As a fan of Rotor & Wing (and Defence Helicopters), I recognize Military Editor Andrew Drwiega as a particularly experienced and authoritative reporter on military helicopters and operations in Afghanistan.
I’ve had the recent opportunity to work with the Marines of Camp Pendleton (home of fabled “Scarface” and the “Gunfighters”) of which Andrew has written. Great to see their in-country operations so well-reported to the wider world of rotary-wingers. Good on y’all.
Dale Smith’s “Job Performance Aides” article in the October 2010 issue is very helpful, particularly because we do have language barriers. Please expedite these types of manuals before mistakes and misinterpretations overtake us! This is indeed an ingenious concept.
“Helicopter aviation is filled with cowboys, when it really needs more adult supervision.”
“Get-home-itis”, seen frequently in helicopter pilots, and the “God syndrome”, common to medical personnel, can be a fatal combination in helicopter emergency medical services (EMS) operations, as we’ve seen here. Only when EMS management starts weeding out heroes like this will the situation improve.
Helicopter aviation is filled with cowboys, when it really needs more adult supervision. When that comes about, crashes like this will be few and far between. Cowboys rule until lawsuits make it evident to hospital management that low price should not be their sole concern when bidding out the EMS contract.
Concerning Richard Whittle's "Vertical Lift Consortium" article, try to learn more about the Gerbino Flight system, which offers an incredibly simple solution engineered by one of Howard Hughes’ original go-to guys (Eli Alexander).
Not only does it stand a good chance of cracking the seat revenue mile equation, but the design criteria was to look at every possible emergency procedure and then design it backwards from there, which should make it very efficient and safe in hostile environments.
Although “train as we fight” is a cliché, we do try hard to get relevant practice for the treat and terrain prior to a deployment cycle. So, to say we fly high at home for training and then fly NOE in theater is not exactly correct. We always fly as is appropriate for the mission—sometimes high is better, and sometimes low is better.
Regarding the sidebar involving the Mil 171 in “The Extra Mile” by Andrew Healey, I feel that Mil 171s are certainly very good and perfectly adapted helicopters, and as long as maintenance is properly done, they are probably safer to operate in extreme climates than some of our more sophisticated helicopters.
But please do not try to compare with our air transport certification standards, i.e. redundancies, emergency exits, life time, etc. They really are workhorses, not toys!
â–¶ R&W’s Question of the MonthWhat do you think of FAA’s recently issued notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) regarding safety initiatives for Part 91 and 135 operators, including the helicopter air ambulance/EMS industry?
Submit your response here.