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By Steve Goldsworthy
Photos by Dennis Pierce and Steve Goldsworthy
 

It’s my third day in Vegas, and Heli-Success is over now, but I don’t want to leave the meeting room.  I’m hanging out as people are packing up the banners and booths and I’m saying goodbye to friends I probably won’t see again until Heli-Expo. When a suggestion is made to go grab a beer, my suitcase and I are the first ones there!

Heli-Success actually starts on a Sunday, but the FAAST team with Jason Dykstra and Mike Franz takes advantage of all the pilots flying in and hosts a safety event designed for helicopter pilots on Saturday afternoon. Topics for the event are ADM and Autorotation. With a reception afterwards, it’s a great way to start networking.

Sunday is the first day of Heli-Success and the room is packed! Lyn Burks, who created the event, tells me there are at least 40 more pilots who tried to sign up, but the event was sold out. Right from the start, you can tell this is not your typical helicopter event. First, you have a room filled with pilots wearing shirt and ties or suits. Not a jumpsuit or boots to be found. Then, you have speakers like Lyn and Randy Rowles from Night Flight Concepts who can set a room on fire with his enthusiasm.

Sponsored by American Eurocopter, Reach Air Medical, FlightSafety International, and the Rotorcraft Pro Media Network, this event is a must for anyone flying, or looking at flying a helicopter as a profession.  While initially you may think this is just a career fair, trust me when I tell you that you are wrong!
This event focuses on what the employer needs and what they are looking for from a pilot. Not just your piloting skills, ratings and hours, but what they want from you, the individual. Improving yourself, your attitudes and expectations is really at the root of Heli-Success. Lyn tells me “I would rather tell pilots that they can succeed by focusing on their personal characteristics and not just their logbook.”

When I ask about some of the great speakers, he says “I knew I had to have those quality people here speaking to make it a success”.  One of those quality people Lyn is speaking of is Captain Mark Schlaefli, Director of Training for Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters. Mark tells me that “more than half the pilots we hired last year, we (first) met and interacted with at Heli-Success”.  While I am contemplating what a profound statement that is, he goes on to tell me his own story. “A few years ago, I was here at Heli-Success, looking for a pilot job. I did exactly what Randy Rowles presented, and I was hired by Papillon.” Summing up, Mark says it is “absolutely essential for new pilots to attend this event”.

Monday ended with a job fair, with many employers setting up booths and interviewing for open positions. The room was filled with hopeful pilots, resumes in hand. Speaking of which, Chris Fischer was there to help the applicants review their resume one on one. After talking to several operators there, I counted almost 60 pilot positions that were looking to get filled from that room.

Lyn’s goal is for the event to get a little better every year, and to reach out to those youth just coming up in our industry. Lyn was excited to tell me about Heli-Success Lite happening this year at Heli-Expo in Dallas. The “lite” version will be a one-day seminar focused on the development of each individual’s personal growth, his or her attitude, resume writing skills, professionalism and networking skills.

2011 was the fourth annual event, but it was my first. I wouldn’t dare to miss another one. When Lyn went to the podium for the last time with his closing comments, all 240 pilots in the room stood and gave a standing ovation.

Well deserved.

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT HELISUCCESS 2012, NOVEMBER 4 & 5 in LAS VEGAS VISIT THIS WEBPAGE: http://www.justhelicopters.com/tabid/233/Default.aspx

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