I’m a Rotorcraft-Helicopter Certified Flight Instructor (CFI/I) that started flying nearly twenty years ago, and currently work as lead pilot for one of several bases owned by a large commercial operator in the United States. Looking back at the training I received for my first rating—Private Airplane Single-Engine Land (ASEL)—I found many subjects I understood incorrectly or not at all. Some of my first flights as a rated Pilot-In-Command (PIC) were successful by mere luck from a regulatory and planning standpoint. Fortunately, I recognized this early on.
Later, during my time working for one of the largest Part 141 helicopter pilot schools as a Check Instructor and Mountain Flying Instructor, I observed many students and early-career pilots struggle on aeronautical knowledge subjects that either were poorly taught or easily misunderstood. Poorly taught students become instructors, then teach their students poorly if not corrected.
Additionally, disuse of knowledge learned will come back on all of us in a decision-making situation at some point in our careers. We must continue to study and review. Our certificates and safety depend on it.
The Internet is saturated with airplane-based knowledge web sites, with little attention to helicopters and their unique differences (aerodynamics, safety, and regulatory exceptions). I have written several articles and technical policy documents in various career fields, and now I’m here to write more content for us helicopter pilots, promoting enhanced knowledge, safety, and improved training.
Mondays: I will publish an article focused on an aeronautical knowledge subject that is frequently misunderstood or a common victim to disuse both by helicopter student pilots and those working early in their careers. Sometimes these articles may also include an overview of a specific career field, relate recommended practices to improve your pilot professionalism, or discuss other relevant knowledge (such as survival-kit-building or tips for traveling helicopter pilots).
Wednesdays: I will publish a quiz that you can download, print, and administer to promote further study for ground training sessions. Each quiz covers an important aviation subject, and sticks to issues common with rotorcraft-helicopter operations when possible. The last page of each quiz contains an answer key with applicable references. These are also indexed on the Free Resources page.
I will publish a listing of the previous month’s United States helicopter accident reports indexed by the National Transportation Safety Board, indicating the subject area(s) relevant to each accident for our further review. Update 20170118: Starting February 2017, I’ll post specific reviews of helicopter accidents that have strong impacts on our own safe practices as professional helicopter pilots, instead of just short monthly overviews.
This month will feature multiple articles published each week to beef-up the site, then in February it will taper off to the weekly schedule above.
There are also free training and operational pilot aids in the works: all compatible with both physical and electronic kneeboards. I’ve been making and using my own training aids ever since I started flying. I have made some useful pocket-cards and other kneeboard items to assist helicopter pilots at the student and professional level. Follow this blog and my social media accounts for updates when these items are published.
This Week (January 1-7, 2017)
This week I’ll be posting articles covering Student Pilot Preparedness (1/2), Flight Instructor Record Keeping (1/3), Gold Seals on Flight Instructor Certificates (1/5), and an overview of helicopter accidents from December 2016 (1/6). Additionally, the first quiz will be posted Wednesday (1/4), addressing the helicopter-specific regulations found in Part 91 of Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR 91).
Again, be sure to follow me on Twitter and Facebook for updates and additional outside content I feel is applicable to the mission and want to pass along. Remember to read my bio to understand more about my background, and read my blog policy following the bio.
Guard that collective,