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heliguy1

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About heliguy1

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  1. There a lot of insights and perspectives in this thread including the initial alphadog post which is a thorough descriptor of a potential pay schedule. I agree with many of the opinions and particularly that this is an age old discussion topic! But honestly I haven't read any well defined proactive suggestions for resolution. Broken promises do happen, inequitable work distribution is a reality, people stepping on others to get to the top, I've seen it happen. But to think that a union, "standing up for ourselves" is going to force companies to change their business philosophy and get in line with a one for all pay system is a pipe dream. Even if they wanted to they couldn't. We are niche individuals; some love the mountains some refuse, some want A to B flying or tourism some aren't happy without a bucket underslung and never seeing a passenger, some want to be part of a small fly camp some cringe at the thought of canvas, some avoid longlining at all costs some want only to be doing production or precision LL work, some love ski jobs some hate it. Finally some want a 7x7, 2x2, 42 straight, weekly base job, max out then go home for the mandatory time, contract for 4 months then off to Central America or straight night shift on medevac. And everyone has their own personal and professional reasons behind it. Now I am not nor ever have been a company owner but will try to stay impartial. Companies too have their individual niche when it comes to business philosophy and ethics; some are structured with a base network some chase contracts from one HQ, some specialize at industry segments (oil, firefighting, logging, YVR-YYJ) some try to be all for all people, some presidents know your name some don't and don't care, some seriously try to team build some just want to pay by the hour then be gone with you. I know I am just scratching the surface in these niches for employees and employers alike but the very certain common denominator to both parties is that a slow resource economy reduces latitudes. To me this means any form of employee group trying to force the employers is doomed while at the same time employers attempting to strongarm employees will ultimately feel the effects of people voting with their feet leaving a skill set void. To wrap up this novel what is needed is a giant group hug! Ok ain't gonna happen. But what about a study "HR Development In The Helicopter Industry" or something to that effect that would be a benefit to both parties. Possibly even funded partially by the HAC plus grant funding.The objective would be to align the company and individual niches, recognize them for what they are and see what can be developed to embrace some form of categorization. Not tiers, just operational preferences. Just an idea but I do know forcing the issue from either side will be pushing water uphill.
  2. Popping in now and again like you AR but this is a very interesting thread. Good comments from all and maybe, just maybe something constructive could come from this discussion. After all the agencies and customers read this as well. So an objective Q&A format might be worth a shot: - what you are talking about is called a safety standdown, AR... and you are right... after the slave lake fatality, it should have taken place immediately - I totally agree as well. Has ASRD been officially advised of this? To what degree should it be taken...incident stress counselling? At the very least a half hour to regroup and decide individually if we're fit to carry on. But they need to know this. - described as appalling at best, negligent and potentially fatal at worst - First, we control our own destinies so if it is a situation with any of the above, I'm not doing it! And I would expect that my company would not want to risk me or their aircraft under those conditions. Do they know? The incident and caution reporting system is well defined in their own pilot handbook...have we used it? Has our company used it? In all fairness they have to know what is broken before they can fix it. And if they choose not to fix it, from a safety/risk perspective why would we want to work there? - As long as the customers use whitewash in place of real, measureable standards for safety, we will always have to endure hazards caused by "lowest common denominator" companies - Such a true statement and unfortunately one that has been around since the 80's, and I bet the guys before my time would say the 60's too. So we could want to see measurable standards put in place by the customer base. Hand over control as it were and have them police us. Some actually do in their own way. Others rely on TC and insurance companies to define us as legal and able to perform safely. Others still have "competencies" to be met which obviously is having some subjectivity. Are we at a point where we have to have some big brother define what is safe and what isn't? Maybe we are. - I know a customer company that has the safety policy "safety starts with me". Ouch! No room for finger pointing or blame there. The guys grounding themselves from an overwhelming situation of too many machines in close proximity did just that. Well done. How do we help prevent the same thing? We look at the source, an agency, and paperwork and yep, there we go again with following up with incidents reports. It's a language they understand. - And I might as well say it...rates...if we in the industry can't understand why some companies offer the rates they do, how can we expect a customer base to understand? The bottom line though, it's way beyond our control. A lot of the ideas (all good ones) in this thread talk about a requirement for some kind of regulatory change or standards. Essentially a top down approach. It would be easier for us for sure. But it didn't happen in the 80's and it seems it isn't happening now. But we, as individuals are smarter and have progressed. We don't do 9 week stints in a tent camp (ok I am dating myself also) and that didn't come about by the good nature of employers. I think it's up to the individuals to cause change, very much a bottom up approach. We need to make our own decisions on safety, to fly or not....full stop. (emphasis on individuals as this is soooo not a union thing) It's our responsibility. But we need to do it somehow with a blessing from our company and customer. Non-punitive reporting....aka SMS, I think it is worth a shot. Empowers a bottom up system...maybe, at least in concept. But doing 2 weeks on 2 weeks off heli-logging was also a very distant concept to me when I was sitting in my tent for 9 weeks. End of rant (slow day)
  3. HV thanks for the comprehensive discussion. Agree the GPE system would be innaccurate across a number of mission profiles within our VFR industry. Particularly repetitive lift long-line work including firefighting. A realistic matrix would have to recognize the exposure periods where an extra engine and pilot would equate to additional weight at the point of impact. (and no the world is not about to go CAT A for all external load work) But it does bring out a devil's advocate question regarding your earlier statement: "The reason why you need to drive this from the client side is simple. If I have a 205 available and a client wants to put 14 people in it and go fly around in the mountains, and the charts and limitations allow it then we're going to do it. Because if we don't then someone else is going to. This is an irrefutable fact. An individual operator will not refuse to do a legal job because of a perceived increase in safety to do otherwise. Furthermore, except in extreme circumstances you will not get Operators to stand together and provide a united front to the clients, who simply want to do what they've always done. The only way to drive change like this is to have client buy-in. When the clients all say "a 205 will only haul 9 or 10 passengers" then the playing field is level and no Operator can compete unfairly by hauling more than anyone else." So if the aircraft is being flown within its charts and performance envelopes legally why would a client or an operator driven reduction get any traction? Why should it? If the answer is to provide a broader safety margin I could get on side. But how could we make that a BP while we are still prepared to spend day in and day out in "your" (you deserve to take ownership!) shaded HV curve? Also what is the magic number...10% below gross? 15%? but the biggest question we would face is will this be applied completely across the board of all mission profiles? As I said I am fully respecting the discussions and insights you are providing and I am hoping to maybe broaden the thought process with an eye to some well based resolutions. We just need to be cognisant of the big picture of consistency and how that will be perceived by a customer or operator driven decision. Thanks HV....great stuff
  4. Jamhands I think you're onto something. If HAC needs some ammunition directly from pilots a relatively simple poll may help them. However it would have to be validated so this anonymous site would not facilitate it. The HAC site could conduct a credible electronic poll if pilots were prepared to identify themselves by license number. The cautions to this avenue will include the fact that it will not "be" through a unified voice but could ultimately "result" with a majority opinion which may stand as a unified position. Pilots will have to 1) take part willingly and 2) be prepared to live with the outcomes. The questions would have to be formulated carefully. It would be interesting to hear HAC's thoughts...
  5. Are you facing this 12 hour day moving diamond drills as well? Or is this primarily oil and gas?
  6. A quick question Hiller. Is this 2 pilot/12 hour duty day prevalent in the mining sector? If it does progress that way one can only assume the experienced pilots will bail out of that market.
  7. Mike, Rarely a poster but wanted to weigh in with support for your position. I was following this thread as there were interesting views and thoughts. But from a high level the content responsibility does in fact rest with you. The buck stops on your desk. I don't believe you have capitulated to any outside economic leverage. I do believe you have both a legal and moral obligation in how this site is conducted. Due diligence and perception are huge legal terms these days but more importantly, (in a worst case scenario) even a remote chance of having a family member question the information contained on a site as causal to an event is reason to err on the conservative side. Despite splitpin's good intentions with the thread, you were faced with a risk management decision just as we all do in this industry. You took all the information available to you, assessed your position and potential outcomes, made a firm decision and then stood by it under pressure. Just as a true professional in this industry would. I for one respect your decision, perhaps even you are leading by example?
  8. This thread just reminded me of a "gear" experience that I thought was funny in hindsight (aren't they always?) Asked to pick up a 61 from the port of Houston and ferry to Washington State, I was to meet up with a US co-pilot on site. The machine had been sold from S Africa and shipped over, not a lot of detail was known about the maintenance status or what was done to the machine for shipping. We launched after running tests on the machine, and after a while enroute (getting to know the avionics package) selected gear up. Co-pilot reported gear up visual, my side not and the lights corresponded. No big deal, select gear down. His went down...and mine up! Did this a few times and yep we had winking gear. Co-pilot (who turned out to be fully incompetent) started going on about crashing and burning...me being a BC coastal boy am thinking no big deal, we're on sponsons, we'll just go for water in an emergency. Of course then I look around to see nothing but flat terra firma desert as far as the eye can see. Had engineers on board so decided to pick a spot near a road (just in case) and hover exit them (despite the growing vocal co-creature opinion) along with hammers, pry bars etc. and after some interesting hovering gyrations we finally had both mains down and bolted! Many laughs since about what went on in the cockpit that day! I'm sure we have all had them..one of those "only in the helicopter biz!"
  9. As one that rarely posts but follows this forum with a keen interest of industry developments, I have to express a significant disappointment with this thread. HEPAC obviously did not come out of the gate with flying colours (per all the previous threads) but the concept and potential mandate was, in my opinion, something that had merit and substance. Clearly the foreign worker issue is something that irks many on this forum and HEPAC could address this on behalf of the membership through regulatory lobbying of HRSDC but if the core element is to give the operators what they need in their hiring, a well based mentoring program designed with operator input would be a long term solution. Regardless the association would a) have to exist and have to develop a concensus on the membership's direction forward. Unfortunately threads such as this one completely undermine any form of professional development.....just imagine an operations manager reading this to get an update of HEPAC's progress towards a mentorship program.....and will certainly take the wind out of the sails of anyone contemplating joining the board to work on behalf of the members. This isn't meant to sound like a lecture, just sit back and re-read this topic from a third party perspective and decide for yourself if professional representation is justified or even possible.
  10. Sling I don't know you at all but sincere congratulations. Your post takes me back...ummm...ok 29 years now to my first job and yes, of course it was a tent camp. And a very wet one!!! We all make mistakes, we all have to start somewhere so don't try to come off as the pro...they will understand and be more helpful. All the previous posts have good info, all I would add is to take your smile. If you get along with people in a camp setting you will do just fine and will learn a ton! Be yourself as your enthusiasm will take you a lot further than your experience level and every day will be an adventure. I too look forward to your reports!!!! Have fun.
  11. Absolutely.....the scum thing is both a put down and unprofessional at best. Short term hires, turnkey,PBH, call it what you want it fills a gap for both the workforce and the employers. Most employers want continuity and a known quantity that is being put front and centre in front of the customer and that means full time. But there is a threshold where they also need a skill set for a short term contract which does not equate to a f/t position nor is it an opportunity to bring up a low timer. So there is a fit and Happy, you do have it wrong. Employers are not out seeking the first chance to layoff workforce...in fact laying people off is one of the toughest situations an employer faces. I do have to say that if all contractors had the attitude portrayed by Happy then I guess the "S" word would apply. Back on topic we really do have to recognize that this current situation economically is way bigger than all of us. And that completely includes the companies.....we have always be a reactionary industry and in these downturns we typically get pounded a year or two after the initial shock when committed funds, budgets and contracts come up for renewal. We had our cushion time last year and now its a whole new game. If a pay cut keeps the company going or even one of your friend/co-workers employed isn't it worth it? The "its all about me" guys have had a good run the past few years and good on them. But when the tide turns as it has, an employer will vividly remember who the individuals were that held them at ransom. Wouldn't you?
  12. As a public company they are legally bound to publish their financials. A read through their website financials, and particularly their management comments section will provide a thorough (and unfortunately somewhat queasy) snapshot of the entire situation at DA. You should be well educated to formulate an opinion after that.
  13. Well Sherpa, actually no-one told me that bs.....I actually hire low timers now and those that I can't I share their names with industry friends that own companies...based on those very merits. And if you think a good employer is going to stick someone out in the field simply because they have the right numbers....well you work with the companies you want and I will mine. I know it is a challenge and never should anyone sign on for years of gruntwork, however even though initial training is expensive it just isn't all inclusive and doesn't prepare an individual for the real world. And while I may agree that instructing will boost hours and also the fact that really what do you have to offer to the student, the selfish crux is what exactly is it experience wise that you bring to your employer? Certainly a higher level of auto's but you know I would by a long shot take someone that knew how to inspect and look after rigging gear, take the battery in and out of the machine in the winter, and can carry on an educated discussion with a customer over coffee. Again, 2 cents worth but I practice what I preach.
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