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By Ron Whitney - Madison County Executive (MDQ) airport is not an unfamiliar destination for me.  Located a little over 17 nm to the northeast of Huntsville International (HSV) Airport, this uncontrolled general aviation airport was a frequent refueling stop while I was in the EMS business.  The one thing I always loved about MDQ was that the line guys were always waiting on me, regardless of the time, or the weather. Even if I was only buying thirty gallons of Jet A, they treated us as if it were five thousand.  The service here is simply the best I’ve seen in thirty years of flying.

After analyzing data on accidents within commercial aviation over a 10-year period, the Federal Aviation Administration published a new rule in January of this year that requires all Part 135 operators employing more than one pilot to install Crew Resource Management training.  The final rule gives commercial operators until March 22, 2013 to establish CRM programs for both initial and recurrent training, and to have those programs approved.  After that period, certificate holders conducting Part 135 operations will be prohibited from using a crewmember unless that person has completed the certificate holder’s initial CRM training.

Night flight usage and technology have grown exponentially in the past few years and the dilemma from FAA mandate to have a minimum of 2 crewmembers for NVG flight operations below 300’ AGL has evolved as well. There are two general sides taken in this discussion. The first is the belief that NVG operations can be conducted safely with only the pilot using NVGs, while others believe that NVG flight operations below 300’ AGL is a multi-crew task. Each side of the discussion believes the alternative to be undesirable. In this article, we will take an objective look at this issue.


Didn't get to attend Heli Expo 2011? No problem...... Rotorcraft Pro Media Network & Justhelicopters.TV will give you an inside look at some of the show highlights and products via the web. Video blasts from Heli Expo in Houston, TX will be posted during the days following the event, so stay tuned!

Click Here to Watch Videos!

Story by:  Spc. Amie J. McMillan

BAGHDAD – The recent arrival of three Bell T-407 training helicopters at Camp Taji will help to train qualified Iraqi Army pilots to operate and maintain the helicopters, as well as, rapidly accelerate the fielding and utilization of Iraqi Armed 407 Armed Scout Helicopters which are scheduled to be fielded by the end of 2011.

The sound of metal skid shoes scraping against runway asphalt is never pleasant. But today, there is nothing more fun than doing full down autos in Robinsons new R66.

Actually “we” probably do…or at least one or two of us need a little firmer guidance from the FAA and/or our operator.  When I started flying patients in dire need about forty-one years ago we had very few restrictions.  Of course, it was a combat zone and we were very young and bold. Many years later after losing far too many friends who bravely pushed into the jaws of death, even in peacetime, it is clear to me that one doesn’t become “old and bold” unless we restrict ourselves and exercise restraint and good judgment on every single flight, no matter how critical.  It has also become clear to me that a few of our peers need adult supervision from time to time.


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.

By Lyn Burks - Recently while in Kona Hawaii on helicopter related business, I swerved off my intended course and popped into a local helicopter operation called Paradise Helicopters. Compared to some of the larger tour operators I have visited over the years, this operation had a true “mom and pop” look and feel. I later found that the outward image of quaintness mixed with a smidge of “Leave it to Beaver” family values was by design. However, scratching through that facade revealed a thriving, hardworking, all around skids-meet-the-ramp helicopter shop.

Interview by Brad McNally, Contributing Editor - As we wrap up the Rotorcraft Pioneers Series I was lucky enough to have a chance to talk with one of the few people who have been involved with helicopters in North America from the beginning, Mr. Sergei Sikorsky.  He’s crossed paths with more than few of the people profiled in the Pioneers Series and I had the chance to ask him about helicopters, his father’s legacy and his encounters with some of the people I profiled.

One name more than any other is synonymous with helicopter development, Igor Sikorsky.  Often regarded as the father of the helicopter, Sikorsky was actually an incredibly talented aeronautical engineer who twice established himself as one of the world’s greatest designers of fixed wing aircraft before he built a successful helicopter.  After designing, building and flying the first successful North American helicopter, Igor Sikorsky led the company which still bears his name through over forty years of helicopter innovation.

GOMER: Working in the Gulf of Mexico - Part 2
Article, Photos, & Video by Lyn Burks

Gomer VideoIn my experience, if you would like to see how serious a helicopter operator is about safety, then look no further than its new hire or recurrent pilot training programs. On one hand, there are programs which barely meet the FAA minimums, with their training program loosely packaged between the covers of Part 135 Operations Specifications. On the other, there are operators who go beyond the OpSpecs and fill the training “tool box” with innovative techniques and dedicated people.

By Brad McNally - In 1957, Columbia Helicopters started with one helicopter flying primarily in Oregon.  That first year the company grossed $20,000.  Forty years later the company grossed $100 million (Bernstein, 2009).  Today Columbia Helicopters employs 700 people and has over 20 helicopters operating around the world.  The story of how Columbia Helicopters grew to be one of the premier heavy lift and heli-logging companies, operating the world’s only commercial tandem rotor helicopter fleet starts with its founder Wes Lematta.

Having been invited in to conduct a week’s worth of program evaluation and EVS training by Wojciech Wozniczka, the LPR Deputy Technical Director.  I had the sincere pleasure to work with this tremendously professional EMS group based out of Warsaw, Poland which had been founded in 2000.  The LPR was a result of the consolidation of several independent EMS units to form a single state (country) medical service with the ability to coordinate all care from one single location.

The Federal Aviation Administration announced on Oct 7, 2010, via a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM), sweeping new equipment and regulation changes in an effort to enhance the safety of all helicopter operations.  While this action has been expected for many months, there will no doubt be a great deal of debate and political wrangling before any changes are actually put into place.

Humor by Klank - One pilot skill that should be taught is dealing with the mechanic. This is some how neglected in the basic flight skills textbook. There was a great text going around a while back on “How to operate a helicopter mechanic”, but I feel that information was for the advanced pilot. Therefore I shall remedy the situation and write a basic piece that I feel should be inserted in your Pilot Operating Handbook.

Mechanic: Worker skilled in using tools, repairing machines, etc, Source - Webster.

Mechanic: Worker skilled in using tools, text, voodoo, threats, intimidation, profanity, pagers, cell phones, and determination, Source - Klank.

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