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A poem by helicopter pilot Marshall Murdock

The best among us are not among us,
You will not find them here;
They stand on distant lands and shores,
For freedom’s cause so dear.

CS3 - Raising the Bar on Customer Support:
How Airbus Does It!
Article, Photos & Video by Lyn Burks

No one likes a helicopter that is a “hangar pig”—a helicopter that seemingly sits in the hangar broken more often than flying.  As a person who has owned several helicopters as a part of my business, I can testify that downtime equals lost dollars.

Perceptions of Safety
By Scott Skola

    Safety, safety, safety … with the full court press on safety these days, you would think that the rotorcraft industry would be at that much-revered “zero incidents and accidents” goal by now.  Unfortunately, we’re not.
    When you get down to it, what is safety?  Is it just an analytical state of mind, with a bunch of numbers and ratios proving its success?  Or does it also have a philosophical side, where perception and beliefs play a part in safety success?  The short answer—it’s both.  So, if a company wants no incidents and accidents—and every employee goes to work with the intention of not causing an incident or accident—why do we continue to come up short? 

My Two Cents Worth (Rotorcraft Pro February 2014 Issue) by Randy Mains

What does it mean to you to be a professional?  With that thought in mind, do you possess the attributes of a professional?  What do you think are essential qualities of a true professional?  Conversely, what qualities would you consider to be found in someone who is not a professional?  Considering what it takes to be professional – and unprofessional – will make you aware of what we all strive to be: a true professional in our chosen occupation.

Meet a Rotorcraft Pro – Henrik Bjorklund

RPMN: What is your current position?
I’m a saw pilot at Rotor Blade.

RPMN: What does Rotor Blade do?
We perform aerial sidewall trimming of utility line rights-of-way.  This is done with a ten-bladed saw that’s suspended below the aircraft.

RPMN: Tell me about your first flight.
It was my very first flight lesson at Bristow Academy in Florida.  I absolutely loved how the helicopter maneuvered through the air and the sensation of hovering; hanging motionless in the air was absolutely fantastic.  I had never been in a helicopter before I left Sweden and came to Bristow Academy, not even on the ground.  So, when my instructor asked if I wanted to do an autorotation I simply said, “Yeah, sure,” and was wondering what he was talking about.  I was in for a surprise.

By Ryan Mason By all indications, the helicopter simulation industry is booming.  With the steady introduction of new helicopter models from several manufacturers, the simulation equivalents o...

VA Benefits & Helicopter Training
By Heidi McBride

Having the opportunity to use our VA benefits to pay for professional helicopter flight training is, for many of us Veterans, an incomprehensible dream come true. Using the Post-9/11 GI Bill can genuinely pay for 100% of your fight training, pay for your books and supplies, and provide a reasonable housing stipend. There are, however, many crucial factors to consider before you blindly pick a flight school and jump in feet first. More than one veteran has chosen too hastily and regretted their choice of school once they became aware of all the options available to them.

The Leading Edge of Training Technology –The CAE Experience
Article, photos & video by Lyn Burks

Offshore 100 miles, atop an 80-foot oilrig helideck I perform a pre-takeoff check: fuel levers in direct, both throttles in fly, fire t-handles are forward.  Scanning down the instrument panel I see that my temps and pressures are in the green and there are no warnings or caution lights blinking at me.  Moving across the center console, I ensure that my stick trims and autopilots are on, and there are no DECU (digital engine control unit) faults.  Next, I pull the Sikorsky S76C+ into a stable hover, turn the nose into the wind, and do a power check.  The torque gage reads 68 percent — life is good.

My Two Cents Worth - Randy Mains

Wouldn’t it be great if there were a big fat red warning light on the instrument panel that would illuminate whenever we were putting our passengers and ourselves in harm’s way?  Well there is, but it’s not on the instrument panel – it’s in your head.

Research has shown that nearly 80% of all aircraft accidents in history have had an element of human error, which means it isn’t stick-and-rudder skills that are killing people – bad pilot decision-making is killing people.

Meet a Rotorcraft Pro Questionnaire – Kevin W. Nelson

RPMN: What is your current position?

I’m the founder, owner, president and ‘chief bottle washer’ of Nelson AeroDynamiX, Corp. and its division, Aero Alliance.  I am a contributing editor with Vertical magazine; so don’t tell them I’m on your pages!  I also work in a close affiliation relationship with Chase Aviation for giving a fresh, honest, thorough and informed service to buyers and sellers of helicopters as a “tag team,” doubling the value. (www.chaseaviation.com)

Safety’s Hazard
By Scott Skola

Safety and helicopter maintenance have had a long – and interesting – relationship.  During the past two decades, safety has played an ever-increasing role and is now one of the primary influences on each and every task mechanics perform.

But can too much initiative in the name of safety have a more negative than positive effect in a maintenance environment?  Can safety actually become a hazard? 

"What you talk’n bout, Willis?”

No, this is not about removing basic safety procedures, nor regressing to the old days of bathing in MEK, or working 48 hours straight to change an S-76 transmission.  This topic focuses on the current shift to apply abstract safety initiatives directly into aircraft maintenance procedures. 

TAKE 5! A new idea
By Ian Robinson

CRM, ADM, BLA, BLA, BLA: What do they really mean? Lets get specific, look at ourselves, and discover if we are accident-prone.

Safety Introspection

We all work in inherently dangerous environments. Will you take a five-minute journey into self-discovery? If 65-80% of all aviation accidents are related to human error, let’s attack the statistics - We can learn from others.

My 2 Cents (December 2013)

Randy Mains

Six years after his historic flight, Orville Wright lost a friend in an aircraft accident.  He lamented, “What is needed is better judgment, rather than better skill.” 

    It’s been proven, whether flying single pilot or multi-crew, that faulty decision-making has caused far more aviation accidents than poor flying ability. 

    An element of crew resource management (CRM) examines nine hazardous attitudes and behaviors that can impede good judgement and decision-making. By identifying these behaviors and applying the anecdote to counteract them, you can break a vital link in the error chain and avoid having an incident or accident.

In its quest to bring the global helicopter accident rate to zero, the International Helicopter Safety Team (IHST) has analyzed more than 1,000 U.S. civil helicopter accidents and their causes. Having done so, the IHST’s investigators have come to two clear conclusions: (1) Helicopter accidents are ultimately caused by incorrect human decisions, and (2) the evidence shows that reducing the accident rate to zero is actually possible.

“After going through the NTSB investigations in detail, one thing has become obvious: No one has invented a new way to crash a helicopter,” says Matt Zuccaro, IHST co-chair and president of Helicopter Association International. “The reasons helicopters crashed ten years ago remain the same today, and all of their causes can be traced back to the people who flew, serviced, or managed the helicopters.”

One of the buzzwords used on TV by the politicians and talking heads is the word “paradigm.”  In fact, using the word in a sentence over a beer with buddies may cause their impression of your IQ to go up a couple points.  We commonly hear the pundits say things like, “It’s the new paradigm” or “The paradigm has shifted.”

Looking closer at the word paradigm, we see it means “a pattern of something; a model.”

Paradigm Aerospace Corporation (PAC) has been in the helicopter business since 1976.  Given their longstanding reputation as a “model” for quality, having the word paradigm as part of their name nearly four decades later almost seems prophetic.

Meet a Rotorcraft Pro – Dean Springer

RPMN: What is your current position?

Presently, I guess you would say I am semi-retired, meaning, I have retired from my first career as a Senior Special Agent and former Customs Service Pilot after 20 years.  I no longer fly full-time, but fly relief or on-call by the day.  This is usually one-to-three days a week as needed in a Bell 206BIII, King Air B100, or Beechcraft Baron.

Back in 2011, an interesting movie was released named Moneyball.  The movie was based on the story of Oakland A’s general manager, Billy Beane.  His former General Manager (GM), Sandy Alderson, mentored him in the art of sabermetrics (statistical analysis).  In turn, Beane successfully assembled a lower-budget team based on emerging prospects and undervalued veterans that consistently performed.  Most other Major League Baseball teams during this time were interested in high-priced superstars that may or may not have consistently produced.   One theme I noticed throughout the movie was consistent, well placed singles beat a few home runs every time.

Story by Rick Weatherford Photos by Aris Helicopters In the early 1950s, the Sikorsky S-55 made its mark when the 600 horsepower (hp) piston-powered helicopter realized its first use in the world ...

It appears the Australians put a higher value on patient safety than our FAA, NTSB and even Congress.  That’s a pretty strong statement, isn’t it?  Let me tell you how I arrived at that conclusion.

When my article “The Power of CRM” appeared in the August 2013 issue of Rotorcraft Pro my wife, Kaye, and I were in Australia, flown there by the Aeromedical Society of Australasia so that I could deliver two keynote speeches at their 25th scientific meeting of HEMS operators. 

My first keynote address was entitled “US Aeromedical Accidents – What can Australasian HEMS learn from our Mistakes?”  On the second day I delivered a keynote address entitled “CRM in Aeromedical Operations - Why CRM/AMRM (Air Medical Resource Management) is Absolutely Vital to HEMS Safety.” 

STAR Flight (Shock Trauma Air Rescue) is the Air Operations Division of Travis County, Texas.  It is a public safety air rescue program that is unique because it performs critical transport, firefighting, rescue, and limited law enforcement support.  STAR Flight is based in Austin and serves not only the citizens of Travis County, but also 19 other counties within a 75-mile radius.  The majority of the calls are to assist those who are experiencing medical problems or suffering from traumatic injuries from motor vehicle crashes or other activities.  When requested, STAR Flight regularly transports very sick patients in rural hospitals to larger, better-equipped hospitals.

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