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Everything posted by JCM5

  1. Bummer I missed this! I reserved one hopefully they get enough orders for another round....
  2. Here's another shot of the same vessel, taken on my last trip in late 2011.
  3. I believe their hour requirement is likely around 1k+ but don't quote me on that. For sure they will hire Americans though.... You can see their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/westernpacific.helicopters There are some nice photos of some of our boats there, and you'll may be able to get in contact with Rod (owner) if you had more questions for him. If not, I can get his contact info for anyone that might be interested.
  4. I will chime in here as I have some very direct experience and knowledge in this industry. I work for the company that owns the largest US purse seine fleet based and operating out of Pago Pago, American Samoa. More well known as the "Cape Fleet" Life on one of our boats is drastically different than that of foreign flagged vessels for many reasons. Tuna fishing is tough work and requires some major sacrifice. While living conditions and overall comfort will vary depending on which company you are working for, the one constant can be found in the time spent at sea. Boats are able to stay at sea for months, and while it's not ideal for them to do so, it happens. Furthermore, turnaround times in port are expected to take less than a couple of weeks. If a boat isn't fishing, it's losing money. As a result, there isn't really time to take a break between trips and go home to family and friends. Even if you do, few companies will foot the bill to fly you there and back and if you get off the boat, chances are your spot will be filled by someone else. Many of the fisherman that work on tuna boats go months - years even - without seeing their families. It's different for pilots, but you get the idea. In our case, we do not own the helicopters that fly on our boats. We lease from a 3rd party based in New Zealand (again, many good reasons not to own your own heli fleet) and that third party handles the recruiting and hiring of their own pilots. I've spent a lot of time on tuna boats and in my opinion, it's an experience that is worth living at least once. Being at sea for that long, that disconnected from the "real world" can be a very significant and spiritual experience if you have the right mindset. [Read: patient]. That being said, I've only done time on our boats - which are undoubtedly among the cleanest and most comfortable you will ever find. There is a lot of misinformation out there about the tuna industry as a whole, so I encourage anyone to go out there and see for themselves what it's really like. Just don't blame me if you end up on a foreign flagged vessel in some of the shittiest conditions you've ever experienced. It could be the best or the worst time of your life depending on how you play your cards.
  5. A fellow pilot that I know just posted a few photos of this bird on the tarmac down in CA. Has it been found? Or, did she just find it? Anyone ever figure out the real story here?
  6. http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/medical-helicopter-crashes-new-mexico-hospital-rooftop-article-1.1751449 Medical helicopter crashes on hospital rooftop in Albuquerque, N.M. Three crewmembers were aboard the chopper when it crashed shortly after liftoff Wednesday evening at the Albuquerque hospital. The pilot was reportedly injured. KOAT The pilot was injured but the three occupants apparently avoided serious injury after the evening crash. A medical helicopter crashed on the roof the University of New Mexico Hospital shortly after takeoff, sending the bird on its side and breaking off its tail Wednesday evening. Three people were aboard but all seemed to have escaped serious injury after the 6 p.m. wreck. A pilot was being examined and no patients were aboard. Hospital floors directly below the helipad were evacuated after firefighters responded to the roof and sprayed the wreckage with water. The chopper attempted to take off, began to wobble then jerked before it tumbled to the roof, a witness told KOAT-TV. The floors below the roof were evacuated after the wreck.
  7. Not to mention almost every one of his helicopters looks like it just rolled out of the Robinson factory.
  8. I can confirm that Emily also has a pair of these in order to reach the pedals:
  9. Yeah, sorry, it's a nice gesture but it just seems a bit inaccurate and odd to me. King 5 had nothing to do with the accident and their old ship wasn't the one that went down.
  10. Just FYI that is not the helicopter that went down yesterday.
  11. Thought of you and B immediately yesterday. I know how close he was to everyone in that circle, yourself included. I never met Gary but this one still hits close to home for me too. As pilots we see fatal incident reports all too often, but when it happens in your back yard you're forced to stop and think about it in an entirely different way. It's a privileged fraternity and we're all connected in one way or another, no matter what application of flying we're involved in. Thoughts on the victims as well as you, B, and everyone else at KBFI. Fly safe...
  12. I believe most tour or sling load operations are set up with left seat PIC as well. Safer on tours to have the collective between you and the door, instead of under the ass of your overweight passenger.
  13. Whoops.... CEN13LA155On February 6, 2013, about 1750 central standard time, a Robinson R44 II helicopter, N276RC, executed an autorotation landing after a fueling mat struck the tail rotor at the Tulsa International Airport (TUL), Tulsa, Oklahoma. The commercial pilot was not injured. The tail rotor blades received substantial damage. The airplane was registered to and operated by Crumpton Aviation LLC under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91as a business flight. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight and no flight plan was filed. The flight was originating at the time of the accident and was destined for Richard Lloyd Jones Jr. Airport (KRVS), Tulsa, Oklahoma. After fuel servicing by fixed base operator personnel, the pilot lifted off from the ramp area and began a turn to the southwest. Climbing through 150 feet above ground level, the pilot reported a loud bang followed by loss of tail rotor effectiveness. The pilot executed an autorotation landing on a concrete ramp at the airport. During examination of the accident site, two fractured tail rotor blades and a damaged fueling mat were found on a path between the initial liftoff point of the helicopter and its landing location. Examination of the tail rotor blades indicated that damage was consistent with contact by the fueling mat. http://www.newson6.com/story/24230959/pilot-ground-crewman-blamed-for-tulsa-helicopter-mishap?fb_action_ids=10152073707279614&fb_action_types=og.recommends&fb_ref=.UrChijRT9Cc.like&fb_source=other_multiline&action_object_map=[650884588287912]&action_type_map=[%22og.recommends%22]&action_ref_map=[%22.UrChijRT9Cc.like%22
  14. How I do it: 1.) Do practice autos at a familiar location 2.) Avoid the flow of fixed wing traffic 3.) *If 180 Auto: "Helicopter xxx is tight-in downwind to final 3-4" If doing autos at our towered Class D airfield, ATC will let us run tight in patterns to the taxi-way. The call is "Tower helicopter xxx west pad take off and land" Once approved, you do whatever you want. Normal pattern, straight in auto, 180 auto, whatever. With that said, we rarely practice there since there are a number of nearby muni airports. Who you are, where you are, what you're doing.
  15. This. And unfortunately when people (not just pilots) undertake these types of activities and make it out with a sweet video instead of a few casualties, it only serves to embolden their opinion of their own abilities, which in turn tends to stretch the limits even further next time. This guy is pretty well known, especially on reddit.com/r/helicopters , and generally the stuff he posts is pretty entertaining. The theme is usually hot chicks and cool LZ's in the BC wilderness. Here is his "behind the scenes" follow up video that he used to defend his case....
  16. In case you haven't seen this one yet - it's already gone viral today. Well known pilot up in Canada, does some cool stuff (sometimes questionable). Would love to hear opinions. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wlCg56K08hE Here's a copy of the letter he wrote to Transport Canada today preemptively explaining himself: "I'm sure this is unusual for a pilot to essentially call enforcement on himself, but I put a video online yesterday that I feel might need some explanation. I truly believe it was done in a safe, and responsible manner, without danger to the aircraft or crew-members on the "ground". Since the video is already generating a lot of World Wide views, I figured it would be best to show you and explain how the video was done. For the past 3 weeks, I've been watching the weather forecast in Vancouver, and I've been planning to fly friends of mine to an alpine lake to film them playing hockey if the perfect conditions present themselves. Well, like I imagined they would, this weekend presented the prefect scenario. Super cold temps for an extended time period and no snow. So, Saturday morning, I took off at 6:30am, and flew up to inspect lakes for the perfect hockey game. I found the exact lake I was looking for, landed on a small raised beach and chopped through the ice with a hatchet and measured. Like I suspected, the ice was more than 10" thick. By the farmers almanac ice safety chart, that's thick enough to safely support the weight of a 3.5 ton medium sized truck. More than enough to support the weight of skaters and a light helicopter. http://www.almanac.com/.../new.../files/258_icethickness.pdf I flew back to YPK, and met 4 buddies who are former WHL hockey players. I flew them 2 at a time back to the lake, and filmed them skating and playing hockey. Halfway through the day, another friend who flies an R-44 joined us and helped me film the most epic skate/hockey game ever. During the day, I tested several landings on the ice with the helicopter maintaining a forward speed of 15kts, and sliding with 100-150lbs of the helicopter's weight on the ice. Just enough to get the skids of the helicopter flat on the surface, but light enough to rise easily and smoothly back into the air. I found it extremely easy to gauge the ice height, and determined it was safe for me to slide across the ice with the helicopter pointed forward, in the direction of travel. I had a plan for a shot I wanted to capture the following day with more coordiantion. When we returned to YPK, we showed pictures and video to Other Helicopter pilots who all wanted to be involved in a second day of filming, so, I organized 8 former WHL players and 4 helicopters. Sunday morning, we all met at YPK for an initial safety briefing, and flew +3 back to the lake with and AS355, H300 and 2 R-44's. It was -12 overnight, and added more thickness to the sheet. I walked the entire surface with a chainsaw and tape measure, and inspected the whole ice sheet. It was thick all the way across and had no ridges or holes. There was a small section of open water caused by a waterfall at the far end of the lake. We determined a safety line that no skaters were permitted to cross based on our test holes. The 2 pilots from BC Helicopters brought their hockey equipment and hand held aviation radios to act as coordinators on the ice between the skaters and helicopter. After a long safety briefing and walk through of the shots we had planned, we began filming. One of our first shots of the day was the video I would like to share with you. It involved the 8 skaters, 6 former WHL players and 2 BC Helicopter pilots standing in a row across the ice with a small hole between them. The 2 BC Helicopter pilots were located on the left side, and the 6 WHL players on the right. I started from a hover, 200 meters down the ice, and slowly descended onto the ice surface at a speed of 15 kts. and slid across the ice towards the group, aiming my nose at the hole they left form me between the BC Helicopter pilots and the WHL players. As I approached, the pilots from BC Helicopters called an audible signal for all the parties to move, opening a much larger hole which I continued to slide the helicopter through. We purposely placed the 2 helicopter pilots on my left side, to keep any of the WHL players as far from the tail-rotor as possible. Once I was completely past the group, I waited 2 seconds before initiating a left peddle turn while lifting into the air, to capture the entire group skating towards me. Here is the link to the video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wlCg56K08hE Again. I believe this was done in a completely safe and responsible manor. All risks and possible safety hazards were discussed with the crew. Every person acknowledged the possible risks and decided to be involved with their own free will. We took precautions to place people in the appropriate positions for maximum tail-rotor safety. We had 3 helicopters on standby should any incident occur and first aid trained individuals as part of the extended group. Again, I felt it best for me to share the video with you, and explain the thought, precautions, training and preparation that went into the filming. The sole purpose of the video was to capture something unique to place on YouTube. I never expected this one small :39 second clip to generate over 40,000 views in a few hours and make it around the world so quickly. If you have any other questions, I'd be happy to answer them. My contact information is below. Thanks for your time, and I hope you find the video entertaining, well done and safe."
  17. Then find a private AME who is willing to help and appeal the denial. If what you say is true, then you should be able to navigate these roadblocks. No promises that these two psychs can take new patients or satisfy the needs of the FAA, but it's worth a phone call. Both are in Seattle: William Healey MD Seattle (206) 624-6987 Karen Ni, MD Seattle (206) 321-3618 Good luck.
  18. As someone who was also originally denied my medical certification (albeit for a different reason) I'll offer up my experience for what it's worth... As you know, you are able to appeal the denial by completing the conditions set forth (which you listed in your original post) I don't have military experience so I'm not sure why your VA psych won't offer a new evaluation. If you are able to fulfill these conditions through a civilian AME that's an option too, but I don't know your restrictions. Did he say why he would not provide an evaluation? Seems odd that you could be denied something like that...keep looking, because there must be someone out there who can provide the services you need. In any event - be warned that this road is a long and arduous one as the FAA is very thorough with these things in an effort to avoid all liability. It took about six months for me to complete the required evaluations and get a response from the FAA (they are SLOW), and I was granted a special issuance medical certificate with a number of conditions that apply for three years. (I am now 1.5 years into it). Also remember that simply getting re-evaluated is not a guarantee of a special issuance. Now is a good time to accept the possibility that you may never be granted a medcert and will be restricted to Part 61 dual instruction for the rest of your life. (Still better than nothing for most.) It's costly, annoying, and in my case really not all that necessary, but I chose to be honest and had to check one of their boxes, and if the FAA tells me to take a crap, all I can do is ask them where they would like it. I made the decision early on that I would do whatever it takes to get rated and so that's what I am doing. If you want to fly for a living, or just for fun because you love it, then do what it takes, but be aware of the money and time that will be required of you. It's going to add thousands of dollars to your training cost. I would suspect that in your case, the FAA would likely monitor you for some time, possibly much longer than three years, until they felt your PTSD was under wraps and that you didn't pose a threat to yourself and/or others. If you intend to fulfill their conditions, write a letter to the medical branch and inform them of your intent to fulfill them so they don't close your file. Then find the appropriate doctors to complete the tests, and send your results. Expect a long wait time just to get a response. They will either send you another letter of denial, or you will receive your special issuance medical certificate with the mandated conditions attached. Your AME will be very involved throughout the entire process, so make sure it's someone you are comfortable with and who will fight for your cause. You having a different condition than mine means that your case will be different, but hopefully my 2cents can help. If you want I can refer you to my AME but I don't know if he can or will be able to represent you in this case. He is in Bellevue, so not that far from you.
  19. My Bad! Hadn't seen this before and it made me laugh.
  20. Thwap Thwap Thwap http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yWiDKFk9e5A&feature=share
  21. Agreed. Collision avoidance likely isn't a problem. On the contrary, with properly mapped terrain any obstacles are pre-programmed in their little brains. On top of that, smart avoidance technology is already a reality. There are some very cool videos on YouTube of a company developing mini-drones that fly in swarms and adapt to changing conditions. It's amazing stuff... My personal belief is that the drone market will cater more to individual use drones for things like GoPro cameras. Similar to the remote controlled drones already available, in the near future a user will be able to have camera carrying drones follow them around via some hands free bluetooth/GPS technology. Imagine your buddies skiing down the mountain with a small handful of personal drones documenting every turn. Or a small army of drones used by video producers for any number of events. (Weddings, corporate functions, advertising, etc. etc.) Two areas will continue to improve and define the capabilities: 1.) Battery power/life and 2.) Smart brains This whole free and open use of airspace is an entirely different territory that will be plagued with liability road blocks. (And that's probably a good thing)
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