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After reviewing the new FAA rules unveiled this past February, I can’t help thinking the agency missed a golden opportunity to include a rule that would have significantly reduced the appalling accident rate seen over the past 35 years in our helicopter air ambulance industry

My Two Cents Worth

by Randy Mains

Here’s a question for you:  What’s the difference between a $14 million full-motion, level D flight simulator and a $500 couch?  As I was to find out, the answer to that question is … not a lot.

In the January 2014 issue of Rotorcraft Pro, there were several very well written and informative articles about flight simulators.  Lyn Burks, the editor-in-chief of Rotorcraft Pro, had written an article about his experience flying a S76 C+ flight sim at the CAE training center in Whippany, New Jersey.  Ryan Mason wrote an insightful article entitled “Trends in Helicopter Simulation.”  Reading those two articles reminded me of the couch, and what a wonderful training tool it is.

Perceptions of Safety
By Scott Skola


    Safety, safety, safety … with the full court press on safety these days, you would think that the rotorcraft industry would be at that much-revered “zero incidents and accidents” goal by now.  Unfortunately, we’re not.
 
    When you get down to it, what is safety?  Is it just an analytical state of mind, with a bunch of numbers and ratios proving its success?  Or does it also have a philosophical side, where perception and beliefs play a part in safety success?  The short answer—it’s both.  So, if a company wants no incidents and accidents—and every employee goes to work with the intention of not causing an incident or accident—why do we continue to come up short? 

My Two Cents Worth (Rotorcraft Pro February 2014 Issue) by Randy Mains

What does it mean to you to be a professional?  With that thought in mind, do you possess the attributes of a professional?  What do you think are essential qualities of a true professional?  Conversely, what qualities would you consider to be found in someone who is not a professional?  Considering what it takes to be professional – and unprofessional – will make you aware of what we all strive to be: a true professional in our chosen occupation.

By Ryan Mason By all indications, the helicopter simulation industry is booming.  With the steady introduction of new helicopter models from several manufacturers, the simulation equivalents o...

VA Benefits & Helicopter Training
By Heidi McBride

Having the opportunity to use our VA benefits to pay for professional helicopter flight training is, for many of us Veterans, an incomprehensible dream come true. Using the Post-9/11 GI Bill can genuinely pay for 100% of your fight training, pay for your books and supplies, and provide a reasonable housing stipend. There are, however, many crucial factors to consider before you blindly pick a flight school and jump in feet first. More than one veteran has chosen too hastily and regretted their choice of school once they became aware of all the options available to them.

My Two Cents Worth - Randy Mains

Wouldn’t it be great if there were a big fat red warning light on the instrument panel that would illuminate whenever we were putting our passengers and ourselves in harm’s way?  Well there is, but it’s not on the instrument panel – it’s in your head.

Research has shown that nearly 80% of all aircraft accidents in history have had an element of human error, which means it isn’t stick-and-rudder skills that are killing people – bad pilot decision-making is killing people.

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.” 

Aviation Specialties Unlimited
Night Vision – Business Vision
Article, Photos & Video by Lyn Burks


Helicopter flight training wearing Night Vision Goggles (NVG) is as exciting and interesting as any other new skill or technique that can be learned in a helicopter.  It’s right up there with learning touchdown autorotations!  The one and only buzzkill is that, as the name of the device suggests, you must be using them at night.  It’s all fun and games --- until your flight-training block is from 0200 – 0400.

White Hot: Adding a Thermal View with EVS
By Rick Adams

I was driving on the turnpike through western Massachusetts a number of years back, enroute to Boston, and the fog was thick. I should have pulled off and waited for better conditions, but I had a hotel reservation for that night and appointments the next morning. So I followed the only visual aids I had – the stripes on the side of the road and the taillights of the car in front of me. If the car ahead had gone off a cliff, well …

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.

Transitioning from the military to college can be challenging, at least it was for me. After completing my military service, I struggled with getting started on the next step toward fulfilling my education goals. I first enrolled in an online program, but the courses did not really interest me. I soon discovered that without excitement about the subject matter there was no motivation to continue. The only thing I was certain about is that I didn’t want to become one of those statistics about military veterans who don’t use their GI Bill benefits.

Nothing brings a productive day to a screeching halt quicker than a broken aircraft. At the very core of getting the anomaly identified and corrected is that initial interaction between the mechanic and pilot.

By following a few simple suggestions you can fine tune these early communications, improve troubleshooting efficiency, and get the aircraft back online sooner.

Fire Academy Brings Together Regional Helicopter Community with Unique Training Program
By Lyn Burks

It’s no secret that certain parts of the Midwest U.S. are a hotbed of helicopter activity, and Ohio is no exception. This is especially true when it comes to sectors like EMS, Law Enforcement, and Electronic News Gathering (ENG), where a variety of helicopters, from a variety of operators are literally operating in the back yards of the communities they serve.

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.

By Lyn Burks, Jessica Parker, and Nick Mayhew Remember the days when only those “high-fallutin” multi-engine helicopter drivers had the chance to train in helicopter simulators. For years, only pilot...
By Matt Johnson - It was another morning of “ground school” with the “perfect” student. Not to worry! This isn’t a riveting account of a nightmare! As planned, I met my eager student at a local restau...
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...

Since the first successful civilian helicopter rescue November 29, 1945 few fundamental changes have occurred in the way basic search and rescue is conducted.  There’s still a helicopter pilot, still someone maneuvering the hoist with the rescue “basket,” and either one or two rear crewmen aiding the victim and supporting the operation.

Night flight usage and technology have grown exponentially in the past few years and the dilemma from FAA mandate to have a minimum of 2 crewmembers for NVG flight operations below 300’ AGL has evolved as well. There are two general sides taken in this discussion. The first is the belief that NVG operations can be conducted safely with only the pilot using NVGs, while others believe that NVG flight operations below 300’ AGL is a multi-crew task. Each side of the discussion believes the alternative to be undesirable. In this article, we will take an objective look at this issue.

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