It’s not easy for a power company to chalk up a 99.999 percent electricity reliability rating, but the Tennessee Valley Authority has been doing it for the last 19 years straight. Helicopter pilots and linemen are an integral part of this achievement.
People outside the industry sometimes envision these pilots and linemen as a bit loony, and for good reason. The Tyler benches attached to the outside of helicopters commonly touch 500,000-volt electricity lines while linemen transfer themselves from the benches onto towers that stand as high as 300 feet in the air. While the lines are de-energized, their proximity to the helicopters and their spinning rotor blades is hair-raising to the uninitiated.
Ask TVA Helicopter Operations Manager Adam Hammond whether the pilot or lineman is loonier, and he’ll quickly point to the other guy.
“Definitely the lineman,” Hammond said. “They’re out there operating in all kinds of weather to get the power back on.” When rain grounds the helicopters, the linemen have to climb the towers instead. [Read More...]
MD Utility Helicopters
Tennessee Valley Authority Helicopter Utilities
Over the last four years there has been a significant increase in median pay for most helicopter pilots across the board. Good news right? Interestingly though, the industry is struggling to attract and retain experienced pilots. Why? [Read More...]
If you’ve ever had the desire to travel further, faster, and higher your time is here. I’ve flown helicopters commercially for 13 years. As a civilian, I attended a small flight school in Florida where I obtained all my training from Private through CFII where I used my GI Bill benefits.
Until recently, most Part 121 air carriers did not count helicopter flight hours towards their hiring minimums. In recent years, this trend is on the decline. If you are an experienced helicopter pilot and have ever wanted to fly for the airlines, opportunity may be on the horizon. With as little as 250 hours of airplane PIC time and a commercial multi-engine land add-on certificate you can be eligible for hire at a regional airline that may provide a stepping stone to the mainline carriers. [Read More...]
Helicopters to Airlines
Rotor Transition Programs
I attended the U.S. Helicopter Safety Team (USHST) HAI Symposium held at Heli-Expo in Louisville entitled “Safety and the Bottom Line” and learned that in the team’s accident analysis it was revealed that 84% of accidents included a Standard Problem Statement of “Pilot Judgment & Actions.” Good crew resource management practices seemingly would ‘cure’ that malady. So why haven’t they? The answer lies in Plato’s Cave. [Read More...]
Crew Resource Management
Is a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) a major or minor alteration? This is one of those questions that can easily disappear down the aviation rabbit hole. However, with some basic knowledge on aircraft alterations and certifications, it can also number among the easiest to answer.
A majority (pun intended) of people believe all STCs are major alterations simply due to its name. Another group believes that if a part comes with STC paperwork, it always requires completing a Form 337.
Fortunately for us, from a maintenance point of view, STCs and aircraft alterations are as close to an apple-to-orange comparison as we have in aviation. [Read More...]
Helicopter Supplemental Type Certificate
Last year when one of my best friends was preparing to retire from the military, he expressed to me that one of the greatest challenges for him in the transition process was his difficulty imagining civilian employment could ever provide him with the same sense of purpose and fulfillment that he had experienced as a member of the military. For many of us who have served, defending the American way of life and serving in the country’s most trusted profession makes pay and earnings seem like an almost secondary motivation. For my friend, the thought of working at a job where—he imagined—salary and benefits was the sole reason to get up and go to work every day sounded like a rather unhappy way to live life. Fortunately, I had transitioned from the military two years prior and had already found my new purpose, which provided me with a few insights that I was able to pass along to him. Don’t get me wrong: redefining your life’s purpose after so many years of living with “duty, honor, country” as the default is not easy. It’s not easy at all. [Read More...]
Military to Civilian Helicopters
Military to Civilian Transition Aviation
Night Flight Concepts (NFC), based out of Waco, Texas, brings night vision training and technology from the military to the civilian masses who need to safely fly when the sun goes down. The company is known for cleverly marketing their night vision products and services under acronyms like L.E.A.S.E (Law Enforcement Air Support Entity) and S.O.A.R. (Special Operations Aviation Resources). With approx. 300 global customers, approx. 1,450 students trained, and approx. 3,500 NVGs inspected and repaired since 2006, another catchy acronym for NFC would be F.L.I.G.H.T. (Forward Looking Industrious Group Has Tenacity).
NFC began as a vision, and early side-hustle, that its co-founder and president, Adam Aldous, had while serving in Iraq as an Army Chinook pilot. (Aldous still hustles; if he doesn’t wake up earlier, his 5-year-old daughter gets him up every morning by 6:00—without fail.) When we caught up with him in early January, he was working on NFC’s 2019 marketing plans, but he graciously found the time to share his fascinating story. [Read More...]
night flight concepts
Night Vision Goggles
RPMN: What is your current position?
I currently work for Air Evac Lifeteam as a base pilot supervisor and flight instructor. Essentially, I'm one of four pilots at an EMS base with the added responsibilities of scheduling and pilot oversight. I also help out the training department with new hires and recurrent flight training as needed. [Read More...]
Air Evac Lifeteam
meet a rotorcraft pro
THE 2019 ROTORCRAFT PRO OEM OUTLOOK [Read More...]
No, despite the above title, I’m not trying to move some product on the street. Rather, when was the last time you looked over your aircraft’s Empty Weight & Balance Record (EWBR) and Equipment List (EL)? My what? [Read More...]
Weight and Balance