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Recent Articles

By Brad McNally - In the 1920’s the Autogiro was the cutting edge of aviation technology.  A Spanish engineer by the name of Juan de la Cierva got the Autogiro into the air by solving several fundamental rotary wing flight problems.  An American businessman by the name of Harold Pitcairn partnered with Cierva to bring the Autogiro to the United States and further developed it.  Their work was sometimes collaboration and sometimes competition but it directly led to the development and rapid advance of the helicopter in the late 1930’s and 1940’s.

Steve Goldsworthy talks with Jim Paules, founder of the American Heroes Airshow. Late in July the skies over Los Angeles were filled with helicopters. That’s not so unusual with all the ENG and police ships that can show up at the rumor of a pursuit, but what was unusual was the type of helicopters in the air. First in were two Pavehawks, a DEA Astar, a Vietnam era Huey, wow, this is not your average event. But for the American Heroes Airshow, it’s just the morning of fly in.

By Brad McNally - Hollingsworth Franklin Gregory was born in Rockwell, TX in 1906.  Frank Gregory as most people knew him, graduated from high school in Shelby, MS in 1923.  After receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Mississippi in 1926, Gregory worked for several years as a Mississippi high school principal (Official Air Force Biography, 1956).

Written & Video Feature!

Article. photos, and video by Lyn Burks

I remember when I was a much younger helicopter pilot clawing my way up through the helicopter world, one airframe and one mission at a time. Training, ENG, Utility, EMS, Corporate, you know, the usual stuff. I recall the first time I saw the term GOMER on the Justhelicopters.com message board and thought, “what the heck is a GOMER?” Frankly, it doesn’t really sound all that cool!

By William T. Winn - Anyone who has read Professor James Reason’s writings on human factors in accident causation is familiar with his well-known model of how causative factors can line up like the seemingly random holes in slices of Swiss cheese to result in a mishap or in a serious accident. Dr. Reason is professor of psychology at the University of Manchester, United Kingdom. He has published books on motion sickness, human factors in transportation accidents, absent-mindedness, human error, and on identifying and managing organizational risk factors.

By Brad McNally - As you read this article it is almost a certainty that somewhere on the high seas there is a helicopter belonging to one of the U.S. naval services conducting naval operations.  For the past 60 years these operations have been commonplace.  That was not the case in the early 1940s when helicopters were in their infancy.  No one tried to apply the helicopter’s unique capabilities to the naval environment until mid World War II.  This all changed thanks to a group of dedicated individuals who saw the significant contributions that helicopters could add to the Coast Guard, Navy and Marine Corps.  This article showcases three true Naval Rotorcraft Pioneers.

Rotorcraft Professional recently spoke to Mr. Kurt Robinson, Vice President of Robinson Helicopters about the new R66.


By Steve Goldsworthy

Rotorcraft Pro: Kurt I have to start by asking the obvious first question. Where is the R66 in the certification process?

Kurt: The FAA is currently flying two ships. Next week we will start the F&R process. Function and Reliability, and then they will be flying a ship up in Big Bear (editors note: Big Bear field elevation is 6752’ and known for it’s high DA, over 10,000 feet in the hot summers). We expect that work to finish up around the end of August and then around two weeks after that, it’s a certified helicopter.


Need Money To Fly?

In aviation today, it is financially difficult to fund advancement in the helicopter industry.  However, there are opportunities out there.  These opportunities can be found through the Whirly-Girls Organization.  The Whirly-Girls Organization is a non-profit organization of International Female Helicopter Pilots.  The organization is a charitable organization that is dedicated to advancing women in helicopter aviation through the industry’s largest pool of annual scholarships, while providing women helicopter pilots a forum for the exchange of information and opportunities. Each year, the Whirly-Girls Organization attends the HAI conference and awards these scholarships.

WRITTEN AND VIDEO FEATURE - Vector Aerospace Revisited

Vector LogoOne of the more satisfying aspects of this business is when you have the opportunity to actually watch a company grow, succeed, and prosper. It is not very often, considering the recent economic conditions, that will a company not only set about on an ambitious growth plan, but actually goes quite a bit beyond it as well.

video screenshotJust two years ago we traveled to Andalusia, Alabama to visit the folks at Vector Aerospace. Based at the South Alabama Regional Airport, 79J, Vector’s first operation in Alabama was initially spread among six or so hangars and administrative facilities on the south side of the airport. [VIEW ARTICLE & VIDEO]

In the world of public safety, there are few resources in the government and law enforcement toolkit that serve a more varied, impactful and “game-changing” role than the aviation division.  Whether providing security for high profile events, performing search and rescue after natural disasters, covertly tracking the movements of suspects or protecting borders and coastlines, aircrews play an increasingly critical function in maintaining the public’s security.



At the heart of this growth is the ongoing development of new and more sophisticated aerial surveillance technologies that continually raise the bar for what air crews are able to accomplish.  Yet even as capabilities that would have been unthinkable just a decade ago become more commonplace, police departments and government agencies find themselves facing a new challenge.  Namely, how to successfully navigate the marketplace blizzard of complex options, technologies and device makers as they work to develop and/or maintain a robust solution.


By Brad McNally, Contributing Editor - An essential characteristic of anyone starting out in a new venture is determination and no one in the rotorcraft industry better exemplifies this than Charles Kaman.  In the mid 1940s, working in the emerging helicopter industry with an unproven idea and little financial support, he was able to persevere despite many challenges and establish a successful helicopter company.  The hard work of the team that he assembled led to major advancements in helicopter design and the development of several successful production helicopter models.  Largely due to his determination, the company he founded still exists today with a long list of impressive accomplishments.

Heli – Success!  Third  Annual Career Development Seminar & Networking Event

Las Vegas, NV. October 31 & November 1, 2010 – Put a face to a name! Shake hands with the hiring authorities! Get your resume into the right hands of the right people!

Sponsored by Bristow Group and Rotorcraft Pro Media Network, and produced by the team from Verticalreference.com and Justhelicopters.com, comes a two day Helicopter Career Development Seminar and Networking Event for Helicopter Pilots, Mechanics and Operators titled “Heli-Success” [READ MORE]

After the cowardly attack on the United States on September 11, 2001, law enforcements roles have changed dramatically. With the advent of Homeland Security grants and other special requirements, more law enforcement agencies are now tasking their aircrews to perform SAR duties as well.

It wasn’t too many years ago that most helicopter operators in the US conducting EMS operations would hire a pilot, then in company training validate that pilot to commercial standards per the Federal Aviation Regulations, and quickly send him to a field base to conduct EMS operations for a customer without so much as telling him what the EMS mission he was about to perform was all about. It wasn’t a FAA requirement to train to the mission, but it was a requirement to train the pilot to operate the aircraft safely while conducting the mission, whatever that mission might be. That is where a major problem lied and many operators didn’t realize it was an issue that needed to be dealt with.

By Brad McNally, Contributing Editor - Arthur Young grew up outside of Philadelphia, PA.  His father was a landscape painter and his mother was also an artist.  As a child he was very interested in science and understanding how things worked but had no specific interest in aviation.  After graduating with a mathematics degree from Princeton in 1927, his curiosity led him in search of a complex problem that he could apply science and math to in the hope of developing a better understanding of the world around him.  He traveled to several large cities and visited their libraries looking for problems that he could use for his endeavor.  On one such visit to Washington, D.C. he found his challenge.  While doing research in the Library of Congress, he came across a book by Anton Flettner called, “The Story of the Rotor.”

By Brad McNally, Contributing Editor - In the early 1940s the American Helicopter Industry was emerging in the northeastern United States.  Igor Sikorsky was building helicopters in New England, Frank Piasecki was closing in on the second successful American helicopter in Philadelphia and in upstate New York Arthur Young and Larry Bell were laying the frame work for the first commercially produced helicopter.  On the west coast a young man by the name of Stanley Hiller Jr. was also beginning to develop an aircraft capable of vertical flight.  Like all of these men Stanley Hiller’s quest to develop a helicopter was full of challenges.  He overcame these challenges to design several successful helicopter models along with creating one of the most innovative research and development programs of its time.  To see how someone so young and so far away from the epicenter of the emerging American helicopter industry was able to become so successful you need to go back to the start.

By Rex Alexander - There are few things in our industry that will generate more emotion and controversy or have people taking sides faster than the topic of hot loading patients. Having been a pilot in the air medical business for 14 years, I have had the opportunity to see the good, the bad, and the ugly from both sides of this issue several hundred times over.

Helicopter pilots are no different than members of any other profession.  They, like the others, are human, process oxygen, and possess an ego which drives them to believe “I’m better than so and so.”  I call this the “My daddy can beat up your daddy” syndrome.”  “Look at me…”.

I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, an expert on the human condition.  I do, however, believe that we have a responsibility to insure that those who come into this profession behind us deserve the benefit of our great wisdom.  That may seem to be an egotistical statement in and of itself, but hear me out.

By Rex Alexander - Warning and caution signs that every heliport should have to enhance safety and reduce liability.

Ever since the first helicopter landed and took off from a heliport, we as an industry have worked hard to make the heliport environment as safe as possible.  Whether it is obstruction lighting to illuminate surrounding hazards, a safety net surrounding an elevated heliport, or a windsock to indicate the wind direction, many organizations have done everything feasible to insure safety at their heliports.

LAH Trains Rwandan Police Pilots for Police Missions

Kigali, Rwanda - The Law Enforcement Division of Los Angeles Helicopters and Akagera Aviation work together to train Rwandan pilots for the Kigali police department. Akagera recently purchased a new Robinson R44 police helicopter and initiated an Airborne Law Enforcement program for Kigali, the capitol city of Rwanda. The ship is turnkey and complete with the latest and most up to date Police equipment including microwave downlink ability and the latest FLIR systems.

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