Thursday, January 27, 2022

Vita Inclinata: Technology Is Cheap, Lives Are Priceless—A True Helicopter Rescue Story Turned Horrific And The Technology To Solve It

Former Air Force Colonel, Pilot And Survivor Of Dangerous Spinning Basket Endorses Technology Via His Heart-Stopping Rescue Experience Captured on Film
Written By
First M. Last

Vita Inclinata: Technology Is Cheap, Lives Are Priceless—A True Helicopter Rescue Story Turned Horrific And The Technology To Solve It


ROOMFIELD, CO and WASHINGTON, DC — January 27, 2022 Vita Inclinata (Vita), developer and producer of helicopter and crane load stabilization and precision hardware, today revealed the harrowing experience that underscores the need for developing the lifesaving Vita Rescue System Litter Basket Attachment: Occurring in 1992, Ken Bowling experienced a near-death plane crash from engine failure in San Bernadino, California. Hear Ken’s perspective and witness the uncontrolled rescue-basket spin as he clings to life and the first responder, who was thrown from the basket into mid-air, manages to hang on—rotation after rotation.

Bowling had broken his leg, arm, and both hands in the plane crash. He was strapped in the helicopter’s gurney at the chest and thighs, and at the velocities, he was spinning, he was quickly sliding out of the rescue litter.

“I was screaming, ‘I’m coming out!’ It was all I could do not to just blackout,” recalls Bowling,  former Air Force Colonel and pilot. “Military men and women will risk their own lives to ensure their comrades are safe and return to see their loved ones again. That’s what Vita’s technology does—it makes this a winnable situation.”

There was no way the helicopter pilot or crew could stop the spin. It was predetermined based upon a spiraling rotor downwash—Ken and the first responder were destined to wait until a safe landing could be attempted. “Had this rescue gone very smoothly, the trauma I suffered would have been decreased by orders of magnitude,” said Bowling.

Rescue baskets spinning underneath helicopters are not isolated events—the most famous being the June 2019 viral video of an injured hiker in Arizona, covered by national news. In fact, these spinning incidents are extremely common but rarely caught on camera due to remote and dangerous rescue locations. Unfortunately, between the Ken Bowling video in 1992 and the hiker’s video shot in 2019, nothing has been done to fix this problem, less the unsuccessful solution of applying a simple rope in an attempt to stabilize the basket.  

Recently procured by the U.S. Army, The Vita Rescue System Litter Attachment is a lightweight, quick-attach unit compatible with a variety of rescue kits, such as SKEDCO, Stokes, and other rescue bags. It enables helicopter crews greater speed, safety, and control on hoisting operations, allowing them to complete hoists four times faster than traditional taglines. Additional benefits include:

  • Fly-to-Target capability: fly the basket off-axis from beneath the helicopter to navigate between obstacles or conduct precision insertion on difficult terrain.
  • Control the litter without taglines or ground crews.
  • Stabilizes the litter while dynamically hoisting.
  • Reduced hover time and pilot fatigue.

“It is a true blessing to meet Ken and hear his story. For many people caught in similar spinning situations, the outcome is not so favorable,” said Caleb Carr, Chief Executive Officer, Vita.

“It is Ken’s story and the many other people who also had to go through this unnecessary experience, that Vita was founded. We are emboldened by Ken’s story to continue building technology that brings anyone who needs basket extraction safely home—without exacerbating their injuries from the rescue.”

About Vita Inclinata

Vita Inclinata was founded on the belief that lack of technology should never be the difference between life and death for rescue crews, crane operators, and patients. Vita’s mission of “Building technology that brings people home–every time!” drives it to do everything possible to save human lives.  It achieves that by creating innovative load stabilization technology, providing safer tools to prevent occupational injuries, and by making a positive impact on the workers, families, and patients in said industries.

Based in Broomfield, Colorado, Vita Inclinata Technologies Inc. includes Vita Aerospace and Vita Industrial. Vita Inclinata has additional offices in Washington, DC, the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates.


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