In response to “The Importance of Training” (August 2011, page 4), I’d like to add that the essential ingredient in today’s training is line orientated flight training (LOFT) and CRM. This is especially true in the offshore helicopter world. Particularly in the Gulf of Mexico where there has been a quantum leap in technology to the glass cockpit and the need for “automation integration”. From “round gauges” to glass in a few short years... couple that with the frequency of IFR operations. Bear in mind that all fixed-wing flights land out of an instrument approach... therefore the process is incidental and the pilots can concentrate on the unusual. In the Gulf of Mexico helicopter world IFR was a twice-a-year event (spring and fall changes requiring IFR), therefore creating stress points and potential automation integration errors. Today’s training needs a paradigm shift, away from the FAA dogmatic adherence of “check the boxes” to more LOFT and CRM-based scenarios that captures today’s technology and incorporates it from day one. The aircraft are here, the simulators are capable, the operators are ready and the scenarios are written. Some have already started!
airWing Aviation Consultants
R&W’s Question of the Month:
Based on performance, handling or just plain looks, what is your favorite helicopter type and why?
Let us know, and look for your and others’ responses in a future issue. You’ll find contact information below.
The loss of the SEAL team and Chinook crew is tragic (see “CH-47 Crash Kills 38 in Afghanistan”, September 2011, page 12), but not unprecedented in this war. My hope is that the Army Chinook community is taking a hard look at the flight profile and tactics used by the flight crew in delivering the team of special operators to their target. There is a documented history of helicopters—the Chinook in particular—getting hit while flying in the “Zap Zone,” the flight profile most likely to attract enemy fire.
Lt.C Rhys Hunt
The following comments appeared on Rotor & Wing’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/rotorandwing
(Responding to: “What is your favorite helicopter type and why?”)
The Bell 206B Jet Ranger/TH-67. I’m a mechanic on the TH-67. Easy aircraft to maintain! The downside is engine power during the summer time. I think Bell and Rolls-Royce should beef it up a little bit. Other than that, it’s a great aircraft!
Sikorsky S-61 (HH-3E). It performed the job of combat rescue when there were no others doing it. This type saved many downed airmen in Vietnam, and many civilians.
I have always been infatuated with the MD500/530 series of helicopters. They are sexy, fast, agile and I can’t wait to get a type rating on one. If only I had the money, I’d have one of my very own.
Robinson’s R44 Raven [has] autotorque, an easy start [and requires] less fuel. It is a very nice flyer with the speed of Cessna and lands anywhere, with minimum pilot workload. It’s very fun to fly, [and I] don’t feel like working. Pure joy.
My number one favorite rotorcraft is the AgustaWestland AW139 for business and offshore purposes. Number two is the Sikorsky Black Hawk, of course. Sikorsky should provide S-70 Black Hawks for non-military [use]. If Sikorsky provided S-70s for executive and offshore, customers will prefer this helicopter, and it would be my number one.
The Boeing Chinook CH-47 mentioned in “Chinook Crash Kills 38 in Afghanistan,” September 2011, page 12, was misidentified. According to the National Guard, the helicopter belonged to the U.S. Army’s 10th Combat Aviation Brigade out of Fort Drum, N.Y. We regret the error.