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Flight time and flight currency/training


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I'm curious to know how many hours on average EMS pilots fly per month or per year. Also, how do you go about staying current and/or proficient. Are you able to take the helicopter to a local airport and practice normal and crosswind landings, auto-rotations, etc.?

 

What about night currency (with and without NVGs (if you have them)), instrument currency, etc. Do you call the dispatch and let them know you are out of service for an hour or two to do this training? What happens if you are the only EMS helicopter serving a large area? If a call comes in during your practice time, do you go back and pick up the crew and respond to the call? Do you have specific requirements for currency that you must meet (X number of hours per month (daytime and nighttime), Y number of take-offs and landings or approaches, Z number of instrument approaces or practice autorotations, etc.).

 

I have seen our local police department helicopter practicing autorotations at the airport when I've been out flying airplanes. Are allowed to the the A/C out when you as a pilot feel you need some practice or only when you need to to meet currency requirements?

 

I fly with airplanes with a military aero club and have certain currency requirements I have to meet each quarter or I have to go up with an instructor for some recurrency. Obviously, if I feel like I need a little tuning up on something (night landings, for example), I can always just go practice (assuming I am night current). Of course, I am paying for all the time on the Hobbs, so it is a little different. Just wondering how you stay proficient on the many and varied piloting tasks you may encounter in a work environment. Thanks!

Edited by Parafiddle
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I usually fly 10 to 20 hours per month, often as little as 5, rarely as much as 30. There is no chance of going out of service for training, and there is little chance to do any. I fly a GPS approach when I fly over an airport with an approach when returning to base, but that's about it. Autos are forbidden, and we practice landings and takeoffs on every flight. This is no job for a newbie, you have to be able to fly under demanding conditions at any hour of the day or night, with little practice. It's a for-profit business, and taking the aircraft out of service and flying it for free isn't something the beancounters look favorably on. Short-term profits rule everything.

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Typically an EMS pilot will only work 15 days a month if they're not doing any overtime. I average an hour or so every other day. I cover a lot of overtime; I'll fly 150-180 hrs a year not including my other job.

 

As far as currency goes, if somehow your haven't flown your 3 t/o's and landings in the last 90 days, you just let dispatch know you're going around the pattern three times and that's it. The NVG crews do have a currency requirement, but I'm not familiar with it. If out of currency and a revenue flight comes in, they can still fly it at night, they just can't use the goggles.

 

No autos in the aircraft on the line except for checking the rotor RPM after maintenance. No need to practice landings and takeoffs--you should have done plenty in the minimum 2000 hrs. But if you are working somewhere you're not familiar with or there's a new helipad, you can fly around to orientate yourself with the area or new LZs. Just take the med crew and you're in service if needed.

 

Under pt. 135, once a year we have recurrent training which includes about an hour of emergency procedures, IIMC recovery procedures, etc from company instructors or factory test pilots. If at any point during the year you really felt you needed some additional training or practice, I highly doubt they'd say no--you'd just have nail down a company training a/c and instructor.

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