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A Helicopter Landing in Afghanistan


I made this photo last night in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. The landing zone that can be seen is very dangerous. A few weeks ago, another helicopter was coming into it 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 that light up the dust and can confuse pilots who are wearing extremely sensitive night-vision goggles.

Michael Yon is an independent reporter whose work is reader-supported.


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