By Staff Writer | April 1, 2009
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Thanks Rotor & Wing

Two things. When did you start a monthly feature on maintenance, and bravo for it ("Maintenance Notebook," August 2008, page 58)?! I must have missed a meeting. Very timely subject too. Factory training is the most cost effective thing I can think of and he makes a very compelling case as well.

The article on Silver State was very informative ("Silver State What Really Happened," March 2009, page 50). And it included the smoking gun. They only wanted about 20 percent of their FULLY PAID students to graduate and that was very telling. I’m not as generous as Ernie, I think that Silver State was a Ponzi scheme from the beginning.


Ernie seems to be getting the hang of this editor stuff. Keep up the good work R&W.

David Butler Canoga Park, Calif.

Scholarships Do Cost

I recently retired from the U.S. Army after nearly 20 years of flying helicopters ("Editor’s Notebook," March 2009, page 4). Fortunately, I am now flying an S-76 for a corporate flight department and continuing to "live the dream." I just wanted to tell you that your article was spot on for the civilian versus military flight training argument. Your advice was exactly the same as I use when advising people that want to pursue military flight training.

What I learned after all of my time flying in the Army was that only the folks that REALLY loved to fly continued to enjoy it after a few years of the Army trying to take the fun out of it all! Luckily, I spent an exciting career flying all over the world. Not to mention the past five years of my career filled with adventure in the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. I wouldn’t trade it for anything! The lesson is true: If somebody wants to use Uncle Sam as their "scholarship" for flight training, it will cost them: TIME! Continue the great work that you folks do at R&W. I’ve been a subscriber for 20-plus years and I ALWAYS look forward to each monthly issue!

Kent Sapp Cumming, Ga.

In reference to your "Editor’s Notebook" article, I’ve often been asked by aspiring pilots how (and how much $) to get a helicopter license.

I served for 24 years in the military where I learned to fly at Ft. Rucker, Ala. and spent many years in the field as an instructor pilot and instrument flight examiner. You are correct about the tuition costs of learning how to fly in the military at taxpayer expense. There is indeed a cost and in this case it is paid in time, risk, and sometimes blood.

Now I’m a HEMS pilot and enjoy it a great deal. The level of experience received in the Army has prepared me well for this side of aviation. As an aviation manager for my company, I also manage pilots who came from the civilian side of life. I must say I’m very aware of the quality put into the training of our men and women in uniform, but I’m also learning that there are equally talented straight civilian pilots among us. One of them works directly for me. Although I like to think my own training was the best in the world, this guy is a damn good pilot and I’m proud to have him.

And yes, thanks for the slight jab at our U.S. Navy, U.S. Marines, and U.S. Coast Guard brothers out there. I’m sure to use your article to stir the pot around the water cooler. In the HEMS community we are a tight bunch of mixed family. Nothing better to start a morning conversation.

Zac Noble Fredericksburg, Va.

If the Shoe Fits

Lynn Tilton will be taken seriously only in terms of her company’s renewed fiscal strength ("A Visit With Lynn Tilton," February 2008, page 54). While such strength is bedrock, she fails to grasp that there necessarily remains enormous expenditure in research and development in the U.S. Armed Forces that drives the necessity to sustain technology growth. She is "..always shocked..." that competition costs (R&D) cascade down into production aircraft costs resulting in, I assume DoD, overpaying for aircraft. I expected more from a CEO.

In terms of her attire, it is unanswerable; and she knows it. Comparatively, it is kindred to a male CEO donning a powder blue leisure suit or perhaps a Clint Eastwood western get-up, pale horse and all. Standards of class and excellence are always undeniable. Her fiscal and management record notwithstanding, her appearance accords her a perception of serious emotional insecurity and fashion tastes more suited to the adult entertainment industry.

R&W, I can only discern that you delivered the article on her in fairness; we certainly cannot choose our CEOs.

CW5 Bryant Fontenot Ozark, Ala.

Thank you for featuring such a neat person! It is inspiring to get to know [Lynn Tilton] not only as a business owner, but also as a person. Thank you to Lynn for being willing and strong enough to answer your intrusive questions!

Christine Callender Almont, Mich.

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 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

"Can a 400-hour civilian pilot ever be as good as a 400-hour military pilot?"

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.

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