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Nearly Retired

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Nearly Retired last won the day on January 21

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About Nearly Retired

  • Birthday 09/11/1955

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    http://fh1100-pilot.blogspot.com/

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    Pensacola, FL
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    Well, obviously flying and anything aviation...but motorcycling as well. And drinking (when I'm not riding of course!). Oh, and Facebook. Always on Facebook (Bob Barbanes).

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  1. It's not an aircraft part. Aircraft use hardware with some sort of safety device: Safety wire, cotter pins, or threads with self-locking capability. Whatever that is, those nuts (not to be confused with Deez Nuts) have none of those things. Ergo, not an aircraft part.
  2. Interestingly (or not), the MBB BO-105 has zero forward tilt (or maybe just a degree or two, come to think of it). But in any event, because of the design of the rotor (no flapping hinges), the mast/fuselage obediently follows the angle of the tip-path plane. This is quite unlike a LongRanger, say, where the cabin will be flying along in a pretty level attitude while the cyclic is just about on the forward stop and the tip-path plane is tilted very far down-in-front. At cruise power settings, some 105's would boogie along quite smartly at 120 knots. At that speed, you would usually see up to *10* degrees of nose-down cabin attitude. What an uncomfortable POS that thing was to go cross-country in. I have done some looooong flights in from offshore to New Orleans (like 1:20 enroute) that were just hell on my neck and back - because you're slouched over against the shoulder straps, and with your head tilted up just to see the horizon. One would hope that they figured out a better way for the BK-117 and EC145.
  3. I flew in the GOM for a number of years. A roustabout's *lunch* weighed more than 30 pounds. Just about everything offshore weighs more than 30 pounds.
  4. Umm, I hate to break this to you, Clay...I mean, I don't know how old or young you are...but there is a lesson we all must learn at some point in our lives: The universe really doesn't care about you. It doesn't care if you've wanted to do something all your life. It doesn't care how badly you want something, nor for how long you've wanted it. Life ain't fair. Nobody ever said it was or should be. That is an assumption *we* make. Yes, there are apparently one-eyed pilots out there flying. I would not hire one, personally. My depth perception is bad enough, and I've got *two* eyes! (But they're really beady and really close together, so I might as well have monocular vision. The best pilot I know is my buddy Brandon. He's got a head like a frog...eyes waaaay out at the corners of his head, moving in different directions at different times. The guy's a maniac with a long-line! That doesn't mean you *can't* become a pilot. The last gig I had, the helicopter had a fuel endurance of 1.5 hours. Other ships in our fleet had tanks with enough fuel for 4.0. They kept asking me if I wanted one with a longer endurance (fewer stops to refuel), and I was, like, "No, thank you!" I was glad I had one with the "little tank" because anything more than 1.5 would be a problem. I'd have to have a copilot to hold the controls while I...well...(ahem) hung it out the window. And I would hate to have to embarrass a copilot in such a way.
  5. Trust me, Claymore, if you become a helicopter pilot, you will not have to sit for "hours on end." That's for fixed-wing pilots. Some fixed-wing pilots are lucky enough to have bathrooms onboard, which would be a necessity if I ever decided to pursue that side of aviation. That said, some tour operators will get pissed (sorry for the bad pun) if you have to periodically get out to pee. And if you're an EMS pilot at a site landing in a populated area, finding a secluded spot to relieve yourself could be a problem. Helicopters draw crowds. "What's that man doing, mommy?" "Uhh, what? Oh Lord, nothing, honey. Just don't look, sweetie." "But mommy, he has a penis that's smaller than mine!" "Well, he *is* a helicopter pilot, dear." "But mommy, isn't daddy a helicopter pilot too?" "Yes, he is, dear." (Huge sigh) "Yes, he is." If the situation is chronic and you cannot go for at least a couple of hours without having to pee (or worse), then perhaps aviation is not the career for you.
  6. LOL, I suspect our Preston might be a young dreamer. But let's not discourage him! Lots of us started our careers by dreaming of helicopters. Speaking of which... Can I add a little anecdotal story? Back in the late 1970's, when I was just a wee student pilot, I was working at an operator as a charter dispatcher. One Sunday evening when it was real slow, a friend dropped by in his Army Guard UH-1H. He came in and offered to take me for a ride. Of course, I accepted! I hopped in the back. In the air, my friend (who was flying in the left-front seat) had the guy in the right-front seat switch places with me so I could take the controls. Talk about a treat, right? So we did (carefully) switch. Yes, it can be done. We did it. And I got to fly for a few minutes the legendary Huey...which...just felt like a *much* bigger version of the 47 I was learning in. Can't say who, what, or where, of course, but it was one of the highlights of my budding career.
  7. In Rolling Stone Magazine, famous musician David Crosby (do I need to list the band he was in?) has an advice column called "Ask Croz." In the latest issue, an 18 year-old kid asks him how to go about making a steady income from music? Crosby pulls no punches: "The only reason you should become a musician right now is because you cannot do any other thing." When I read that, I laughed and thought about how it was similar to the situation in aviation. You can run numbers...you can make pro/con lists...you can ask for advice from now until doomsday. None of that will likely matter - for there simply are *no* guarantees. You'll make it...or perhaps you won't. You might score a job at which you'll be able to make some money and repay your flight school loans...or perhaps you won't. And so perhaps the best advice is what Crosby gave to the kid: The only reason to become a career pilot right now is if you cannot do anything else. And by that we mean, because you simply cannot imagine yourself doing anything else that will be as enjoyable, rewarding and fulfilling. If it's a toss-up...if there are "other" things you might do with your life...things you like to do and depending on the circumstances *could* do... Then flying is probably not for you. If flying is something you have to do, then go fly. It will take all the determination you possess. For a lot of us (most of us?) there was never any question about what we wanted to do with our lives. We doggedly pursued aviation as a career. The ones who only made a half-hearted effort usually quit along the way. Good luck in your decision-making!
  8. BWAAAAHAHAHAHAH! Oh man, Nate, yer killing me! Listen man, helicopter pilots have ALWAYS been viewed as a dime-a-dozen. Even during times of pilot "shortages," there are always enough drivers to fill the seats. And if not? The operators really don't seem to care. They'll offer extra days (we call it "workover") to their existing pilots, who eat it up because they're always hungry for money. If push comes to shove, they'll up the workover rate a little. It's an eye-opening experience when a pilot first realizes that employers regard him with such disdain. "All I do for this chicken outfit and they treat me like this?!" Yep...yep they do. And they get away with it, too. See, what the operators bank on is the integrity of a pilot. They know that we would never...*could never* mistreat an aircraft no matter how badly *we* are treated. It doesn't work that way. I've never met a helicopter pilot that didn't have a deep, emotional bond with his aircraft. They're like dogs to us. (I would say wives, but wives come and go.) My point is that operators know they can get treat us as badly as they want. All we can do is quit. And when we do, they'll replace us. It's funny...just sitting here writing these words, I can come up with numerous examples right off the top of my head of pilots...friends of mine or people I know personally...who've gotten screwed recently by employers. However, the fact that it's an indisputably crappy industry doesn't take away the pleasure we get from flying helicopters. To me (11,000+ hours), it became a J-O-B a loooooong time ago. But that doesn't mean I don't still love flying. I had a couple of job offers for this coming season, but I've turned them down. It's not that I don't want to fly anymore (I do), but I don't need to fly anymore (financially or emotionally). So I can stand down this year and spend the summer doing non-aviation things with my non-aviator friends for a change. There will always be pilots who tell you, "I've been doing this for fifteen years and it's not a job for me yet!" Yeah, I think I said that too, twenty-three years ago when I was just fifteen years in. But if pilots are being honest with you, they'll give you the good *and* the bad. I believe that's what you're getting in this thread. I've read some really good posts from guys who are actually in the industry and doing it. For instance, Helonorth suggests going fixed-wing. And I generally concur, if money and stability are important to you. But I also know what it is to catch the "helicopter bug." There is something about flying these wacky machines that is just irresistible. And for some people nothing else will do. You may be one of them. If that's the case, you're in good company here. Over the years, I've learned to not be a dream-stealer. And if your dream is to be a career helicopter pilot, then go for it! Just recognize that it *will* be a long, hard, expensive road. (More expensive than the flight schools are quoting you.) And, well, it might not happen. Not everybody who wants to be a professional pilot is successful at it - for a number of reasons. But for those of us who wanted to do this for as long as they can remember (me, for instance), we didn't take "no" for an answer. We just f*ckin' did it. Would I do it again? Ehhhh, not so sure about that, but you cannot change the past. So party on, Garth.
  9. Nate, you've been given some pretty good advice so far. I can only add that you really have to love flying helicopters to start from scratch and make this a career. And while *you* may love flying helicopters, your wife might not like it as you get down the road. You say she's okay with "several" years of hardship - I'm not sure people understand the meaning of "several." Or "hardship." Could be longer and harder than she thinks. (That's what she said!) You've obviously given this an enormous amount of deliberation and some research. I say go for it! What have you got to lose? Marriage, kids, credit rating, sanity...your life? Well, you wouldn't be the first helicopter pilot to lose those things. If you love it enough, those tradeoffs will be worth it. And we're not being flippant here - you could stand to lose all of those things and more in pursuit of your dream of becoming a pilot. But that's on you - only you can make that decision. But recognize something: The helicopter industry really, really sucks. Like others here, I've been in it a looooong time, and I still hear scare-stories from young pilots about getting screwed (not getting paid) by operators. Or having to fly deficient, borderline-unsafe equipment. The stories make me sick. We like to think that all operators are on the up-and-up, honest, with integrity and only provide the best-maintained aircraft imaginable...but that's not always the case. And you, Mr. Low-On-The-Totem-Pole...*you* will get to fly some of them, perhaps for some shady operator who'll throw you under the bus after the inevitable crash. Think I'm kidding? Call me. I'll tell you about the friend of mine who lifted off to a hover and had piston blow clean off his engine. He put it back down on the ground and discovered that it was on fire. Jumped out and watched it burn to ashes - only the tail rotor pylon survived. If the jug blown off a minute later when he was up at 500 feet, he'd probably be dead. "Lucky" guy! Oh, and remember that Astar that went down in the East River of NYC a while back...the shoe-selfie flight? We know that one of the float bags did not inflate, which caused it to tip over in the water, which caused the passengers to drown because they couldn't release their lanyards. Well, what did *not* get publicized (but was known within the industry) was that the company had a problem with the floats on THAT SHIP in the days prior to the fatal flight. They probably forgot to mention that to the FAA. Shhhhh! Very hush-hush. Aside from that, line pilots at that company were not real happy with that lanyard arrangement but went along with it and...well...we saw what happened. Hey, forewarned is forearmed. We humans generally tend to look at the positives...the good aspects of things like aviation. "Oh, what fun I'll have!" Yeah, maybe you will. Probably you will! I'm not trying to talk you out of this cockamamie scheme, but do not fool yourself that this is a great industry. It ain't. Know what you're getting yourself into. Weigh the risks versus the rewards. And then if you still want to do it - hey, it's your life - you only get one shot at it.
  10. Discap: "HeloNorth Why is NTSB focused on the FLI. Nearly Retired said that it displays all kinds of faults." Not "faults," but parameters. Whichever power parameter is approaching a limit, *that* will be the one the needle is showing. Could be torque first, but not necessarily.
  11. That's interesting, Spike. How then does one do a practice autorotation in a B3e?
  12. Discap, 254 is waaaaay below the NR operating range for that model. The power-off lower limit is 320 rpm. You get that dad-blamed annoying Astar warning horn if it falls below 360 rpm. So 254 is crazy-low...count-the-blades low. (EDIT: The "FLI" they refer to is the First-Limit Indicator. Airbus started putting these gauges in their helicopters back when the company was called Aerospatiale. Basically, you get one gauge that can display engine temperature, torque, or rpm. Whichever parameter gets close to its limit, that is the parameter that will be displayed. So it might be showing your torque...or temperature; you have to read the fine print to find out which.) With some accidents, it's really hard to fathom how or why they occurred. This one in particular leaves us scratching our heads. On one hand, we had a "safety pilot" who had quite a lot of experience in the AS-350. In the other seat was a dual-rated pilot (with less than 100 r/w hours) who just came through the factory Astar checkout, was probably the very proud owner of a new aircraft. And even if he didn't have very much total flight time (1,100 hours), he was probably pretty sharp on Astar emergency procedures and such. On the other hand, we have two guys who decide to initiate a practice autorotation in, as kona4breakfast points out, a very bad place. I would guess that one of the pilots probably had to pee, and so decided to set 'er down to, umm, "stretch their legs." Yeah, sure. Come on, we've all done that. And, since they were going to land anyway, hey, why not do a practice auto on the way down? Must've seemed like a good idea at the time... I wonder which one of those guys suggested it? The NTSB report shows them closely paralleling the long, straight shoreline with probably a long stretch of exposed sand. So they SHOULD have been within gliding-distance. The pilot/owner initiated the throttle roll-off. The report seems focused on the FLI (first limit indicator) but at this point it's irrelevant. When the throttle is in IDLE, the *ONLY* important item is rotor rpm. In this case, that figure decreased and decreased until it was seriously low. Sooo...no "collective down"....no "cyclic back"...no nothing but a little reduction in power-pedal. And so we have to ask: WHAT THE HELL WERE THEY THINKING?? Wasn't either of them watching the tach? Unfathomable! Rotor speed is life, no? Don't we all know that? There was approximately eighteen seconds between throttle roll-off (at 10:57:35:25) and impact (at 10:57:53:50). Not a whole lot of time, but time enough for the "safety pilot" to realize that the entry to this practice auto was bad. The procedures for this do not change from single-engine helicopter to single-engine helicopter. If it's f'-ed up, you bail out of the maneuver early. And clearly...CLEARLY!...the entry to that auto was f'-ed up. I, for one, cannot believe that a Robbie-trained pilot would *not* immediately push the collective all the way down. I, for one, cannot understand how those two pilots could listen to that damn Astar horn going off and not *DO* something about it! (Is the low-rotor horn in an Astar even mutable?) How do you *not* pitch for best-auto speed?? Was the "safety pilot" asleep? I mean, no offense intended Discap, but as the kids say, WTF! At 10:57:42, or less than ten seconds from impact, the "safety pilot" finally decided to get in the game. He grabbed the controls and, according to the NTSB report, it appeared that both pilots were manipulating the controls at the same time. Really? Was this one of those situations, like... "I've got the controls." "No, I got it." "No, I've got it!" "That's okay, I've got it!" "I SAID I"VE GOT IT, DAMMIT!" Aaaaaaaand, crash. Or did the "safety pilot" take over and the owner/pilot was just following through? That's even worse to imagine, because when the "safety pilot" got on the controls, he evidently did little or nothing to recover the main rotor rpm. Getting the collective all the way down might've helped, as would have hauling bac on the cyclic and loading the rotor. Maybe some quick S-turns? Something? None of those things were attempted. The owner/pilot did cycle the throttle a couple of times, but never returned it and left it in the FLIGHT position. Again, unfathomable! The NTSB report does not address why the power did not appear to come back in and bring the rotor back up. Look, we all know that every "practice" auto may turn out to be a "for real" auto and you have to be prepared for that eventuality. And so if you roll the throttle up and nothing happens, well, no big deal, you do a full touchdown. You expected that. As you are screaming toward the ground with no rotor rpm, that's not the time to be dicking with the throttle. I'm sure they did not intend on doing a full touchdown, auto-with-ground-run on a sandy beach. But why on God's green earth would you initiate a practice auto when you weren't even in a position to glide to the beach? Again, unfathomable some more. Helicopters with the type of engines we call "free-turbine" are sometimes deceptive. In a flat-pitch descent, there may be little difference in indications between IDLE throttle and FLIGHT. This is especially confusing in a 206B; not much changes and you CANNOT tell what position the throttle is in without looking at it. You do *not* always get a needle-split in a 206B - and I don't even think the Astar has a dual-tach. Oh, and not sure about the Astar, but maybe the pilots were assuming that they would see "some" indication on the engine instruments that the throttle was back up at FLIGHT, but did not. And maybe that was normal. And so maybe the "safety pilot" said, "Cycle that damn throttle again!" But when you initiate a simulated auto at around 500' agl, there ain't a bunch of time to troubleshoot stuff. And if you're really sharp in 350-B2's and now you're in a B-3e, maaaaaaaybe you should get a little ground school in the thing before you blast-off for Alaska. Eighteen seconds. Seems like a long time if you watch the second-hand on an analog clock. But those seconds get eaten up quick, and there's no going back. At some point during that 18 seconds they were committed to crashing - nothing they could do about it from then on. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Helicopters are "easy" to fly (once you get the hang of it), but they are always super-easy to crash! Even when you're doing something as "simple" as a little practice power-recovery to a deserted stretch of beach, the results can be fatal. As this one was. The helicopter wreckage can tell us "something" about the accident, but it cannot tell us "why." That, we may never know. My advice? If you're going to land somewhere off-airport to take a lea...err, "stretch your legs," just do a textbook landing: high/low recon, *normal* approach into the wind, etc. If you're bound and determined to impromptu, stupid sh*t, do it at an airport. So if you do goof-up and kill yourselves, at least they'll be able to find the wreckage and the bodies fairly quickly.
  13. Well, as usual Helonorth adds nothing constructive to the conversation. Thanks for that! (And by the way, dummy, RisePilot used "anecdotal" correctly as an adjective. An anecdote would be the noun. Sheesh.) Jennie, it sounds like we're coming in to the middle of this situation. Sounds like this helicopter guy has already made his plans known to neighbors and the City Council. Sounds like he's already even landed his helicopter on his property. It also sounds like you're pretty much against it. Anti-aviation people generally bring up arguments like, "beach erosion!" (what?) or "noxious fumes!" and the ever-popular, "think of the children!"...anything to bolster their case that what they're objecting to is a damaging, possibly earth-ending activity WHICH MUST BE STOPPED! But look- bottom line is that if there are no local ordinances against landing a helicopter on one's private property (as you admit), then he can legally do it. You'll just have to deal with those annoying "noxious fumes." Get enough NIMBY townsfolk riled-up with pitchforks and torches in hand, and you can probably get the City Council or County Commission to dream up some anti-helicopter law to put him out of operation. Because that's what people do when other people want to do something that pisses the first group of people off. The FAA has rules that all pilots must go by. Those rules state that we cannot endanger anyone in the air or on the ground. If you feel that what this pilot is doing endangers said people on the ground, then make a complaint to said FAA. Maybe, if they're interested enough, they'll come out and take a look. But they might not. Perhaps you could supply some video of the helicopter scattering floaties, canoes, trays of Rum Punches, and beach chairs on adjacent neighbors' docks, oh and blowing small children into the water, etc. Or....if it's just that you think that what he plans to do might endanger or impact some vague "quality of lake life" issues in the future...well...good luck with that. You don't own his property, you don't own the lake, and you don't own the airspace above the lake. Sorry. This is America, toots! I suspect that this fellow won't be coming and going from his lakefront helipad all that often. I suspect that it won't even be year-round. I suspect that you've all already decided that This Is Bad, and you've taken it upon yourselves to stop him. I suspect that y'all are making a bigger deal out of this than it really is. But as someone else said, without seeing the location, we can't really make any kind of judgment as to whether it's "appropriate" or "safe." So if you're looking for some support from us for you and against this pilot, I believe you came to the wrong place. And seriously, "noxious fumes?" Oh please.
  14. Quitting so soon? Go get a goddam BFR and stop whining. Cool video, by the way. But isn't it required that aviation videos use "Sail" from Awolnation as the soundtrack instead of Judas Priest? Hmm, isn't that some violation of YouTube policies? Might get you banned!
  15. Let's say you meet someone you really, really like...someone who gives you that special feeling, and!...who returns your affections. You two decide to "make it official" and pursue a relationship. Well you don't go into such a relationship half-hearted. You don't say, "Meh- maybe it'll work out. And if not...meh." No! You go in with all the optimism and faith you can muster. It will work out! You'll make it work out! Of course, it still might not, but at least you'll know you gave it your best shot. And so it is with aviation. If you want a career in this crazy industry you have to want it...want it badly enough to make the Big Commitment and not go, "Meh- maybe I'll just stop at Private..." Because if that's your attitude, you might as well give up right now. Nobody...N-O-B-O-D-Y...ever said that becoming a professional helicopter pilot would be easy. Or quick. Or cheap. You either have to go in the military and do it that way (which is a high price to pay indeed!), or try to do it the civilian way, which is much, much more difficult. If you get out of the military, you might have a skillset that could get you hired at a Utility company. If you get your bare-bones Commercial/Inst/CFI, you'll be lucky to be hired at the school that trained you (*if* you're under a certain body weight). But let me tell you- it can happen. If you have some magic combination of qualities, doors will open for you. You just can't give up. Then there's the thing we don't like to talk about: Not everyone has what it takes...not everyone has the talent to be a commercial helicopter pilot. Everybody likes to think they could learn to fly a helicopter at the professional level, but no, not just anybody can do this. If you're one of the lucky ones...great! If not, well, in the words of Judge Smails, the world needs ditch-diggers too. And so I say to Jsonmay: Nobody can tell you what to do. You have to do what's in your heart. You've gotten your eyes opened a bit now - you see how hard this will be. The realities of entering this industry at the bottom of the ladder are pretty harsh. Is it "worth" it? You're the only one who can answer that question. It takes a level of commitment and dedication that is unreal. Best of luck to you!
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