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Nov
28
2022

Rotorcraft Checkride…Thank You!

Posted 73 days ago ago by Admin

When Lyn Burks approached me with the opportunity to develop a column in Rotorcraft Pro magazine titled Rotorcraft Checkride, I really wasn’t sure if I was the right person for the job. My initial thought was to pass on the opportunity and allow a much better writer to handle the task. Lyn assured me that he had confidence in my ability to engage their readership in a meaningful manner and so I accepted his offer. Here we are 8 years later and I’m sad to say it’s time to pass the torch.

Early in the development of the Rotorcraft Checkride column, we placed emphasis on specific maneuvers or issues related to the conduct of an FAA pilot evaluation. Over time, we took more of a root cause perspective on weaknesses found within the helicopter training industry and wrote about those opportunities. In many cases, reader feedback provided direct mentorship by myself and others to pilots and mechanics that needed those touchpoints of information most.

There was never a subject that I was asked to avoid due to industry politics or fear of upsetting an advertiser. Lyn never limited my subject matter, which may have caused the magazine to receive pressure from regulators or others. For that freedom I will always be appreciative.

Many of the same points discussed in the Rotorcraft Checkride column over the years still plague our industry. Our accident rate has improved within the helicopter training segment, but we have much more improvement to be made. We have focused our efforts on subjects such as autorotations and Vortex Ring State (VRS) to name a few. However, have we contributed to sterilizing pilots proficiency on these subjects by creating fear versus education?

With written word comes the complex and often difficult requirement to provide correct context on the subject matter. This is the most challenging aspect of managing and feeding the Rotorcraft Checkride column. Pilots are trained on a global scale with many nuance differences in terminology or procedural process that makes differing opinions a reality. For this column, we have always provided a direct path for the reader to engage the writer to facilitate discussions and debates on controversial subject matters. This is the beauty of the Rotorcraft Checkride column!

As this is my final installment for Rotorcraft Checkride, I would like to say thank you to all the readers that have engaged with me over the years regarding training subjects that mattered to them. Additionally, allowing me to aid in the mentorship of so many careers was the highlight of this entire opportunity.

My friend and colleague Matt Johnson will be taking over the Rotorcraft Checkride column in January. You will not find a more dedicated, passionate educator in the industry. I truly look forward to watching Matt make Rotorcraft Checkride his own providing subject matter to help make you a safer pilot.

So, to all the Rotorcraft Checkride readers past and present, I say Thank You!       

About Randy: 
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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