Failure or Omen? White smoke escaped from the Pope’s helicopter just after Benedict XVI’s final flight

Mar 05 2013 - 10 Comments

White smoke escaping through a small chimney visible from St. Peter’s Square is traditionally used to announce the world the election of a new pope following a successful vote by the conclave.

Let’s see it from this point of view and let’s believe it is a good premoniotion but, as some readers have noticed, the white helicopter used by Benedict XVI’s on his final flight from Vatican City to the papal summer residence sent some white smoke from the right hand engine just after landing at Castel Gandolfo, at 17.24 LT on Feb. 28, 2013.

Look at the following video.

It shows the white Italian Air Force VH139 (a VIP version of the AgustaWestland AW139 used during the London 2012 Olympic Games opener) landing on the helipad of the papal summer villa located 15 miles to the southeast of Rome, after the 19-minute ride.

As the chopper blades come to a stop, white smoke shortly comes out from the engine 1 area.

Pope AW139 smoke

What may have caused the smoke?

Even if white smoke is usually caused by oil leaks in engine, sources familiar with AW.139 procedures say smoke can be caused by some fuel burning after a quick engine shut-down executed without a prior cool-down procedure.

“A normal procedure that can be used in certain conditions to accelerate the engine shut-down,” that could have been used on Feb. 28 to stop the rotor as some cars had entered the Castel Gandolfo helipad coming a bit too close to the papal chopper.

Nothing special then, unless we think to the lightning that struck the top of the Vatican’s St Peter’s Basilica, just hours after Pope Benedict XVI resigned…. :-)

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  • A. Nonymous

    It means they’ve elected a new papal helicopter…

    • Mr. E

      ROFLMAO You beat me too it it, I though the same thing. Great Minds think alike LOL You have by far, one of the funniest comment I have seen.

  • Flanco Sur

    It took my attention too when I was watching it on TV.

  • WillTech

    Lighting strike, helicopter smoke, one meteor hitting the earth, and another going ‘close by’..

  • omg the turbine stopped! sheesh- i’m just glad no one lit a match!

  • A specter has followed Pope home!

  • White smoke indicates ‘a successful’ exorcism.

  • White Smoke indicates that the engine has good gaskets for another 100 hours of flight.

  • There is a multitude of reasons for the white looking smoke. Hot gases, that often occur in the exhaust system, depending on the outdoor temperatures can cause white exhaust smoke. Next time its really cold out, look at a car at idle and you may see white exhaust. Atmospheric pressure changes can cause fossil fuel engines to emit white looking exhaust. Usually, white exhaust indicates too little fuel and too much air or a lean fuel to air mixture ratio. Just saying and God Bless any of the Popes.

  • Too many omens: f lightning striking St.Peter’s cathedral, the helicopter… Won’t it end with the Third World War?