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Author: RandyRowles




Sep
17
2018

Southern Airways of Texas, Inc…Where It All Began!

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RandyRowles

In early September 2018, I attended the Southern Airways of Texas, Inc. Annual Reunion in Mineral Wells, Texas. Southern Airways of Texas, Inc. held the government contract to train the helicopter pilots who would fly and fight in the Vietnam War. More affectionately known as Southern Airways, they conducted pilot training at the U.S. Army Primary Helicopter School located at Fort Wolters, Texas from 1956 to 1973. [Read More...]



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Aug
15
2018

The Perfect Pilot Job Candidate?

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RandyRowles

A few months ago, a company advertised for a wildlife helicopter pilot to fly in support of wildlife research operations. In addition to having extensive helicopter pilot experience within the utility segment, they were equally searching for an applicant with a love for the outdoors including fishing, hunting, etc. For the right applicant, this would be a fantastic opportunity. [Read More...]



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Jul
20
2018

It’s a Helicopter…What More Do I Need to Know?

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RandyRowles

For me, my career in helicopters began with a keen interest in understanding how a helicopter worked. I wanted to know how did it fly? How did the rotor blades stay fixed to the aircraft while turning so rapidly? These questions were only a few of the points that made helicopter flight turn from interest to passion in my life. My story isn’t unique among the helicopter family. As a matter of fact, its relatively common place to hear such stories. However, many of the up-and-coming helicopter enthusiasts today lack interest in the machine; a fact that may lead to a deadly form of boredom known as complacency! [Read More...]



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Jun
18
2018

FAA Inspector Wanted…Experience Required, Rarely Utilized!

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RandyRowles

Periodically, I have the privilege of assisting Part 135 operators with temporary management and training position services. My role may include providing instructor and/or check pilot services for their Part 135 Operating Certificate. In many cases, the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) inability to support an operator training and checking program is driven by their [FAA Inspector} lack of experience and/or currency in the aircraft operated by the Part 135 certificate hold [Read More...]



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May
15
2018

Attending an FAA FIRC…A Labor of Love!

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RandyRowles

Every two (2) years, all Flight Instructors are mandated to renew their highly coveted flight instructor certificate. Although the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) provides several paths to obtain a renewal, my preferred method is to attend a Flight Instructor Refresher Course or FIRC. [Read More...]



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Apr
15
2018

Hey Flight Instructor...Hush!

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RandyRowles

On October 20th, 2009, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) published significant additions and alterations to the Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR). Several changes can be found in 14 CFR 61.129 which identifies the aeronautical experience to meet commercial pilot certification requirements. The changes made to the existing regulation were welcome by many within the ab initio helicopter training industry. However, some of the changes to the regulation may have facilitated instructional coddling that’s proving detrimental to our commercial pilot cadre. [Read More...]



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Mar
19
2018

Air Taxi…What a Concept!

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RandyRowles

A couple months ago, an article in the newspaper caught my eye. The article was titled “The First Air Taxi Coming to Dallas”. Initially, I thought a new Part 135 helicopter operator popped up and this was an attempt to market themselves in the area. However, this was not the case. The article provided an overview of the relationship between Uber and Bell (formerly Bell Helicopter), and how their newly founded joint venture Uber Elevate would launch in Dallas around 2023. This got me thinking... [Read More...]



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Feb
25
2018

Instrument Training | When Simulation Becomes Reality

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RandyRowles

On 17 October 2017, a flight instructor and commercially rated pilot were practicing instrument approaches at the Molokai Airport (Hawaii) when they were lost from radar. Debris from the helicopter was found floating on the water northwest of the shores of Molokai. Although they were operating on an IFR flight plan, the flight was being conducted under VFR as a Part 91 training flight. (NTSB Identification: WPR18LA010) [Read More...]



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Jan
15
2018

180-Degree Autorotation: Stop the Carnage!

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RandyRowles

During the last quarter of 2017 (October 2017 – December 2017), there were three (3) helicopter accidents within the Instructional/Training segment. This represented 16% of the total accidents that occurred during that timeframe. Of those accidents, 1 was fatal. Although there has been a reduction in the number of helicopter training accidents, the maneuvers in which many of our accidents occur remain steady. Of those maneuvers, the 180-degree autorotation remains near the top of the list. [Read More...]



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Dec
18
2017

The Vuichard Recovery What’s all the hype?

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RandyRowles

A student I was training for a night vision goggle (NVG) instructor course was tasked to teach a segment on confined area operations. The student lesson plan included settling-with-power as a consideration when conducting confined area operations. The scenario I provided for the student was that this confined area operation would be conducted at night using NVGs. The recovery technique the student selected to teach was the Vuichard Recovery, which is a lateral recovery method that provides a more expeditious recovery with minimal altitude loss. [Read More...]



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