March 30th, 2007

Ownership, purchase, availability and maintenance of a helicopter

Hello all.
Am writing a story set in Central Africa, approximately 25-30 years in the future. It's about a Christian organization that officially acts as a relief aid coordinating centre and clearing house for American and European church charities and missionaries in Africa, but is actually a special Christian paramilitary/special forces unit that goes into turmoil areas to extract missionaries and relief groups when things get too hot for them to handle, along with whatever refugees accompany them. They fly out of Addis Ababa.

My question is, what kind of chopper would be plausible for them to own and maintain official cover? And how easy could they possibly get spares for said chopper? Am thinking something Mil, perhaps a Mi-8.
And, would a Mi-26 be plausible for such a NGO? Am considering a scene where they're dropped off in dune buggies.

Any suggestions, dear fellow writers? Much thanks and cheers!

They usually fly low and fast, think Nightstalkers. Sorry for not adding that bit in earlier.

Semi automatic with the look of a flintlock (answered)

Hi everyone.

Story setting: Near-future London
Google terms used: Combinations of 'flintlock', 'look', 'semi automatic', 'customized', 'pistol', etc.
And I've looked at the relevant Wikipedia pages

Please keep in mind that I know pretty much *nothing* about weapons, so the technical terms and such go completely over my head. So far I've understood that the 'flintlock' part refers to the firing mechanism on those kinds of guns, yes? But the look of the gun itself is along the lines of the 'pirate-type' ones. And flintlocks need reloading after every shot (or two if it's double barreled).

So what I want to know is: would it be possible to have a gun that looks like an old flintlock pistol, but fires like a semi-automatic? I.e.: you don't need to keep reloading it. If there are any kinds of additions that would have to be made to the gun that would be okay, as long as it doesn't detract too drastically from the look of the original, or makes it difficult to use effectively.

(I'm sorry if this is a very silly question. It really does demonstrate how poor my knowledge of these things is ;^_^ )

EDIT: Wow, thank you all so much to everyone that commented : ) Everything said helped me very much, and I'm a lot more confident with writing this part now. Cheers!
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