By Staff Writer | October 1, 2007

Patty Wagon

Your August cover really caught my eye, especially the helicopter in the upper left hand corner. As a young mechanic just back from Vietnam, I saw that helicopter parked outside Hollymatic’s Park Forrest, Ill. plant and stopped in to apply for a job. There I met the pilot/mechanic, George Foelsch. George was unable to hire me, but we became friends. I even got to fly in that JetRanger. That friendship eventually led to my employment with Petroleum Helicopters Inc. George had worked for PHI and ended up coming back after his time with Hollymatic.

Dennis Martin Director of Aircraft Records PHI Lafayette, La.


Tweak That Timeline

You state Erickson Aircrane became the first operator to harvest timber with a Sikorsky Aircraft S-64 in 1971. Columbia Helicopters was the operator on this venture, using a Sikorsky S-61, and we were contracted by Erickson Lumber Co. to conduct the project.

While both companies like to lay claim to being the first helicopter-logging company, Erickson Aircrane technically did not exist at that point, and they did not acquire their own heavy-lift aircraft until later in their history.

Dan Sweet Media Services Manager Columbia Helicopters, Inc. Portland, Ore.

In the opening article of your 40th anniversary issue, you left out some very unforgettable manufacturers that should have been included for their efforts and contributions ("Much Done, Much Remains," August 2007, page 30). These include Cessna and its CH-1B, Doman and its D10B/LZ5-2, Omega and its BS12D3-5, Gyrodyne and its QH-50C, Goodyear and its GA400R-3, Jovair and its J-2 and-4E, and Scheutzow and its Model B.

Harry Black Annandale, Va.

Training for IMC

Regarding Brian Swinney’s column, my intent is not to spark a debate on military vs. civilian training ("The Hidden Cost of an Accident, August 2007, page 62). Also, this is not a comment on his handling of the situation. This is all about training helicopter pilots for instrument meteorological conditions (IMC).

I agree with Mr. Swinney that the training has to be more realistic and repetitive to keep the instrument flight rule (IFR) skills of pilots sharp. However, having been on the military and civil side of the fence, I can say civil training, whether initial or recurrent, is deficient in one key area. The emphasis in training and annual/semi-annual check rides is always on the final part of the IMC scenario: the ILS approach. We are taught how to fly the approach to a safe recovery and that is considered adequate. We are missing the point.

What needs to be honed continuously is the skill that will keep the helicopter upright, give the pilot time to recover from the shock, and get him thinking again: scanning.

The first 60-90 sec in an inadvertent IMC situation is critical. On what the pilot does, or does not do, in those crucial few seconds rests the outcome of the incident. We do not focus enough on the control-of-aircraft part of the recovery sequence. The training typically involves a few perfunctory standard-rate turns, followed by a docile unusual-attitude recovery and then we are onto "what is more important" — the ILS approach. That attitude has to change among flight instructors, training captains, and check airmen. It is almost a culture change and will probably be evolutionary rather than revolutionary. It is up to us to get the word out.

Train hard and often to fly by the numbers. Cage the airspeed indicator and artificial horizon and see if you can get the helicopter wings-level and climbing after an unusual-attitude situation. Do a steep turn, on instruments, and see how the aircraft behaves. Does the nose pitch down in a steep turn to the left or right? See if you can accelerate and decelerate without losing direction or losing or gaining height. Once you can do all that then, and only then, look for the localizer frequency. Try these the next time you are out there training. You might scare yourself.

Brian Thomas EMS Pilot, ATP(H) Norfolk, Neb.


One article cited police use of drones in "the town of Merseyside" ("U.K. Police Use Rotary-Wing Drone for Surveillance," July 2007. page 13). The town of Merseyside doesn’t exist. Merseyside is a metropolitan county in northwest England that was created in 1974. Whilst the County Council that once served it has ceased to exist, the area it covered still does in law and as a geographical reference. This area is policed by Merseyside Police and covers some 250 sq mi, taking in, amongst others, the towns of St. Helens and Southport and is centred on the city of Liverpool.

John Carr Chief Pilot Merseyside Police Air Support Group

An Appreciation

Congratulations on a particularly outstanding issue of Rotor & Wing in July 2007. Ray Prouty is always excellent, as were the contributions from Ernie Stephens and Steve Colby, and from Simon Roper and Ed Van Winkle in the Helicopter Training special report.

William Rooken-Smith South African Airways Johannesburg, South Africa

Do you have comments on the rotorcraft industry or recent articles and viewpoints we’ve published? Send them to:?Editor, Rotor &?Wing, 4 Choke Cherry Road, Second Floor, Rockville, MD 20850, fax us at 301-354-1809 or email us at rotorandwing@accessintel.com. Please include a city and state or province with your name and ratings. We reserve the right to edit all submitted material.

R&W’s Question of the Month

What is the state of the helicopter job market where you live and work?

Let us know, and look for your and others’ responses in a future issue. You’ll find contact information at the bottom of the page.

Receive the latest rotorcraft news right to your inbox