ran out of gas. This is a common cause of such incidents.

  102. Jim Schlender Says:

    Mas, Glad to hear you and your friends are OK!

  103. Jim CARROLL Says:


    Just read your blog about the crash. I am just glad to hear that everyone walked away from it.


  104. Wendy Hause, Gregory MI Says:

    Said prayers of thanks that you’re all okay!

  105. Chem Says:


    I was concerned when I first heard and happy you all survived and are intact. I knew pig hunting was hazardous but the little buggers are downing helicopters now? You might want more than an N-Frame next time you go out!

  106. Fruitbat44 Says:

    Holy Freaking Heck Mas!

    Very glad to hear that you and John are both well, and all kudos to Graham Harward for bringing you down safely.

    If you can walk away from it; it’s a good landing.

    Take care.

  107. Tom Young Says:

    Glad your still around to write about it and that no one was seriously injured

  108. Patrick Says:

    Glad to hear you are all ok. Sorry that the hog got away.

  109. Mark Nelson Says:


    Thankful that God had his hands around y’all. Glad your able to write and talk about the crash. Your blessed my friend.

    Try to stay safe!!

  110. Mike P Says:

    Glad everyone is OK. Not a fun way to land, and the hog got away.

  111. bruce Says:

    That must be one heck of a “bucket list” your working on there Mas.
    REALLY glad it worked out the way it did and no one was serously hurt.

  112. Andy Says:


    Very glad ALL THREE of you made it out of that incident relatively safely.

    I both admire your sense of adventure and wince at the risk surrounding the whole ordeal.

    Having taken one brief (but very enjoyable) ride in a Black Hawk, I can say that it’s a pretty amazing experience- but nonetheless, an experience fraught with unpredictable danger unlike that of any other type of aircraft.

    I also admire the many Americans who fly in helis (sometimes against their preference!) as part of their livelihoods and/or service to our country. They surely don’t get enough credit for the risk, courage, and skill such an endeavor demands!

  113. guntotin-mama Says:

    OH MY. I’m very glad there was a happy ending to this story!
    But I’m sure you had one more close call, when you returned to the evil princess, for scaring her half to death!!


  114. jackie clay-atkinson Says:

    Eeek, Mas,
    And I thought falling off our barn roof two years ago was tough. I knew I had angles and am glad you did too! I’ll bet that hog is still running!

  115. Trisha Marie Says:

    “Any landing you can walk away from. . .”

    I’m glad you’re shaken, stirred – but not blended!

    One day I hope to take instruction from you.

    BTW, sub-lingual Arnica works wonders on bruises, for what its worth.

    When’s the next hunt?

  116. Long Island Mike Says:

    Just read your post. I am happy you are ok. I immediately thought of Jose Wejebe who was killed last year in a private plane crash. There are some things people do that make me shake my head. Flying around in little aero devices is one of them.

  117. Molly R. Moody Says:

    Mas so glad you and the other men are okay compared to what might have happened!
    I’ll stick to keeping my feet on the ground. Haven’t been in an airplane since ’95 and don’t plan on getting back in one anytime soon. Never been in a helicopter and never wanted to go up in one. Thanks but no thanks.

  118. Mas Says:

    Folks, I ain’t giving up hunting OR helicopters, but neither is on my immediate schedule…:-)

    Jackie, I hope to prove as tough as you…:-)

    Kind sentiments from all are appreciated!

  119. Lakewood Ranch Tim Says:

    Glad you all are ok! We don’t need to give the Liberals even more reasons to take guns out of our hands!

  120. Peter B Says:

    One of my most vivid memories is of being a passenger in a helicopter operated by the long defunct SFO Helicopter Airlines (the also operated hovercraft;) the flight went fairly low over San Francisco Bay on a beautiful clear morning.

    Trees would have made it a little too exciting. I’m very glad you and the others came through it OK.

  121. Mrs. Jill Belisle Says:

    Good heavens, and I mean that literally, sir. My husband and I are great admirers of you and your work and were fairly alarmed to hear of your accident. Thank God you and your friend were literally able to walk away. You’re needed too much at this time in our country to lose you in such a way. Take care!

    Sincerely, Mr. and Mrs. Shawn Belisle, New Lisbon, WI

  122. Tionico Says:

    Mas, I am thankful to God for His having preserved you alive and unhurt. Another day vertical and breating is always a blessing. As to those above who suggest you “act your age”, stop “tempting fate”, taking risks, etc… hey, live life to the fullest until you don’t. I always say I’ll stop doing things when I get too old to DO them anymore… too many get old because they stop doing things. Keep full on until you can’t. Hey, I’d jump at such a chance, myself. I do think I’d bring a rifle with a bit more authority, though.. FN AR, maybe AR 10, something in thirty, I would think. I don’t know if you’ve ever eaten wild hog, I have, and oh my, are they tasty. Did one up in a Puerto Rican barbecue box one time… feasting fit for kings.

    Glad you are OK, and have one more crazy tale to tell.

    Nick, appleseed/Brookings Aug 12. Coffee in the mornings……

  123. The Rev Says:

    Wow! Mas & John & pilot, I am so thankful you all are all well. Maybe you all should consider attending brother Herman’s church services a little more often after this experience. In any case I shall redouble my prayers for you all. Hope to see you all at Feb. Mag 40.
    Blessings & Stay safe,
    The Rev, out.

  124. Fruitbat44 Says:

    I’ve never shot a hog, feral or otherwise, but stirring in the depths of my armchair I reach out and grab my copy of the 1998 ‘Guns & Ammo’ annual, and check the ballistics data on the back pages.

    I am actually really surprised that noone has taken Mas to task for using such a wimpy gun to shoot hogs with. .44 Magnum revolver wimpy!!?? Well how else would you describe a weapon which delivers less energy at the muzzle than a .223 rifle does at 100 yards?

    Also in the 1998 G&A annual is an article by Mas about the .45 Super. In the accompanying photographs he doesn’t lok appreciably older than he does now.

    Hmmm . . . walks away from helicopter crashes unscathed and doesn’t appear to age.

    Is there something Mas isn’t telling us?

  125. Elijah Bun Says:

    Hello my name is Elijah Bun and i was just wondering if i could interview you for a school project(personal project for IB). I was hoping you could answer these few questions please email me back at or just reply back please 😀

    1. Describe the Fear you felt when the engine began to fail
    2. If you could have changed the crash in any way what way would that be
    3.How do you think this experience changed your life

    -anyways thanks for looking at the questions and im glas your safe

  126. Lwofjax Says:

    On the morning of this accident, I had taken my Aunt to the hospital ER. Several hours later, I walked past the waiting room and saw the man himself sitting calmly reading the paper. I froze unable to speak. He politely looked up and said “Can I help you?”. All I could manage to mumble was “your a hero of mine”. I am 6’9″ tall and as he stood to shake my hand it felt like he towered over me. He had a noticeable limp and blood stains over much of his clothes. Despite his hellacious morning, he was kind and personable. I was reduced to a bumbling idiot. We sat and talked for a few minutes and I found him to be every bit the hero I had hoped. I’m fortunate to have met the man and we are all fortunate to still have Massad Ayoob with us! I plan to see him again, next time at a MAG training class.

  127. Mas Says:

    Lwofjax, welcome to the blog and thanks for the kind words.

    How is your aunt doing?

  128. Lwofjax Says:

    Mas – My Aunt of 91 is recovering nicely from a rotator cuff injury. She will be returning home this week or next. Thank you for asking. I’m currently reading “Combat Shooting”. Once finished, I plan to enroll in a MAG class in Live Oak per your reccomendation. Thanks again for being so approachable in such a difficult time. I’m glad no one was seriously injured.

  129. Mas Says:

    Elijah Bun:
    To answer your questions:

    1. There wasn’t time for fear when it was happening, only to follow procedure to mitigate injury as it was going down (“crash position”), get selves and pilot out of the thing once it was down, and get the hell away from it before it caught fire, which it fortunately did not.

    2. Nothing I COULD have done to change it.

    3. A renewed appreciation of life and a bit of survival euphoria, as is typical after near death experiences.

    Hoping this is helpful to your research,

  130. Tom Lunsford Says:

    Too close for comfort, Mas. I always though helicopters were just optical illusions; I mean, they don’t look like they can fly. Ahem! Maybe I should reassess.

    All seriousness aside, very glad you all were able to walk away. My father died in a small airplane crash when I was 7 yoa. We count our blessings while we can. Sounds like it was fun leading up to the problem. Care.

  131. jh Says:

    Glad you made it! Not time to go yet.

  132. Dr.Gail Says:

    Quite the adrenal rush, huh? I am glad you are OK.

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