Disabled Mi-8 Helicopter Caught in Free Fall After Losing Tail Rotor

first published on March 4, 2019 by

An Mi-8 Helicopter tasked with dropping barrel bombs is disabled over Darayya city in Syria. This is the 30-second free fall footage.

helicopter 2301598

Barrel bombing runs in Syria are not an extremely rare occurrence. Government forces often fly low and fast over villages where they suspect the Free Syrian Army are located, and indiscriminately drop flying improvised explosive devices out of the back of their helicopters.

These 100% unguided munitions are the cause of many civilian casualties in Syria, and the aircraft that drop them are extremely high value targets for Free Syrian Army troops on the ground. When spotted, the FSA troops often redirect a lot of fire onto them in an attempt to stop the devastating effects of these weapon system. In most cases, that redirection of fire is absolutely useless.

The average Free Syrian Army ground troop is armed with an AK-47, and a bandoleer of ammunition if he is lucky. Even the troops on the ground with access to medium machine guns would be almost completely useless if they were to redirect their fires onto the fast moving Mi-8s that the Syrian Arab Army uses to drop these munitions, so it is rare to see one of these behemoth helicopter brought to the ground. In some cases however, the FSA does manage to get lucky, and what you are about to see is one of those instances.

It is unclear exactly what type of munition was used to bring the Mi-8 in this video down, but it is rumored that a 9k33 SAM system was used. The damage to the aircraft also lines up with some sort of surface to air missile defense system being used to bring the aircraft down. Upon inspection, you can see that the tail rotor has been completely removed from the helicopter, and helicopter itself has actually gone completely inverted in its decent to the Earth. While the camera footage does little to show the scope and size of the aircraft, it is important to remember that we are watching an 8,800 lb air frame that is almost 60 feet in length fall to the ground at its terminal velocity.