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Entries for January 2011


GOMER - Flyin in the Gulf of Mexico: Part 3

In the previous two articles and video supplements I covered the required qualifications and training involved for pilots who wish to work in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM).  In this installment, my intent is to explore a few issues that impact the lifestyle of a pilot working in the GOM and some tips for adjusting to this unique work environment.

This is a preliminary report of a survey completed by 568 active helicopter EMS pilots in September and October of 2010. The solicitation to pilots to participate in this survey included the following introductory statement:

As I sit outside a restaurant talking with Pat Cox and Pete Riedl in the gorgeous So Cal weather, I can’t help but think about flying helicopters. I wonder aloud why I chose to drive and not fly down to the Robinson plant in Torrance, California.

Helicopter Specialties Inc (HSI) is a Part 145 maintenance, repair, overhaul and custom completion company located at the Southern Wisconsin Regional Airport in Janesville, Wisconsin. Their niche is helicopter medical conversions and custom completions. One of their more unique products are custom isolettes systems used for transporting infants.

For the majority of helicopter flight schools, their honest efforts to meet students’ goals of attaining FAA Certificates at various levels are based on the principles of Maneuvers Based Training (MBT). This system was developed during the era of the Wright Brothers, specific to airplanes, and teaches a pilot to “fly” to a Practical Test Standard (PTS) defined by the FAA. Although pilots who learn to fly through MBT can  “fly” the helicopter within the parameters for which they are trained, it is no doubt an antiquated training model by modern day standards.

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