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Is this really what it's like?


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A couple weeks ago me and a couple friends went on a trip in a 44. Great trip, awesome scenery and some good hiking to boot. I really needed that trip. It was an overnighter and we were slated to head back the next morning.

 

So the next morning rolls around and we need to get fuel before starting this trip. Roll the 44 out of the hanger and into the dirt, which turned out to be mud, so we weren't able to turn it sideways as planned. In prep for the run up to air taxi to the self serve, I got to act as the ground crew and stop anyone from driving behind the tail.

 

Much to my dismay, an a**hole in a light sport decided that he needed to get back to his hanger RFN and proceeded to taxi his way behind the helicopter. I told him we were spinning up and he needed to wait. His response was "Get the f**k out of my way I can beat them!"

 

He then proceeded to throttle up a little bit and damn near ran me over trying to beat the helicopters run up. He was clear of the very slow spinning tail rotor (they had literally JUST cranked up), but that's not the point.

 

The point is that he totally threw caution to the wind to get where he needed to go and put others at risk to do it.

 

His wing was inches away from the hanger on the left, and a few feet from the tail rotor on the right. And me? Well I was right in his path. Had I not moved he would have ran me over.

 

It all ended with no one getting hurt and nothing being damaged. But what I really want to know is: Is this how the General Aviation community really acts? Am I really going to have to deal with impatient assholes who would rather run me over than wait a few minutes for the helicopter to move?

 

I'm brand new to this whole aviation thing and even I knew that what he did was unacceptable. I just really hope it's not the norm...

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Yeah this happens a lot, especially at non towered airports. I've had crop dusters land on the wrong runway nearly creating hazards, I've seen aircraft take off with no regard to the helicopter on final making several radio calls stating that they were inbound and on final, I've seen cars drive down taxiways and zig zag between parked and running aircraft. Unsafe operations of cars and trucks on the airport ramps should be notified to the local police, if they deem it unsafe they'll have no problem ticketing and running radar, in fact I think they like it. If it happens at a towered airport, contact the FAA. If it's an aircraft issue at a non-towered airport, there's nothing you can do. Just go on and remember to watch for these jerks in the future, and try not to pitty them because someday these actions will get them killed.

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Just try to be friendly...help him pass safely instead of trying to impede him...

Zippie... Remember helicopters r supposed to avoi the fixed wing flow...that means you don't even need to be approaching the runway..so the airplane taking off shouldn't have to wait for you...

Cars are ok on uncontrolled areas of the ramp...if it is an uncontrolled airport that means anywhere...maybe not smart but not illegal...come on now...don't be so quick to jump to negative conclusions about others...that may be you in the future...educate and be helpful...I often wonder where some get their information that leads them to be so restrictive in their operations

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You did your job by warning him. If something had happened it would have been his fault. Then he would have been in big trouble. Sleep well knowing that SOMEDAY something bad WILL happen to that guy. Maybe not this year or next, but at some point his luck will run out. It always does.

 

Proving these things to the FAA can be very difficult and even with video evidence it can be hard to prosecute. Usually what happens is if they have a reason to look, they will start digging through the paperwork and that is how they will get you. This is why it is a good idea to keep your logbook and other forms in good order.

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Yes, that describes 100% of people in aviation. There are no exceptions.

 

Sarcasm is so unbecoming... :P

 

I realize not everyone is like that. I was just trying to get a feel if it's a widespread thing, that's all. And from the sounds of it, it is. It's kind of disappointing really...

 

 

 

Just try to be friendly...help him pass safely instead of trying to impede him...

Zippie... Remember helicopters r supposed to avoi the fixed wing flow...that means you don't even need to be approaching the runway..so the airplane taking off shouldn't have to wait for you...

Cars are ok on uncontrolled areas of the ramp...if it is an uncontrolled airport that means anywhere...maybe not smart but not illegal...come on now...don't be so quick to jump to negative conclusions about others...that may be you in the future...educate and be helpful...I often wonder where some get their information that leads them to be so restrictive in their operations

 

I was friendly when I asked him how long he was going to be sitting at the pumps and then made small talk about his aircraft while he filled up.

 

I feel like you're advocating unsafe practices. There is absolutely nothing that is so important that you need to try and run a guy over to get it done. I understand there will be times when risks have to be taken, but if there is a way to mitigate them, then there is no reason you shouldn't. In my case, we did just that. We tried to make sure no one got too close to the tail rotor. The cars that drove by had no problem with me having them keep their distance. Mr. light sport decided to say "screw you, get the eff out of my way or suffer the consequences" and then tried to run me over. There is no room for that kind of attitude in this industry. That attitude is what gets people hurt and/or killed.

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Yes, that describes 100% of people in aviation. There are no exceptions.

I have had a few days when I would have agreed with you. But just a few. There are far many more days when the case has been just the opposite though. By the way, If every rule has an exception, I'm the exception to your no exception.

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People are people: in planes, helicopters, cars, boats, bikes, bars, and face-to-face. They're ignorant, make mistakes and some are just jerks. Don't "jerk" back, and you've done as much as you can do. Airplane drivers (there are a few airplane pilots out there) don't know much about helicopters complicated by the fact they are just people.

 

I avoid airports and airplanes like the plague...

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I've been fortunate to do several ferry flights around the country, and I have to say that I have had the complete opposite experience. On more than one occasion, someone has come up to me and just wanted to look at the helicopter because they had never seen an R44 before. And once a complete stranger loaned me his personal vehicle to go get something to eat when there was not a pilot car available.

 

Of course you can find a jerk anywhere. But, I don't think that describes the GA community as a whole. My 2 cents.

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I think a lot of it has to do with the region. Here in the Seattle area there is a lot of money. And thus a lot of rich jerks with fast planes that just want everyone to get the hell out of their way... I saw a completely different culture 10 years ago when I learned to fly on So Cal.

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I find that pilots have a much higher percentage of nice people than the general public. Rich people seem to have a higher percentage of not so nice people. At my day job I see and hear both types everyday, I just try to treat everyone the same way...or at the least the way they treat me.

 

GA might not be very professional but they are mostly good people just having fun flying.

 

Jerry

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Yes, that is often what it's really like. Airplane owners hate having helicopters around. They hate the noise and they hate the rotor wash even more. I have seen more than one screaming match out on the ramp and it is often an ongoing feud. You can have a lot of fun at the fuel when you block it for 20 minutes or more, too. A lot of times I can't blame these guys. Plenty of arrogance to go around on both sides. My advice: dont push your helicopter into mud so people have to wait 10 minutes while you run up. And don't stand in front of a running airplane. Sometimes, crap happens, but most of the time, it's a chain of events that makes somebody finally go ballistic. Helicopters can do a lot of damage to someone's pride and joy airplane. It may not be fair, but to keep the peace, give the airplanes a lot of room. You cannot win.

Edited by helonorth
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"...must avoid the flow of fixed-wing traffic". Kinda sums up where we stand on the aviation ladder!

 

Look at it this way; When the runway is closed (for whatever reason) we can still takeoff. So next time that happens, just point out the window at those poor runway rats who can't fly today, and laugh! :D

Edited by pilot#476398
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Yes, that is often what it's really like. Airplane owners hate having helicopters around. They hate the noise and they hate the rotor wash even more. I have seen more than one screaming match out on the ramp and it is often an ongoing feud. You can have a lot of fun at the fuel when you block it for 20 minutes or more, too. A lot of times I can't blame these guys. Plenty of arrogance to go around on both sides. My advice: dont push your helicopter into mud so people have to wait 10 minutes while you run up. And don't stand in front of a running airplane. Sometimes, crap happens, but most of the time, it's a chain of events that makes somebody finally go ballistic. Helicopters can do a lot of damage to someone's pride and joy airplane. It may not be fair, but to keep the peace, give the airplanes a lot of room. You cannot win.

 

The mud was an unexpected happening. It looked solid and supported my weight. The helicopter weight? Well that's a different story. We had every intention of turning it sideways so we wouldn't block anyone from getting by. All he had to do was wait 5 minutes. The two that were in the helicopter both tackled the startup to get it done quick.

 

As for standing in front of an airplane, his prop was behind the wing. I get what you're saying though.

 

Was there ample room for him to get by? Why not marshall him around?

 

There was inches between his left wing and the hanger and a couple feet between his right wing and the tail rotor. Not enough room, in my opinion, to justify it. Otherwise I would have, just like I did with the cars that wanted to get by.

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Not enough room, in my opinion, to justify it.

Aha. In your opinion. I guess the guy in the Light-sport had a different opinion. And guess what, he was the PIC of his aircraft, and as such he was charged with making that decision, not you.

 

There are "safety nazis" everywhere you go: People who have the attitude that because *they* think something is unsafe then it...you know...is, period, end of story.

 

And then there are a-holes everywhere you go, too. People who disregard even the most basic safety precautions because they know better than anyone what's safe and what isn't.

 

Umm, wait...didn't I just describe the same type of person? You know: Arrogant know-it-all?

 

Look, maybe the LSA guy was better than you at judging distances...maybe he knew his airplane really well. And maybe he had to pee *really* badly and didn't want to wait for the helicopter to start up, warm up and then move...a process which can take up to five minutes or more no matter how many people are in the cockpit of an R-44 making it happen. And five minutes is an eternity when you have to pee really bad. Hoo-man, talk about!

 

And after the fact you want to know who to report this guy to?? What, like you mean the FBI? The TSA? Hey, how's about you grow a set and go talk to him yourself. You know, like a man. Go say, "Hey dude, you cut it pretty close there. I didn't think there was enough room for you to pass through safely, which is why I was standing there like a big ol' Safety Nazi preventing you from passing."

 

To which he'll reply, "Well there obviously was, wasn't there? Now get outta my way, I gotta pee really badly." And then from the side of his hangar you'll hear (unless you followed him back there to watch or continue the argument), "You helicopter guys think there should be a, what, fifty foot diameter 'safety zone' around your aircraft? If you didn't want anyone going behind you, why did you pull it out so far...like I'm doing here, see? But in my case I have to because I don't want to get my shoes wet. Oh, and by the by, a discrete glance would have been sufficient, you don't have to stare."

 

Aaaaaanyways...if you really, really, really think what the LSA driver did was unsafe, go talk to the airport manager. Tell him about these crazy fixed-wing pilots who taxi RIGHT BEHIND a non-running helicopter and then go pee on the side of their hangars.

 

See what kind of response you get and get back to us, mmkay?

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So one guy pushes the button while the other guy yells out, "clear"! :lol:

 

Yea, yea yea...

 

Aha. In your opinion. I guess the guy in the Light-sport had a different opinion. And guess what, he was the PIC of his aircraft, and as such he was charged with making that decision, not you.

 

There are "safety nazis" everywhere you go: People who have the attitude that because *they* think something is unsafe then it...you know...is, period, end of story.

 

And then there are a-holes everywhere you go, too. People who disregard even the most basic safety precautions because they know better than anyone what's safe and what isn't.

 

Umm, wait...didn't I just describe the same type of person? You know: Arrogant know-it-all?

 

Look, maybe the LSA guy was better than you at judging distances...maybe he knew his airplane really well. And maybe he had to pee *really* badly and didn't want to wait for the helicopter to start up, warm up and then move...a process which can take up to five minutes or more no matter how many people are in the cockpit of an R-44 making it happen. And five minutes is an eternity when you have to pee really bad. Hoo-man, talk about!

 

And after the fact you want to know who to report this guy to?? What, like you mean the FBI? The TSA? Hey, how's about you grow a set and go talk to him yourself. You know, like a man. Go say, "Hey dude, you cut it pretty close there. I didn't think there was enough room for you to pass through safely, which is why I was standing there like a big ol' Safety Nazi preventing you from passing."

 

To which he'll reply, "Well there obviously was, wasn't there? Now get outta my way, I gotta pee really badly." And then from the side of his hangar you'll hear (unless you followed him back there to watch or continue the argument), "You helicopter guys think there should be a, what, fifty foot diameter 'safety zone' around your aircraft? If you didn't want anyone going behind you, why did you pull it out so far...like I'm doing here, see? But in my case I have to because I don't want to get my shoes wet. Oh, and by the by, a discrete glance would have been sufficient, you don't have to stare."

 

Aaaaaanyways...if you really, really, really think what the LSA driver did was unsafe, go talk to the airport manager. Tell him about these crazy fixed-wing pilots who taxi RIGHT BEHIND a non-running helicopter and then go pee on the side of their hangars.

 

See what kind of response you get and get back to us, mmkay?

 

Wow dude, go back to bed and try waking up on the right side of it this time...

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The takeaway message may be that the FAA does not "screen" for AssHats, as part of the licensing process.

 

Take these experiences with a grain of salt, realizing that people usually act poorly because of something they "lack", not something they "have".

 

I had a similar WTF experience during a XC from San Diego to Napa, while stopping for fuel. After setting down at the self serve, an LSA pilot walks over and asks me to pay for an oil change for his aircraft.

 

As he explained it: the 20 knot winds and the dust on the taxiway were my fault.

As I explained it: his wingspan was too wide for any jiffy lube location, so my hands were tied.

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There was inches between his left wing and the hanger and a couple feet between his right wing and the tail rotor. Not enough room, in my opinion, to justify it. Otherwise I would have, just like I did with the cars that wanted to get by.

 

Yeah that's not enough room for a good safety margin. I used to marshal and tow planes all the time and if someone wanted to do something unsafe on our ramp you bet I would stand in front of their aircraft (as long as they saw me and knew I was there!!). A lot of pilots (both helicopter and fixed wing) can be dumb asses when they get a case of "get-there-itis." It sucks, but waiting in line is part of aviation. I can't count the number of times I've had to sit in a taxi way holding while a UPS Boeing 767 got pushed back and went through its start up.

 

"Boeing ground Galvin tug request reposition of Gulfstream from Hangar 1 to Hangar 5." 20 minutes later we finally get there.

Edited by SBuzzkill
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