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I Hate Helicopter Pilots

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I'll admit it: I really dislike helicopter pilots. "Hate" is such a strong word, and I don't really hate anything or anyone. Sorry for the clickbait.


I used to like helicopter pilots...admire them, even. But not anymore. Not since I became one and found out what giant a-holes many of us are. (I know, I know, "Speak for yourself, Bob.")


Over on the "bad" forum there is a thread about University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban visiting a high school to talk to a potential recruit. Coach arrived in an MD Notar. Astute helicopter folks and YouTube watchers will recognize it as one of two helicopters that dried the Bryant-Denny field before a big game back in November. (The other was a 206B.)


Needless to say, the comments from the peanut gallery came quickly.


"Alumni donating the aircraft? Not most folks first choice of an executive helicopter..." sniffed one guy.


Apparently every executive and football coach should be riding around in an S-76 or a 139.


Since the University of Alabama does not own a helicopter, someone undoubtedly lent Nick theirs. Sorry if the 520N does not meet your standard of what an "executive helicopter" should be, bub.


"You'd think he'd take an airplane and drive over to the school. Looked pretty ridiculous, axed me."

Well nobody "axed" you, genius. It's 48 miles from Tuscaloosa to the airport in Birmingham, Alabama. And while the college does own a jet, it really wouldn't have made much sense to use it, would it? Sure, Nick could have borrowed someone's airplane, but then he still would've had to arrange ground transportation. But there's probably a reason he did not. What could it be...?


Some years ago I flew the other helicopter that dried the stadium back in November - the 206. (I've since moved on and it was someone else flying in 2018.) The guy who owns that ship is a huge Alabama fan - owns a box at Bryant-Denny and goes to every game.


One day the boss called me, all excited. "We're flying Nick tomorrow!" he said. He didn't have to say "Nick's" last name. The plan was for us to go to some podunk airport in the state, meet the coach when his jet landed, and then fly him to three high schools where he'd be interviewing prospects. And that's exactly what we did. The helicopter let Nick do in one day what would have taken him two or maybe three.


But yet people just have to criticize.


Not everything is as it seems. In our case, Nick didn't announce to the press that he was visiting the schools, nor did the schools make a big deal about it. It was very low-key. No fanfare, no big turnout, no police, no press. We'd land on the athletic field and I'd be like, "How come there's nobody here to meet us?" Ah, well...


And yes, in Alabama, Nick Saban is a rock star. Considering the season he just had (even though they ultimately lost the Championship to Clemson), and considering the team's consistent performance since Nick took over, that status is well-deserved.

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Talking about helicopters and Tuscaloosa - I lived there and worked for the City's Traffic Engineering Department back in 1975 and had a shop at the airport. One of the police pilots invited me for a ride one day in their (I believe it was a Bell 47) helicopter that they used to chase down shop lifters.

It was my first helicopter ride and very memorable. We skimmed over the Black Warrior River like we were in Vietnam and skirted the roof of the Tutweiler Dorm (where the female students liked to sunbath). The Chief of Police tried to land another of their ships on the roof or the Memorial Hospital and hit the elevator pent house, totally destroying it. Luckily no one was killed.

It was 37 year later that I began helicopter flight training and learned how stupid all of that was. Yep, good old days.

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Yes, there are some idiot pilots, and some of them lurk even on this forum to take potshots at comments from other pilots, even if they have no knowledge of the event described. But all they have to do is see your name, and they jump up shouting "I call BS on that!"


But there are some wonderful people too. I used to be a police pilot, and on a visit to Miami many years back, I was invited to fly in their turbine H300 on a patrol. The local ATC would not allow them above 300' in many areas, so it was a rooftop-type scoot around until clear of their airspace. Great stuff, especially the gallop along the beachfront looking at the mega-mansions of the people with cubic dollars.


So, I can't really say that I "hate helicopter pilots", but I do dislike d!ckheads.

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I think it's just the "entitlement generation" in general Bob. No one asked them if it was ok if someone flew Mr. Nick around so they are butthurt as usual. I guess I'm getting a bit more intolerant than I should be in my "older" age, but I don't have to put up with the bitterness and discontent anymore. When the time comes that I've heard enough of the cry babies and malcontents I will just quietly go home and enjoy my second retirement.


Don't get me wrong, I work with some great people and love my current job, but...

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  • 4 weeks later...

There are a remarkable number of terrible people on the internet. Some of them might even be actual helicopter pilots. I avoid social media like the plague after some innocuous comments got taken way out of hand. Deleted myself from all the facebook pilot groups. I keep it pretty light and un-opinionated these days and just try to keep a low profile. I feel like this industry has been so oversaturated with pilots for so long people legitimately want to see others fail, rather than help each other be better. At least, that's how it seems online. In real life I have had the extreme pleasure of working with scores of amazing and professional men and women and made many life-long friends in this industry. Med-crew on the other hand...

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Come to think of it, all of the worst, most despicable people I've met in my adult life have all been commercial helicopter pilots.


The cruelest/most idiotic people I've come across on the internet have been (or claimed to be) commercial helicopter pilots.


,...and of course the worst boss I've ever worked for was (wait for it) a commercial helicopter pilot!


Truck drivers on the other hand, have been alright people for the most part. Sure some are lazy, others a bit childish, but none have been out right dicks!


,...plus I've got one of the nicest boss's I've ever worked for!





You know, this could explain why I never tell anyone I'm a pilot? 'Cause deep down I know,...people don't like us.

Edited by r22butters
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Since the very nature of the Internet, you can hide behind a handle or nickname or your name that is on your pilot certificate. And because of this and the little fact that there is an almost zero chance you will ever actually meet the person who posts you are commenting on, it's a license to be just plain rude. I know Bob or I should say we are acquainted is a more accurate word. Professional Helicopter flying is really a very small industry if you can even call it an industry, it's really a very limited specialize service. That fills a need that can not be done any other way. Since I also fly Airplanes, that segment is larger but still it not all that large or profitable compared to some other businesses, Pilots are just wired differently and we do put up with a lot because of it. Something about flying I guess. Like most things that Coach or whatever, I don't care, I never was a football fan or any sort of team sports for that matter. My thing is fly fishing and big game hunting. With some upland game and waterfowl, thrown in. And what is wrong with an MD-500 and its variants anyway? Great machine to fly, even thou they are a black hole for money, but so is ever aircraft you can think of so it's a moot point. Nice to see that you are still stirring the pot, Bob!

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