Anyone who’s ever traveled in the western United States, has come face to face with the great Rocky Mountains. They’re formidable. They’re hard. They’re rugged. Such are the characteristics of the people it takes to run a helicopter business in and around those beautiful, yet unforgiving rocks.
Mark Taylor is chief pilot and co-owner of Rocky Mountain Rotors (RMR). After hearing his journey, I view him as a living testimony to what happens when the school of hard knocks crosses paths with perseverance and a little bit of luck.
Taylor began at Silver State Helicopters as a Robinson R22 pilot. He now owns and operates a full-service helicopter operation utilizing the R22, R44, Bell 206, 407, and 429. The gregarious and charismatic aviator is a horseman and a hunter. At the end of my first day with him, he asked, “Do you like beer?” I knew we were going to get along just fine. We enjoyed an amazing Salmon Fly ale from Madison River Brewery that concluded Day One on a high note. [Read More...]
Rocky Mountain Rotors
Yellowstone Helicopter Charters
Yellowstone Helicopter Tours
Specialty helicopter products are like upgrades to well-engineered cars. They enhance the performance, safety, and value of the machines they are added to, while tweaking the admiration of their purchasers with the thought, I wish I’d come up with that! Below are some specialty helicopter products that crossed our desks at Rotorcraft Pro, and made us sit up in attention. [Read More...]
I’ve been privileged to fly in different countries around the world. You gain a perspective on the good, bad, and ugly of our aviation system here in the United States. With that said, I haven’t been anywhere outside of the U.S. where opportunity for all citizens to experience aviation is more available than here in the States. You are not excluded from aviation, because of your gender, race, ethnicity, religion, or any other differentiating factor. Additionally, many physically challenged persons find themselves successful in aviation as well. [Read More...]
Crew Resource Management (CRM) gives us the tools to make safe, prudent decisions; it’s something I wish I’d had while flying a JetRanger on a seismic survey contract in Papua New Guinea. Knowing what could hurt me would have prevented my nearly being eaten by a huge crocodile.
Mike Keith, a pilot with me on contract, and I (stupidly) agreed to go crocodile hunting at midnight with two line cutters Russ and Tom Dooley. I should have known to say no; a week earlier; Russ had thrown a 16-foot python in the back seat of my aircraft in a burlap sack. [Read More...]
CRM Crew Resource Management
My Two Cents
Probably the first thing noticed in this article’s photos are the paint jobs on Ecocopter’s H125 helicopters, Much of their artwork is admired on social media for its intriguing and avant-garde style, but the fact is that operator Ecocopter, is intriguing and avant-garde itself.
Ecocopter is a Chilean company born 15 years ago with the vision of providing a different type of service in their region of the world. Born with a single helicopter, they were pioneers, providing the first EC130B4 in Chile for private use. As changes occurred, especially in the mining sector, they began to provide air services to industry. Then, after having success, an AS350B3 was purchased. After the aerial sector for industry continued to grow, the next logical step was to buy four helicopters to start Ecocopter’s fleet. [Read More...]
Ecocopter’s H125 helicopters
I was a full-time municipal firefighter 20 years ago, while at the same time flying helicopters on my days off. In 1999, I was offered a job as a pilot flying helicopter air ambulance (HAA.) It seemed a perfect fit as I not only had experience treating patients in the streets and setting up HAA landing zones, but I was a local pilot with significant experience.
In in the life of an HAA call, there are two major decision points that are singular moments that can change the arc of history. The first moment is when the pilot must decide whether or not to launch. When everything’s normal, (i.e., weather, crew, and maintenance) the decision’s easy; you launch. The second moment happens when en route and some part of the flight begins to degrade. The pilot finds himself at a crossroad: keep going or turn around and head back to base? [Read More...]
When it comes to the art of networking, the fact of the matter is that none of us have an inherent advantage over anybody else. Humans do not come from the womb imbued with the “Great Networker” gene. Networking is, in fact, a learned skill that (like all skills) becomes easier and more natural the more it is practiced. By definition, networking is the exchange of information or services between individuals, groups, or institutions. Specifically, networking is the “cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business.” Typically, these connections are created and enhanced through conversation, be it face-to-face, email, phone, or video chat. The importance of becoming an effective networker cannot be overstated during an individual’s military-to-civilian transition. Beginning as early as possible is vital in order to reduce one’s overall level of stress, while increasing the likelihood of a streamlined transition to the civilian workforce. [Read More...]
Military helicopters are always advancing in the range of missions served and the technology being developed to support them. Here is what five of the world’s top military helicopter manufacturers are doing to keep up.
Airbus Helicopters Pushes Ahead With Lakota Trainer Deliveries
Airbus Helicopters’ U.S. factory in Columbus, Mississippi, is manufacturing for deployment at the U.S. Army’s helicopter training centers 35 UH-72A Lakotas, which are the military version of Airbus Helicopter’s H145. They are being built under a $273 million U.S. Army contract signed with Airbus in March 2018. Seventeen of the UH-72As will be sent to Fort Rucker, Alabama, for training entry-level helicopter pilots. Eighteen more will be deployed to the Army’s Combat Training Centers, for training observers/controllers.
This purchase comes after the U.S. Army had already bought 155 UH-72As to replace its 181 TH-67 Creek training helicopters, which are based on the Bell 206B-3. (At present, both helicopters are being used as trainers.) The Army also has more than 412 UH-72As in its fleet serving as light utility helicopters. [Read More...]
Airbus UH-72A Lakota
Bell AH-1Z Viper
Bell UH-1Y VEnom
TIP #1 Power of the Pencil
You discover your Bell 206 Series battery relay does not come online after an engine start using an external power unit (EPU) due to a low aircraft battery. This relay requires a minimum residual voltage in the battery to actuate the solenoid and pull the contactor bar down.
While the aircraft is running and battery switch on, remove the round “label” from the top cover on most battery relays. Insert a wooden pencil in the cover hole and push down on the contactor bar. Reinstall the label or cover the hole with tape. [Read More...]
When it comes to helicopter operations there is actually no such thing as clean air. “Typically when you are in flight, you are in somewhat clean air, but most often it is not cruise flight that is the problem. Most of your damage occurs during takeoff and landing when you are kicking up the sand, grass, dust, or soot that is on the ground,” says Tony Bohm, director of business development at Aerometals. “Often it is not until an operator has a problem with an engine that they realize that their areas of operation are not as clean as they think they are. We had one operator who was trashing engines because they would cut the lawn every week next to the training area. They were constantly ingesting grass clippings into their engines and causing damage.” [Read More...]
Donaldson Aerospace and Defense
Helicopter Dirty Air Operations
Inlet Barrier Filters