Thankfully, the month of December was light in helicopter accidents. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is still in the process of investigating the accidents listed, so myself nor other readers can really judge the cause of each accident without further information. However, based upon the preliminary information, we can get an idea about what related subjects we should review to help prevent such accidents on our end.
If you’ve ever flown in Alaska or at least examined a sectional chart from the area, you’ve probably noticed the “WX CAM” notation at many airports. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) hosts a web site called FAA Aviation Weather Cameras, providing easy point-and-click access to the many public and third-party live cameras at airports throughout Alaska and Canada.
In my experience training and testing pilots working towards becoming Certified Flight Instructors (CFIs), I discovered more than a handful that had a difficult time explaining the records they were required to keep once acting as such. We all know the requirements for logging time, takeoffs, landings, and specific operations as a pilot, but extra things must be recorded once acting as an instructor. Let’s look at the regulation addressing this.
Flight students can get complacent. They have a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) sitting next to them—able to save the helicopter, have the correct frequencies, and keep the flight legal. Sometimes instructors can get complacent themselves and not realize that they are actually enabling their student pilot during flight training. For example, we might find ourselves constantly taking over the radio in a specific area to “make things easy” for the flight, when we should suffer with the student to have them become proficient enough to handle it. In this article, we will address the student as the one needing attention with regards to combating complacency.
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.