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delorean last won the day on April 20 2010

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  1. My initial training was in an '82 R22 HP (s/n 330 N8372B.) It was sold in 1998 and destroyed in a training accident in 2002. I flew a B47G once--not sure if it's still around. Also, the first B206 sold to the civilian market (s/n 007, something-69X). It was still around a few years ago.
  2. The mid shift switch is not "insane"..........I've been working one for 9 years now and wouldn't have it any other way. Our base and the six other bases (including the competition) all work it. We all live locally, no one is sleeping at the base for a week. I love it. I work Fri-Sat-Sun days. I get off Sunday night at 1900 and don't come back in until Monday night until 1900......four nights and I'm done. NONE of us alter our sleep schedules. We sleep when we're tired during the day, and sleep every night. Early on, I tried to force myself to sleep during the day, then stay up until after midnight, but I just screwed my system up. I just do my normal thing during the day, then come into work at night. I go to sleep around 10pm and get up at 7am. The phone will ring several times over night, or we may fly. No big deal. If I need nap the next day, I take it. Just because it doesn't work for your system, don't knock it. If our operator outlawed it like you suggest, it would screw all of us that it works just fine for.
  3. I started flying helicopters in 1994, got my private in 1998 and slowly started building time. Got my commercial in 2001, and my CFI in 2002. Flew instruction, photo, tours, 135, etc until I got my instrument & CFII in summer of 2004.......was immediately hired for EMS. I was lucky and snuck in when turbine time was not required, and have been at the same company & base ever since.
  4. The feds only define "rest" as not flying commercially. You can get off duty and go fly a Guard, public use, or your own aircraft and come back to work 10 hrs later. Or you could work all day in construction or basically ANYTHING not commercial flying. Basically the certificate holder cannot require anything of you on your 10 hrs off. Same goes for a HEMES shift. You don't answer the phone, you don't go do PRs, no ground standby's, you don't do duties as the base safety officer, etc. The FARs do not say anything specifically about what your place of rest has to be, but you POI for the local FSDO will. An operator cannot assign a HEMES to you unless you accept it. So if you don't like it, don't accept it. I used to do them all the time. I would do 47-hr ones so I could come back on shift after 12 hrs rest (anything 48+ and you would have to be off for 16 hrs.) We are based at an airport and do fairly quick flights. I never got bumped off shift by exceeding flight time or not getting the 8hrs rest on the go. They were great, you could make about $2500 if OT on a holiday weekend with a 48hr. Unfortunately our FSDO changed them around 2007. Rather than picked up the 8hrs rest as you were required to go out of service for 8 hrs rest--then you could go for 16 hrs. So the company was paying for an extra shift, but only gaining an extra 2 hrs on top of the 14 you could work on a normal shift. We still have them in the book, but I think I was the last one to ever work one......and that was 6 yrs ago. I would do 24hrs anytime over 12's.......ah, the good ole' days.
  5. What I was saying was that crewmembers that allow themselves to get bored will be at each others' throats. My point is, don't let yourself get bored!! If you don't bring you hobbies to work, you're not going to last. EMS = Earn Money Sleeping. Sleep on shift as much as you can. Work out, play video games, watch movies, watch porn, whatever! This isn't prison, you can do whatever you want (except drink), as long as you can still get in uniform and off the ground in 5 minutes. A few of our bases have stocked lakes where everyone fishes (and quite a few duck hunt in the mornings.) When I first started, I used to cook a lot. Then I brought my golf clubs and hit golf balls down the runway. Then I would ride my bike to the other end and hit them back the other way. I got hooked on Call of Duty and GTA for a winter season, and movies were always there. But then I learned to sleep during the day--that was the best move ever. Then I realized I could be making money on duty by opening an eBay store and producing, packaging, shipping, etc while on duty. Then I got my real estate license and run most of that business while on duty. Our base is only a few minutes from a restaurant, gas station, fast food, and a grocery store. Our dispatch radios and cellphones work at all of these places, so we can leave the base as long as we can get back and in the air quick. Yes, I work 2-3 extra nights on my off week--because I want to and like the cash. What's the big deal if I sleep at home or sleep at the base at night? My kids are little and go to sleep early. I can eat dinner with them, drive to work, and be home the next morning right after they wake up. Then I'm home all day with them. If I had to fly the night before then I'll take a nap while they're napping in the afternoon. Who cares if I only fly 4.6 hrs (or less) a hitch?? Again, EARN MONEY SLEEPING. It's not that I'm lazy, I just don't need to measure myself against other pilots by my hours. I stopped keeping a log book when I hit about 2500 hrs. Our flights are short (.7-1.0), so that's still 100-125 patients a year when you factor out the PR & MX flights. I once worked 30 shifts in a month (two of which were 48-hr HEMES shifts)--I flew 6 hrs that entire month and made about $12K.
  6. I've flown HEMS for 9 years now.....same company and same base with the same other three pilots. I wouldn't say I love every aspect of it, but it's a great schedule and money for the little amount of work that I do. We work a 7/7 split schedule. I work 3 days, then 4 nights, and off for 7. I cannot stand working working more than 3-4 day shifts in a row, but would work a month of nights in a heartbeat so I can have those daytimes off. My base is only 30 minutes from home, and I have 5 more within 1.5 hrs. Workovers are plentiful locally and I haven't made less than $95K on the last 7 of the 9 W2s. I will not drive more than about 1.5 hrs one-way to a workover, and I don't stay overnight or during the day when off duty--I always come home. Often I have business or something planned before or after shift in that direction. On my off week I'll pick up at least two nights somewhere. I used to fly ENG part time on my off week, but when that slowed down, I got my real estate license and became a REALTOR. I did the training while on duty, and do most of the research, paperwork, and recurrent education on duty. I set up the showings, closings, etc on my off week or during the days when I work nights. I have two other small businesses I run while on duty as well. That gives me the max amount of free time when at home to play with the wife & kids. I cannot understand why people complain about the boredom. GO TO SLEEP. I average 3-4 hrs on a day shift and 7-9 hrs on a night shift. When I'm awake, I'm working my other jobs, paying bills, etc. Again, maximizes free time when OFF duty. And if the phone rings, go jump in the helicopter......back in bed 2 hrs later. Even for working 2-3 extra days a pay period and I still only average 120 hrs a year. When talking to new guys, I always recommend that they learn how to sleep during the day, and stay our of other people's lives. Don't worry what the med crew is doing, just do your job and be a nice guy. Never let them get to a point where they call 51%....make decisions together, eat together, watch some TV together, etc. But get some sleep and a hobby because the boredom will put people at each other's throats on slow days/seasons. Never bring personal problems into the base and have as much fun as you can get away with.
  7. Who knows what the industry will look like in two years......wait until you're about 6 months out then start looking at all the options. There's no telling what impact the NTSB, FAA, and Obama will have on HEMS. Don't limit yourself to those two operators, there's plenty others out there: Metro, PHI, Med-Trans, etc. You'll find that most are about the same. Benefits are a little different for each, might have a better helicopter / living conditions / etc. If there's a low base pay, there's probably tons of OT to be had and you can make a lot more money. Find out where you want to live then look at the operators within an hour's drive. Stop by and talk to those bases on back-to-back days so you see different crews. Whichever one bitches the least is probably the one to choose. Notice I said, "bitches the least"--the ones that tell you how great their company is, then trash the competitors is usually full of it. Conversly, the one that complains about their own company and tells you to go to the competitors is usually not lying. Pick the middle of the road--the one with the "whatever" attitude: cool with where they are and doesn't care about the competition. That's where you'll find me.
  8. I'm on two 135 certs and de-icing fluid is prohibited on both for our helicopters. Not sure why, but it is. There was an EMS pilot in the midwest that had a ice problem many years ago. He forgot to put the helicopter in the hangar and the blades iced up. He fired it up with the ice on the blades and it threw a big chunk of it into the tail rotor. Needless to say he didn't have a job long after that.
  9. At RHC safety school many years ago they told us they put that as an extra level of protection in case someone didn't pull the clutch CB, or kept reseting it. That's why it's in the back, and not in the cabin.
  10. Yep....it's not that sophisticated anymore. Everything can be loaded on a thumb drive these days. I fly an old B206LI/30P and it records everything I do. From the second the master switch is turned on, the torque, rotor RPM, N1, N2, TOT, etc are all recorded and time stamped. The satellite tracking couples with it to give the speed, time, altitude, etc. Overtorque or overtemp, it flags it. It knows EXACTLY where you were, and when you were to the second. Your story better match the numbers. They were talking about putting in a box that had a gyro, so it could record the aircraft's attitude on top of everything. I would show you flying on Google Earth in 3D. Thankfully that and the voice recorders never happened.
  11. Most were about 10 years ago. ATP was ~7, DPE & IA ~5, and the AT-SAT ~18 months. However, not a lot changes on these tests. In A&P school were found some old test written test preps from 20+ yrs ago. Most of the questions were word for word. It was amazing. I read in AOPA Pilot yrs ago that each question takes weeks of man power because of all the legal review. And often, by the time it makes it through it doesn't make any sense because they have to dumb down the wording to an 6th grade reading level.
  12. Try Fostaire Helicopter in St. Louis......KCPS Downtown-Parks Airport.
  13. I've taken the Priv-heli, Comm-heli, FOI, CFI-heli, CGI-adv, CGI-inst, Inst-heli, CFII-heli, ATP-heli, Mech-Gen, Mech-AF, Mech-PP, Mech-IA, DPE-heli, and the ATC's ATSAT. The only test I ever had a problem with was the ATP-Heli. It had a bunch of 135/ATP fixed wing questions on it.......high altitude / O2 reqs and 30+ pax questions (e.g. how many bull horns for over x# pax.) Remembering 100+ questions like that was hard. I still got a 86, but some were lucky guesses. The W&B questions were VERY tough (20 minutes each.) The only one I ever failed was the IGI. I took the Inst-heli, CFI-heli, GI-Inst all in one night since they were the exact same test. I was at Parks College and could take the tests for $40 a piece one night a month. I started at 6pm, got a 92 & an 88 on the first two. I was so sick of doing the math that I blew through the IGI and got a 68. Missed it by one question because I was lazy. The ATSAT was BY FAR the most interesting. I was absolutely nothing like any other FAA test. It had ATC "video games", word association, analogies, etc. The "Letter Factory" was actually fun. I got a 98% and was done in 4 hrs (didn't take the breaks.)
  14. Yeah, every year in recurrent training I get corrected for hovering "too high". I hover 7-8 ft and they tell me I should be down at 2-3 ft in case the engine quits. WTF? I have about 1,000x more chances of hitting a fence post, catching a gust of wind, etc that will cause me to dynamic rollover. I've practiced hover power losses from 20 ft at factory schools; if you can't do one successfully from 7-8ft on level ground, you shouldn't be flying. And if you do spread the skids, who cares?!?!? The engine quit.....what if it would have happened 10 seconds later while I was in a max perf t/o @ 20 kts & 200 agl over powerlines?? It's not my fault the thing quit--fix the skids. If I hit something while hovering 2-3 ft, it's my fault....reason enough to hover high. It's all about risk management and picking the least dangerous profile. Sometimes the safest option is in the dead man's curve, unless you want to walk.
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