Probably not, there’s always one!

So, what separates man from beast? Or in other words fixed wing pilots from helicopter pilots? I’m aware of glider pilots too but you fly using magic and I shall take no part of it!
Many people have looked into the psychology of all this and it does present some interesting reading or a killer of 5 minutes, depending on your attention span.
If you’re a pilot of one, you regard the other as a strange and slightly wayward individual for not choosing the “right” type of aircraft, which is inevitably the one you fly.
And then there are those of us in the middle that love both asking “Why can’t we all just get along?”
We share the same airspace, we share the same headaches that the aviation authorities seem to enjoy inflicting upon us and we share the same pains of day to day operations.
So where do these differences come in?
Good question, I’m glad you asked! It all comes into the aviating.
If your engine fails in an aeroplane, “Deck chairs out lads, we have the next 10 minutes to decide whose round it is at the pub, make a radio call, fiddle with some knobs (stop laughing) and think about eventually landing the thing.” Okay, so maybe not as relaxed as that but I say that from a jaded helicopter pilot perspective!
If your engine fails in a helicopter, depending on the aircraft, you can have as little as one second to react and enter autorotation (helicopter’s version of gliding) before your blades slow down that much that you can’t prevent them stopping and you become what is known in the industry as “a brick with pretty lights.”
How’s the deck chair looking now?
So whilst some people would then ponder if flying helicopters was the best decision in life, most helicopter pilots just shrug their shoulders and think “yeah, well, they’re too much fun to fly to stress over that little detail.”
There is light at the end of the tunnel!
Say you’re having a lovely flight, enjoying the views as they pass by and you turn to your young, enthusiastic, excited passenger to see their cheeks puffed out. “Bugger.”
For a helicopter pilot, putting down in a field rather quickly and letting the young chap out to wreak havoc on a bush would be the sensible option.
For a fixed wing pilot, handing them a sick bag and hoping the bag holds is about the only option till you get to the next airport. Not ideal!
If you fly autogyros, I can’t honestly say I know what you’d do so please feel free to share!
Sadly, in this particular instance, the sick bag didn’t even get near the poor chap’s mouth and instrument failure quickly ensued due to them being covered. He felt much better after that so it was an all too slow flight to the nearest airport for me to take a visit to the bathroom and ask for a spare shirt. The joys of commercial flying!
Did I mention the temperature was pushing 40 Degrees Celsius? Ahhhh yes, I can smell it now….
These differences in how the aircraft fly inevitably change a pilot’s psychology. Us helicopter pilots are a twitchy bunch!
But we all love flying.  We all have challenges that we have to face and deal with before and after we leave the ground. It doesn’t hurt to sit down over a beer (no flying the next day!) and chat about what we fly. A bit of mutual respect and understanding goes a long way when we have to share the airspace and airports.
And after all, what pilot doesn’t want to talk about flying!
Keep Calm.
Keep Safe.
Keep your needles in the green.

And the collective sigh…..

Yes, we all know that phrase “In the name of safety….” and it normally adds a headache to whatever it is that we’re doing.

You’re working through your pre-flight checklist and wondering why it is so long and you aren’t even close to committing aviation and you get that feeling that somewhere down the line, someone was having a bad day and thought “I know what will really annoy people years from now, making him check the magiggy hinge for absolutely no reason!”

Whilst it can sometimes feel like that, when it comes to flight operations, flight safety is number one and we do everything to drill that safety mentality. into the heads of all budding aviators.

Whilst teaching does go a long way (I personally have what I call “the Tail Rotor of Motivation” which is an old tail rotor blade that forms the perfect tool to nudge students in the right direction) why aren’t we always safe?

Well, things aren’t quite as simple as “You have been taught to be safe, therefore you are.” It is an ongoing commitment from everyone to safety. This takes time, effort and support.

And again the collective sigh…. Yes, yes. I can feel it, I know it’s there.

Any operator or flight school worth their approvals will have drummed home the importance of following all of these checks and procedures!

But let’s say you’re quite busy, you’re in a rush and do skip this and miss that, what’s the harm? Well, probably nothing initially. Yes, I really did just say that. As the swiss cheese model says, a series of errors need to line up to create an undesired aircraft state and possible accident. So nine times out of ten, by missing something, you probably won’t have an issue. But how do you know which of your flights are that one in ten? I have yet to meet a psychic pilot!

What the swiss cheese model also tells us is that by carrying out our procedures accurately and not missing items, we have prevented an undesirable situation from even developing, which means less for us to deal with in the cockpit and we can then focusing on all the other things going on that we inevitably pop up, therefore making us a better pilot.

When it comes to gaining our license, we have a continuous commitment to keeping our flying skills current as we don’t want to put all those hours of hard work during flight training to waste. We have our checks and procedures drummed into us too, wouldn’t it be a shame to let it all go to waste because you’re running a little late or for a grumpy passenger?

 

Keep Calm.

Keep Safe.

Keep your needles in the green.

 

 

 

 

And the collective sigh…..

Yes, we all know that phrase “In the name of safety….” and it normally adds a headache to whatever it is that we’re doing.

You’re working through your pre-flight checklist and wondering why it is so long and you aren’t even close to committing aviation and you get that feeling that somewhere down the line, someone was having a bad day and thought “I know what will really annoy people years from now, making him check the magiggy hinge for absolutely no reason!”

Whilst it can sometimes feel like that, when it comes to flight operations, flight safety is number one and we do everything to drill that safety mentality. into the heads of all budding aviators.

Whilst teaching does go a long way (I personally have what I call “the Tail Rotor of Motivation” which is an old tail rotor blade that forms the perfect tool to nudge students in the right direction) why aren’t we always safe?

Well, things aren’t quite as simple as “You have been taught to be safe, therefore you are.” It is an ongoing commitment from everyone to safety. This takes time, effort and support.

And again the collective sigh…. Yes, yes. I can feel it, I know it’s there.

Any operator or flight school worth their approvals will have drummed home the importance of following all of these checks and procedures!

But let’s say you’re quite busy, you’re in a rush and do skip this and miss that, what’s the harm? Well, probably nothing initially. Yes, I really did just say that. As the swiss cheese model says, a series of errors need to line up to create an undesired aircraft state and possible accident. So nine times out of ten, by missing something, you probably won’t have an issue. But how do you know which of your flights are that one in ten? I have yet to meet a psychic pilot!

What the swiss cheese model also tells us is that by carrying out our procedures accurately and not missing items, we have prevented an undesirable situation from even developing, which means less for us to deal with in the cockpit and we can then focusing on all the other things going on that we inevitably pop up, therefore making us a better pilot.

When it comes to gaining our license, we have a continuous commitment to keeping our flying skills current as we don’t want to put all those hours of hard work during flight training to waste. We have our checks and procedures drummed into us too, wouldn’t it be a shame to let it all go to waste because you’re running a little late or for a grumpy passenger?

 

Keep Calm.

Keep Safe.

Keep your needles in the green.

 

 

 

 

Yes, that old question!

If you’re a pilot, a student, ever taken the controls or uttered the words “Hmm, I’d like to fly.” Someone has probably looked at you and said: “What’s wrong with you?” No? Just me?

We have all seen the news stories of this aircraft going down, that aircraft having the cuffuffle sprocket go wrong and the other aircraft getting lost whilst the captain is enjoying a dose. Or if you’re in the rotary world, just exploding because every action movie has said that’s what helicopters were built to do.

Now I’m sure if you asked any pilot why they fly, the joy of hitting the ground at a great rate of knots probably wouldn’t have been high on the list!

So why do we do it? If you spoke to any ancient philosopher, you’d probably get some rather well thought out answer such as “Touching the sky so that we may be closer to God” or “Enjoying a sense of freedom that only the birds know.”  And if you asked an average pilot “I saw a plane when I was 5 and I wanted to fly it.” Ahhhh, aren’t we an eloquent bunch?!

The reason why we fly is such a personal thing that it’s hard to pin it down specifically.

The reason I fly now is because I get jittery if I don’t. I’m serious, I have a prescription from the doctor for an hour a week! But as for the reason why I became interested in flying, I cannot tell you. Maybe it was the sound of the Rolls Royce Merlin engine in a Supermarine Spitfire as it roared past me at an airshow. I don’t know why helicopters appealed to me, my first attempt at hovering was a good example of how not to do it! Maybe it was the challenge.

Either way, the passion was there and it certainly made the studying, the training, the hard work much easier.

Flying is a passion for a lot of people but sadly, not everyone can fulfil their dreams even though they might be a truly gifted aviator.

So for those of us who are lucky enough to be able to get airborne, maybe we should consider another reason for flying to be sharing our wonderful world of aviation with everyone. Not in a knocking on doors and handing out leaflets kind of way but taking people flying when we can, showing them what it’s all about and taking them on our adventures. Sharing the passion.

Those of us in commercial aviation have an even greater ability to do this. Giving those passengers on those sightseeing flights one of the greatest experiences of their lives. Providing passengers on the transport flights with the safest flight you can provide. And for the few that find themselves in the very fortunate position of being able to help people through air ambulance, fighting fires, flying for the police and many other services, doing the best they can to do for the best outcome for the people in need.

 

But, if there is one thing for certain, aren’t we all just waiting impatiently till we can go flying again?

 

Keep Calm.

Keep Safe.

Keep your needles in the green.