KABUL, Afghanistan -- The pilot's eyes squint as he tries to locate his landing zone located in the terrain covered by a rolling and twisting blanket of dust. The trip to the Kunar Valley in northern Afghanistan is treacherous with numerous towering mountains as tall as 12,000 feet, providing an obstacle course of a flight path. Navigating his MI-17 helicopter, which is fully loaded with vital ammunition and supplies, is a challenging task.
KABUL, Afghanistan -- The physical stress on an aircraft and its components in flight can be quite substantial. The different forces can cause the aircraft to break in many different ways, and sometimes, the breakage cannot be easily seen by the naked eye.