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
8 Ways to Enhance Helicopter Training and Reduce Fatal Accidents
Many fatal helicopter accidents involve causes from actions or non-actions that may have occurred months or years before during initial or recurrent instruction sessions. The U.S. Helicopter Safety Team (www.USHST.org) has determined that these training initiatives could improve safety and potentially save lives.
Promote the Teaching of Threat and Error Management – Traditional decision-making models focus largely on reactive and proactive means of flight crew situation management. Threat and Error Management (TEM), however, focuses on a predictive process to eliminate threats and errors before, during, and after each flight. Since its inception and introduction to airline operations, TEM has, as part of larger safety efforts, drastically reduced total accidents within the worldwide airline community. Although TEM generally is taught in conjunction with Cockpit Resources Management (CRM), TEM is actually the latest evolution/iteration of the CRM concept: It is defined as “the process of detecting and responding to threats and errors to ensure that the ensuing outcome is inconsequential, i.e., the outcome is not an error, further error, or an undesired aircraft state.” [Read More...]
Helicopter Safety Training
Roger Smith, the president and CEO of avionics pioneer Genesys Aerosystems based out of Mineral Wells, Texas, talks like the cow-town sheriff in the classic Western flick Silverado, yet there is no hint of a mid-Texas frontier drawl. How’s that? Remember, that sheriff was portrayed by British actor and comic John Cleese, who once said, “He who laughs most, learns best.” Smith seems to take that message to heart. He frequently throughout our interview peppers his answers, delivered with crisp, proper articulation befitting the Queen’s English, with lighthearted chuckles and laughter. Yet there is nothing light or laughable about the company he co-founded. [Read More...]
One item that used to perplex me was reinstalling the K-FLEX drive shaft on a Bell 407. It wasn’t too bad on the earlier models. But once the aft T/R driveshaft flywheel was “incorporated” to form the new thicker rotorbrake (R/B) disc up front, it became a little tighter getting the shaft to drop in.
However, when Bell increased the size of the transmission drive flange it became downright impossible without some persuasion. That was until a fellow wrench, Kevin H., showed me the light. This tip is directed at the latter K-FLEX installation. While it’s a bit hard to explain, it’s even harder to draw a diagram. But it works. You just need to hold your mouth right. [Read More...]
Military aviators are the best trained pilots in the world, right? How could that possibly be limiting?
Military pilots are extensively experienced, highly trained aviators. They are skilled leaders with combat time, and security clearance. These attributes are listed on most transitioning pilots’ resumes. Unfortunately, civilian employers aren’t looking for any of those skills and they certainly don’t list them in job advertisements. Most military pilots appear out of touch and they never receive a call back.
The truth is, your experience and skills are based upon your flight time, and most military pilots haven’t even been keeping a logbook. They’ve been letting the military keep track of their flight time, which doesn’t keep a flight log in accordance with civilian requirements. [Read More...]
Military to Civilian Helicopter Pilots
When people think of drones and natural disasters, they imagine search-and-rescue (SAR) drones directing rescue teams to victims in need of immediate assistance. However, the actual use of drones in natural disasters is quite different. Forget SAR: “In the last year and a half (in the U.S), the American Red Cross used drones to conduct overall assessment of damage as well as detailed damage assessment of residential homes,” said Brad Kieserman, the American Red Cross vice president of disaster operations and logistics. “We also make considerable use of drone video footage that we get from our partners—both in and out of government— to do broader scope damage assessment: what neighbors are inaccessible, what the overall level of damage is, how high the water is and where it’s impacting.”
“On an international level, the Red Cross is using drones to collect imagery and data for our disaster preparedness and recovery work,” Kieserman said. “In the Philippines, where we are still helping people recover from Typhoon Haiyan, we’re using drones to gather aerial imagery. The imagery is a valuable resource for response, planning, monitoring, and resilience-building activities in these disaster-prone areas.”
Helicopters are better suited for SAR: They have the personnel and the lifting power to get victims out of harm’s way as soon as they are spotted. Drones do not. [Read More...]
Drones and Disaster
There are times when helicopters can’t just fly from one place to another, and during those times, Farren International comes to the rescue.
Sometimes it’s because the rotorcraft is in pieces, either because it’s not yet assembled or tragically because it crashed. Other times it’s operable, but it’s a prototype not yet authorized to fly anywhere outside of specified testing zones. It might be that a new owner doesn’t want to add flight time to the precious cargo until it’s in his hands. Or they’re military secrets that the public can’t see flying overhead. In the case of aerospace projects, such as rockets, they aren’t designed to fly to their launch points. “We’re probably the premier aircraft ground transportation company,” said Glenn Wargo, Farren’s director of aircraft transportation who helped start up that portion of Farren’s business back in 1989. [Read More...]
helicopter ground transport
If I were to describe the state of the aerial firefighting industry today, it would come down to two words: preparation and uncertainty. Preparation is for fire seasons that are only getting worse and much more destructive. Uncertainty is because nobody yet knows just how federal budgetary issues and funding for wildland firefighting are going to play out.
At least the good news is that as fire seasons get longer and merge, the industry is well prepared. There is no better evidence of that than the industry’s performance throughout the 2017 fire season. Starting in Florida in early February, and spreading nationwide with almost no letup, wildland fires raged out of control, often for weeks at a time. In California, the state experienced the most destructive fires in its history, as more than 9,130 fires burned over 1,381,400 acres, consuming in excess of 10,800 structures and taking 43 lives, including two firefighters. Particularly hard hit were the densely populated, wildland/urban interface areas of southern California, as well as the San Francisco Bay region’s northern counties. [Read More...]
helicopter foresty firefighting operators
US Aerial firefighting industry
US Forestry Helicopter Firefighting
An old flight training adage recites, “Train as you fly, fly as you train.” Helicopter simulation training is not immune from it, and indeed the adage should be the primary consideration for effective use of simulation. In response to the growing complexity of helicopter operations, more sophisticated automation, and generally increased scrutiny of rotary-wing safety, simulation training is seeing its standard continuously rise. This is making the training organizations ever more sophisticated at setting up helicopter simulation scenarios. [Read More...]
Helicopter Evidence Based Training EBT
Helicopter Scenario Based Training SBT