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Jun
20
2016

FAA Updated Guidance: Almost Lost in Translation

Posted by Randy Rowles

Beginning last year, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released several training-related guidance updates. These releases included advisory circulars, a national policy notice, and most recently, the Flight Instructor Helicopter Practical Test Standards (PTS). In several of my previous training articles, I referred to subject matter affected by the release of this new guidance. I would now like to review a few of the specific documents released by the FAA and provide an overview of how changes may affect you. [Read More...]



Categories: categoryRotorcraft Checkride



Jun
20
2016

The Evolution of CRM by Randy Mains

Posted by Randy Mains

In the 1960s and ‘70s a disease seemed to strike the airline industry that caused airliners to crash for no known reason. NASA called a “Resource Management on the Flight Deck” workshop that identified human error as the main cause of several high-profile accidents. NASA’s research uncovered that from 1968 to 1976 there were 60 airliners that crashed due to elements of human error. Researching back further through the Boeing archives to 1940, NASA discovered that four out of five accidents—80 percent—had an element of human error. Since that workshop, six generations of CRM have emerged. [Read More...]



Categories: categoryMy Two Cents Worth



May
23
2016

Attitude…The Key to Safety and Success!

Posted by Randy Rowles

When I entered the helicopter industry, I was eighteen years old with very little insight into the complexities of the real world. I held an FAA certificate that told the world I was a helicopter pilot; however, it was apparent that my peers viewed me as nothing more than a kid with a new hobby. It took years to garner the respect of the seasoned pilots I had come to know. With time, I was afforded opportunities to grow and learn from industry leaders that took an interest in me. In retrospect, I often wondered “why me”? [Read More...]



Categories: categoryRotorcraft Checkride



May
23
2016

Wishy Washy

Posted by Randy Mains

Of the ten aircraft commanders in my platoon in Vietnam it was generally agreed upon by the other peter pilots that Bernie Nivens was the most difficult aircraft commander to fly, mainly due to the fact that he’d been in Vietnam five months and shot down twice giving rise to his nickname “Magnate Ass”. [Read More...]



Categories: categoryMy Two Cents Worth



May
23
2016

ROTORwrench…Tips, Tricks, and Info - May 2016

Posted by Scott Skola

Unfortunately, we start this month off on a terrible note. A North Sea aircraft loses its M/R head and blades in flight. While not the first time this has happened, it’s the first time I’ve seen a video of the head/blades spinning down without a helicopter below it. Enough said. [Read More...]



Categories: categoryROTORwrench



Apr
25
2016

ROTORwrench…Tips, Tricks, and Info - April 2016

Posted by Scott Skola

Looks like the old B model…well, not exactly old…nor a true B…but at least it has a 206 M/R on it…any hoots…the Bell 505 looks to close in on 400 total orders this year. I guess you can say it’s pretty in its own way. I wish them luck. Truth be told, when they stopped production on the Bell 206B, I did shed a tear or two. I had cut my rotorwing teeth on a B model. The good old days of cable operated rotorbrakes, and pan floats you could pack in your sleep. But, then again I also liked the SA315B, BO-105 and triple deuce. [Read More...]



Categories: categoryROTORwrench



Apr
25
2016

Auto-tribulations

Posted by Francis Meyrick

This time I turned up with a very different attitude. Gone were the doubts. In their place was a lot more confidence. Confidence in the helicopter. Confidence in me. Oh, there were still doubts. And still, a certain amount of fear. I didn't like autorotations. MY instructor told me I would end up loving them. Maybe. But I didn't right then. Looking back on it, I think my understanding of the aerodynamic principles of autorotation was not matched by my confidence in the blessed principle working. It sounds so simple. In powered flight, all normal, the engine powers the rotor system, via the transmission. Airflow is "induced" down through the rotor disc. Okay, happy-happy. Now, gremlins. What happens if the engine goes tiddley-up AWOL? As in Kaputt, seized, broke, busted, knackered? We simulate that in autorotation training. We lower the collective lever, that looks like a really old fashioned vintage hand brake, and roll the throttle off. Sadistic instructors enjoy doing this to petrified students. I'm sure they torture kittens as well. [Read More...]



Categories: categoryMoggy's Musings



Apr
25
2016

The Coin Toss

Posted by Randy Rowles

We’ve all been there. Flying with our student during the test prep phase of the training lifecycle, confirming what we set out to do so many hours before. That is, to present the FAA a qualified, proficient pilot applicant who is capable of exceeding all test standards set before them. You’ve done this many times before; it’s just a walk in the park. So you walk through your FAA exam checklist to verify nothing has been missed: [Read More...]



Categories: categoryRotorcraft Checkride



Apr
25
2016

Voice for the Voiceless

Posted by Randy Mains

It certainly wasn’t my intention to be on drugs when I addressed FAA regulators at the “Meet the FAA Regulators” session at HAI Heli-Expo 2014. Two hours prior to that talk, I literally couldn’t walk. My back suddenly went out causing excruciating lower back pain, something that occurs every three years or so due to years of competitive tennis and decades in the cockpit. Still, I needed to tell the regulators that they missed a real opportunity to draft meaningful new rules to stop the unacceptable HEMS accident rate. Throwing a mix of over-the-counter painkillers down my throat, I gingerly made my way to the convention center. [Read More...]



Categories: categoryMy Two Cents Worth



Mar
25
2016

Another All Too Familiar Headline

Posted by Randy Mains

On the 1st of January every year since 1980, exactly one-year after I began flying helicopter air ambulance from the rooftop helipad at Hermann Hospital in Houston, I created a folder on my computer entitled, EMS CRASHES. When a HEMS crash occurred that year I would add the details. I developed this practice each year because I could see very early-on in my helicopter air ambulance career how dangerous flying an air medical helicopter was. Here’s the sad part: In 36 years I have NEVER had an empty folder at the end of a year. Does that shock you? It should. In fact I hope it enrages you. Sadly 2016 will be no different because on March 26th I woke up to the following headline: [Read More...]



Categories: categoryMy Two Cents Worth


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