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Aug
07
2017

Let's Go Fishing - Tuna Boat Ops

Posted by jhadmin

It may seem odd that in a helicopter magazine, we are going to talk about fishing. Not with nylon and hook, but with helicopters. Behind the tuna we buy in supermarkets, helicopters are critical to getting tuna from the sea to the table. And for those who love the sea and its marine life, this job is a perfect adventure. Since tuna is such a popular food worldwide and commands a high price, the use of expensive helicopters is cost effective for commercial tuna boats that use large nets called purse seines. Helicopters are extremely useful for spotting tuna, since these fish gather in large schools or shoals to cooperatively hunt vast areas for smaller fish prey. Helicopters takeoff early in the morning and fly long hours before parking on the ship overnight. R-22, R-44, B206, and MD500 are the most commonly used helicopters for this type of fishing. It’s not unusual for pilots with relatively few hours of flying time to join tuna operations. These jobs allow pilots to accumulate hours quickly, earn a decent paycheck, and work with fishing crew members from around the world while visiting exotic ports of call. It’s a bold alternative to the common practice of starting a career as a flight instructor. [Read More...]

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Tags: Tuna boat helicopter flying
Categories: categoryHelicopter Sectors



Jul
31
2017

Adaptability is Key: The Invisible Hand

Posted by jhadmin

I’ve always felt the shapers of the American experiment from the late 1700s were not only exceptional, but brilliant thinkers. Their ideas and ideals still guide our success in the 21st century. Take Adam Smith for example and his theory of the “invisible hand.” Investopedia says: Smith’s theory of the invisible hand constitutes the basis of his belief that large-scale government intervention and regulation of the economy is neither necessary nor beneficial. Smith put forth the notion of the invisible hand in arguing that free individuals operating in a free economy, making decisions, primarily focused on their own self-interest, logically take actions that result in benefiting society as a whole even though such beneficial results were not the specific focus or intent of those actions. [Read More...]



Tags: Helicopter Law Enforcement Helicopter UAV's
Categories: categoryHelicopter Sectors categoryOpinion-Editorial



Jul
04
2017

THE ROBINSON R44 PERFORMS ROYALLY FOR IMPERIAL VALLEY

Posted by jhadmin

Sometimes a small airborne law enforcement unit can make a larger impact than its size suggests. The Imperial Valley Airborne Narcotics Enforcement (IVAN) Air Support Unit makes such an impact. IVAN operates within Imperial County, which covers the lower east corner of Southern California and is bordered by Mexico to the south and Arizona to the east. Most of the area is low desert with a few small cities and many thousands of acres of farmland growing many types of produce. The area is warm all year, but during the summer months it is always hot; temperatures can reach well over 100 degrees for consecutive weeks. IVAN Air Support is a part of The Imperial County Narcotics Task Force (ICNTF),which originated in 1973 to combat local and regional drug trafficking and gangs. Federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies take part in the task force by sharing information and intelligence from many sources. The task force is governed by a board of directors chosen from participating agencies that include the Imperial County District Attorney’s Office, the Imperial police department, Imperial County Probation, U.S. Border Patrol, California Highway Patrol, Federal Drug Enforcement Administration, and Homeland Security Investigations. ICNTF’s chairman of the board is District Attorney Gilbert Otero, and its commander is Mike Loyd. The IVAN Air Support Unit formed in 2011, with the purchase of a Robinson R44 LE helicopter. Since the program’s establishment, its chief pilot has been Donald Wharton. [Read More...]

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Tags: Imperial County Aviation Unit IVAN Air Support Law Enforcement Helicopters r44 Robinson Helicopters The Imperial County Narcotics Task Force (ICNTF)
Categories: categoryCompany Profiles categoryTraining categoryHelicopter Sectors categoryOpinion-Editorial



May
30
2017

A Tremor in the Force

Posted by jhadmin

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...]



Tags: HAA My Two Cents Randy Mains
Categories: categoryRegulatory categoryHelicopter Sectors categoryOpinion-Editorial



May
22
2017

For Aerial Firefighters, Much Accomplished, But Headwinds Looming

Posted by jhadmin

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...]



Tags: Helicopter Forestry Fire Fighting US Forest Service
Categories: categoryHelicopter Sectors



May
08
2017

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

Posted by jhadmin

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...]

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Tags: Kaman Lockheed Martin UAV
Categories: categoryHelicopter Sectors



Mar
13
2017

Helicopters 2017: What OEMs are Developing

Posted by jhadmin

With a new year comes a hunger for the new and different. Rotorcraft Pro presents a fresh look at which helicopters and equipment are under development as we start 2017. [Read More...]

OEM_2017_01_AirbusH160.jpg  OEM_2017_02_AurbusVSR700.jpg  OEM_2017_03_Bell505.jpg  OEM_2017_04_Bell525.jpg  OEM_2017_05_BellV-280.jpg  OEM_2017_06_Leonardo_AW009.jpg  OEM_2017_07_Leonardo_AW109_Trekker.jpg  OEM_2017_08_Leonardo_AW609.jpg  OEM_2017_09_MarencoSKYe-SH-09.jpg  OEM_2017_13_RobinsonR66.jpg  OEM_2017_14_RobinsonR66.jpg  OEM_2017_16_SikorskyCH53K.jpg  OEM_2017_11_MD.jpg 

Tags: Airbus bell Leonardo Marenco MD Robinson sikorsky
Categories: categoryCompany Profiles categoryHelicopter Sectors categoryOpinion-Editorial categoryHelicopter Event Coverage



Mar
01
2017

Advances in Helicopter Simulation

Posted by jhadmin

The field of aviation training devices and simulators is an ever evolving and interesting area. As expenses increase in so many sectors of the rotorcraft industry, devices (which don’t move) and simulators (capable of motion) help contain training and certification costs. [NOTE: In this article, the terms “sim” and “simulation” are used at times to collectively refer to both types of trainers.] Sims can create flight scenarios that are too dangerous to duplicate in actual aircraft, and make practicing other procedures safer. For example, more fatal training accidents occur practicing autorotations than any other skill. Simulation for such scenarios can save lives. Basic aviation training devices (BATDs) and advanced aviation training devices (AATDs) are now so affordable that primary flight schools have embraced using them to teach instruments, navigation, systems, and emergency procedures. Until the introduction and acceptance of these devices, these schools simply could not afford to acquire high-end flight training devices or full flight simulators. Simulation is governed by two FAA groupings: those that fall under the authority of AFS-205 National Simulator Program, and those that are governed by AFS-810 General Aviation and Commercial Division. [Read More...]

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Tags: Helicopter Simulation
Categories: categoryTraining categorySafety categoryHelicopter Sectors



Feb
27
2017

La Isla del Encanto - Puerto Rico National Guard Protects The Island of Enchantment

Posted by jhadmin

During my first meeting with the Puerto Rico National Guard (PRNG) aviation unit, I casually remark, “If you guys work with marine assets around the island, it would be cool to include them in some of our photography.” Without hesitation, the U.S. Army major responsible for handling me pulls out his phone and says, “I know a guy who captains a Coast Guard boat. Maybe I can get him to join us in the bay for some photos with the helicopter.” Soon “Coast Guard guy” is on the phone indicating that he got the supervisor’s approval. If we want to work with his ship, he will be in San Juan Bay around 14:30 for an escort mission. As you will see, such cooperation and coordination is common in Puerto Rico, and born out of necessity. LAY OF THE LAND … AND SEA Puerto Rico is a Caribbean archipelago that includes the namesake island, and a number of smaller ones like Mona, Culebra, and Vieques. At 110 miles wide and 40 miles long, the main island is actually quite small, especially when compared to its western neighbor, Hispaniola, which includes the countries of Haiti and Dominican Republic. Still, don’t let Puerto Rico’s small footprint fool you. With over 3.5 million residents and a large tourist population, its diverse terrain has become a mecca for all things outdoors. You can surf world-class waves at dawn, spelunk the world’s largest caves by mid-morning, leap off a jungle waterfall in the afternoon, and summit a 5,000-foot mountain as the sun is going down. During the night, darker, more hidden activities often occur. Puerto Rico can be a hotbed of drug smuggling, human trafficking, and other illegal activities. Although not its primary mission, the PRNG aviation unit plays a vital role in protecting the island and its people from some criminally bad guys. However, the operational area for the PRNG aviation unit is not just restricted to the island itself. The area extends west to Isla de Mona (an island between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico), and all the way east to St. John’s, U.S. Virgin Islands. This expands the operational area to a staggering 7,600 square miles, with much of those miles over water. [Read More...]

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Tags: Airbus Helicopters ANVIS-9 TYPE 7 NVGs Puerto Rican National Guard Aviation Unit Sikorsky UH-60 Blackhawks UH-72A Lakotas
Categories: categoryCompany Profiles categoryHuman Interest categoryHelicopter Sectors



Jan
17
2017

Glory Over The Horizon - Colombian Army Aviation

Posted by jhadmin

It’s Sunrise, but the sun is not seen; it only feels like the day is starting. The jungle, humidity, and mosquitos do their work, and walking is almost impossible. The clouds and the bad weather are all around, while the rain hampers visibility. Gunfire is heard in heavy fighting between the Army and the guerrillas they battle. The result is wounded soldiers. Next, helicopters are heard. It seems like we are revisiting the Vietnam War, but instead we are in the Western Hemisphere, covering armed conflict in Colombia. The combat search and rescue (C-SAR) team of the Ejército Nacional de Colombia (Colombian National Army) is called into the war zone to airlift soldiers that have been wounded while confronting insurgent groups. Flying this particular mission is an UH-60 Black Hawk escorted by a Huey II. The soldiers on the ground say that those flying to the rescue are “God’s crew on Earth.” The Huey II takes a “hunter position” to provide cover for the UH-60 as it descends into the extraction zone. As the UH-60 lowers, enemy fire commences and its pilot-in-command is injured. The helicopter’s rescue mission now turns into an emergency mission to save its own pilot’s life. [Read More...]

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Tags: Black Hawk Colombian Army Huey UH-1N UH-60
Categories: categoryOpinion-Editorial categoryHelicopter Sectors categoryHuman Interest


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