Posted 33 days ago ago by Admin
The ability to record video and capture awe-inspiring moments to share for many lifetimes to come has never been easier. The desire to capture such video evidence of our life experiences seems more exciting than the actual experience of living life itself. I too have peered through my phone’s screen to view an event that would happen only once in a lifetime thinking if my camera doesn’t capture the moment, it would be lost forever. Here’s a secret…often, the video doesn’t do the moment justice. Since you didn’t see it with your own eyes, the moment is truly lost.
The desire to capture the activities we are proud of and share with the multitudes makes sense. But what about those moments we don’t want the rest of the world to see? What about the things we did in our youth we would rather leave to those that lived to see those experiences in real time? And…what about those things we wish we had never done that are now affecting our jobs and livelihood?
There are some things we do in life, right or wrong, that are better left off camera. Video evidence of operating below regulatory minimums, landing in unapproved areas, or just doing something stupid can alter your chosen path in life. Providing evidence to the world that your decision making is flawed, trust is compromised, and narcissistic desires outweigh general common sense should be avoided.
Many platforms such as Facebook are available where a simple button click or two can change your life, and not in a good way! The ability to upload a video or photo and then seconds later make it available for the world stage to view is a very tempting opportunity. I must think that many of the videos’ pilots share of them conducting hazardous maneuvers or procedures, landing in prohibited areas, or operating near people and animals without regard to the safety of those around them were accidently posted. I just watch and think: “No one could be that stupid!”
The pilot is responsible for their actions in the cockpit, but not always for the video that captured the event. Passengers love to record flights and may engage the pilot to do a few maneuvers to make their helicopter experience more special. This provides a wonderful backdrop for a ‘watch-this’ moment. Bystanders also capture many videos from just being in the right place at the right time. Many FAA inquiries regarding a pilot’s questionable flight activities are initiated by a video or picture the pilot never knew existed.
As a pilot that participates in flight activities such as boat races, animal capture, and other low-level profiles, I’m very aware that all my activities will be captured on camera by someone and most likely will. I make sure that all aspects of the flight to include altitude, speeds, location, and other critical elements are on record within our office and documented prior to the flight. In other words, we plan, train, and then execute the profile. As a company, those pilots that conduct low-level flight profiles are trained in low-level emergency procedures. Additionally, personal protective equipment is worn as applicable to the environment. If a video is taken…awesome! We just hope it’s in focus.
Fly every flight like the FAA is watching because they could be. If you ever say to yourself, “I hope the FAA doesn’t find out about this.” STOP! Any further action or continuation on your part, well…it’s just plain stupid!
Randy Rowles has been a FAA pilot examiner for 20 years for all helicopter certificates and ratings. He holds a FAA Gold Seal Flight Instructor Certificate, NAFI Master Flight Instructor designation, and was the 2013 recipient of the HAI Flight Instructor of the Year Award. Rowles is the owner/president of Helicopter Institute.
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