Helicopters are one example of an aircraft or vehicle used as a flying crane. When a payload is carried below a helicopter, it is known as a sling load. Three examples of helicopters carrying sling loads are shown in the images below [1-3]. Helicopters are shown carrying supplies, lifting a bundle of logs, and performing a search and rescue operation in the first, second, and third images, respectively.

As a result of helicopter motion, the sling load swings. Swinging payloads are not only dangerous, they also have adverse effects on the ability of the pilot to control the helicopter and tend to result in an unpleasant ride. According to Eric Brown [4], pilots typically control this situation by slowing down when carrying sling loads. In cases of extreme swing, pilots elect to drop the payload to regain control of their aircraft.

Transporting Supplies [1]

Logging Operations [2]

Search and Rescue [3]


[1] McMurdo Dry Valleys Long Term Ecological Research, http://www.mcmlter.org/lostseal/photos/heloslingload.jpg [Accessed: Sept. 12, 2010].
[2] Quiram Logging, http://www.quiramlogging.com/logging-equipment-and-planning/ [Accessed: Sept. 12, 2010].
[3] D. Brzuska, http://www.nss.gc.ca/site/ss/magazine/vol17_1/articles/uscg_swimmer_e.asp [Accessed: Sept. 12, 2010].
[4] E. Brown, The Helicopter in Civil Operations. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Co., 1981.