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Jun
05
2017

Meet A Rotorcraft Pro - Stan Rose

Posted by Admin

RPMN: When and how did you choose to fly helicopters? Or did they choose you? In 1968, shortly before high school graduation, a group of us were sitting around drinking beer. Around beer number three, my friend said to the group, “We are not going to get into college, are we?” Since there was still a college deferment from the draft and we were poor kids, we said “No.” After beer number four, he asked, “If we don’t get into college, we’re going to get drafted, aren’t we?” We said “Yes.” After beer number five, he said “If we get drafted, we are going to Vietnam, right?” We said, “yes.” After beer number six, he asked, “When we go to Vietnam, do you want to walk or do you want to fly?” I said, “I am too lazy to walk!” and he said, “Good, I made an appointment for us tomorrow with the Army recruiter. One of us had a medical deferment, another was color blind and he became an Army helicopter tech inspector, and three of us became helicopter pilots. None of us died in Vietnam. [Read More...]



Categories: categoryTraining categorySafety



May
30
2017

A Tremor in the Force

Posted by Admin

On December 22, 2016 a State District Court judge in Austin upheld a ruling, giving the State of Texas the right to regulate fees paid to air ambulances for transporting patients covered by Workers' Compensation Insurance. On the surface it doesn’t look like that ruling affects the American HAA (Helicopter Air Ambulance) industry, but it could prove to change the fabric of the industry. The ruling has the potential to create a negative ripple effect in our industry, if successfully argued and used as a precedent in other State class-action lawsuits currently filed against for-profit HAA providers. Air medical companies have legally operated under the umbrella of the 1978 Airline Deregulation Act. This Act was originally crafted to remove government control of airfares as a way to promote healthy competition. This gave the consumer a choice of which airline they patronize based on a price they would be willing to pay. Air ambulance patients do not have a choice -- and are not told what the air ambulance company will charge until after the transport, which is the core of the legal argument. In July 2015, over a dozen clients in Oklahoma City were billed thousands of dollars for an air ambulance transport. The clients asked a judge to certify a lawsuit as a class action, naming several air ambulance companies in that suit. The claim: “They’re making profit margins [of] in excess of 750%, huge profit margins they’re trying to get from the average public.” [Read More...]



Categories: categoryRegulatory categoryHelicopter Sectors



May
22
2017

Maximum Performance Takeoff…To Hover or Not to Hover?

Posted by Admin

Variations on the methods used to conduct a maneuver during a Checkride really isn’t that uncommon. However, lately one maneuver seems to have more variations than others, and in many cases, with the applicant not understanding why. The Maximum Performance Takeoff and Climb is seemingly a simple maneuver. It requires the pilot to perform a more vertical takeoff profile due to some obstacle that may be in the proposed takeoff path. Pre-takeoff planning is essential to include weight and balance, performance, and departure path; all critical to the safe, effective usage of this procedure. Each element is evaluated during the examination holistically so the Examiner may gain insight into the Aeronautical Decision Making (ADM), including Risk Assessment (RA) and Mitigation of the proposed departure. [Read More...]



Categories: categoryTraining



May
22
2017

For Aerial Firefighters, Much Accomplished, But Headwinds Looming

Posted by Admin

Throughout the past few years, privately-owned and -operated aerial firefighters have continued to demonstrate their rapid response to the nation’s most destructive wildland fires, due largely to ongoing investments—with their own funds—in newer, more capable aircraft. Many, in fact, are operating under US Forest Service (USFS) exclusive use, multi-year contracts that have helped to put the industry on a pathway to modernization. For example, the fixed-wing operators of large air tankers are moving from USFS “Next Gen 2.0 contracts” issued in 2016, toward “Next Gen 3.0” contracts that will be awarded in 2017 and implemented in 2018. By that year, the Next Gen 3.0 contracts mandate the complete transition from legacy, World War II and Korean War Era piston-engine aircraft, to newer, turbine-powered equipment. For the industry, this is a major accomplishment, considering that only six years ago there were no modern large tankers, while today there are 21. The USFS has a stated goal of a fleet of 22-28 new generation tankers, and the contractual vehicles are in place to meet that. [Read More...]



Categories: categoryHelicopter Sectors



May
16
2017

The Rising Capabilities of Columbia Helicopters

Posted by Admin

Columbia Helicopters’ inception came from the vision of Wes Lematta, while sitting in a foxhole in the Philippines during WWII watching fighter pilots fly overhead. Wes knew those pilots were headed back to a hot shower and hot food, and thought, “Wow...they really got this figured out!” Following the war, he drove a truck and worked as a longshoreman until he heard there was a need for helicopter pilots. Using his GI Bill educational benefits, he learned to fly from Dean Johnson in McMinnville, Oregon. Wes then started Columbia Helicopters in 1957 with one helicopter and a plan to promote the versatility of helicopters. “And he did just that,” states Steve Bandy, Sr. Vice President of Operations. He goes on to say, “While flying personnel to a dredge off the coast of Oregon, Wes spotted another dredge (William T. Rossell) that was sinking. The damaged dredge had been struck by a freighter at the mouth of Coos Bay and there were people on it needing to be rescued. Wes single-handedly saved 15 crew members’ lives that day by hovering close to the sinking ship, allowing the crew members to grab onto the skids, and returning them safely to shore”. This incident changed Wes Lematta’s vision of what helicopters were capable of doing. [Read More...]

Columbia_Firefighting_00_OPENER.jpg  Columbia_Firefighting_01-(1).jpg  Columbia_Firefighting_02.jpg  Columbia_Firefighting_03.jpg  Columbia_Firefighting_04.jpg  Columbia_Firefighting_05.jpg  Columbia_Firefighting_06.jpg 

Categories: categoryCompany Profiles



May
08
2017

Lockheed Martin Combines UAVs, Optionally-Piloted Helicopters to Fight Fires

Posted by Admin

For those brave hearts who do not associate optionally-piloted helicopters and UAVs with The Terminator movies’ computer-controlled human-hunters, the idea of using unmanned aircraft to help people makes good sense. Apparently the engineers at Lockheed Martin are not haunted by visions of Skynet; at least not while on the job. This is because Lockheed Martin recently proved just how powerful a team of UAVs and ‘optionally manned’ helicopters can be for fighting fires and rescuing people. Specifically, the company staged a demonstration on November 8, 2016 which showed that a quartet of UAVs and optionally-manned, autonomously-controlled helicopters can perform effectively in the location and airborne attack of fires, followed by airlifting personnel from the fire scene – all without having an actual firefighter at the scene. (For the record, an autonomously-controlled helicopter combines the aircraft’s own suite of onboard sensors and flying control modes with human-directed flight plans, mission instructions and direct interventions; usually done from a remote location using the aircraft’s visual and other real-time sensor data to inform the human pilot.) [Read More...]

KAMAN_firedrop.jpg  KAMAN_Matrix.jpg  UAT_bucket.jpg  UAT_Matrix.jpg  UAT.jpg 

Categories: categoryHelicopter Sectors



May
01
2017

Executive Watch - Jim Rankin CEO, Columbia Helicopters

Posted by Admin

As President and CEO for Columbia Helicopters, an aircraft manufacturing and operator company based in Aurora, Oregon, Jim Rankin has a strong passion for what he does every day. Jim comes from an extensive, 25-year background in the airline industry and finds the change to the rotary wing industry exciting. Roads Much Traveled Jim ventured into aviation when he was studying business as an undergraduate at Carroll College, a small liberal arts school in the State of Wisconsin. In his senior year at Carroll, IBM hired him to work full-time in the summer and part-time during the school year. While finishing college and working for IBM, Jim began taking flying lessons and received his pilot’s license the day after he graduated from college. That set the path for where his career would eventually take him. “I stayed at IBM for a time but really fell in love with flying, so I ended up leaving about six months later and going to flight school full-time earning my commercial, instrument and CFI licenses, and then started instructing.” Not long after, Jim landed his first airline job where he flew Beechcraft 1900s for Skyway Airlines, and eventually became Chief Pilot and Director of Operations. Jim accepted a pilot position with Skyway’s parent company, Midwest Express Airlines and flew to many East Coast cities like Boston, New York, Washington, Orlando, and Atlanta, and some West Coast destinations such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Las Vegas. After upgrading to Captain on the MD-80, he learned that Skyway, the Midwest subsidiary airline he initially started his flying career with, was looking for a president, “…and they asked me if I would go over there on an interim basis while they began a search for a new president. After about 6 months, they asked if I wanted to take the president’s position full-time. I had found that I really enjoyed the business aspects of aviation, so I gladly agreed. Since I had made captain on the MD-80s, I felt I had accomplished what I wanted to do on the flying side and I saw a new and interesting career direction managing airlines. Having a more normal schedule was also appealing as my wife and I were just starting our family.” It was at this juncture in his career that Jim went back to graduate school and received his MBA – 10 years after he’d started as a first officer on the Beech 1900. In 2006, Jim joined Air Wisconsin Airlines, an American Eagle carrier, as CEO. Air Wisconsin started as a branded airline in the 60’s, but over time, it had turned into a fee-for-departure airline. ”When I came onboard, they were flying for US Airways, and after US Airways merged with American, we became an American Eagle carrier flying roughly 500 flights a day mostly on the East Coast. I stayed there from 2006 until I came to Columbia Helicopters in 2014.” [Read More...]



Categories: categoryCompany Profiles



Apr
25
2017

2017 Salary Survey Report

Posted by Admin

In it’s third year, Rotorcraft Pro’s annual U.S. Pilot Salary & Benefits Survey was initially launched in an effort to monitor and report trends on the salaries of pilots in the industry. Traditional surveys were sent directly to employers via snail-mail in ballot form, then collected and tabulated. This old method did provide interesting results, but because employers are reluctant to reveal the exact salaries and benefits they provide, the sampling could be rather small and probably wasn’t always representative of the larger whole. Modern web technologies have given us the ability to survey actual pilots and their employers thus generating more participation throughout the industry. As in previous years, this year’s survey had excellent participation and we have obtained some of the latest information on helicopter pilots: ~ What are their qualifications? ~ What do they fly? ~ In what sector do they fly? ~ What ratings do they have? ~ How much do they make? ~ What type benefits do they receive? We think you’ll find the answers to these questions revealing. The goal was for Rotorcraft Pro to interact with our readers in the industry by focusing on two main questions: ~ How much do helicopter pilots make within the industry? ~ How much are you worth? [Read More...]



Categories: categoryCareer Development



Apr
18
2017

Surviving After the Crash

Posted by Admin

Helicopter crashes can happen on any kind of flight, including short corporate helicopter jumps from city to city. “Let’s say you are flying from Toronto to Ottawa, Canada,” said David Arama, director of the WSC Survival School in Cloyne, Ontario, and author of the new survival book, ‘How To Start a Fire With Water’. “This is an hour-long flight path that passes over Algonquin Provincial Park: If your helicopter goes down there, you need to be prepared to survive in a wilderness situation!” Similar risks exist for American pilots flying across natural preserves and forested mountains; even in the heavily urbanized Eastern Seaboard. Add the post-crash challenges of unexpectedly landing on water – risks that exist even for helicopters hopping across New York City – and planning to survive after a crash should be a priority for all helicopter pilots. Unfortunately, “90 percent of helicopter pilots do not take survival preparations seriously,” said Arama. “They often fly with inadequate safety training and equipment; lacking anything beyond a car-quality first aid kit, and not knowing if their aircraft’s Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) is functioning properly. Should a crash occur, these pilots are utterly unprepared to survive until help arrives -- especially if they land in an hard-to-access area in bad weather where assistance can take days to get through.” [Read More...]

AfterCrash_01.jpg  AfterCrash_02.jpg  AfterCrash_03.jpg  AfterCrash_04.jpg  AfterCrash_05.jpg 

Categories: categorySafety categoryTraining



Apr
10
2017

Meet a Rotorcraft Pro: Simon Jones

Posted by Admin

RPMN: In your view, what is the greatest challenge for the helicopter industry at this moment in time? I thought about this for a while and came up with a number of different things, but decided on this: If you look at the statistics for helicopter accidents, it's normally a low percentage that are caused by mechanical issues. To me, this means that you can trace the other accidents to a decision that the pilot made at some point. Even if it's weather related, the pilot still chose to fly. I always try to fly with that in the back of my mind. It means that, for the most part, you are in control of your own destiny. This is a good thing but won't be the moment you forget it. Remember, if something goes wrong today, it's probably because of a decision you made! [Read More...]



Categories: categoryCareer Development categoryHuman Interest


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