Public Service, Training

Feedback September 2012

By Staff Writer | September 1, 2012
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Mastering the Routine

Rotor & Wing’s “Question of the Month” for August 2012 asks us to describe our training regimen; this may be the best query to date because regimen is defined as “a way of life.”

Offering operational tips and safety practices are often little beyond technique from a broad experience base that requires tailoring to fit equally broad environments. Though less palpable, I submit some operational philosophies that have guided my 31-year Army Aviation accident-free career now nearing 10,000 flight hours.


R&W’s Question of the Month: 
What did you think of the British Queen’s “jump” from an AgustaWestland AW139 during the Olympics?
Let us know, and look for your and others’ responses in a future issue. You’ll find contact information below.

Mastery of the routine is my bedrock. Many missions are exciting, ever changing, and easy to hold my attention; but I was mercilessly mentored in my formative years to master the routine of any mission, no matter how mundane or dynamic. Mastery of the routine is the wholesale dedication to disciplined, checklist-led, and aircrew collaborative actions that begin at mission briefing and end at the post-mission debrief; a veritable way of life.

The junior aviators observing the “long beards” sustaining that discipline, mastery of the routine, is precious to mentorship and its operational value to safety is priceless. To be more specific, I’m talking about a nearly obsessive dedication to standardization, standing procedures, checklists, and even the expected albeit unstated method of performing prescribed tasks. The following quote is attributed to Coach Bum Phillips: “The only discipline that lasts is self-discipline.” Therein lies the hardest part and that critically essential personal responsibility. Mastering a routine is a matter of integrity; integrity is who I am when no one is looking.

In closing, I’d like to share my philosophy on aircrew coordination; often called cockpit risk management. All that matters in life is that we matter. I strive to integrate every member of my aircrew into every appropriate aspect of the mission. I want them to fully understand that they matter; that the success of this mission, moreover our very lives depend on the quality of their decisions and subsequent actions and they don’t only have the right to speak up and assert their contribution, they have the obligation to do so.

I must acknowledge my two greatest aviation mentors: CW5(R) Charles Bos and CW4(R) Michael Wheeler; embodiments of Masters of the Routine.

CW5 Bryant Fontenot
State Standardization Officer, ALARNG
UH-60/OH-58C SP/IE
Ozark, Ala.

Rotor as a Gyroscope

I saw the comment that Mr. Lancaster made “Gyroscopic Precession,” in the August issue (page 8) regarding a rotor acting as a gyroscope, and I respectfully submit that Mr. Lombardi was correct in saying that a rotor produces gyroscopic tendencies. Gyroscopes respond to forces and moments just as Newton’s laws say they should, and those laws apply equally to rotor blades regardless of whether the forces and moments imparted to the blades are from aerodynamics or hub moments.

In the flight simulation industry rotor modeling is quite detailed and complicated, and the top-level equations used to determine the movement of individual blades are exactly the same equations that would be used to model the motion of a gyroscope. The differences only reside in how the forces and moments are generated that get transferred to the rotor blades.

Just wanted to let you know my thoughts on the subject and that I think Mr. Lombardi’s original article was just fine the way it was.

Christopher Alan Lyon
Principal Aeronautical Engineer
Frasca International, Inc.

Agreement on Law Enforcement

I read Ernie’s column every chance I get, and sometimes he and I do not see eye to eye (remember a couple of years ago?) However, this time, in “Searching for Pilots & Medics” (July 2012, page 66), you are right on the money. As a former law enforcement pilot, I lived every one of Ernie’s points over and over throughout my 18 years in law enforcement. His final point, however, sums up the reason I retired early. If your boss does not appreciate you or the work you do, it’s time to move on. Supervisors, you are successful only because of the hard work of your subordinates that support you. Again, great job Ernie.

Craig McConnell
Kauai, Hawaii

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, USA, fax us at 1-301-354-1809 or e-mail us at Please include a city and state or province with your name and ratings. We reserve the right to edit all submitted material.

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