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Everything posted by delorean

  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.
  15. That spot isn't that tight.....at the end when they zoom out it has a good approach/departure path over that field. It's not a straight up/down LZ. Our ops manual requires a 1/3 of rotor disc clearance. Where they screwed up was the pedal turn. If they would have just slid left, everything would have been fine. They couldn't have landed in that field, no way to get over there with a stretcher.
  16. Depends.....it depends on what state law says about "vehicle" carry and if an aircraft falls under "vehicle." Like I said, in my state, it says "motor vehicle" which would include an aircraft. But, again, there is a difference between transporting a firearm and CCW'ing a firearm. Same goes for handguns vs long guns. In every state this definition and the requirements can be different. In Missouri, ANYONE over the age of 21 can carry a loaded pistol [anywhere] in their car as long as they can legally possess it (e.g. not a felon.) Once you step out of the car onto property that is not your own, you need a permit to CCW (or you can open carry if permitted in that city/muni.) However, as you cross into Illinois, that gun has to be unloaded, and completely enclosed in a case (or disassembled, or inaccessable to pax.) Otherwise it's a felony. In Nevada, you can transport an unloaded gun onto a public airport, but you cannot CCW a loaded gun onto one. In your scenario about transporting a LOADED pistol into NJ, I would say no because, as far as I know, NJ does not honor anyone else's CCW permits. I highly doubt they have a castle doctine that allows vehicle carry. If it was unloaded, I don't know. You'd have to go through all the laws to see the different angles of your scenario. However, if you were not stopping in NJ for anything but fuel, meals, etc then you could pass through legally transporting an unloaded gun. You have to meet their state req's which I believe are the same as IL's (in a case, and/or preferably locked or disassembled and inaccessable to the occupants.) NJ may have further laws about guns on public airports--not just the "secured" areas that 121 ops are in. I recommend spending some time on hangunlaw.us reading about the states you plan to fly into. If you're in the Northeast, it may not be easy. I have no idea what the rules are on hollow points and high-caps in NJ.
  17. There are still "assualt rifle" bans in effect......just not the nationwide one that expired. Cincinnati has one, California has one, New York State has one, New Jersey has one, Connecticut has one, as does Cook County, IL. All of which will [hopefully] go by the wayside. The handgun ban in Chicago may be gone "per se", but are they going to allow unregistered handguns for non-residents? Probably not. The city of Las Vegas is a good example. They have a handgun registration law, but it did not apply if your stay was not "extended" (or some ambiguous word like that.) They never defined how long you you be in town with an unregistered gun. They finally defined it, and it was something like 30 or 45 days. The "interstate travel" or "peaceable journey" federal exception is usually 24 hrs max in the muni/county/state with the ban--but again, it's rarely defined. Besides, I thought that the Supreme Court ruling wasn't an immediate reversal of the handgun ban. I thought all it did was overturn their ruling against the McDonald lawsuit, and now they had to wait until the appeal was over. Then they had time to get all their new rules in effect. Is that all over? I know Daley was trying to keep it quiet as possible, so I don't doubt if I missed something. In regards to O'Hare, did you ever check a handgun in at O'Hare? You could connect through O'Hare with a checked handgun.........but if you got stranded there for weather or a cancelled flight and you got your luggage back, now you were in possession of an unregistered handgun in the city of Chicago--which is a felony. Same as if you were to drive in there to take a flight. "Assault" type rifles and high cap mags are also illegal in that city and county. Now you could go into ORD with a non-"assualt" rifle or shotgun to travel with. Correct me if I'm wrong......but in the past people have been arrested and had their handguns seized over this. Here's the Newark, NJ story on the guy that got arrested after his flight was cancelled: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/01/18/traveling-mans-gun-arrest-appealed-supreme-court/
  18. First off, what is your state of residence? My state's CCW permit is good in 38 states, which is more than Florida, Utah, or Maine's permits. Used to be the other way around, but it's still cheaper to get one of those "non resident" permits. However, some state no longer honor non-resident permits--Florida only honors their permit or one from YOUR state of residence (e.g. a MO resident with a UT permit, cannot carry in FL; a MO resident with a MO or FL permit can carry in FL.) You don't need a CCW to transport a gun in any state, just one to carry it on your person. For state's with the "Castle Doctrine", you can usually have a gun loaded in your "dwelling" which includes a hotel run, vehicle, tent, etc. WITHOUT a CCW license. Laws are different about vehicle carry without a CCW--some states it has to be concealed in the vehicle, some it has to in the open. Make sure you define what "vehicle" is.....in my state is says "motor vehicle", which means a bicycle doesn't count. As far as just transporting the gun, unloaded will usually keep you safe in just about any state. Communist states like Illinois further requires that's it's fully enclosed in a case, disassembled, or locked in the trunk. And for now, handguns are still prohibited in Chicago and a few other northeast cities. There is a federal "peaceable journey" law that protects you from all these BS local municipalities that have restrictive weapons laws. If you're passing through a town, state, county, a handgun, high capacity magazine, or "assualt rifle" ban does not apply as long as the gun is unloaded and you're engaged in travel. That being said, it's going to be up to you to defend yourself and get the gun back from the prosecutor if they seize it. Any place you are staying the night or is considered a "destination", you're responsible for knowing the laws. You're under no obligation to tell anyone you have a weapon (in some states you must notify the officer on intial contact if CCW'ing, some just if asked, and others you don't even have to answer.) But if the gun is unloaded, in your bag, in the trunk.......it's none of their business and they have no right to search. Refusing to consent to a search is not probable cause. Read Arizona v. Gant when you get some time. And checking on an airline is easy......just make sure you don't get a lay over, weather diversion, etc in Chicago, Newark, etc. where handguns are banned. Then you're SCREWED even though it's unplanned. There's a federal case on a Newark layover arrest right now. www.hangunlaw.us is the best site for the laws in each state. And Glock has a discount for commercial pilots. Call their main number in GA, and ask for the law enforcement side. Ask for the order sheets for the Homeland Defender discount. Find a FFL in your home state to the transfer (don't pay over $20.... fflfinder.com or gunbroker.com/ffl) Then order your Glock for $398....I'd pay the extra ~$70 for the Trijicon night sights, they're well worth it and half the price of what you would pay to get them installed afterward. For hotels, get yourself some Glaser Blue Dots or frangible ammo so you don't have to worry about the round going though walls. Always remember that concealed means concealed. All the aforementioned sounds like a pain in the butt, however, it's getting better. WI and IL are the last two states without CCW. WI will fall this year and IL will eventually. With last summer's Supreme court ruling, Chicago and all these other cities handgun bans will fall to after the dust settles on the appeals and lawsuits.
  19. Kahr P380 or PM9 in the front right pant pocket in a Aholster. Or under the armpit in a 5.11 Gear CCW shirt. Hot, itchy, and will melt to you though..... Glocks, Springfields, etc. are all way too big for me to CCW. I won't carry anything over 16 oz, and those are near double that. I've tried all kinds of holsters in different places, and can never get comfortable or look like I don't have a tumor. Kahr PM9 and the P380 are my hands down favorites for CCW.
  20. I remember Tim Tucker telling the story about "delivering" a new R22 to the flight school that used to be located 200 yrds west of the factory. They made him sign the ferry agreement, show a W&B, and do all the other BS required for any ferry pilot. Unreal. Another story, I had buddy buy a new Raven II, that went to pick it up with another friend (who had flown at least a dozen back from the factory.) Over NM, it shreaded the alternator belt, and threw it into the drive belts. They auto'd, but ended up chopping the tail when it hit the ground due to uneven terrain. Frank accused them of pulling too much MP (why would that have any effect on the alternator belt?!?!?!) Then, he told my friend that they would fix the helicopter and he could pick it up in Torrance in a few months. He didn't want it back because now it had damage history and the resale value would be hurt--plus he was going to lose 10-20 hrs of the Hobbs, and have to go all the way back to CA to pick it up [again]. After many arguements and a threatened lawsuit, Frank agreed to give him a new helicopter, but his order was at the end of the line (1-yr wait), and would be subject to the annual 3% price increase. In the end, the dealer gave my friend the slot on the production line for one he had ordered and was planning to sell. He also ate the price increase for him. The dealer saved the day by losing his profit off of TWO helicopters, plus a little more. RHC is a strange place......but there's a reason why they have NEVER lost a lawsuit.
  21. Like Wally said, there's a lot of tax games when it comes to non-profit companies. Yeah, some air ambulance ops are indeed non-profit, but their parent company also owns the for-profit leasing company that provides the helicopters and crews. The non-profit has to pay for the helicopter, maintenance, etc. It's just a big shell game.
  22. Yes and that's how 99% of it is done. It isn't charter, it's "aerial work". Whether the photographer/reporter/observer is a contracted company employee or employed by the station, it's still "aerial work". There is no mileage limit on aerial work. The only thing that cannot happen is that they use the helicopter as transporation. So, if you leave from the airport, then drop them off at the TV station after you're done--that's 135. If you fly them out to a news scene, land, and they shoot a live broadcast from the ground then fly them back to where you took off--that's 135. If you fly down to the Gulf, shoot aerial video of the oil spill, stay 3 nights, then come back home--that's 91. As long as you brought them back home and the transportation in the helicopter was incidental to the trip, then 91. As soon as they use the helicopter to get somewhere (to a ground location for something constructive), then it's 135. We used to take off for breaking news from the hangar, then hang out at the station for an hour or two before our afternoon traffic watch. After that, back to the airport. It was all 91.
  23. None, buy a certified one......unless you're single, with no family, and don't have to worry about life insurance. But the Hummingbird is the closest thing you can get to certified in a homebuilt. It was designed, built, and tested by Sikorsky, it just never made it to type certification. That's pretty good in my book.
  24. Good luck sueing a student.....all you have to say is they didn't train you well enough. As long as what you did wasn't pure negligence or illegal (flying intoxicated, practicing autos, taking passengers, etc.) there is no way they are going to be able to recover anything from you. This is SUPERVISED solo and your instructor is responsible for you. If anything, they'll go after the instructor as it is his certificate & endorsement that you're flying on. He/she evaluated you and said you were competent to act as PIC. Rental is another story. But again, as long as it wasn't your negligence, it will be hard--especially if it was something mechanical that caused the accident. Don't worry about it--just fly safe and let the school pay for the insurance. If they have the "fund" that you buy into to cover the deductable, that's not a bad thing for a few hundred bucks. Just make sure that money truely goes into an escrow acct and not their checkbook.
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