Hanging Onto The Leg Of This Helicopter Is Harder Than It LooksCommentary • people • Opinion • terror • police • ISSUE 43•09 • Feb 28, 2007 By Special Agent Pat Carter Look, I know I'm the best, and no one in the terror-combat community has ever questioned my bravery. Not in 25 proud years of service. I'm a legend around here. But, honestly, dangling one-handed from the leg of a helicopter is not as easy as you'd think. Clearly, I'm at a terrific physical disadvantage. The terrorists in this chopper are heavily armed, and I accidentally dropped my gun about 25 miles ago. Furthermore, all I'm wearing is this stylish but tight-fitting suit, which was, in retrospect, not the best choice of apparel. With both arms stretched up over my head like this, it's really bunching up around the shoulders, cutting off my circulation, and constricting my neck rather uncomfortably, making it difficult to breathe. A flexible windbreaker would have been much more practical. Oh well, maybe next time.No. There shouldn't be a next time. I need to start putting more thought into such life-or-death decisions. You'd think I'd have learned from the last eight times I found myself in this situation. Only two weeks ago, I grabbed onto an elevator cord to zoom up the empty shaft, just above a rising plume of fire. Sure, I escaped the blaze, but I almost got demoted for reckless behavior. Plus, the blisters were just unbelievable. Actually, they still haven't gone away, which is certainly not making my present predicament any easier to cope with.I'm telling you, these helicopter legs were not built to hang from. There's this coating on them that makes the surface very slippery. Some sort of polymer—perhaps a varnish of some kind? It's hard to tell from this angle, but whatever it is, it certainly wasn't applied with the people who might be holding on for dear life in mind.Boy, I did not think this through.Still, I've got to stop the terrorists! I guess the obvious move here would be to hoist myself up and break into the cockpit. But even if I were able to maintain my grip in the freezing-cold air while this helicopter flies at speeds exceeding 150 mph, the terrorists probably had the good sense to lock the doors before they took off. In fact, I bet helicopter doors auto-lock so people don't fall out and end up hanging onto the legs—which, as I've already pointed out, is fairly difficult.No two ways about it: Helicopters were designed to be ridden inside the cockpit.Realistically, what am I going to do to get myself out of this mess? Wait for one of the terrorists to hear a noise and come out here to check, at which point I'll have to somehow catapult him over me and out the door while flinging myself into the hold? I don't even know if that's possible. And, once inside, I'll just have a whole group of angry, machine gun–wielding terrorists hellbent on destroying America to deal with. Good God, what was I thinking? Assuming I can get to the pilot—which, given the incredible fatigue I'm already experiencing, coupled with the virtual uselessness of my now-frozen limbs, is a long shot at best—how will I fly the helicopter to safety? This all seemed like a great idea in the heat of the moment, but now I'm beginning to think my actions were a bit hasty. I don't even know these people, and what I do know about them isn't good. They certainly are not flying very safely. Hell, I'm not even sure they're licensed to operate an aircraft in the state of California.Even though I have promised myself dozens of times to stop, take a deep breath, and figure out the safest, most sensible way to combat terrorists before leaping headlong into an impossibly one-sided scenario, here I am, flopping around like a rag doll from the bottom of a helicopter. Again. I'm hopeless.Come on, get it together, man! You've swung between two buildings on hastily constructed zip lines and escaped from dingy basement torture rooms way worse than this before. You're an American hero, Special Agent Pat Carter! You're invincible!Oh, Christ, we're headed right for that construction site, just as the helicopter seems to be running out of gas. I seriously hope the backup units I somehow managed to call beforehand and outline this entire hypothetical scenario to are waiting with the proper paperwork to book these criminals when we all jump out at the last minute and tumble to the ground safely on that huge landfill just ahead. Only then will this foolish stunt have been worth the hassle.