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Recent Articles

Human Interest

RPMN: What is your current position? I am the Vice President/General Manager of the ERA Training Center located in Lake Charles, Louisiana. I have the pleasure of working with the Era Training Depa...

RPM: Ray, how did you get your start as an aerodynamicist?

Ray: I really started when I was growing up, building model airplanes. First it was airplane kits and then I wanted to start designing my own! I went to college at Washington State College for mechanical engineering, and then transferred to University of Washington because they had an aerodynamics course.

SALUTE TO MY INSTRUMENT INSTRUCTORS Randolph P. Mains I vividly remember my very first flight in ‘real’ instrument meteorological conditions (IMC).  It scared me to death.  It occurred i...
  By Lyn Burks RPMN: What is your current position? I am a test pilot for Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation. I currently conduct production and completion test flights of Sikorsky S-76 and S-92...
When I took a job with Abu Dhabi Aviation (ADA) I felt I’d come full circle in my aviation career. As if returning to the womb where it all began at 21-years-old when I flew helicopters in Vietnam in ...

Three huge Nigerians rushed forward and mobbed Dave. A sack was pulled over his head and he was bundled quickly away from the bar and into a waiting minivan. One of the Nigerians began wildly firing his AK above the heads of the others as a warning to stay back and Dave found out later that the guard outside the bar had been held at gunpoint while they made their abduction. The whole thing was over in less than a minute and Dave was now being driven at speed away from the township, and was getting a few punches and kicks from his captors as they showed they meant business. 

GY: I do remember my first flight!  I was eight years old when my uncle flew my mom and me from New Mexico to our home in Texas.  It was a bit cramped in that J-3 Cub, but I can still see the view from the cockpit today.  I had two uncles with J-3 cubs, so I think they spilled avgas in my veins.  My first helicopter flight was in a Bell model 47 at Six Flags over Texas in Arlington, Texas—and that was the hook that could only be satisfied by learning to fly!

I’m not sure I remember my first flight, I grew up flying with my father who was a pilot for Ford Motor Company. We flew fast freight out of Detroit in the mid-60’s and early 70’s with one of his friend’s cargo companies, so he was able to share his love of aviation with my brother and me.  My first Army helicopter flight in training was an interesting exercise made up of two components.  One, how much of a huge field I could try to crash in while, two, at the same time trying to keep the shiny side up.

Rotorcraft Pro: How did you get your start in helicopters?

In the US Army, I started in 1964 in Vietnam. But my dad was a pilot for Eastern Airlines, and we lived in Connecticut near Bradley field which is where some of the early Sikorsky and Kaman helicopter test facilities were located. I grew up watching those helicopters being tested.

Since 1999, the WFF has provided emergency support services, including financial assistance and immediate and ongoing emotional support, to over 150 families of firefighters seriously injured or killed in the line of duty.  The WFF recognizes pilots and other aviation crews as wildland firefighters when they are involved with fire suppression and management duties.

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.

On May 20 1969 I flew a routine mission that turned into a living nightmare. That's how combat flying is. It shifts from the mundane to the horrendous most often when you least expect it. This particular memory has become part of me. I have relived the mission hundreds of times in my mind. It is as clear to me now as if it had happened yesterday.
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...

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.

The World Record Helicopter Team, based in Murrieta CA, has set a new world speed record from San Diego CA to Savannah/Hilton Head GA and back. Flying a Robinson R44 Raven II, the four-man team departed from Brown Field on September 17, 2011 when the race clock started at 7:28AM. 

By Brad McNally - Today, helicopters conduct a wide variety of missions in all corners of the world. However, this wasn’t always the case. It took many dedicated people to transform the helicopter from its meager beginnings, to the reliable and capable aircraft that it is today. There were many talented engineers who designed them, craftsman who built them and test pilots who flew them. 

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.

There is a crucial link between the many great aeronautical engineers and talented mechanics that have made rotary wing flight possible and the pilots who have maximized the unique capabilities of the helicopter. This link is the helicopter test pilot.  The test pilot is the one who shows what the aircraft is capable of, pushes it to define its limits and provides the feedback necessary for the engineers to refine the design.

Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. company announced the Bell Helicopter “Heroes of Aviation" Series, which pays tribute to the men and women who preserve freedom and save lives while using Bell Helicopters.

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.
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