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Everything posted by onemorepilot

  1. Thanks for the input, everyone. I think I got my answer. Only two people here have actually experienced it, so it seems that it doesn't happen very often but when it does, it is definitely at seat sucking experience. In my case, I was taking off with turbulent winds and a load on the hook. So the setup was there: oge hover in a left crosswind, high power etc. But that's what the LZ dictated and I had taken twenty or thirty loads like that in the previous couple hours. Got to the top of the trees, dancing on the pedals and then everything smoothed out. Left pedal was on the stop and the the nose just kept coming around... It was like the tail rotor wasn't even there. Close quarters with trees, people on the ground and no option to reduce power... 270 degrees later, I cleared the trees and got recovered. The rotary gods were definitely with me that day. This was a uh1-H with a -13. It is also the only one we have that does not have a fast fun.... I believe that is the key.
  2. Hmmm... Lots of views, but no replies. Let's throw in another teaser... What happened today, is the same thing I've done thousands of times in 12,000 plus hours and over 25 years as a utility pilot. The truth... We push the helicopter to it's limit to make a living. That limit is not always the (maximum certificated takeoff weight). The other part of the truth... What we are taught about LTE is not the whole story. Here is what we are taught... LTE is a risk when we take off heavy at high DA with a left crosswind (Bell). If we are honest, we will admit, that we do this ALL THE TIME. My question is, why did this happen today?
  3. My two cents... I've always been a mechanical guy which is why I wanted to fly helicopters in the first place. I got my A&P in order to get a flying job. Yes it lets out the secret of my age and county of origin...Being a mechanic did in fact get me my first pilot job. I was never hired as a pilot/mechanic. I was hired as a truck driver wannabe pilot. The company rightly believed that it was better to bring somebody up from the ground than have to unteach a lot of bad habits... But now I'm rambling...I strongly believe that a pilot mechanic is a conflict of interest. Whenever I have been pressured to do my own inspections, I refused. I fly and look at it every day. Once or twice a month it's not too much to ask to have another set of eyes on it. It's nice to be able to change a starter or check a chip plug myself, but in the end I have one job. And finally, I think being a licenced mechanic makes me a better pilot.
  4. I'm curious... How many pilots have experienced full on LTE and when it happened, did you know why? And please, let's not be judgemental.
  5. Not exactly a flying story but a pilot story... When talking about the somewhat new laws about texting and driving, a fellow spray pilot once said, "I operate 11 switches with my right thumb while flying a helicopter within ten feet of obstacles in a 3d environment at 60 mph while holding my track within 3 feet. Don't tell me I can't figure out how to text and drive."
  6. Agreed. There are definitely some bad ones out there. And you kind of have to be half nus to want to be in this business so the deck is already stacked badly.
  7. Interesting interpretation of of ICC requirements. The part that caught my attention is "I always have the second set of eyes check it. It's how I was taught." We live in a world that requires us to sign off and do things by the book but as experienced mechanics we also know what is important. As a footnote, I have also been a certified mechanic for as long as I've been flying. I have always refused to do my own inspections in the field. My reasoning is that I look at it every day. At inspection time, I want the second set of eyes.
  8. We've gotten off the original topic of the drag brace so I started another thread about the new discussion.
  9. This is an extension of the UH-1 Drag Brace topic, but it seems appropriate to start a new thread about it. In the other thread there was talk of ICC requirements and "company critical task lists", etc. GrayHorizons is right when he says that human factors are complex when it comes to maintenance slips. In my mind no amount of regulation or company policy will substitute for an experienced, conscientious professional pilot/mechanic team. I want to point out that this is not mechanic bashing. Pilots should be judged just as critically. To me, it is about confidence. Here is what I mean: As mechanics, you have to fly occasionally (test flights, rotor smoothing, etc). When you get in with a new pilot, in the back of your mind you wonder if you should trust this guy. But you have no choice so you go. As you work with him he either gains your confidence or he becomes the pilot that nobody wants to fly with. Most of the time that confidence is a gut feeling (unless he does something blatantly stupid.) You make your judgements about this new pilot by watching how he handles himself. Does he walk around the aircraft before he gets in? (No legal requirement for that.) Does he yank it off the pad or is he smooth and deliberate? These observations will build or destroy the confidence that you have in a pilot. A worthy pilot recognizes that at that moment he is responsible for the safety of his mechanic. Pilots judge mechanics in the same way: Does he keep his tools neat or does he have to root through a pile of parts from three different aircraft to find what he's looking for? Is he methodical and confident in how he works or does his mind seem to be all over the place? Does he tell the pilot that everything is ready to go or does he say "I worked on this, this and this. Look them over and you're ready to go"? A worthy mechanic recognizes that at that moment he is responsible for safety of his pilot. There is no room for pilot/mechanic rivalry and blame. Mistakes will be made on both sides from time to time because we are human. We need to work through that as professionals without blaming and finger pointing. Pilots and mechanics have very different jobs but each is required to earn the respect (and trust) of the other.
  10. ...and we're still hung up debating the legal issue.
  11. Don't want to waste the space qoting the whole post but 6/13/18 "Tang, bolt and nut we're in place... Finger tight... Found on preflight"
  12. Exactly! When we have too many rules and policies, we lose the ability to think for ourselves. It doesn't matter if it's flight controls, transmission mounts or the connecting rod bolts on your race car engine. Some things are critical so check them twice. And have someone else check them if you can. We need to teach the young mechanics and pilots to do the right thing even if they're not told to by rule or policy.
  13. You are correct SwingWing that one should look at the mast nut on preflight. Please read the previous post to find out when that discrepancy was discovered. Also, next time you're up there, think about how you look at it. From the top you will see that everything is in place. You may even feel that the nut is in place but actually seeing that the nut is not tight is a different matter.
  14. Sorry I checked out for a while... Been in the bush. Where to start?... First, I agree that the safety weinies are important. I was was one for a while and one thing that I learned is that adding another item to a checklist or another signoff (the ICC) is not always the answer. Apparently there is debate about whether a mast nut qualifies. I think it is more important that people think about what they are doing than to blindly follow procedures. We shouldn't have to tell someone that a mast nut is important so be extrat careful. Also, it is important that we are all able to talk about these things. Since we are human, we will make mistakes and they need to be pointed out in order for us to improve. I encourage my ground crews to tell me when I'm doing something stupid. We need to be big boys and girls and accept constructive criticism.
  15. Sorry GrayHorizons. I can't resist. I was actually just poking back in good natured fun (I didn't realize the US/Canada thing was really a thing.) But the last post... Three_Per.... Bell Helicopter a Canadian company; really!? Is this the same Bell Aircraft that was started in New York and currently headquarted in Texas? Will you tell me next that Eurocopter is Canadian as well? Update on the original story: Grumpy DOM won't even speak to me know... Sad state of affairs... I just want to walk through the shop and feel the confidence that I had when I told everyone this company's helicopters were as good as they get.
  16. Thanks for the support everyone. "Courageous self leader" and "Execute to standard" are words that ring true with me.
  17. Budget operator? Absolutely not. These guys gave me my start over 20 years ago and their mentoring is what got me to this point. This started as a technical question that I pretty much knew the answer to, but as I continue to think this through and battle this out with mechanics here is what I'm after. Both of these incidents were "slips". I completely understand that. We try to hide it but pilots slip up too. (Don't tell anyone). The problem that I'm having is with the response. The drag brace incident is denial. The mast nut safety incident ended with two line level mechanics blaming each other. I don't believe in collecting data and sending out memos and "re-training". Those are for the safety weinie in the office. I believe in real conversations with real people. At the risk of sounding like the safety guy I think the attitude is what's dangerous. Both in the response but also the cause. Take the drag brace for example. Your out on the pad doing the rotor smoothing. When you climb up to sweep a blade, you loosen nuts, turn the link and tighten nuts. Really? You couldn't focus long enough to tighten two nuts? Now the mast nut safety. The safety Tang bolt and nut we're all in place... Finger tight... Found on preflight. My question is this. The whole process takes about 30 seconds. You can't focus long enough to tighten the nut you just installed? And... Two mechanics working together should be checking each other's work, not pointing fingers when something goes wrong. Again, my issue is not the mistake. It is with the refusal to talk about it. I'll quit there and see if anybody wants to bite. But I also think I should apologize for all of the substandard UH-1 operators down here in the states. Remind me again, how many Canadian helicopter manufacturers are there?
  18. Thank you, Diaper_Pin for illustrating my point. It seems so simple. Exceed limitations=ground it. But what about getting the job done? Isn't that why we have something to fly at all? Example: You're lifting logs or moving drills or whatever you do in an aircraft that requires you to log the torque events or lifts or whatever. About your seventh fuel cycle you lose count of these things and you try to remember, but at the end of the day it doesn't seem to matter much so you log your "best estimate". There's no room in the manual for estimates so should the mechanic ground the aircraft? Same applies to the mechanic that has been in the field for three months and his torque wrench is out of calibration. Rules are rules and limits are limits right? Not so simple. When we work the helicopter for a living, the pilot/mechanic relationship is ultimately about trust. We think we know what the limits of that trust are... Until we let something slide to finish the day or the job. How far do we push it?
  19. I'm currently in a battle with maintenance about some recent issues that I think are pretty serious. (See my thread in Maintenance Ops titled "UH-1Drag Brace") It is unfortunate that things have gotten to the point of "battle" but here we are. In typical after incident fasion I wonder; no, I'm certain that this would have gone differently if I had done or said things differently earlier. The question I'm throwing out here is how do we decide which things are worth fighting for regarding safety and which are not so important. The easy answer that the safety preachers give is "safety first". But is it? Is this thing worth my career? Is that thing worth costing someone else their career? Anyone who has been in the utility helicopter business for a while knows that the lines are not so clear most of the time. Thoughts?
  20. GreyHorizons, Agreed on all counts. I actually never thought of it as an "oh sh#t" moment due to the other jamb nut being tight. Also, my gut feeling was that this is not an issue because there is no secondary safety. Unfortunately, there have been other issues; mast nut safety not installed on a 206 is only one other example, but we'll leave it there. In my mind, the bigger problem is the refusal to accept and address the systemic problems in the shop that cause these things to keep happening. Here's the bad part: We have been working together and butting heads occasionally for over 20 years. Until recently, his work has been impeccable and I had a great deal of respect for his knowledge and experience. I just hate to see a guy end a long and respectable career this way.
  21. And also, point taken DGP. I'm fairly new to the UH-1 and I have a lot to learn about it. Thanks.
  22. Thanks for the input everyone. DOM is insisting that it was tight and backed off in flight. That didn't make sense to me, but I wanted to throw it out here before I pushed the issue. This is just one example of recent problems. Don't want to get into too much detail here, but it's time for DOM to retire... Sad story really and I don't want to be the one to push things, but we gotta do what we gotta do right? Thanks again.
  23. Has anyone ever heard of main rotor drag brace jamb nuts backing off in flight? I'm sure I know the answer to this, but I need to cover my bases.
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