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Badly thought-out ergonomics nearly got me killed in January 1969. As you may know, a segment of flight safety called ergonomics is the study of designing equipment and devices in the cockpit that fit the human body.  The incident occurred three months into my one-year tour as a UH-1H Huey pilot in Vietnam.  Ironically, it was my first real close brush with death over there, ironic because it didn’t come at the hand of a V.C. with an AK-47, or from an RPG (rocket-propelled grenade).  Instead, I nearly lost my life at the hand of the company instructor pilot who was checking me out in the Bell 205 while giving me my aircraft commander check ride.

This week, from the Paris Airshow, Bell Helicopter announced its return to the short light single (SLS) engine helicopter market with a new product designed to specifications based on the input of a customer advisory council. Bell Helicopter’s new, five-seat entry-level aircraft is expected to complete its first flight in 2014 with certification to follow as quickly as possible.

It was a week after Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Bob Papp had given his “State of the Coast Guard” address.  Capt. Joseph P. Kelly, commanding officer of Air Station Elizabeth City, had set aside an afternoon for all-hands training to watch the speech and reflect on themes from the address.

Schmoozing.  Brown-nosing.  Unfortunately, networking is often thought of as one of these less than flattering activities.  I encourage you to think again.  Embracing the true concept of networking could be the vital link to your desired career opportunity.

Discussion: Some flight helmets may contain outdated components that don’t afford the same level of protection as updated components. Additionally, some manufactures are misrepresenting their products by stating that they meet military
specifications (milspec) or that they’re “exactly the same” as milspec helmets and related components. Wearing helmets that don’t meet the agency requirements is not only against DOI and USFS policy, it’s downright dangerous!

RPMN: Tell me about your first flight.

VANDELAAR:  My first flight in a helicopter was in an R22 out of Troy, Michigan.  I went to take the age old intro-flight out of a local flight school in college.  We hovered over the skylight of a nearby mall, and quite frankly, it scared me.  It took me about two weeks to admit that, but I was really impressed with the machine, so I decided to take up training.

Private sector aerial firefighters report their aircraft are mission-ready for what could be another devastating fire season in the US, as dry conditions continue to persist over much of the country.  In fact, according to a US Forest Service (USFS) spokesman, the 2013 fire season is projected to be similar to last year’s, when 9.3 million acres of wildland were destroyed, by a total of 67,674 fires.

The Department for Transport in the United Kingdom has awarded its UK affiliate Bristow Helicopters Limited (Bristow Helicopters) a new contract to provide civilian Search and Rescue (SAR) services for all of the UK. The SAR services contract has a phased-in transition period beginning in April 2015 and continuing to July 2017 and a contract length of approximately ten years.

Los Angeles is known for many things:  beaches, skyscrapers, complex airspace, freeway chases and a lot of helicopter operators that support the tourist and broadcasting needs of the city.  But as we all should know, behind every good helicopter stands a solid MRO, and behind that MRO stand great mechanics.

RPMN: What is your current position?

I’ve been with a major Part 135 helicopter operator for more than 31 years and recently volunteered for transfer to our GOM operations as a field mechanic.  Outside my day job, I also provide technical writing and research services through my side business, TEK Aviation LLC.

My motto has always been, “Have fun at work!”  To me, fun at work isn’t an oxymoron, a phrase that combines contradictory terms.  I suppose fun at work could be considered a contradiction in terms, like the classic Military Intelligence, or perhaps business ethics, or how about Microsoft Works or my favorite crash landing?  The thing is, if I’m not having fun at work there’s something that needs changing, and if it’s something within my control, I change it.

Looking at the front of the Rotortech Services facility, I have many thoughts. The first is, “WOW, what a nice facility.” The location is pretty amazing, but the structure itself is even more impressive. Looking past its pretty face, I also recognize that at the end of the day, a business is more that just a building.  It’s really about the people and services it provides to the industry.

Heli-Expo 2013 grew for the sixth straight year, setting a new record with an official attendance of 20,393.  And with more than 730 exhibitors and 60 helicopters from all over the globe, there was plenty to see and do. Over 27 educational courses were conducted with nearly 1000 attendees.

In December of 1994, a nor’easter sank the 450 foot motor vessel Salvador Allende in the North Atlantic.  Onboard the Ukrainian registered freighter were 31 crew members who were left stranded, battling for survival against 30 foot seas and 60 mile per hour winds.  The crew members were hundreds of miles away from land and the magnitude of the storm that sank the Salvador Allende prevented other ships from reaching the scene.

RPMN: What is your current position? SCHAAF: Chief Pilot, Fairfax County, Virginia Police Department.  I am retiring on March 22nd and starting a new job as VP - Operations at HAI in Alexandria...

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. and Boeing have signed a teaming agreement on Jan. 13, to submit a joint proposal in response to the U.S. Army Aviation Applied Technology Directorate solicitation for the Army’s Joint Multi-Role (JMR) Technology Demonstrator (TD) Phase 1 program

Ma’a salama (“Farewell” in Arabic) signaled my final goodbye to the Middle East on January 31st 2013, ending 28 years of flying in the land of sand.  I feel fortunate to have been able to finish up my flying career as a flight simulator instructor and flight examiner in the Bell 412EP, operating from the CAE complex in Dubai where I trained and examined Airline Transport Pilots from more than 20 countries.  I felt it was time to go because a little micro switch in my head suddenly tripped signaling, “It’s time to give back. “

RPMN: What is your current position? I am the Vice President/General Manager of the ERA Training Center located in Lake Charles, Louisiana. I have the pleasure of working with the Era Training Depa...

Flare, level off, pull pitch and cushion the landing. With the low rotor horn blaring, the AS350 came to a sliding stop on the grass runway. We had just completed an autorotation to touch down. Dave Burchill, the American Eurocopter instructor pilot looked at me and said, “Here, why don’t you take the controls and try one?” In my 21-year career, I have never flown a Eurocopter product. My entire pilot life has been spent sitting in Robinson, Bell, Sikorsky and Agusta aircraft. The last 13 years have been in multi-engine helicopters. To say that I am rusty when it comes to autos is an understatement.

“Positivity” is the word that immediately springs to mind when I think of what my wife, Kaye, and I experienced at the fifth-annual HELISUCCESS conference that took place in Las Vegas, Nevada, in November.  Positivity…yep, that’s what it was and the feeling was palpable.

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