In the world of rotorcraft emergencies, not all situations are equal. There’s a huge difference between a generator failure, engine fire or anti-torque system failure. I think if you were to poll pilots, just the mention of certain crises will make the hair stand up on the back of every pilot’s neck, and they pray that it never will happen to them. For me, there are two such crises: a tail-rotor gearbox failure, and any situation that would cause me to hit the ground hard enough to rupture a fuel tank and spark a post-crash fire. [Read More...]
Crash Resistant Fuel Tanks
Robertson Fuel Systems
Safe Helicopters Act Now H.R. 675
Dr. Travis Bradberry, the award-winning coauthor of the #1 best selling book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0, and the cofounder of TalentSmart, a consultancy that serves more than 75% of Fortune 500 companies, once said, “Influential people are never satisfied with the status quo. They’re the ones who constantly ask, ‘What if?’ and ‘Why not?’ They’re not afraid to challenge conventional wisdom and they don’t disrupt things for the sake of being disruptive; they do it to make things better.”
Ron Abbott, owner of Evolution Helmets is definitely a disruptor in his business field; if you need evidence, look no further than his recent endeavor to enter another competitive space: aviation flight suits. Abbott, a U.S. military veteran, 22,000-hour helicopter pilot, and designer/manufacturer of the Evolution brand of flight helmets, has now developed a line of flight suits to complement the company’s helmet business. Evolution Flight Suits are made in the USA and is owned by Evolution Aviation Helmets, but associated with Sisley Clothing Australia and United Designs. [Read More...]
Aviation Flight Suits
Evolution Flight Helmets
Evolution Flight Suits
Sisley Flight Suits
It wasn’t expected to happen: The world’s insatiable thirst for oil and gas should have ensured that more offshore oil rigs would always be needed, and that suppliers who supported those rigs – like helicopter companies – would always have a secure, stable market to serve.
But then it happened: Oil prices unexpectedly plummeted “from a peak of $115 per barrel in June 2014 to under $35 at the end of February 2016,” states the World Economic Forum website. “The sharp fall is broadly similar in magnitude to the decline in 1985-1986, when OPEC members reversed earlier production cuts, and in 2008-09 at the outset of the global financial crisis.” [Read More...]
Helicopter Oil and Gas
Looking back at my 26-year Army career, I have many things to be proud of, and only one regret. Before getting accepted to Army Warrant Officer Candidate School (WOCS) and then U.S. Army Flight School as a newly minted Warrant Officer One (W1), I was an Army Crew-chief/technician. I first worked on Cobras, and then moved on to Black Hawks and Little Birds (MD500). This leads me to my regret: before getting accepted to WOC School I was working on my FAA Airframe & Powerplant (A&P) Certificate, but once I was selected, in my short sightedness, I didn’t finish my A&P because I was going to be a pilot and didn’t need my A&P. [Read More...]
FAA Airframe and Powerplant Certificate
FAA Mechanic Certificate
Military to Civilian Aviation Mechanics
When a company is born from a desire to help others, its people carry that passion with them, no matter what their title. Air Evac Lifeteam was established in 1985 by a group of citizens in West Plains, Missouri. Their desire was to provide air medical transportation and ensure access to a higher level of emergency health care for their remote community in the Ozarks. Back then, quick access to top-tier hospitals and health care was primarily confined to urban America. Air Evac Lifeteam founders believed that people living in rural areas needed that same rapid access to Level 1 and Level 2 health care centers that could best care for them.
Fast forward 34 years and it’s apparent today that the Helicopter Air Ambulance (HAA) company foresaw and fulfills a need – a need that continues to grow with the closure of rural hospitals nationwide. Since 2010, 106 of America’s 1,700 rural hospitals closed. Air Evac Lifeteam operates more than 140 helicopter air ambulance bases across 15 states, and more than 90 percent of those bases are located in rural America because nearly 90 percent of patients transported by air medical services are from a rural zip code. [Read More...]
Air Evac Lifeteam
I was so lucky, when I first began flying helicopter EMS in 1999 when my first director of ops told me that he would rather me turn down a flight and go back to sleep, than push weather limits. However, the go/no-go decision was still my sole decision to make. At the time, I probably did not appreciate my director’s sentiment as much as I should have. [Read More...]
Flight Risk Assessment Tool
Helicopter air ambulance
After a recent helicopter accident, some old topics popped up on a number of internet forums: aircraft repairs, aircraft data plates, and salvage parts. While it remains to be seen if any previous repairs have fault in this accident, the ensuing discussions demonstrated that there is an ongoing knowledge gap in how aircraft repairs can be performed legally.
First, the use of aircraft salvage parts in aircraft repairs is perfectly legal within the FARs and is a classic example of, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” However, when it comes to data plates, there is – and has been – specific regulatory guidance on how they are made, attached, and maintained.
Unfortunately, some people are not aware of (or choose not to follow) this FAA guidance.
As such, the FAA and the OEMs have become more proactive in this area in recent times. For instance, as recently as October 2018 the FAA issued new guidance. So follow below as we continue the discussion. [Read More...]
aircraft data plates
legal aircraft repairs
RPMN: What is your current position?
I am the president and chief instructor of Civic Helicopters Inc. Of all the helicopter business models I could have ventured into, I chose the flight training model. I have been instructing helicopter and fixed-wing since 1974, and I’ve focused on helicopter flight training since 1987. I have accumulated over 32,000 flight hours; 26,000 of them were in all different makes and models of helicopters flown with pilots from all over the world. [Read More...]
meet a rotorcraft pro
Siller Helicopters Inc. based in Yuba City, California, performs lift jobs and aerial construction support across the USA flying two Sikorsky S-64 Skycranes, two CH-54 Tarhes, and two S-61s. The company has been doing lift work since the 1970s and is extremely experienced in all aspects of this demanding and very specialized work. Siller Helicopters is also well known for providing high quality and very well maintained firefighting aircraft on both contract and call when needed.
Rotorcraft Pro observed a recent lift job in the northern California city of Roseville at a large mall. The job entailed lifting eight 6,500-pound air conditioners, more than a Sikorsky S-58T can lift but well below the maximum 11,000 pounds their S-61 can lift. For jobs up to 10,000 pounds nothing can do it better than a light S-61. In addition to removing the old air conditioners, a few loads of support scrap metal from the air conditioning base plates were taken away. Precision flying is typical of such jobs, so this one was not particularly challenging for the flight crews. The mall was near sea level and it was a cool morning, so the S-61 had plenty of excess performance. This gave the flight crew many options to complete the job safely and efficiently. [Read More...]
helicopter heavy lift work
Are you a military helicopter pilot that didn’t keep your own logbook? Perhaps you thought it was sufficient to let the military track your flight time? You are now in the position of having to translate your military flight time into civilian flight time. Translating flight time is an unavoidable task, because most military pilots did not maintain a logbook. Though this is a very time-consuming task, it is not insurmountable. Most military pilots will need to translate their military time properly into a civilian logbook, as most employers will require a logbook in order to hire you. [Read More...]
Military to Civilian Helicopters