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Hand_Grenade_Pilot

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About Hand_Grenade_Pilot

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  1. Hiring minimums fluctuate with supply and demand. Right now, at least in the offshore industry, demand > supply (of pilots). Bristow, Era and PHI have significantly lowered experience requirements from years past. When I started flying offshore about 4 years ago, there had been layoffs/paycuts. When things started to stabilize and pilots were needed again, they were picky about wanting offshore experience. Now it seems as if they’re just looking for bodies to fill seats. Flying in Alaska will be a lot more fun. If you’re interested in utility flying, a few years at Temsco could open up an opportunity for that. It could open up opportunities to fly w/ other operators in AK as well. Offshore pilots only do the job for two reasons; $$$ and the schedule. If you want a solid paycheck, the freedom to live anywhere, and lots of time off... it could be a good fit. But the flying in itself is not particularly fun or rewarding. Which one you chose just depends on the type of career and lifestyle you want.
  2. Keep offshore oil/gas in mind once you get 1,000 hours PIC. All of the major offshore helicopter operators provide excellent training, and you are paid a full salary during training. No legitimate helicopter operator should expect new employees to work for free while receiving federally mandated training.
  3. Its a total crap shoot, and working over-time at your current job might make more sense than this, but what if you approached the remaining local flight school about working as a part-time ground instructor? They might be able to roll you into their employee insurance. I know that you have no desire to flight instruct (nor would hour hungry CFIs want to give up any potential flight time), but they may have a need for someone to give ground lessons. It doesnt take any flight time away from their current CFIs and could allow you to get a better rental deal. And getting your ground instructor cert shouldnt be too time consuming or expensive.
  4. Another note. Without observing you personally, it's hard to give any specific input for improvement. But if I had to guess, you may be fixating too much on your instruments, which makes it nearly impossible to maintain the correct glide profile. While keeping RRPM within limits is very important, fixating on a specific percentage or a very specific airspeed can do more harm than good. Just keep RRPM near the middle and airspeed around 60-80kts. Maintaining 70kts instead of 65kts won't have much of an impact. Also keep in mind that being out of trim can give an inaccurate airspeed indication. Anticipate when RRPM will increase (such as banking or initiating the flare) and be prepared to increase collective slightly. Be prepared to reduce a bit of collective when decreasing your bank angle. By anticipating changes before they occur, you are less likely to get caught needing to make a large cyclic/collective adjustment, which will have a significant impact on your glide angle. And try to keep your eyes outside the cockpit as much as possible, to keep assessing the glide angle throughout the maneuver.
  5. As said above, there is no reason for the final segmant of a 180 auto to differ from a straight auto, assuming you are able to roll out at the proper angle/altitude/airspeed. While most new CFI's coach autos to start at the perfect entry point, it'll do you a lot a good to get away from that mindset. As you said, engine failures almost never happen under ideal circumstances. Focus on understanding all the variables that affect the glide/flare profile. As you develop proficiency, you'll become more comfortable executing steeper turns, more aggressive flares, maneuvering out of trim or sideways/backwards, which allows a much higher degree of precision. Check out "The Little Book of Autorotations" by Shawn Coyle. Very insightful into all the nuances of a successful autorotation. https://www.amazon.com/LIttle-Book-Autorotations-Shawn-Coyle-ebook/dp/B0092PX8H6 Also, don't be discouraged. Autorotations are by far the most difficult maneuver to master. Even experts botch one up from time to time.
  6. I understand the point you are making now. And I agree; as long as the pilot maintains situational awareness in regards to their environment, power margin, power pedal travel remaining, etc it is not dangerous operating downwind. But if a pilot is ignorant of any of the variables, or becomes fixated/distracted, it can quickly turn into an unfavorable situation.
  7. Could you elaborate? I am assuming you made a typo, because having a groundspeed lower than the tailwind component results in weathervane tendency and increased power demand. Hovering OGE (0 groundspeed) with a 10 knot tailwind, is not a good position to be in.
  8. This maneuver has been around for awhile, but I have not had the opportunity to practice or experiment with it. My understanding is that to recover from VRS (with a counter-clockwise MR) you can apply max available power, right cyclic and left pedal to laterally transition into a clean airflow. The application of left pedal assists in creating lateral movement (translating tendency) to expedite the transition out of VRS. The demonstrations seem very effective. However, in talking with other pilots, there has been a lot of disagreement regarding the application, effectiveness and stress induced on the aircraft. So Id like to open a discussion to the community to discuss a few key points. 1.) What is your opinion regarding the Vuichard Recovery? 2.) Does your company / department / flight school practice the maneuver? 3.) Is the maneuver only effective to the right (counter-clockwise MR)? If one were to use left cyclic, would counteracting translating tendency compromise the maneuver? 4.) Is there any evidence that the maneuver imposes significant stress on the aircraft? If so, which components? 5.) Is teaching this maneuver worth the risk of being performed incorrectly? For instance, a pilot accustomed to performing a traditional VRS recovery (forward or lateral cyclic, slight reduction in collective) accidentally combining control inputs between the old and new technique (such as raising collective while applying forward cyclic). For reference, here are some links on the Vuichard Recovery: http://www.ihst.org/portals/54/airmanship/Airmanship%20Vuichard%20FINAL.pdf https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=HjeRSDsy-nE
  9. I think what NR is getting at is that LTE vs LTA is the equivalent of vortex ring state vs settling with power (or power settling, or settling with max power if youd prefer). Some people argue over the specifics of settling with power (vs vortex ring state), others lump it all into one category. Same goes for the tail rotor. Personally, I think the distinction is worth making. To me, LTE is an aerodynamic problem, a detrimental airflow circulation that results in a sudden decrease in T/R thrust. LTA (limited tail rotor authority) is simply reaching the left pedal stop (in a counter-clockwise M/R) due to high power demand/ high DA / right crosswind. Both can result in the nose (and more importantly the tail) going where you dont want t if corrective action is not taken. And having logged quite a bit of time in both the MD500 and 206L, the MD500 does in fact have noticably improved T/R authority and better handling in crosswind and tailwind conditions when compared to the longranger. Thats not to say an MD500 pilot doesnt have to work the pedals, but it is an easier to manage aircraft with the nose pulled away from the wind.
  10. Thanks for the feedback. In talking with other colleagues they also all agreed that operating offshore exempts you from LA state tax. Hopefully can get the money back by filing amendments for the past few years.
  11. I was recently told that pilots residing out of state are exempt from Louisiana income tax. Is this true? If so, what is the justification / legal source? Any one ever had to deal with a state audit regarding this? It has been my understanding that pilots whom reside out of state from where they are based are still obligated to pay state income tax in the state they are based, if >50% of their income is obtained in that state. For example, a pilot lives in CO but is primarily based in LA. During the year they are also based in TX for two months. At the the end of the year, the pilot is obligated to file tax returns (and pay state income tax) with CO and LA, but not TX. If the pilot resides in a state such as WY (no state income tax), then they are only obligated to file with LA. I would certainly love to pay less in taxes, but don't want to find out 8 years down the road that I owe a huge sum in back taxes, interest and penalties. Any insight into the matter is greatly appreciated.
  12. Study material: Student Pilot Guide https://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/handbooks_manuals/aviation/media/student_pilot_guide.pdf Helicopter Flying Handbook https://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/handbooks_manuals/aviation/helicopter_flying_handbook/ Weight and Balance Handbook https://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/handbooks_manuals/aviation/media/FAA-H-8083-1.pdf Pilots Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge https://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/handbooks_manuals/aviation/phak/media/pilot_handbook.pdf Online Aviation Charts https://skyvector.com/ Private Pilot Knowledge Test Prep https://www.sportys.com/pilotshop/private-pilot-test-prep-asa.html
  13. For what its worth, I would have agreed with you 100% two years ago. I actually enjoyed flying offshore at first and just laughed off all the BS that I am complaining about now. It has only been recently that it has really started to grind my gears. I hope you continue enjoy it for the long run. And, in all fairness, there are plenty of outstanding men (and women) who work in the offshore industry; it was not fair of me to bash all of them.
  14. To elaborate on offshore flying. The soul crushing part, for me anyways, is not being bored while flying a dual pilot aircraft. I can handle boredom just fine, as long as Im compensated and treated well. The problem is all of the BS you have to deal with on the side. Being based in southern LA with the Cajun culture in mind-numbing. After a day of flying, depending on the company/base, you live with room mates in an apartment (best case), modular home or POS trailer. You are constantly dealing with ignorant, uneducated customers who cannot handle the simplest of logistics and are repeatedly changing plans. Previously, being a medium or heavy Offshore pilot could be a cushy job; wasnt unusual to have a half day of flying and be done, with some days where you did not fly at all. The new trend is to pimp out pilots to fill scheduling gaps and special discount flights. An S76 pilot can find themself spending just as much time in the 407. Getting shuffled between bases is becoming the norm as well; repeatedly packing up your car and driving hours on some of the worst highway in the US. Flying light helicopters over the ocean, even worse. VFR only, limited/no weather data enroute, no air conditioning (except Era and maybe Panther) and the constant risk of getting stuck somewhere you dont want to be. Ive had numerous mx issues over the years that have left me stuck (start/gen fail, FADEC fail, etc). Some light helicopter contracts are relatively cushy, though many involve long flying hours to unmanned platforms plastered in bird crap. Always a great feeling being stuck in a hot, cramped aircraft for 7 hours that reeks of bird crap. Offshore contracts mostly suck too. Best case, you get your own room with a twin sized bed. And a buffet of disgusting fried food every day. Depending on the company/customer there are offshore jobs where you sleep in bunks. Because it doesnt matter if the pilot is well rested when $$$ is involved. My first offshore job was living on a decrepit platform that was loaded with esbestos. But dont worry, there were warning signs saying not to disturb the ceiling... Managment at all of the offshore helicopter companies is a hot mess. Constantly looking to take as much as they can while giving the pilots and mechanics as little as possible. Two have unions; they are both essentially useless. Flying for the regionals will suck, theres no denying that. Flying for a LCC or a legacy airline does not. Going fixed wing at least provides a path to something great. If Im going to spend a career flying IFR, might as well stay in a hotel instead of a trailer, have minimal customer interaction and get paid 50-60% more with travel benefits.
  15. Body weight being a limiting factor largely depends on part of the industry you are in (and the size of the aircraft). Aside from reducing useful load, having a big gut can also restrict aft cyclic travel (which is a significant hazard that some companies choose to overlook). As a CFI in the R22 / S300, just about every company will want you under 200 lbs. To fly HEMS, flight weight of 230 lbs or less. Versus the offshore industry... its almost a job requirement to be a lard ass. Ive worked with numerous pilots that were 280+ lbs (whether they admitted it or not is another story). Eye surgery... wouldnt risk it, but that is my personal opinion. I wear contacts and it has never been an issue. Soft disposable lenses are great; not like the hard lenses from back in the day. But if your surgery is compromised.... now you risk not flying at all. Finally, in regards to career choice. I would seriously advise pursuing a career on the fixed wing side. Helicopters are incredible machines, but most jobs as a helicopter pilot either have horrible pay, require you to fly in a horrible location, or have a significantly elevated level of risk/liability. Ive been flying professionally for eight years and am employed with highly reputable company; it still sucks. Flying over open ocean, transporting a bunch of high school drop outs to oil platforms is absolutely soul crushing. HEMS pay is garbage. Utility flying pays well (compared to other helicopter jobs) but is not worth the risk involved. If all goes according to plan, Ill be doing RTP in 1-2 years.
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