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Recent Articles

Why helicopters are better than women.... By JH Visitor

· Helicopters don’t object to a pre-flight inspection.
· Helicopters can be turned on at any time, just by the flick of a switch.

Water Drops By Ken Carlton

Dropping water on a fire is nothing new. I'm sure the cave men knew how to do it; it's just that fire fighting with a helicopter has elevated and complicated the art. Water gets expensive when picked and dropped by a helicopter. Fighting a large fire is more expensive yet.

Understanding the Hiring Process! By Lyn Burks

As published in Rotorcraft Professional Magazine December 2008

So here you are, a Helicopter CFII who has been teaching in the "training bubble" for the last eighteen months and now you are bucking your first job in the real world of working helicopters. Or, perhaps you are transitioning out of Military flying and into the Civilian market. In either case, you may be looking for a little insight into what the general hiring process is like.

The UN-Official JH Forum Posting Checklist By A JH Visitor

The forum at JH can be a rough and tumble place to exchange ideas. The following is a humorous "poke" at the Forum of Justhelicopters.com. It was submitted by a JH Visitor.

The Life of an EMS Pilot (emergency medical services) By Dan Lassner

I became an EMS pilot last July. This is a short story of what I went through.

I was trained to fly helicopters in the Army at Fort Wolters , Texas (Hillers) and Fort Rucker Alabama in 1971. I learned to fly helicopters in Viet Nam in 1972 (C Troop(AIR)/ 16th Cavalry/Darkhorse11). I learned I didn't care for the peace-time Army at Fort Knox in 1973.

The Life of an Army Helicopter Pilot by CW3 BERNIE SMITH, US ARMY

I offer this article as an Army UH-60 Blackhawk pilot since 1990, therefore my views are that of the Army and not any other Service. I will give information as accurate as I can. Pilots of other Army aircraft may disagree on some details, such as the Blackhawk being the finest helicopter ever produced. Thanks Igor.

The Life of a Test Pilot by SHAWN COYLE

Test Pilot Background

The first thing that has to be made clear is that Test Pilot refers to Research and Development, Certification or Engineering flight testing. The US Army has a course they call the Test Pilot course, but it should be more properly called the 'Post Maintenance Check Pilot (PMCF) course. The two are completely different.

Offshore Flying in the Gulf of Mexico by Stan Grossman

What We Do
Helicopters have been serving the oil industry for over fifty years. From humble beginnings they've become an indispensible component in the support of offshore oil and gas production. At last count the Gulf of Mexico oil field employed some 600 helicopters. The great majority of offshore flying involves transporting personnel and cargo to and from the specialized vessels, drilling rigs, production platforms, and pipeline terminals where the work of producing oil and natural gas is done. We're also often tasked to patrol pipelines for signs of leaks or damage. There's an occasional requirement to sling a load, but very infrequently and almost never with a long line.

The in's and out's of becoming a Firefighting Pilot

So, you're interested in flying fires? You want to know how to go about it, and what to expect, but all the different terms, requirements, and conditions are confusing. This article is meant to help answer your questions. It applies specifically to pilots, but you can find references and requirements for maintenance personnel and fuel truck drivers in the Interagency Call-When-Needed (CWN) Contract reference shown below.

The Big Fire by Ken Carlton

As you well know this year has been an active and dangerous fire season. Four USFS Fire Fighters were killed in Washington and two CDF pilots killed in California. The only difference in combat helicopter flying and helicopters fighting fire is we're not getting shot at now. We tried to hit them hard and keep them small, and for the most part that worked. We all worked hard, but no summer fire season is really complete until you've had the "Big Fire."


Recommended Altitudes
Except on the Meadowland Route, helicopters are requested to use at least 1000 feet MSL as long as possible for arrival and as soon as possible for departures. Helicopters using the Meadowlands Route should maintain 500 feet MSL and 1000 MSL when advised by Air Traffic Control.

Shoot-out at the Corner Bar!
("Fearless" and Me Get the Short End of the Stick!) by Dorcey (Captain Methane) Wingo

'Long about nine o'clock in the mornin' me and "Fearless" Dougie Farfel pulled up to the dusty entrance at the front of the Corner Bar. The dust cloud we sucked along under our outfit's Ford pickup followed us on into the open door and billowed like thousands of tiny stars as we stood framed in the shaft of early morning light.

Renters Insurance by Jon Keller


I cannot find an insurance company that sells non-owner helicopter coverage. How can I protect myself when renting a helicopter or flying someone else’s helicopter?

Will the FAA still issue a Private Pilot certificate based on a foreign pilot’s previous experience? by Randy Rowles

The answer is… well that depends! In the past, the FAA would issue a Private Pilot certificate on the spot if a foreign pilot made application at the local FSDO. In July of 2002 the FAA instituted a program that changes FAR 61.75. The FAA plans to verify all foreign pilot certification prior to issuing or allowing any certification actions, i.e. a practical test, etc based on that certification.


Otto Rowe-Tate's Excellent Aeronautical Library by Otto Rowe-Tate

From time to time questions are posted in the forum here at Just Helicopters that deal with aerodynamics, performance, or some other technical aspect of helicopters. While I enjoy answering them, as I am sure others do as well, we sometimes end up spoon feeding our youth – something which I have been chided for, and perhaps rightly so at times. Simply admonishing someone to look something up for themselves can, however, be useless advice. While there are plenty of sources of information out there, people just entering into aviation (and some who have been at it a while) may not be aware of them. With that in mind, I have compiled a list of books and internet sites that both beginning and experienced pilots will find helpful.

 OAS Carded Vendor Helicopter Pilot Requirements by OAS Department of Interior

Vendor Pilot-in-Command (PIC) Helicopter. Pilots shall meet the PIC requirements of 14 CFR 135 and the following for helicopter VFR and IFR operations. All PIC time listed below listed below shall be in helicopters.


Musings of an unknown helo driver... by Author Unknown

Anything that screws its way into the sky flies according to unnatural

You never want to sneak up behind an old, high-time helicopter pilot and clap your hands. He will instantly dive for cover and most likely whimper...then get up and smack you.


MILITARY to Civilian Flying. Advice on making the jump by Anonymous Visitor

At the request of many JH visitors, we have extracted this post from the forum as a resource for those in need of some advice on making the transition from Mlitary to Civilian flying. The post was made anonymously.

...I have a few words for those who are trying to start a civilian flying career.

While few places can match the truly amazing collection of aviation history that is on display at the Smithsonian National Air Space Museum, those with a particular interest in rotary wing flight might be left wanting a little more after a visit to the Smithsonian. Luckily there are some great aviation museums scattered around the country that, while not as large individually as the National Air and Space Museum, collectively hold an equally impressive amount of aviation history.

...I have a few words for those who are trying to start a civilian flying career.

You should understand I'm a twenty-year retiree who served in two AD branches, plus the National Guard. So if you're smart, you'll listen, because I'm going to talk to you out of actual experience.

The most important thing I can say to you is: Stay in the military until you can retire. Having a pension is the difference between poverty and worry-free living in this industry. If you are really smart, you will bank your flight pay and live off your base pay.

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