The Blog

The Kopp-Etchells Effect

1:59 PM, Aug 19, 2009 • By JOHN NOONAN
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pixie dust.jpg

Courtesy Michael Yon, who writes:

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.

View the entire photo series here.