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Articles for category Human Interest




Aug
14
2017

Meet A Rotorcraft Pro - Dale Owens

Posted by jhadmin

RPMN: How did you get your start in helicopters? My first flight was at age 13 in a Enstrom. I lived near Ft. Lauderdale International Airport and handed some tools to a guy working on his helicopter. He asked if I wanted a ride; I couldn't refuse that offer! Fast forward a few years I earned my fixed-wing rating at 17, and a couple of months later I received my gyroplane rating in a McCullogh J2. (Yes, it was made by the chainsaw company.) RPMN: When and how did you choose to fly helicopters? Or did they choose you? In 1987 I received a $2,500 grant to go to school. I had an interest in helicopters and was curious about their operation. I didn't intend to complete the course due to the expense ($130/hour) and I really had no need for a helicopter rating, however when the fund money was gone, I was having too much fun to quit, so I pulled out my credit card and exclaimed, “Let's do this!” [Read More...]



Tags: Helicopter Pilots Helicopter Professionals meet a rotorcraft pro
Categories: categoryOpinion-Editorial categoryHuman Interest



Jun
26
2017

Headstrong on Helmets

Posted by jhadmin

Nearly two and a half decades ago, as a fledgling commercial pilot, I had the opportunity to fly with HelicopterHelmet.com founder Ron Abbott while he was working as a flight instructor in South Florida. Even then, his can-do, entrepreneurial spirit was noticeable. As the decades have gone by, that same spirit assists him in growing several businesses in a very competitive market. Abbott began his career in Army Special Operations where his “get it done” mentality was recognized and cultivated. After the Army he went to a civilian flight school and became a certified flight instructor. As his career in the helicopter industry progressed, he went on to fly approximately 22,000 hours in sectors such as ENG, sling-load, HAA, tours, tuna boats, utility, firefighting and offshore oil support (his true flying love). While flying for Air Evac Lifeteam in 1997 Abbott determined that he had a need for a helmet. He bought his first helmet at an army surplus shop, then proceeded to tear it down with the intent of refurbishing and customizing it for his own use. When other pilots saw the improvements he made, they were so impressed that they began asking him to refurbish helmets for them. Realizing there might be a market for helmet refurbs, Abbott began buying used helmets, breaking them down, and customizing them to meet pilots’ needs. [Read More...]



Tags: Aviation Survival EVO Helicopter Helmets
Categories: categoryHuman Interest categoryCompany Profiles



Apr
10
2017

Meet a Rotorcraft Pro: Simon Jones

Posted by jhadmin

RPMN: In your view, what is the greatest challenge for the helicopter industry at this moment in time? I thought about this for a while and came up with a number of different things, but decided on this: If you look at the statistics for helicopter accidents, it's normally a low percentage that are caused by mechanical issues. To me, this means that you can trace the other accidents to a decision that the pilot made at some point. Even if it's weather related, the pilot still chose to fly. I always try to fly with that in the back of my mind. It means that, for the most part, you are in control of your own destiny. This is a good thing but won't be the moment you forget it. Remember, if something goes wrong today, it's probably because of a decision you made! [Read More...]



Tags: meet a rotorcraft pro Simon Jones
Categories: categoryCareer Development categoryHuman Interest categoryOpinion-Editorial



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



Feb
06
2017

Meet a Rotorcraft Pro: Adam Hammond

Posted by jhadmin

RPMN: What is your current position? I am a utility pilot and safety officer for the Tennessee Valley Authority. We fly MD530F, EC120, EC145, and Bell 407 aircraft in support of serving the people of the Tennessee Valley and its 16,000-plus miles of powerlines. RPMN: Tell me about your first flight. My first flight in a helicopter was an introduction flight in an R22 at a flight school, Higher Ground Helicopters in my home state of Ohio. It was only a half-hour flight, but I was hooked. RPMN: How did you get your start in helicopters? Originally I was going to go through the U.S. Army flight school at Ft. Rucker, but I had a bad skydiving accident shortly after my Warrant Officer Candidate School graduation. The injuries I received disqualified me from being an Army pilot, but they did not keep me from following my dream. After seven years of Army service, I used my GI Bill and started the professional pilot course at Higher Ground Helicopters. RPMN: When and how did you choose to fly helicopters? Or did they choose you? I think it was a little bit of both. Growing up, my church pastor always spoke of his time as a helicopter pilot in Vietnam, which sparked my interest. Also, my father was a volunteer fireman and I saw MedFlight of Ohio land at the local fire department for an LZ safety briefing. Being able to land vertically in a baseball field seemed much more interesting than landing on a runway. Those experiences were always in the front of my mind when it came time to choose a career. [Read More...]



Tags: Adam Hammond meet a rotorcraft pro
Categories: categoryHuman Interest



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



Jan
09
2017

Meet a Rotorcraft Pro: Simon Whitely

Posted by jhadmin

RPMN: Have you ever had an “Oh, crap!” moment in a helicopter? Can you summarize what happened? One of my “moments” was during my first instrument training flight aboard an RN Westland Wessex Mk 5. We’d just departed the air station and were flying in IMC at 2,000 feet on the dials. Suddenly, there was a loud bang! The aircraft made an uncommanded yaw of about 50 degrees to the right. Having recovered with all indications normal, my instructor and I made a precautionary landing to a field. Once on the ground, we learned that a Royal Navy Sea Harrier jet had just suffered a mid-air collision with a helicopter and had also made a successful emergency landing. The impact broke 6 inches off the top of the jet’s vertical fin. Our Wessex seemed fine, but upon inspection it was found to be 3 inches out of alignment along the tail cone and had to be trucked back to the airfield. Another interesting day at the office! [Read More...]



Tags: meet a rotorcraft pro
Categories: categoryOpinion-Editorial categoryHuman Interest



Dec
26
2016

EXECUTIVE WATCH: KURT ROBINSON

Posted by jhadmin

When doing a profile on Kurt Robinson, plan on an early interview—as in 7:00 a.m. early. That’s when he’ll be taking your call. Of course, the chairman and president of Robinson Helicopter Company will have already been in his office about an hour, reading the Wall Street Journal, answering emails, and talking to contacts in Europe. Still, he understands that some people just start late. Robinson is motivated to work early so that he can get home early. “I like to leave the office by 5:00 so that I can spend time with my family,” he says. “We always try to eat dinner together. Sometimes I get out of here at 6:00, but that’s generally a bad thing. I guard my time away from work as much as I can. I don’t really have a lot of time off, so when I do it’s really important to spend time with my wife and two kids.” And therein lies an insight into Robinson: The name is synonymous with both a pioneering aviation business and a proud family. [Read More...]



Tags: Kurt Robinson Robinson Helicopters
Categories: categoryOpinion-Editorial categoryHuman Interest



Nov
20
2016

Meet A Rotorcraft Pro - Rick Guthery

Posted by jhadmin

RPMN: What is your current position? I’m currently the training and standardization commander at the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department Air Rescue Bureau. Additionally, I am a helicopter designated pilot examiner with the South Florida Flight Standards District Office. For the last 21 years, I’ve also operated my own business, Helicopter Partners Inc. RPMN: Tell me about your first flight. The first flight I remember with my hands on the controls was in the early 1970s in a Cessna 182. We flew from Miami to Nassau, Bahamas. I was not tall enough to see over the dashboard of the airplane, so my dad pointed to the altimeter and heading instruments and told me what numbers to look at and hold. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out so well. We were all over the sky and my mom and sister quickly got air sick. It was a short-lived flight attempt, but I was definitely hooked on flying. [Read More...]



Tags: meet a rotorcraft pro Rick Guthery
Categories: categoryHuman Interest



Nov
07
2016

Executive Watch - Paul Daigle of AAL USA/Blackhall Aerospace

Posted by jhadmin

Now a platoon leader and air mission commander, his first combat tour was eight months. “Combat is 90 percent boring, just flying in circles, and 10 percent of the worst that could ever happen, but I had the opportunity to fight in some cool places (including the Battle of Fallujah). Being an air mission commander of a team of Apaches is probably the coolest thing that anyone could ever do.” He also gained knowledge that would later serve him well in his future civilian career. “I was very tied into aircraft maintenance. I’d go fly with my warrant officers for up to eight hours, and then I’d go spend the rest of the day on the flightline. I valued my maintenance guys and I developed a very sound understanding of maintenance operations.” [Read More...]



Tags: AAL Blackhall Aerospace Paul Daigle
Categories: categoryHuman Interest categoryCompany Profiles


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