Once upon a time, the world of law enforcement (LE) helicopters was a relatively simple place. LE pilots flew surveillance and pursuit missions in aid of their respective police departments, using basic helicopters that were aerial observation platforms and little else.
Times have changed: Today’s LE helicopters and LE pilots are affected by trends such as a move to multiple-role missions, advanced cockpit technology, and unmanned aerial systems (aka drones); among others. [Read More...]
Aviation Law Enforcement
Helicopter Avionics Advances
Helicopter Multiple Role
primary flight display
Unmanned Aerial Aircraft
Job interviews come in many different flavors. They can range from short, informal conversations during a social event to a virtual meeting with one or two managers to formal, multi-day assessments. Sometimes, being prepared and knowing what to expect is not as easy as it sounds; however, regardless of how the interview is structured, most companies are pretty much looking for the same things. They want to see skill, aptitude, judgement, reputation, and safety from a drama-free, loyal, adaptable, predictable work force. [Read More...]
Helicopter Interview Process
Helicopter Job Interview
Military to Civilian Helicopters
Combine an AS350 with doors off, an automatic machine gun, and an open desert range with your own tourist trigger finger and you've got “The Ultimate Thrill Ride In Las Vegas,” also known as Gunship Helicopters.
For many, just flying through the Mojave Desert mountains in a helicopter is a thrill. Add a military M249 SAW (squad automatic weapon), zombies, and AR500 reactionary steel targets, and you’ve got Gunship Helicopters’ next-level exhilaration and firepower.
The partners at Gunship Helicopters are a living testimony that there’s glory in overcoming obstacles. Gunship Helicopters is owned by father-and-son duo Robert and Matt Fahnestock, partner Randy Saenz, and managed by Brad Scanlon. This adventure tourism company was built on hard work, determination, and
only taking yes for an answer. [Read More...]
RPMN: What is your current position?
I am the assistant chief pilot for Southern California and Hawaii for REACH Air Medical Services. I have responsibility for 44 pilots at 11 bases as well as three IFR reserve pilots and two instructor pilots/check airmen; it keeps me fairly busy. I enjoy working with pilots and flying first-rate helicopters in the single-pilot IFR role.
RPMN: Tell me about your first flight.
My first helicopter flight was in the U.S. Navy flight school at South Whiting Field near Pensacola, Florida. I was a student naval aviator and had been selected to fly helicopters in the United States Marine Corps. From the moment we lifted off in the TH-57C, I was hooked! I had flown fixed-wing prior: a T-34C at North Whiting Field, and Cessnas at the Don Scott airport affiliated with The Ohio State University when I was a college student there. My actual first flight was in a Cessna 152 at Ohio State.
RPMN: How did you get your start in helicopters?
As a Marine officer pilot at Whiting Field. Upon getting designated as a naval aviator and getting my wings, I was sent on to learn to fly the Sikorsky CH-53D Sea Stallion and eventually the CH-53E Super Stallion.
meet a rotorcraft pro
REACH Air Medical Scott Kerchner
Rotorcraft Pro’s annual U.S. Pilot Salary & Benefits Survey was initially launched six years ago in an effort to monitor and report trends on the salaries of pilots in the industry. Traditionally, surveys were sent directly to employers via snail mail in ballot form, then collected and tabulated.
This old method did provide interesting results, but because employers are reluctant to reveal the exact salaries and benefits they provide, the sampling could be rather small and probably wasn’t always representative of the larger whole.
Online technologies have given us the ability to survey actual pilots and their employers, thus generating more participation throughout the industry. This year’s survey had excellent participation and obtained the latest information on helicopter pilots: [Read More...]
Helicopter Pilot Pay Scales
Helicopter Pilot Salaries
Helicopter Salary Survey Report
I'm waking up, I feel it in my bones
Enough to make my system blow
Welcome to the new age, to the new age
Welcome to the new age, to the new age
I never thought that I would be quoting the 2012 hit song, “Radioactive,” by the Imagine Dragons, in Rotorcraft Pro magazine, but every time I tried to think of an opener for this issue’s letter, that song kept popping into my head. “Welcome to the new age,” indeed!
For the last two and a half months, COVID-19 has changed the world for virtually every person and every industry. Although the short-term impact on civil aviation has been devastating, the battered and bruised helicopter industry adapted as much as possible and will live to fly another day. [Read More...]
The next time you run across a pilot who complains about the navigation equipment in his aircraft — right after he enters his coordinates into the panel-mounted Garmin 430, the backup windshield-RAM-mounted Garmin 695, and the backup-backup glare-shield-mounted iPhone — ask him what he would have done during the time of the Transcontinental Airway System. [Read More...]
Transcontinental Airway System
Manned-unmanned teaming (MUM-T) is a term that helicopter pilots need to remember. MUM-T refers to efforts by helicopter OEMs to integrate unmanned rotary and fixed-wing drones and helicopters into functional, teaming relationships – based on Aristotle’s observation that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”
In the case of MUM-T, combining drones and helicopters creates teams that can do more than drones or helicopters alone. A case in point: Imagine a military ‘tank killer’ helicopter receiving targeting data from a fleet of autonomous surveillance drones. The drones would be tasked to spot enemy tanks and send their coordinates to the helicopter’s weapons system. The pilot/crewman in charge would then simply decide which targets to fire upon.
In the civilian world, MUM teams could be highly effective when it comes to search and rescue, police aerial searches, and humanitarian relief efforts. In fact, any mission in which wide-area, time-sensitive aerial surveillance is required is a natural for MUM-T -- especially if the drones are either autonomous or flown from the ground, leaving pilot(s) to focus on actionable intelligence gathered by them. [Read More...]
After listening to Erickson Incorporated’s Vice President and General Manager Hayden Olson for an hour, one is not sure whether he just concluded an executive interview or finished a life coaching session. The momentary confusion is resolved upon reflection that Olson views all facets of his life as interconnected by his faith and calling to coach others. Thus, he can approach family life as building a high performing team as he similarly does on the job at Erickson where his team building is based on interpersonal relationships and caring. Away from family and work, he’s either coaching personal growth and fitness at the non-profit he founded, or he’s being coached by his “Core Four” board of mentoring friends to which he holds himself accountable for personal and professional growth. The interview all comes together when one realizes that Olson is not only an executive at one of the leading global rotorcraft manufacturing and aviation service providers of utility aircraft, but he’s also a determined, uplifting coach who expects himself and his teams to consistently perform. Olson is Nick Saban in a Fred Rogers’ cardigan. Actually, he’s more likely to wear athletic gear and a T-shirt; which is how he inauspiciously started his business career. [Read More...]
When I started planning for my transition from the Coast Guard a few years before my retirement, there was one thing I tried to do in addition to all the normal administration preparations. I researched companies. All sorts of companies, not just helicopter-specific companies: Twitter, Amazon, Tesla, Facebook, Apple, Starbucks, Walmart. Air Methods, REACH, PHI. I read everything I could about them. I looked for companies with aviation departments and I researched companies who had good reputations hiring veterans. I wasn’t sure if I’d find a flying job, so I was also hedging my bets and looking into operations management opportunities. [Read More...]
Helicopter Military to Civilian
Veteran Helicopter Mechanics
Veteran Helicopter Pilots