Even though I had arrived one and a half days earlier in Sesto Calende, Italy, I found myself in culture shock and jet lagged. On my first day in the Leonardo Training Academy classroom, we jumped right into the aircraft specifications and limitations at a swift pace after a short introduction by our ground school instructor Paolo Fracchia and the issuance of our Microsoft tablet and training materials.
When I realized the training bus was leaving the station and I better get on board and start taking notes, it took my brain at least 30 minutes to catch up. Then at the end of the first day, we were informed that at the conclusion of ground training there would be a 100-question closed-book exam, proctored by EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency). We would have to correctly answer 75 percent of the questions to continue training. My visions of gallivanting around Italy with my colleagues, drinking beer every night and dining on pasta, evaporated in an instant. [Read More...]
Flight Simulation Training
Leonardo Training Academy
A gentleman on my professional Facebook page, claimed a certain unit was “the best aviation unit in the world.” While we pilots often make strong claims, I got to thinking: What criteria would qualify a unit to be considered one of the best in the world?
Naturally, I immediately thought about the unit I served with in Vietnam from October 1968 to October 1969. We were the Black Widows of Charlie Company assigned to the 101st Airborne Division. I was Black Widow 25. When I arrived we were based at LZ Sally, 7 kilometers northwest of Hue. Several months later we moved to the air base at Hue Phu Bai. [Read More...]
My Two Cents Worth
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’s lack of experience and/or currency in the aircraft operated by the Part 135 certificate holder.
A few weeks ago, I was working with an operator to become their Part 135 instructor and check pilot. Following the guidance provided within FAA Order 8900.1, we requested an initial cadre approval and set the process to move forward. That letter was crafted and submitted in October 2017. Once our principal operations inspector (POI) received the request, we were notified that the office did not have adequate staff to conduct pilot proficiency checks in the requested aircraft make and model, so an FAA inspector from another office would conduct the checks. [Read More...]
Federal Aviation Administration
Here’s a tip to help troubleshoot a customer bleed air system. Different manufacturers have their own nomenclatures, but this is the system that takes hot engine bleed air and routes it for cabin heating, cooling turbines, particle separators, and the like.
On occasion, the bleed air problem only manifests itself when the aircraft is running. One way to check this without running an engine is to apply shop air to the aircraft bleed air system. The picture below is a work aid version used for Bell 212/412, MBB BO105, Bell 222/230, or any aircraft with a 209-type bleed air “deck” valve. [Read More...]
Since tablet computers first became mainstream products, electronic flight bag (EFB) solutions have developed some critical mass also in the domain of helicopter operations. Multiple helicopter operators all over the world have, to some extent, implemented EFBs, and a decrease in the use of paper-based flight deck documentation is being witnessed.
At CHC, EFB solutions were first introduced in the U.K. in 2014 and have since expanded across its global operations. “Our EFBs include all necessary flight information, including operations manuals, weather information, and helideck data and approach information that is easily accessible at the fingertips of flight crews via iPad”, says Dave Balevic, CHC’s senior vice president of engineering and operations. “They include our operation flight planning system (OFPS), which has been used to plan more than 100,000 flights across our fleet. Our OFPS is made in-house, with extensive input and direction from our pilots and is currently on its fifth generation as we work to constantly improve it and make it a more efficient tool.” [Read More...]
Electronic flight bag
Helicopter Electronic flight bag
Two years ago I posted an article to LinkedIn entitled, “What We Get Wrong!” At the time I didn’t realize how that it would resonate with many people either transitioning out of the military or those that had. So after two years, I decided to write a follow up to it. Once again I asked a few chief pilots and helicopter industry human resource recruiters for their thoughts on what military pilots get right and what they enjoy about them. The following is an overview, in no specific order, of military veterans’ positive attributes.
When given a task they complete it. Former military members are very mission oriented. They understand what needs to be done to get the job done; when tasks are complete they offer assistance and jump in to help others with others tasks, even if it means sweeping the hangar.
When declining a position, they are very courteous and don’t burn bridges. Taking the extra minute to let someone know you have decided to take another job somewhere else in a gracious manner is well received an appreciated. For example, “Thank you for the opportunity to work for your company, but I have found a position with another company that I think I am a better fit for.” That is better received than “I’m not going to work here and found something else that pays better,” or just blowing them off. [Read More...]
Military Helicopter Pilots
Military to Civilian
The aviation industry is constantly changing. If you own a helicopter or fleet of helicopters, and have an interest in capitalizing on the tourism side of the industry, then Patric Douglas, CEO and founder of Big Mountain Heli Tours in Bend, Oregon, can help develop your company no matter your location or equipment.
When Douglas first entered the heli-tourism industry he confidently brought his 30 years’ experience as a tourism developer to the market. With his proven track record in tourism development Douglas is now lending his services to help those entering the heli-tourism industry find success. He is the owner of companies that have pioneered everything from white shark cage diving in Mexico (sharkdiver.com) to building underwater cities in Dubai (reefworlds.com).
In October 2016, Douglas turned his full attention to aviation and emerged with the successful launch of Big Mountain Heli Tours (flycascades.com). Upon securing a partnership with Leading Edge Aviation (flybend.com), one of the largest helicopter training schools in Oregon, Big Mountain Heli Tours exceeded its 2017 forecasts and is poised for continued growth and expansion in 2018. The addition of an instructor-level tour company helps Leading Edge Aviation build hours and offer real world training for those moving on to other careers. [Read More...]
Big Mountain Heli Tours
Leading Edge Aviation
RPMN: What is your current position?
I’m currently the Eastern United States regional pilot training manager/check airman with Metro Aviation Inc.
An additional duty with Metro is that of maintenance/production test pilot at Paradigm Aerospace Corporation, known as PAC International, a wholly owned subsidiary of Metro Aviation. This responsibility has provided me a great opportunity to fly numerous types of airframes, including: Airbus EC145, EC135 (all variants), AS350 and the BK117 (all variants); Bell 206 series and the 407s,
(both analog) and the GX1000s and the MD900.
I’m also co-owner of Professional Helicopter Services LLC, one of the principles in 4D Aviation Consulting LLC.
I enjoyed a 26-year career with the Pennsylvania State Police retiring from the Aviation Unit in 2010. [Read More...]
meet a rotorcraft pro
Jim Hasburgh’s extensive helicopter pilot training at the U.S. Air and Marine Operations’ National Air Training Center coalesced on one cold and rainy winter day near McAllen, Texas five years ago.
AMO’s sister agency, the U.S. Border Patrol, had worked all night in the rain to apprehend a group of undocumented immigrants but couldn’t locate an 8-year-old Central American girl. A helicopter crew consisting of Hasburgh, Border Patrol agent Aron Quintanilla, and an EMT was assigned to look for her.
The crewmembers searched and searched but even with the help of a FLIR thermal camera, they couldn’t locate the child. With visibility conditions nearing AMO minimum requirements, the crew made the call to halt the mission. Then just as Hasburgh banked to the left, Quintanilla spotted the shaking little girl, all covered with mud and soaking wet.
“I remember the girl hugging us both,” Quintanilla recalled. “I just told her, ‘There’s an angel looking after you.’ Even now I get chills thinking about it. I have a lot of experience doing this, and our chances of finding her were maybe five percent…It was a miracle.” [Read More...]
National Air Training Center
US Border Patrol
More power, lower fuel consumption, and safer/simpler operations: These are only some of the advances being achieved in helicopter engine technology today. In fact, there is so much amazing progress being made that we’re cutting this introduction short – to get straight to the cool stuff.
Honeywell Runs with the HTS900
Builder of legacy helicopter turbine engines such as the T53 (used on the Bell UH-1 Huey) and the LTS101 (Bell 222 and Airbus Helicopters H125), Honeywell Aerospace is now forging ahead with its new HTS900 turboshaft engine. The HTS900 incorporates improvements gleaned from Honeywell’s joint projects with the U.S. government. Its mission is to be a turbine engine that is more powerful and fuel-efficient than older engine models; all within a compressor architecture that has room for future upgrades. [Read More...]
Pratt & Whitney Canada PW210
Rolls Royce M250
Safran Arrius 2R