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Tag: My Two Cents




Nov
26
2018

My Two Cents - A Crock in Our Boat

Posted by jhadmin

Crew Resource Management (CRM) gives us the tools to make safe, prudent decisions; it’s something I wish I’d had while flying a JetRanger on a seismic survey contract in Papua New Guinea. Knowing what could hurt me would have prevented my nearly being eaten by a huge crocodile. Mike Keith, a pilot with me on contract, and I (stupidly) agreed to go crocodile hunting at midnight with two line cutters Russ and Tom Dooley. I should have known to say no; a week earlier; Russ had thrown a 16-foot python in the back seat of my aircraft in a burlap sack. [Read More...]



Tags: CRM Crew Resource Management My Two Cents
Categories: categorySafety categoryOpinion-Editorial



Feb
05
2018

My Two Cents - Integrity: Your Biggest Asset

Posted by jhadmin

When I speak to new pilots in the industry at HeliSuccess in Las Vegas, I stress the importance of maintaining one’s integrity and recount the most impactful decision I ever made. Following my moral compass, would mean losing my job and potentially destroy a dream I’d had for 10 years—flying a helicopter in Southern California. The crossroads came in March 1980 when I was flying for Rocky Mountain Helicopters on a HEMS program out of Lincoln Hospital in Phoenix. My former Army buddy, Joe Sulak, and I were temporarily on contract waiting to learn if Rocky would win the bid against Evergreen helicopters to land the University of California-San Diego Life Flight contract. We were told we would set up the program if they got the contract. Then the rug got pulled. [Read More...]



Tags: Helicopter Safety My Two Cents Randy Mains
Categories: categoryCareer Development categoryTraining categorySafety categoryOpinion-Editorial



Sep
19
2017

Are You A Good Role Model - My Two Cents - Randy Mains

Posted by jhadmin

About a year ago a pilot attending one of my 5-day CRM Instructor courses asked me, “Have you seen this?” He played a YouTube clip that made my blood turn to ice. Michael Farikh, a highly respected Russian pilot who accomplished many great things for civilian helicopter aviation in his country, posted it. One article published just after his death called Farikh “The godfather of Russian helicopter aviation.” The clip the person showed me was entitled “Pilot Flies Helicopter into Clouds.” Farikh posted several similar clips, “Whiteout—What’s That?” and “Human Limitations—IMC Auto,” all equally chilling to me. In the initial clip, “Pilot Flies Helicopter into Clouds,” Farikh purposefully enters IMC conditions in a Robinson then covers up some of his flight instruments until he’s flying on partial panel. I witnessed very experienced ATP pilots lose spatial orientation in similar conditions in the Level-D simulator I operated in Dubai. That is why while watching Farikh’s videos I could not suppress a deep sense of dark foreboding. [Read More...]



Tags: Crew Resource Management Helicopter Safety Training My Two Cents Randy Mains
Categories: categoryTraining categorySafety



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



Jan
30
2017

Sully, Welcome to our World

Posted by jhadmin

A 15 September 2016 article in The New York Times titled “‘Miracle on the Hudson’ Safety Advice Not Carried Out,” had these sobering words: In the seven years since an airline pilot saved 155 lives by ditching his crippled airliner in the Hudson River, there's been enough time to write a book and make a movie, but apparently not enough to carry out most of the safety recommendations stemming from the accident. Of the 35 recommendations made by the National Transportation Safety Board in response to the incident involving US Airways Flight 1549, only six have been heeded.” The airline pilot referred to is, of course, Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, who recently sounded a similar refrain on his Facebook page: “I’m very disappointed so many of the important safety recommendations made by the National Transportation Safety Board after Flight 1549 have not yet been mandated by the FAA. Unless the FAA mandates safety improvements, airlines historically will not adopt them. We owe it to everyone who flies to act on what is learned from accidents, often at great cost in lives lost, instead of just filing it away to gather dust while we await the next accident.” [Read More...]



Tags: My Two Cents Randy Mains
Categories: categorySafety categoryTraining



Dec
05
2016

Trouble with autos.... Seriously?

Posted by jhadmin

Trouble with autos. Seriously? When I flew for the Royal Oman Police, the British, Scottish, and Australian pilots I had the pleasure to fly with had a lovely saying. Whenever they wanted to convey an idea, but wanted you to know that you may already know it, they would preface their statement by saying, “Now, I don’t want to teach Granny to suck eggs but….” Similarly, I certainly don’t want to tell you something you may already know, but to my great amazement it seems there is ‘some problem’ with how pilots execute autorotations, which to me is an easy but fundamental maneuver. So, at the risk of “teaching Granny to suck eggs,” please indulge me while I offer my 2 cents’ worth on the subject that has served me well over the years. At the same time, I apologize if you already practice autorotations in the way I will describe. [Read More...]



Tags: My Two Cents Randy Mains
Categories: categorySafety categoryTraining



Jan
04
2016

My Two Cents - Electronic Flight Bag...Yeah, in My Dreams

Posted by jhadmin

Occasionally fate (sometimes luck) steps in to break a link in an error chain, serving to protect us from ourselves. That’s what happened to me in August 1974 while ferrying a Hughes 300C 300 miles, from McArthur River Cattle Station in the Northern Territory of Australia to Mt. Isa, for the aircraft’s scheduled 100-hour inspection. I’d been flying over parched, featureless landscape for 30 minutes; each minute becoming more and more perplexed because nothing I saw outside fit my woefully inadequate map. [Read More...]



Tags: My Two Cents Randy Mains
Categories: categoryOpinion-Editorial categoryHuman Interest



Nov
23
2015

Why I Stayed On As a HEMS Pilot

Posted by jhadmin

Flying a HEMS helicopter was one of the most dangerous jobs I’ve ever had. One might rightly ask: Why would I stay in a job when I knew it was so hazardous? I did it because the rewards of the job were many; even reaching far beyond knowing I’d played a part in saving a human life. Children often wanted to interview me or one of the other two Life Flight pilots for papers they were writing in school. Many times, it was hard to live up to the lofty image they had of you. But the adulation didn’t come from just kids. At least once a week someone would stop one of us in the U.C. San Diego Medical Center hallways or the hospital cafeteria and thank us for, in their words, “the wonderful job you’re doing,” or “the humane service you provide,” or most likely for our personal contribution for saving the life of their friend or loved one. [Read More...]



Tags: My Two Cents Randy Rowles
Categories: categoryOpinion-Editorial



Oct
05
2015

But We’ve Always Done it This Way - My Two Cents

Posted by jhadmin

Has anyone ever said to you, “But we’ve always done it this way”? It’s a complacency trap that once held the potential for dire consequences for five of us employed as HEMS pilots for the king of Saudi Arabia. I was new to the organization, standing on the bridge of the king’s yacht with the chief pilot. We were both looking half a mile away through binoculars as he explained the approach to the hospital helipad. “You’ll fly to the waypoint listed “WALL” in the GPS, which is the wall at the edge of the palace grounds. Once you reach it, you’ll make a left 90-degree dogleg turn, keeping those five construction cranes on your right while staying well clear of that big unlit stadium on your left. See it?” [Read More...]



Tags: My Two Cents Randy Mains
Categories: categoryTraining categorySafety categoryOpinion-Editorial categoryHuman Interest



Aug
24
2015

Spies in the Oil Field - My Two Cents July 2015

Posted by jhadmin

If I were to answer the question as to why I love the helicopter industry so much, I would have to say it’s because of the quirky characters I’ve met and worked with over the years. Characters that immediately come to mind are guys like “Lofty” because of his extraordinary height, “Bambi” because of his doe-brown eyes, a Brit we called “Captain Kleenex” because he had a sinus condition that caused him to leave tissues strewn about all over the cockpit, “Too Tall McCall” because he was short, and an Australian we all called “Trackless” because he was even shorter than Two Tall. (In fact, he was much shorter because his legs were so short his butt would drag behind him and wipe out his tracks, hence the name.) There was also Robert “Don’t call me Bob” because that’s how he introduced himself, “Squeaky Cheeks” because he had an odd walk, a New Zealander we called “Sumo” because he resembled a Sumo Wrestler, a Brit we called “Crusher” because he landed on a load handler hooking up an underslung load on a wellhead in the oil field and “slightly” crushed him. [Read More...]



Tags: Helicopter Oil and Gas My Two Cents Randy Mains
Categories: categoryOpinion-Editorial categoryHuman Interest categoryTraining categoryHelicopter Sectors


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