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Human Interest

RPMN: What is your current position?

I’m the Director of Operations for the 129th Rescue Squadron, HH-60G Division, although I’ll soon be retired.

RPMN: Tell me about your first flight?

My first helicopter flight was in training at Fort Rucker, flying the Jet Ranger TH-67 as an Air Force student with the Army training cadre.  There was pressure to be cool about it, but I had a hard time hiding my excitement.  Actually, I was like a little kid.  Just hovering ten feet in the infield was by far the most exciting and challenging flight I have ever done.  I knew right away that flying helicopters was going to be my future.

My Two Cents Worth (April 2014 Issue)

by Randy Mains

I love aviation humor.  I love it because I’ve found it always carries an element of truth.  Consider the following homework assignment purported to have been written by a fifth grade student at Jefferson School, Beaufort, SC. entitled:

Why I want to be a Pilot

 When I grow up I want to be a pilot because it's a fun job and easy to do. That's why there are so many pilots flying around these days. Pilots don't need much school.

RPMN: What is your current position?

 I am a full-time flight nurse with the University of Cincinnati Medical Center’s Air Care & Mobile Care (ACMC).  I am also the Staff Development & Education Committee Chair, act as a primary preceptor to new staff, and serve as a coordinator for ACMC’s STEMI (a type of heart attack) program and Ride-Along program.

Meet a Rotorcraft Pro – Anthony Burson

RPMN: What is your current position?
I am the Chief Pilot of UTFlight, the flight department of United Technologies.  I am responsible for helicopter and fixed winged operations, both domestic and international. We have 36 pilots that operate a fleet of ten aircraft with bases in Hartford, Conn. and Charlotte, N.C. 

RPMN: Tell me about your first flight.
My first flight was in a Piper Super Cub that was owned by a family friend. I was ten years old and remember that I could not see out the front wind screen. The flight was only about 20 minutes long but I knew then that flying was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. 

My first helicopter flight was in a Hughes 500 at the age of 23. I was working as an A&P mechanic and had just been trained on how to do rotor track and balance. I was so excited in that first ride that I had a hard time concentrating on what I was doing.

Meet a Rotorcraft Pro – Henrik Bjorklund

RPMN: What is your current position?
I’m a saw pilot at Rotor Blade.

RPMN: What does Rotor Blade do?
We perform aerial sidewall trimming of utility line rights-of-way.  This is done with a ten-bladed saw that’s suspended below the aircraft.

RPMN: Tell me about your first flight.
It was my very first flight lesson at Bristow Academy in Florida.  I absolutely loved how the helicopter maneuvered through the air and the sensation of hovering; hanging motionless in the air was absolutely fantastic.  I had never been in a helicopter before I left Sweden and came to Bristow Academy, not even on the ground.  So, when my instructor asked if I wanted to do an autorotation I simply said, “Yeah, sure,” and was wondering what he was talking about.  I was in for a surprise.

Meet a Rotorcraft Pro Questionnaire – Kevin W. Nelson

RPMN: What is your current position?

I’m the founder, owner, president and ‘chief bottle washer’ of Nelson AeroDynamiX, Corp. and its division, Aero Alliance.  I am a contributing editor with Vertical magazine; so don’t tell them I’m on your pages!  I also work in a close affiliation relationship with Chase Aviation for giving a fresh, honest, thorough and informed service to buyers and sellers of helicopters as a “tag team,” doubling the value. (www.chaseaviation.com)

Meet a Rotorcraft Pro – Dean Springer

RPMN: What is your current position?

Presently, I guess you would say I am semi-retired, meaning, I have retired from my first career as a Senior Special Agent and former Customs Service Pilot after 20 years.  I no longer fly full-time, but fly relief or on-call by the day.  This is usually one-to-three days a week as needed in a Bell 206BIII, King Air B100, or Beechcraft Baron.

It appears the Australians put a higher value on patient safety than our FAA, NTSB and even Congress.  That’s a pretty strong statement, isn’t it?  Let me tell you how I arrived at that conclusion.

When my article “The Power of CRM” appeared in the August 2013 issue of Rotorcraft Pro my wife, Kaye, and I were in Australia, flown there by the Aeromedical Society of Australasia so that I could deliver two keynote speeches at their 25th scientific meeting of HEMS operators. 

My first keynote address was entitled “US Aeromedical Accidents – What can Australasian HEMS learn from our Mistakes?”  On the second day I delivered a keynote address entitled “CRM in Aeromedical Operations - Why CRM/AMRM (Air Medical Resource Management) is Absolutely Vital to HEMS Safety.” 

Meet a Rotorcraft Pro – Lyn Burks

What is your current position?
I am fortunate to wear several hats, which keeps things interesting.  I am the Owner / Developer of Justhelicopters.com and VerticalReference.com. I am the Co-Owner / Editor In Chief of Rotorcraft Pro Magazine.  I also produce the HeliSuccess Career Development and NightCon Night Vision Conferences. Additionally, although I no longer fly full time, I still fly as a contract pilot several days per month. I am current in the Agusta A109E and the Sikorsky S76 C+.

Meet a Rotorcraft Pro  – Adam Aldous

RPMN: What is your current position?
I am the President and CEO for Night Flight Concepts, Inc. where I oversee operations for our company.  I continuously set our corporate vision and business strategies that align with current and future business opportunities in NVG (Night Vision Goggles) related activities.

RPMN: What does Night Flight Concepts do?
Our company is a comprehensive NVG solution provider.  We specialize in premier NVG training and maintenance capabilities for all sizes and types of aviation organizations around the world.

CRM – The Last Line of Defense!

by Randy Mains

Imagine you’re an aviation doctor and you hold the cure to save lives in a deadly segment of helicopter aviation.  One day you learn that the FAA has finally mandated that all Part 135 operators must be administered this cure, or they cannot fly.  You gladly offer the cure, knowing it can save lives.  However, you soon discover that the parent (the helicopter company) of the patient (the flight crew) doesn’t want to give the full dose because of the added time and expense it takes to administer it.  So the helicopter company waters down the dose to near microscopic proportions, which satisfies the letter of the law, while successfully avoiding the spirit of the law.  But in their effort to save time and money, they render the cure totally useless.  It is my opinion that’s what’s happening in many HEMS programs.

RPMN: Tell me about your first flight.
My first flight was in an R-22 in beautiful Bend, Oregon.  I remember walking out to the helipad and being in utter shock at the size of these tiny helicopters!  After working as mechanic and flying as aircrew on MH60-Jayhawk helicopters in the Coast Guard for seven years, the downsize was truly astounding.  However, I was completely charmed… that is, until I found out I had to carry a cushion just to reach the yaw pedals.  Needless to say, my ‘glory’ moment was comically diminished.

On October 5, 2005, I was paired up with Parry Jameson in one of our patrol helicopters.  It was a Wednesday afternoon, around 3:00.  It was time for us to wind down and hand the baton to the night shift.

On our way back, Parry and I noticed that we were a little low on fuel.  We were almost over our base at Gillespie Field in El Cajon, getting ready to land, when we got a radio call.

Flying the V-22 Osprey is a dream I could not have imagined happening in my lifetime.  However, through a serendipitous meeting with Dr. Kevin Hutton, CEO of MedEvac Foundation International (the organization that sponsored me to be the keynote speaker at the Association of Air Medical Services, Air Medical Transport Conference) Kevin said he could arrange for me to ‘fly’ the Osprey simulator.  It was an invitation too good to pass up.

RPMN: How did you get started transporting helicopters?

WARGO:  Well the first airframe I, myself, transported was my sailplane.  I’d land out; we’d put it on a trailer and bring it back to the airport.  But as far as H. W. Farren goes, I started work here in 1989.  We moved big machinery back then; we didn’t really specialize in helicopter transport.

Badly thought-out ergonomics nearly got me killed in January 1969. As you may know, a segment of flight safety called ergonomics is the study of designing equipment and devices in the cockpit that fit the human body.  The incident occurred three months into my one-year tour as a UH-1H Huey pilot in Vietnam.  Ironically, it was my first real close brush with death over there, ironic because it didn’t come at the hand of a V.C. with an AK-47, or from an RPG (rocket-propelled grenade).  Instead, I nearly lost my life at the hand of the company instructor pilot who was checking me out in the Bell 205 while giving me my aircraft commander check ride.

RPMN: Tell me about your first flight.

VANDELAAR:  My first flight in a helicopter was in an R22 out of Troy, Michigan.  I went to take the age old intro-flight out of a local flight school in college.  We hovered over the skylight of a nearby mall, and quite frankly, it scared me.  It took me about two weeks to admit that, but I was really impressed with the machine, so I decided to take up training.

RPMN: What is your current position?

I’ve been with a major Part 135 helicopter operator for more than 31 years and recently volunteered for transfer to our GOM operations as a field mechanic.  Outside my day job, I also provide technical writing and research services through my side business, TEK Aviation LLC.

RPMN: What is your current position? SCHAAF: Chief Pilot, Fairfax County, Virginia Police Department.  I am retiring on March 22nd and starting a new job as VP - Operations at HAI in Alexandria...

Ma’a salama (“Farewell” in Arabic) signaled my final goodbye to the Middle East on January 31st 2013, ending 28 years of flying in the land of sand.  I feel fortunate to have been able to finish up my flying career as a flight simulator instructor and flight examiner in the Bell 412EP, operating from the CAE complex in Dubai where I trained and examined Airline Transport Pilots from more than 20 countries.  I felt it was time to go because a little micro switch in my head suddenly tripped signaling, “It’s time to give back. “

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