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John Moore

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About John Moore

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  1. I can't remember who it was, Pitt or Dobbin or some CEO between the two but he said that if unions ever became a reality he would sell the company. This statement exists in print somewhere.
  2. Assuming the accident occurred around one o’clock in the afternoon, the temperature in Cody Wyoming, elevation 5,100 feet, was 48 degrees F. The elevation of the accident site was 11,900 feet, a difference of almost 7,000 feet. Allowing for a lapse rate of 3.6 degrees F for every 1,000-foot gain in elevation, an estimate of the temperature atop Ptarmigan Peak is 23 degrees F. The density altitude at 11,900 feet at 23 degrees F is about 12,200 feet. We do not know what the wind was. Experienced pilots are quite good at judging wind but performance charts make no allowance for this variable when the charts are computed. A wise pilot will not assume that wind will provide the extra performance he needs to complete his mission safely. He will use the charts assuming no wind and then if the breezes are favorable, he can then take advantage of them. It is wrong to reason thusly, “The charts say that we will exceed the allowable gross weight considering the elevation and temperature, but if there is a 10 knot wind up there, we will be OK.” In my experience, in ground effect hovering when landing in mountainous terrain is far from certain. Rough ground, sloping ground and landing areas which are small enough in area that, although the skids may be on the ground, the downwash has no chance to deflect from it, results in the uncertain achievement of IGE. I always preferred my pilots to use the OGE charts to determine landing capabilities in mountainous terrain, just to be on the safe side. The Augusta Westland website declares that the IGE limit for a 119 weighing 5,622 pounds is 11,400 feet and the OGE limit is 7,600 feet. The maximum internal gross weight for this helicopter is 6,283 pounds and the basic empty weight is 3,208 pounds. But when is the last time you saw a helicopter whose actual empty weight was even close the basic empty weight? The empty weight of a JetRanger is typically 10 or even 20% greater than the basic empty weight. The A.W. website declares that the 119 will go 547 n.m. on 230 US gal of fuel. This equates to 0.42 gal/n.m. or about 3 lbs/n.m. The refueling stop in Riverton was about 100 n.m. from the accident site so he must have had at least 300 pounds of fuel on board and likely more like 450 pounds if he had a 20-minute reserve. Three adults and their baggage could easily weigh 750 pounds. If the empty weight was 3,500 pounds and there were 450 pounds of fuel and 750 pounds of people, the gross weight was about 4,700 pounds. This is 900 pounds less than the 5,622-pound IGE limit at 11,400 feet but far in excess of the OGE limits. The news story describes the intended landing site as a ‘rocky plateau cleared of snow by the wind’, and that a 30 mph wind was blowing. It certainly sounds as though there was plenty of room and a 30 mph breeze is substantial. Presumably there was enough area for the rescue helicopter to land there also. It is unlikely that an experienced pilot would allow his machine to face any other direction than directly into a 30 mph wind at elevations exceeding 11,000 feet. The pilot reports that the helicopter appeared to lose power during the landing. Obviously, something went wrong. Two possibilities are that the helicopter was over loaded for the conditions, or that the helicopter got out of wind or a combination of the two but neither seems likely.
  3. You are wrong. The job is built around the engineer's weekend off. This is 2007, not 1967. You will suffer the consequences if you fail to acknowledge this.
  4. Leaving a helicopter running with no one at the controls is just plain wrong.
  5. Anyone who thinks that passengers intentionally vomit in a helicopter as a joke thinks very strangely indeed. If you think it has nothing to do with the way the pilot flies, you are mistaken. Although it is impossible to fly with no accelerations (turning is an acceleration) the pilot should do everything he can to minimize them. This means no tight turns, rapid climbs or descents or abrupt manouvers of any kind. Ask your passengers before the flight if anyone is prone to motion sickness. Advise them to keep their eyes on the horizon and keep the passenger compartment as cool and supplied with fresh air to the greatest possible extent. The comfort of passengers should be one of the pilot's primary concerns. Sometimes the decreased air pressure at higher altitudes creates sufficient pressure differential between the ambient air and internal body pressure to promote flatulence.
  6. The Alouette II was equipped not with a torque meter but with a main blade pitch indicator. I believe the limit was 17 degrees of pitch but this could be reduced to 15 degrees depending on ambient air density. How do you calibrate your thumb? If you overtorque, will you know by how much? You would if you were consulting the gauge. External gauges have been around for years. Put your thumb someplace else.
  7. It seems to me that the single most important aviation safety concern is the psychological well-being of crews. How TC could not recognize that the often deplorable living conditions and the ludicrous standard of working 42 consecutive 14 hour days to which pilots are subject contributes to accidents is puzzling. Two explanations are possible. Either TC and the operators are just too stupid to realize how important living and working conditions are or they do realize it but refuse to change it because of the costs involved. I believe the latter is the case. Profit concern trumps safety concern. This is pathetic.
  8. Here are some thoughts on the conclusions of the Helicopter AOC Industry Self-Management Feasibility Study. 1. Statistically the Canadian safety oversight system has been cruising steadily for the last 20 years. The argument can be advanced that the accident rate, rather than being stagnant should be improving. 2. H-AOC Industry Self-management could be like installing a hydrid engine that would increase the cruise speed of the system and considerably improve its efficiency. What does this mean? It is a senseless analogy. 3. The helicopter industry is a homogeneous and highly competitive sub-sector of commercial aviation. Homogeneity can be detrimental. If there is too much conformity, diverstiy suffers. Perhaps “cut throat” should be substituted for “highy competitive”. 4. The Helicopter Association of Canada has unparalleled operator membership and consonant respect, which makes it extraordinarily well placed to assume responsibility and accountability for industry self-management. I am sure parallels can be found here. Considering the intimate relationship between HAC and Canadian helicopter operators, HAC is poorly placed to assume both responsibility and accountability. 5. The Canadian helicopter industry caters to very sophisticated, exclusive-use, industrial customers who demand a high degree of safety and service reliability. Some may be sophisticated but they are in the minority. Consider tree planters and drillers. I have never once encountered a user who questioned a pilot’s decision for instance those regarding weather or aircraft loading. They assume that if the pilot says it is OK or attempts to do it, it must be safe. 6. Competitive dynamics can be used to promote safety without the level of direct government oversight that would be required by conventional wisdom. If competitive dynamics works so well, why is HAC needed to promote it? 7. The Canadian helicopter industry, in general, has a positive safety culture. Is forty-two consecutive fourteen hour days safe? Is trying to get a job done in half-mile visibility safe? Is guessing at the gross take-off weight of a helicopter safe? 8. The needs, issues and concerns inherent to the concept of industry self-management can be resolved. If so, list and address them now. 9. CBAA experience demonstrates that HAC, under the supervision of its Board of Directors/membership, can replace TCCA as the organization responsible for establishing commercial helicopter service standards and for the issuance/cancellation of AOCs, amendments, operations specifications, approval of manuals, and the management of audits and SMS. As has been ponted out, the members of CBAA are not in competition with each other whereas members of HAC most certainly are. 10. If HAC becomes a Designated Organization it would be: accountable to the Minister for H-AOC management in compliance with the Aeronautics Act; subject to administrative monetary penalties; and in extreme circumstances the Association’s certification could be suspended/cancelled. If a large part of the compliance with CARS is invested in HAC and they prove incapable of managing the task, what sort of mayhem will ensue between the time HAC is fired and another organization appointed? 11. Under industry self-management operator issues relative to H-AOCs would be resolved entirely within the Association while TCCA issues relative to any operator’s AOC would be resolved between the TCCA Headquarters and the Association. This just seems like another layer of bureaucracy which will complicate matters. 12. Under Industry Self-management TCCA should continue to develop and enforce regulations while the Association must continue to represent members who have a legitimate defence. This is the definition of conflict of interest. 13. Taking on AOC Management will not change the mission, goals and other roles of the Association. Again, almost by definition it will change all three. 14. If the Association manages H-AOC it must continue to advocate for the helicopter industry and represent operators in all matters of concern to them. It sounds like HAC must be the prosecution, the defence and the judge. 15. The Association will in no way be subject to TCCA tutelage in the management of the H-AOC Program. This is unfortunate as TCCA must be experts at this after all these years. 16. Sharing of responsibility for safety management could promote greater dialogue and mutual respect between HAC and TCCA, thus enhancing the HAC’s ability to advocate in favour of the industry. Why is this not happening now? 17. Focused data analysis could allow powerful market forces to be directed toward more stringent oversight, making Industry Self-management equivalent to SMS. If industry self-management is equivalent to SMS, why bother to complicate matters by having both? 18. A partnership between TCCA and industry could marry the strengths of government and industry to serve: public expectations in regard to safe, effective and affordable services; taxpayer demands for cost effective safety oversight; operators’ desire to have a regulatory system more in tune with the realities of the helicopter industry; and a safety management model based “partnership and pride” in safety management rather than “blame and shame”. For one thing “blame and shame” works quite well. There must be consequences for error. Blame and shame is preferable to fines or jail sentences. 19. The cost of helicopter safety management under a TCCA/HAC partnership would be counterbalanced by direct savings not to mention efficiencies and other ensuing benefits. What efficiencies? What ensuing benefits? 20. Although transfer to an Industry Self-management model would require transitional government funding, and perhaps continued financial support by TCCA for independent auditing, taxpayers would rapidly recoup the investment and then reap sustained dividends. Some hard numbers have to be put on things like this. One can not just wave one’s arm and say everything will be all right. 21. Should Industry Self-management not live up to industry expectations the Association could always forfeit its designation. If this happens, chaos will result. 22. Given the Treasury Board objective for modernizing safety management, if HAC does not embrace Industry Self-management some other, less representative organization, may be called upon to do so. The largest constituency of the helicopter industry, namely pilots and engineers, are not represented in any way. This is one of my biggest objections to this whole potential fiasco .
  9. Here are some thoughts on the conclusions of the Helicopter AOC Industry Self-Management Feasibility Study. 1. Statistically the Canadian safety oversight system has been cruising steadily for the last 20 years. The argument can be advanced that the accident rate, rather than being stagnant should be improving. 2. H-AOC Industry Self-management could be like installing a hydrid engine that would increase the cruise speed of the system and considerably improve its efficiency. What does this mean? It is a senseless analogy. 3. The helicopter industry is a homogeneous and highly competitive sub-sector of commercial aviation. Homogeneity can be detrimental. If there is too much conformity, diverstiy suffers. Perhaps “cut throat” should be substituted for “highy competitive”. 4. The Helicopter Association of Canada has unparalleled operator membership and consonant respect, which makes it extraordinarily well placed to assume responsibility and accountability for industry self-management. I am sure parallels can be found here. Considering the intimate relationship between HAC and Canadian helicopter operators, HAC is poorly placed to assume both responsibility and accountability. 5. The Canadian helicopter industry caters to very sophisticated, exclusive-use, industrial customers who demand a high degree of safety and service reliability. Some may be sophisticated but they are in the minority. Consider tree planters and drillers. I have never once encountered a user who questioned a pilot’s decision for instance those regarding weather or aircraft loading. They assume that if the pilot says it is OK or attempts to do it, it must be safe. 6. Competitive dynamics can be used to promote safety without the level of direct government oversight that would be required by conventional wisdom. If competitive dynamics works so well, why is HAC needed to promote it? 7. The Canadian helicopter industry, in general, has a positive safety culture. Is forty-two consecutive fourteen hour days safe? Is trying to get a job done in half-mile visibility safe? Is guessing at the gross take-off weight of a helicopter safe? 8. The needs, issues and concerns inherent to the concept of industry self-management can be resolved. If so, list and address them now. 9. CBAA experience demonstrates that HAC, under the supervision of its Board of Directors/membership, can replace TCCA as the organization responsible for establishing commercial helicopter service standards and for the issuance/cancellation of AOCs, amendments, operations specifications, approval of manuals, and the management of audits and SMS. As has been ponted out, the members of CBAA are not in competition with each other whereas members of HAC most certainly are. 10. If HAC becomes a Designated Organization it would be: accountable to the Minister for H-AOC management in compliance with the Aeronautics Act; subject to administrative monetary penalties; and in extreme circumstances the Association’s certification could be suspended/cancelled. If a large part of the compliance with CARS is invested in HAC and they prove incapable of managing the task, what sort of mayhem will ensue between the time HAC is fired and another organization appointed? 11. Under industry self-management operator issues relative to H-AOCs would be resolved entirely within the Association while TCCA issues relative to any operator’s AOC would be resolved between the TCCA Headquarters and the Association. This just seems like another layer of bureaucracy which will complicate matters. 12. Under Industry Self-management TCCA should continue to develop and enforce regulations while the Association must continue to represent members who have a legitimate defence. This is the definition of conflict of interest. 13. Taking on AOC Management will not change the mission, goals and other roles of the Association. Again, almost by definition it will change all three. 14. If the Association manages H-AOC it must continue to advocate for the helicopter industry and represent operators in all matters of concern to them. It sounds like HAC must be the prosecution, the defence and the judge. 15. The Association will in no way be subject to TCCA tutelage in the management of the H-AOC Program. This is unfortunate as TCCA must be experts at this after all these years. 16. Sharing of responsibility for safety management could promote greater dialogue and mutual respect between HAC and TCCA, thus enhancing the HAC’s ability to advocate in favour of the industry. Why is this not happening now? 17. Focused data analysis could allow powerful market forces to be directed toward more stringent oversight, making Industry Self-management equivalent to SMS. If industry self-management is equivalent to SMS, why bother to complicate matters by having both? 18. A partnership between TCCA and industry could marry the strengths of government and industry to serve: public expectations in regard to safe, effective and affordable services; taxpayer demands for cost effective safety oversight; operators’ desire to have a regulatory system more in tune with the realities of the helicopter industry; and a safety management model based “partnership and pride” in safety management rather than “blame and shame”. For one thing “blame and shame” works quite well. There must be consequences for error. Blame and shame is preferable to fines or jail sentences. 19. The cost of helicopter safety management under a TCCA/HAC partnership would be counterbalanced by direct savings not to mention efficiencies and other ensuing benefits. What efficiencies? What ensuing benefits? 20. Although transfer to an Industry Self-management model would require transitional government funding, and perhaps continued financial support by TCCA for independent auditing, taxpayers would rapidly recoup the investment and then reap sustained dividends. Some hard numbers have to be put on things like this. One can not just wave one’s arm and say everything will be all right. 21. Should Industry Self-management not live up to industry expectations the Association could always forfeit its designation. If this happens, chaos will result. 22. Given the Treasury Board objective for modernizing safety management, if HAC does not embrace Industry Self-management some other, less representative organization, may be called upon to do so. The largest constituency of the helicopter industry, namely pilots and engineers, are not represented in any way. This is one of my biggest objections to this whole potential fiasco .
  10. The trend globally and across the spectrum of all sorts of free enterprise is for larger companies to consume the smaller. It is the sure fire way to eliminate the competition and increase the customer base. It is very difficult to see how operators of only a few machines can survive. Their costs per helicopter operated are higher than those companies that run twenty or in some cases one hundred machines and yet the smaller outfits must charge rates that are no higher than the larger ones. The economies of scale have a significant effect. If the small companies are smart, they will sell out to the larger. Perhaps they can take advantage of the fact that there are at least two major players on the Canadian helicopter scene and play one against the other. Another idea is for the smaller operators to band together to try to form one company large enough to compete. Unions are gaining a foothold amongst Canadian helicopter pilots and engineers. Airline pilots and Transport Canada pilots have been unionized for years. My feeling is that the operators have no one to blame but themselves for this situation. Had they been perceptive and had any empathy what-so-ever for their employees and their families they would have seen this coming a long time ago. Global warming will play a significant role in the future of helicopters. There may in fact be a substantial increase in helicopter activity as the climate change occurs. Get ready for an increase in rates, the end of the small operator, the emergence of three or four large helicopter companies, unions of both pilots and engineers, improved working conditions, increasing wages and greater helicopter activity from the effects of climate change.
  11. I believe the way most fair to pay engineers for both them and their employers is to pay by the hour. Some other issues that the written employment contract should address are: annual vacation; overtime; medical and dental benefits; tool allowance; travel days; schedule of days on and days off. In 1997 Transport Canada reports that the average hourly wage in Canada for an urban transit mechanic was $30.10. Evidence from other web sites that list occupational wage rates suggest that a trade like helicopter engineer is worth at least that and more. As this is 2007, I think a fair wage for an engineer is $35.00 an hour. Overtime is typically figured at time and a half for the first four hours and double time after that. Suppose an engineer works in the bush. If he is away from home, he must be guaranteed eight hours a day whether he actually works or not. This equates to $280 a day. If he were to work a fourteen hour day, there are an extra four overtime hours for a total of eighteen. This equals $630 for the day. For an eighteen hour day his pay would be $910. Canadian labour law also has rules for multiplication factors for work performed on statutory holidays. The average person works about 2,000 hours a year. At $35 an hour that is at least $70,000 a year and this would be for a nine to five job five days a week with weekends and statutory holidays off.
  12. This incident is a direct result of the cavalier attitude that exists within the culture of helicopter pilots. The thinking goes like this: unless the weather is so horrible that even a takeoff can not be made, most pilots will depart, reasoning that if it becomes unflyable they will either land or turn around. The difficulty is that once airborne, the desire to press on often overwhelms the good sense to stop. This accident is a perfect example of the danger of this kind of thinking. A pilot has the moral obligation and the legal responsibility to familiarize himself with the weather along his entire route. It is folly to second guess professional weather forecasters. They may occasionally be wrong and predict bad weather when it actually is good, but what is wrong with erring on the side of caution? It is better to be on the ground wishing you are flying than to be flying wishing you are on the ground. If the forecast is for good weather that turns out to be bad, then the pilot has at least some justification if he gets caught. Some object to speculation in cases like this, but they should be reminded that hypotheses are legitimate efforts aimed at revealing the truth. Scientists hypothesize with vigour when faced with a problems that need solutions. All hypotheses are valid, and as the facts come to light, those that do not hold up to scrutiny are discarded. To categorize speculation as finger pointing seems to me to be a childish way of browbeating those with whose opinions one disagrees. Credit must be given to the average man’s ability to eventually weed out the truth. In any event, I see no finger pointing here. We also have within this post one eye-witness report that the actual weather was very bad and another that the forecast was for IFR and marginal VFR. We also have the statement of the student that the weather was poor, that he commented about icing an that there was plenty of time to turn around. How much more information is needed to draw a pretty darn good conclusion about what happened? It seems to me that the five hour student has more sense than the instructor. Why should not the student be vocal about this on a public forum? The event probably frightened him terribly and talking about it is cathartic. He is without a doubt telling the truth. The inconsiderate man who suggested the student is hanging himself could not be more wrong. The student needs sympathy not castigation. He has nothing about which to worry. I hope Transport Canada, the Transportation Safety Board and the flying public are all listening. Those who use helicopters in this country are not as safe as they may think. I think the student should seriously reconsider his career path. The life of helicopter pilots can be bad. It is not conducive to a healthy family life. Long periods of time are spent away from home. The pilots are overworked and underpaid. The training costs a whole bunch of money that could be more wisely spent on a useful university education. To those who suggest ‘Gotta get back on the horse.’, I say ‘Why?’. Sometimes remounting gets you killed or at least makes you very miserable.
  13. Unions enable the employees to have binding contracts with their employers. Why the employer should be so against this is surprising. Few operators will enter into an agreement to provide helicopter services without a written contract. Without a written contract, the employee is employed at will. He can be fired for no reason. Unions have at least one advantage for the employer. They can deal with all of their employees at once rather than individually in matters such as wages. Those who think that unions form just so that its members can strike are wrong. No one wants to strike. It costs the employee money and it is stressful. Those who think that unions make demands so unreasonable that the employer will suffer financial hardship are wrong. The union has a vested interest in the success of the company. The well-being of the employees depends on the well-being of the company. There are cases of unions taking wage reductions to help companies through hard times. One of these cases involved a union of airline pilots in the States in which they collectively took a reduction in wages to assist the company through hard times. The company survived and when financial hardiness was reestablished, the pilot’s wages were raised to the pre-reduction level. To the silly individual who makes the claim that unions are formed by culls, try telling that to the unions of airline pilots. You just made a whole bunch of enemies there my friend. To the shortsighted individual who claims that unhappy employees should just move on, the unfortunate truth is that the grass is rarely greener. The culture in helicopter companies across the country is alarmingly similar. Those pilots with families and established social ties where they live are loathe to move. It is easier to work towards an improved situation where they are. The laws of Canada provide for the existence of unions. Workers have every right to form them. Unions are good.
  14. I believe your words have helped make my point regarding pilots who are eager to please when you related your story. You said: “My first year flying was done flying numbskulls like you around and trying their best to put me and my aircraft in harms way. These were supposed seasoned geos and one had been in a hiller 12e crash and was the biggist pusher of the crew. If not for guidance from a Mr. Al Engst helping me whos knows.” The conclusion seems to be that if not for the presence of Mr. Engst something very bad may well have happened. This underscores my contention that pilots often have a very difficult time saying no and at times cannot say it. You also said: “Getting a new pilot to help doing various things, it is a very efficient way to find out the work ethic of a pilot without having to expose customers to a lazy lou.” Perhaps in some cases this may be true but if this method of gauging a man’s mettle in the field is the only one you use, I am afraid you will be in for a few surprises. The two environments are so vastly different that I fail to see how performance in one can reliably predict performance in the other. You said: “I think that the pilots who stick it out at so and so and think they are doing themselves a favor are foolish. The ones who bail from a dumpy company living in a refurbished horsetrailer are worth their salt.” Perhaps it says something good about a man who “sticks it out” in an uncomfortable situation. Perhaps he is trying to make things better and feels an obligation to the company who gave him the job. If you are the owner of a company or at least involved in the management of one as I suspect you are, then do you not appreciate this quality in an employee? You have called me a “numbskull’. I don’t really mind this sort of thing as I believe men are entitled to express themselves even if they do so clumsily. As this rather mild insult has withstood the moderators’ axe for about 24 hours I believe I am entitled to a ripost. Helimac declared, “Well said scully!”. But it was not well said, certainly not by any critieria for well-written prose with which I am familiar. The original intent of the thread was to inform readers of the existence of the Federal Labour Standards Review and to comment on the practice of using individuals trained and hired to do a specific job for other menial tasks. I believe that Scully’s post does nothing to refute my contention and everything to support it.
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