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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



Mar
25
2016

ROTORwrench…Tips, Tricks, and Info - March 2016

Posted by Scott Skola

Well, I hope everyone who went, survived the showy…snowy…Heli-Expo this year. Then again, there’s not much “survival” required anymore. Seemed to be a lot of hoopla over this year’s location in Louisville. No dancing girls like Vegas, sunny beaches like Orlando, or big city delights like Dallas or Houston. For me, I never went for the location. All night parties and a ton of freebies made the day go by. Navigating the CCR show at Big B’s shindig, hacking invitations at the bus pick-up, and staying vertical the day after on the exhibit floor…now those were the survival skills of Expos past. Ha! [Read More...]



Categories: categoryROTORwrench



Mar
25
2016

"Oh, oh, oops...! Sorry...!"

Posted by Francis Meyrick

I arrived overhead, looked down. Yep. That's the heli-terminal. Rows and rows of shiny little helicopters, parked in neat, white circles. Down I went. Nice approach. Noticed this funny, rather high barbed wire fence all around the heli-terminal. Strict security, eh? Hey-ho. Hop over the fence. Land in a nice, big circle beside a big shiny fellow. Great! Hey-hum. Don't want to shut down just yet. Having too much fun. I'm in circle number twenty. I see. Well, let's do some practice. Hop over to circle number eighteen. Lift up, hover checks, across we go. Settle down in the hover, DOWN we settle, BINGO! [Read More...]



Categories: categoryMoggy's Musings



Feb
22
2016

ROTORwrench…Tips, Tricks, and Info

Posted by Scott Skola

I heard 300,000 people registered their drones in response to the new FAA requirements. Amazing. Might be a niche market developing for an enterprising A&P. Knowing the FAA, there’s always a chance this may evolve into a separate airworthiness category like experimental or light sport; which require annual condition inspections by qualified individuals. Since current drones are more rotor wing than fixed…who knows. Me personally, I’m waiting to see how long it takes someone to tie 50 Walmart drones to a lawn chair and take-off into the wide blue yonder, BB gun in hand. [Read More...]



Categories: categoryROTORwrench


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