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Opinion-Editorial

As many of you know, I am passionate about safety and unreasonable regulatory and political initiatives, but I thought it might be nice to discuss my other passion — the people that make up this great industry of ours. Besides, if I think about regulations, legislation, politics, and life inside the Beltway too much, my head hurts, my stomach aches, and my brain turns to mush.

Mention maintenance and helicopter in the same sentence and you get another “M” word - more money.  Well okay, make that two “M” words.  However, complying with your maintenance requirements doesn’t have to mean writing a blank check and hoping for the best.

Helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) provide life-saving transports for the critically ill or injured. However, the rising number of U.S. HEMS accidents over the past decade is cause for serious questions as to their operational safety. For this reason a national effort is underway to reduce HEMS accidents.

From managers to maintainers to pilots to crewmembers, tablets and smartphones are rapidly working their way into the hands of the helicopter industry. Although the devices themselves are cool, it’s the even cooler apps designed for them that make us carry our mobile devices with us everywhere we go……including the cockpit.

Assaults on our industry have become interwoven into the very fabric that constitutes our daily activities. Don’t get me wrong, I welcome discussions on relevant issues such as safety and noise issues, and appreciate the opportunity to improve in these areas.

As a measure of something’s quality or worth you could safely use longevity as a yardstick.   I am lucky to own and fly a Robinson R-22 that has an early serial number.  N9015V was the 11th R-22 to roll off the assembly line in Torrance, California on January 19, 1980.  What makes this fact special to me is that I had been hired by Frank Robinson in 1979 to work for him as a mechanic. I was fresh out of A&P school and as green a helicopter mechanic as a Wenatchee apple.  Frank had me assigned to work with Dave Akamine who was one of the first mechanics at Robinson Helicopter Company.  Dave would try to keep me out of trouble.

When Rotorcraft Professional asked me to write a piece on how regulation influenced the simulator marketplace, I truly believed that it would be a relatively straightforward task. However, as I began to review the history, I found there was virtually nothing written until the 1960’s.

Advancements in technology and material make modern simulators more realistic and effective than ever. Regulating this new generation of synthetic training devices has also taken the first steps in keeping up with the changes. This article details some of the technology advancements in simulation and looks at the future of simulators as well.

It’s my third day in Vegas, and Heli-Success is over now, but I don’t want to leave the meeting room.  I’m hanging out as people are packing up the banners and booths and I’m saying goodbye to friends I probably won’t see again until Heli-Expo. When a suggestion is made to go grab a beer, my suitcase and I are the first ones there!
 

By Eli Navon - The Helicopter is really a bunch of parts flying in relatively close formation. Things work well until one of the parts breaks formation. Vibrations are one of the biggest enemies to he...
We fly the Enstrom 480B Story by Steve Goldsworthy Photos by Michael Everhart Never one to turn down an opportunity to both fly and eat on the same trip, I  headed out with some friends in a f...

Often times I hear stories of how a helicopter company in Florida charters a Jet Ranger for $550.00 an hour or so, and another company in Texas charters his A Star for $600.00 per hour and this has caused me to think, do these people really know their cost of operations and do they have a realistic break even point?

In the 1930s, a German engineer by the name of Heinrich Focke designed and built a cutting edge helicopter more practical and capable than anything previously developed.  This helicopter, the Fw 61, would shatter the existing helicopter world records and help set the standards of performance and control by which future helicopters would be measured.

Water, scenic coastlines and adventure – for many people Majorca, Spain is the ideal destination for their vacation. For some people the island is a place of work. The members of the crew of Rotorflug International are living the dream of flying in paradise.

Upon my return from flying helicopters in Vietnam, I was assigned as a flight and ground instructor at the U.S. Army flight school at Fort Rucker, Alabama. As military separation neared, I focused on securing a civilian job. With 10 pilots for each job, I made it tougher by limiting my search to my hometown, New York City. It took a while but I finally got a job and spent the next 40-plus years on a hell of a helicopter ride, which I would not trade for anything.

“In the wake of the wars, the (Iraqi) capability to launch and field helicopters was reduced to ashes,” said U.S. Army Col. Thomas J. Trossen, the former Chief of Army Aviation Division for U.S. Forces – Iraqi, Advising and Training Mission from July 2010 to July 2011. “It seems only fitting that the headquarters of the emerging Iraqi Army aviation force should be located at a place called Pheonix Base in the International Zone.”

By Mike Biasatti - How do you build trust among your crew? I’m always impressed when I ask one of the med crew a question that they don’t know the answer to, and instead of trying to BS me with some verbal gymnastics, they answer,  “I don’t know.” Those who are truly interested in building a strong sense of team will go one further and follow with, “I’ll find out and get back to you.”

By Matt Zuccaro - Over the 40-plus years that I have been in the helicopter industry, I—like many of you—have experienced the expression of negative comments from the public, elected officials and press regarding helicopter operations. A good part of my day at HAI involves my response to such comments. These thoughts are not limited to any particular helicopter activity or geographic area. Operations such as air tours, corporate flights, photography, ENG, and training are all targets. Not even EMS, firefighting or law enforcement are spared.

By Bob Barbanes - As many of you know, on Wednesday, April 27th a huge tornado buzz-sawed its way through the state of Alabama, leaving hundreds of people dead and thousands of people homeless.  It was not your typical tornado, in as much as once it touched down in the city of Tuscaloosa (in the western part of the state), it stayed stuck to the ground all the way northeast to the Georgia line and beyond.  The amount of destruction in its wake is astonishing.

By Matt Zuccaro -I am sure most of you are familiar with the various accident reduction efforts within the industry—be they Helicopter Association International, FAA, the International Helicopter Safety Team, Tour Operators Program of Safety, Airborne Law Enforcement Association or the European Helicopter Safety Team. The basic premise of these efforts is to reduce the number of accidents that occur within the helicopter community—either the aggregate number or those that involve fatalities.

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