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Los Angeles is known for many things:  beaches, skyscrapers, complex airspace, freeway chases and a lot of helicopter operators that support the tourist and broadcasting needs of the city.  But as we all should know, behind every good helicopter stands a solid MRO, and behind that MRO stand great mechanics.

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.

My motto has always been, “Have fun at work!”  To me, fun at work isn’t an oxymoron, a phrase that combines contradictory terms.  I suppose fun at work could be considered a contradiction in terms, like the classic Military Intelligence, or perhaps business ethics, or how about Microsoft Works or my favorite crash landing?  The thing is, if I’m not having fun at work there’s something that needs changing, and if it’s something within my control, I change it.

Looking at the front of the Rotortech Services facility, I have many thoughts. The first is, “WOW, what a nice facility.” The location is pretty amazing, but the structure itself is even more impressive. Looking past its pretty face, I also recognize that at the end of the day, a business is more that just a building.  It’s really about the people and services it provides to the industry.

Heli-Expo 2013 grew for the sixth straight year, setting a new record with an official attendance of 20,393.  And with more than 730 exhibitors and 60 helicopters from all over the globe, there was plenty to see and do. Over 27 educational courses were conducted with nearly 1000 attendees.

In December of 1994, a nor’easter sank the 450 foot motor vessel Salvador Allende in the North Atlantic.  Onboard the Ukrainian registered freighter were 31 crew members who were left stranded, battling for survival against 30 foot seas and 60 mile per hour winds.  The crew members were hundreds of miles away from land and the magnitude of the storm that sank the Salvador Allende prevented other ships from reaching the scene.

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...

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. and Boeing have signed a teaming agreement on Jan. 13, to submit a joint proposal in response to the U.S. Army Aviation Applied Technology Directorate solicitation for the Army’s Joint Multi-Role (JMR) Technology Demonstrator (TD) Phase 1 program

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. “

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...

Flare, level off, pull pitch and cushion the landing. With the low rotor horn blaring, the AS350 came to a sliding stop on the grass runway. We had just completed an autorotation to touch down. Dave Burchill, the American Eurocopter instructor pilot looked at me and said, “Here, why don’t you take the controls and try one?” In my 21-year career, I have never flown a Eurocopter product. My entire pilot life has been spent sitting in Robinson, Bell, Sikorsky and Agusta aircraft. The last 13 years have been in multi-engine helicopters. To say that I am rusty when it comes to autos is an understatement.

“Positivity” is the word that immediately springs to mind when I think of what my wife, Kaye, and I experienced at the fifth-annual HELISUCCESS conference that took place in Las Vegas, Nevada, in November.  Positivity…yep, that’s what it was and the feeling was palpable.

35 years ago, the only helicopter simulator training done was in the military and  it was used primarily for instrument qualification.  At that time, visual systems were in their infancy and the cost and complexity ruled out simulator use for most commercial customers. Today the use of flight simulators in helicopter training is booming.

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 ...
Robotic Resupply Unmanned K-MAX’s Afghanistan Demonstration By David Axe In early 2012, a Sikorsky CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter belonging to Marine Heavylift Squadron 363 out of Hawaii crashed i...
  On September 30th three more names were added to the growing number of air medical air crash survivors in America, when a CareFlite Agusta 109 helicopter had what was euphemistically described...

The fuselage was made partly of plywood beams. The tail cone was made of riveted magnesium. The rotor blades were a composite of fir and balsa wood, with a steel reinforcement bar down the leading edge. Powered by a vertically mounted 165-hp Franklin engine, Bell’s first helicopter, the Model 30, first flew in 1942.

Advancing technology is the double-edged sword in aviation. On one hand, technology improvements make us more efficient and situationally aware. On the other hand, just when you thought you were proficient using one technology, it changes. This tension is a boon for training providers, as they are always in demand to provide initial and recurrent training programs.

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