I’m frequently asked about how I’m able to capture some of my pictures when I’m flying. In this post I’ll try to explain how, and the considerations I take to do so safely. First of all I want to make it clear that one should always follow company procedures and policies and any regulation that may apply. However if no such guidelines are in place in your company, or you are flying recreationally, these are some basic principles that I adhere to. I’ll admit when I started out in this game I wasn’t as disciplined as I am now, but that is also why I have denied requests from various helicopter media sources to have pictures published that are not in line with what I stand for now. Continue reading
Hey guys and gals!
I’ve been meaning to write this post for quite some time now. As many of you have noticed, this site has been neglected for a while. The same goes for Instagram, with very few new posts lately. This post will try to shed some light on why this is the case.
An informative and funny safety video made by HeliJet.
This was posted on Facebook a few days ago, and I think Randy has many good points. Below is his post that went with the video below. More information about Randy Mains here.
I was sent an excellent video by Dan Faust that I plan to use as a case study in future CRM Instructor’s courses because it has excellent CRM and AMRM learning points. He made the valid statement when he said, “I thought you said the British were far ahead of the US in regards to flight standards. Not being sarcastic, just looking at the fog, cliffs, trees, and deciding to continue the flight.” His point is an excellent one and here is what I wrote back to Dan after I’d viewed it. Dan you bring up an excellent point. Continue reading
Following procedures is critical to ensuring a safe flight!
This NTSB video on procedural compliance for flight crews, which is targeted at pilots, airline operations departments and aviation regulators, uses findings from seven commercial airplane accidents to show how deviations from standard operating procedures can initiate a chain of events that can lead to devastating consequences.
“Strengthening Procedural Compliance” is on the NTSB’s Most Wanted List of critical safety improvements.
Contact: Tony Molinaro
firstname.lastname@example.org or (847) 294-7427
7 Decision-Making Tips That Every Helicopter Pilot Needs to Know
The following strategies can improve decision making. Training pilots on these solutions will allow them to make better choices before and during their flights.
Follow Standard Operations Procedures – SOPs are widely used throughout the commercial aviation community as a means to manage risk. The establishment of safety oriented SOPs (including personal and weather minimums) provides pilots with pre-planned responses that manage the risks and break the “chain of events” leading to accidents. To be effective, SOPs must be clear, concise and free of conflict. Use of SOPs is a form of “rule-based” behavior and is less error prone than “knowledge-based” behavior.
Conduct Pre-Flight Planning – Planning that is conducted prior to a flight in a low stress environment can enable a pilot to produce a safe strategy for the flight (i.e.: the pilot can be proactive and plan ahead to select a safe route and establish “decision points” during each flight phase). Collaborative decision-making with air traffic control, weather services, and other pilots will help to size up a general situation. Good pre-flight planning also reduces the workload once airborne.
Forget the Illusion of Plan B – Research has suggested that having a plan B safety net encourages continuation and possibly more risky behavior. Naturally it is easier to take a risk when you know that you can count on a plan B. Pilots however rarely assess their plan B properly; so the protection can be weaker than expected.
Learn Single-Pilot Resource Management – This is a practical way to teach pilots better decision-making and judgment strategies. Single-Pilot Resource Management is the capacity to manage all resources (both on-board the aircraft and from outside sources) available to the single-pilot prior to and during the flight to ensure a safe flight. It is a form of Crew Resource Management for single pilot operations. Single-Pilot Resource Management includes several components such as Aeronautical Decision Making, Risk Management, Task Management, Automation Management, Controlled Flight Into Terrain Awareness, and Situational Awareness. Single-Pilot Resource Management training helps the pilot to maintain situational awareness by managing the flight and navigation tasks and to enhance the social skills needed to communicate and interact, for instance, with air traffic control and passengers. Single-Pilot Resource Management training enables the pilot to accurately assess and manage risk and to make better decisions.
Practice Threat and Error Management – Training for Threat and Error Management training can be referred to as a form of ‘defensive flying’ for pilots. The objective of Threat and Error Management is to manage in an effective manner the risks stemming from threats and errors to ensure a safe flight. Undetected, unmanaged or mismanaged, threats and errors have the potential to impact the safety of the flight by creating Undesired Aircraft States, which usually can be recovered from, but if not properly managed, it can lead to accidents or incidents.
Get Some Simulator Training – Simulators can allow training decision-making in high stress, high workload situations with poor or conflicting information. Training scenarios can be tailored to the trainees needs. In addition, simulators allow exploration of the consequences of poor decisions without endangering the safety of the aircraft and its occupants.
Understand Good Decision-Making – As early as possible in their training, pilots should be made aware of the characteristics and limitations of human decision making. Trainers should emphasize the importance of maintaining Situational Awareness, of prioritizing responses to Undesired Aircraft States, and of contingency planning, i.e., “What if something goes wrong during the flight?”
What you don’t see can kill, and does
| Business & Commercial Aviation
Wire strikes by helicopters happen often, and too frequently result in fatalities. The U.S. Helicopter Safety Team found that approximately 16% of all rotary-wing accidents involve wire or obstacle strikes. Meanwhile, anstudy of wire-strike accidents between 1994 and 2004 found 41 of 124 of those involving civil helicopters were fatal. Combined, the accidents resulted in 65 fatalities, 45 serious injuries and 42 minor injuries.
These accidents included helicopters striking a power line, static wire, telephone wire, cable or a supporting structure such as a tower. Notably, 86% of the fatal accidents occurred in clear weather with good visibility.
Continue reading the article at the Business & Commercial Aviation website here.
I started looking into the Vuichard Recovery Technique a few months back and quickly realized the potential it has in making a recovery from Vortex Ring State at low height. Mr. Vuichard was most helpful in explaining the maneuver and the dynamics of it to me over the phone. Here is a link to a Rotor & Wing article about the phenomenon that is VRS and the Vuichard Recovery Technique.
Using data from more than 500 accidents, safety experts from the International Helicopter Safety Team (www.IHST.org) developed seven safety initiatives for operators and pilots that would have the strongest impact on reducing helicopter accidents. They focus in general on pilot training, safety and risk management concepts, and maintenance practices.
Install and use cockpit recording devices – Install and incorporate flight data monitoring equipment to record the actions of the flight crew. Data can be used for immediate feedback to trainers, operators and flight crews. The data could also aid during accident investigation to support a more complete analysis and future safety recommendations.
Improve Autorotation Training – Enhance autorotation training in both primary and advanced flight training and develop simulator programs to improve autorotation skills.
Add Advanced Maneuvers to Simulator Training – Incorporate a simulator training program that includes dynamic rollover, emergency procedures training, ground resonance, quick stop maneuvers, targeting approach procedures, and practice with pinnacle approaches, unimproved landing areas, and elevated platforms.
Enhance training about awareness, performance and emergencies – Establish training programs that evaluate the proficiency of critical issues such as systems failures, impending weather concerns, effects of density altitude, and wind and surface conditions. Continually evaluate pilots on aircraft performance, the effects of density altitude, gross weight and flight manual limitations. Also emphasize loss of system, recognition and recovery training.
Implement a personal risk management program – Encourage the use of a personal risk management program such as the IMSAFE checklist and other simple safety tools.
Establish a Safety Management System – A formal Safety Management System (SMS) requires training for specific missions, the establishment and enforcement of standard operating procedures, provisions and training of personnel to use risk assessment tools, and most importantly, a focus on changing the safety culture to ensure that all personnel put safety first during every mission.
Adhere to maintenance compliance and quality assurance – Strictly follow the manufacturer’s maintenance manuals and practices. Implement a robust quality assurance program that ensures the use of manufacturers maintenance manuals, service bulletins, and procedures.