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Posts posted by bubbleboy

  1. What was I thinking?? I forgot for a moment where I was. Vertical forums, where your opinion matters, as long as you have the requisite posts, and you belong to the clique. And don’t say anything too controversial, or the bleating sheep will gather around and put you in your place, via the local self appointed den mother. Sorry girl, I think that matters of a professional association are really none of your business, unless of course you possess a license of some type.


    Skidz very graciously put it out there for anyone to ask a question, or express an opinion, and as a person who very strongly feels an association is overdue, I put forth mine. I guess I will have to further explain, while I have time before the beginning of round three US open coverage!


    If you actually read my little rant, what I said was, “In its current state”. Being a fair person, I will have to agree that the choice of words, that HEPAC will never ever, ever, never, be the voice of industry professionals was a little strong. However, I will explain why I think this. There are many people who don’t even know about this association. There are still a lot of hard working guys/gals out there right now that have no clue about all this earth shattering debate. Here’s a question for the HEPAC directors: Do you think a new person with $65 dollars in hand will join when he/she reads some of the current, and historic replies, barbs, insults, issued whenever somebody speaks out of school? I ask you to connect the dots in what I mean by "current state", as I don't want to spark another law suit.


    IMHO, that is one of the big problems. You have a wonderful opportunity to gather members and dues from the people who visit this site. Do not beat up on the so-called “naysayer’s”. Sure you have the usual people here who play devils advocate on everything, that’s the nature of open forums, but you need to be wary of the lurkers. Those who quietly come here looking for more info, and see what? “Naysayer’s” being threatened with law suits?


    The message has to go beyond this forum, and you will need a little more than $65 X 70 = $4500.00. My intent here is not to destroy the hard work some of you have put in towards this worthy cause, but it's time to consider a tough decision for the health of the organization. Yes, D.M deserves credit and applause, but it is time to assess the current situation.


    As I mentioned, I was one of the people in the early days willing to stick his neck out and try and gather momentum, but I became sick and tired of constant union talk, and brow beating. Black balling was in fact the wrong choice of words. I still maintain that the better way to go was to keep the groups small and start with the pilots to gather momentum, not because I’m a snob, because I twisted wrenches too, but because it would have been more practical. I have tremendous respect for engineers, who actually have to go to formal school to get their license. You now have members or potential members asking who’s agenda is going forward first pilots or engineers? What agenda I say?


    I remain a person who firmly believes an association from a aviation safety stand point is long over due. I do hope it succeeds, despite my apparent belief it won’t. It just won’t get very far as it is now, and it won’t get my $65 bucks, which is a far more reasonable amount I might add. This is not a new concern, and goes way back to earlier debates. And yes, I did go back and try and find some of the polls and threads, but could not find them all. Some go as far back as the canadianaviation days I believe.


    So, my apologies for the negative spin, but some of you have to stand back, and you will see that it was with good intent.


    BTW, I think some of you need to read up a bit on SMS before you volunteer to become involved at this early stage in HEPAC. Baby steps, and be careful what you wish for.


    Cheers everybody.

    Anybody taking Phil over Tiger??? :shock:

  2. Looks like I touched a nerve there...


    Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury, I rest my case!!


    I know it makes for good TV, but I don't know how you guys put up with this nonsense.


    Anybody with half a brain would know that a union would not work in the 702/703 industry. No amount of typing from me will convince a certain person that I was NEVER for a union.





  3. There is nothing new under the sun...

    I think it would be helpful for everybody to go back, all the way back, and read the heated debates that occurred before HEPAC, before many of you even knew of this place, and you will see that nothing has changed. Same old rut, and a worthy pursuit being pushed to the lunatic fringe.


    If you go back, you will see that the original question posed by D.M. was whether or not an association would be useful. There was much interest, debate, skepticism, and the end result was HEPAC. The huge mistake I made was mis-interpreting the original question, thinking D.M. was trying to encourage somebody else to get an association going, not realizing he was talking about his own association. Well I got off my ***, and went ahead full steam, and went as far as starting the paperwork and began a grass roots membership drive until...


    D.M black balled me as a trouble maker trying to unionize the industry, which was complete crap. I had some good ideas, and had the ear of some influential people, but D.M was the man, and you had better get out of his way, as the record shows. An association is not a union. It is a group of professionals who share common interests, beliefs and goals. End.


    In it’s current state, HEPAC will never, and I mean never, be the voice of the professional helicopter industry. While you chew on that, many of you already realize that, don’t you. It’s time to move on. Start a new one with a new spokesperson who doesn’t berate it’s potential members. Fast forward to a general assembly, where some poor ******* gets up and asks a testy question, only to be ripped a new one. There seems to be some level-headed people involved who haven’t soiled there own beds yet, and they should take their experience, and start over. Or maybe not.


    D.M will never give up his position or influence in HEPAC. It’s his baby, his legacy if you will. He is probably a decent person, although I have never met him, but he is not the person you want speaking on your behalf, and it’s a bit late for that now isn’t it? He will tell you that once you have a quorum you can vote in directors, but you will see his name all over the ballot.


    I always insisted that the original concept must be simple. Start with a pilots association first, that way everybody who joins is familiar with the relevant issues. You can always add or join the engineers later. ****, maybe even start with the engineers! You might even want to break the country up into regions initially, and not this mammoth, if not impossible task of organising everybody under one umbrella. All this was brought up years ago ad nauseum, but the “executive” of the day wasn’t interested. In fact I knelt before the Don, asked for forgiveness, and offered to help with his own agenda, however I did not receive a reply. Just send $200.


    I’m not going to go on and on, the record is skipping already.


    It remains a worthy cause, and D.M is right that it is not about one person, but the doubts have been raised.........again.

  4. I gave this much thought, as I didn’t want to wade back into this issue, given my previous experience. I am no longer directly involved in helicopters but still feel strongly about the value of this issue. Keep asking the question, but you need to ask it correctly. Helicopter types are wary, as self preservation dictates.


    You are all familiar with turning a sows ear into a silk purse, and most of the time you get away with it, but is it professional? The industry seems to be trying to say “no”, but there are still too many who think flying skill is directly proportional to the size of their nads. This mentality should be the primary focus of an Association. Who in their right mind would not want to belong to an organization of professionals who have pride and celebrate in what they do. What owner would not want to hire a pilot that has become involved in a professional Association? Some of you people are probably going to do some unheralded flying this year fighting the fires that are sure to happen, at least here in the West given the lack of moisture. Give yourselves permission to publicly say “we are Canadian helicopter pilot’s, and we are some of the best in the world”. Dripping with cheese, but true!


    Nobody likes change, but the kind of change a few are talking about is exactly what the helicopter industry needs. A lot of guys on here don’t want to rock the boat because for them, the honeymoon is on again. So it’s too easy to say “If you don’t like it, change jobs". "Get the **** out” That’s the real message. Status-quo. I hate that word.


    I just want to share some of the things I learned from my involvement in the last go-around. HEPAC generated most of the attention, and a lot of derision all at the same time. I had a plan as well, but it was much simpler. No slight meant towards those behind HEPAC.


    Baby steps. This process will take years. To start an Association is easy. 5 people and away you go, well, it’s a little more detailed, but not rocket science. The real trick is reaching the masses. I’ve said it before, this site is only a small part of the industry. I know a lot of influential people who don’t even know about the earth shattering debates you all think the industry watches here. No offense to those who host this site, but the word needs to go far beyond this forum. Addresses are gold. Send somebody a well thought out piece of information and give them time to think about it. The ball will get rolling eventually


    It’s not about money. Any Association should not sit across the table from operators and say we want....An Association should be on the same side of the table as the operators, and together address the issues. Don't go to your boss with a problem, unless you have a solution. The operators are not the enemy, they provide you with the “crack” fix that got you in trouble in the first place. They are businessmen, and they don’t owe you a living just because you’re a pilot. Conversely nobody owes an operator, who embarks on an ill informed decision thinking he/she can break into an already saturated market. They are taking the risk, and that must be respected. There are some real fine operators out there that should be endorsed by such an Association. The money will come when the owners in concert with an Association come up with creative and transparent (i.e: legal) ways to raise tariffs. That’s the crux. It’s a simplistic scenario, but only an example. There are many reasons why people own and operate helicopters, some noble, some just to write down the tax bill, but with high tariffs, the wheat will be separated from the chaff. In time attitudes and expectations will change.


    Forget about trying to associate the whole bloody thing in one shot. Get a bunch of pilot’s together and run with that. Even the most junior pilot is vaguely aware of what the pilot issues are. Not true about engineering matters. Stick with what you know. Down the road common ground should be found, and then roll it into one. It’s going to take some of you to actually get off your *** though. Don’t any of you guys/gals want to be the ones responsible for starting such a positive venture. The potential is there.


    The energy spent here debating the ostriches would be better used on the following:


    1. Contact some credit unions about joining as an Association of pilots. There is interest from growing credit unions who would love to have the resources of professional pilots in bank accounts, loans, mortgages, RRSPs, life insurance, the list goes on. I’ve talked to one in particular, and they were very interested. Use this as your starting point. Hey nothing to worry about here, just a bunch of pilots’ pooling our cash. The real benefits of course should be obvious to even the most ignorant.


    2. Maybe some of you have already talked to Mike about an Association. He is a wealth of knowledge about this industry, and just happens to have access to what is becoming the premier publication in the helicopter industry. Use your imagination. One of you with big enough brass might even volunteer to pen an article about this. Why should this concept even be considered a threat anyway? I could never figure that part out.


    3. Some of the more literate should sit down and compose a well thought out piece about the effects an Association might have on safety practises in the helicopter industry, and then send it in to the new safety publication provided by TC. It will require some research, but could be very effective at revealing some of the possible long term benefits. There is an emerging safety philosophy that is going to affect all operators, and it might be beneficial to have an Association get it’s sea legs now to see if it might make itself valuable to the process.


    Good luck to those of you who see the benefits. You will be vindicated one day when everybody see’s just how valuable an Association is to the industry.

  5. I've just started watching F1, and have become hooked!!!


    It beats the sh$$ out of watching them moonshiners going around in circles with the chevy's and dodges. :D


    How much longer can m. schumacker and the Ferrari's dominate like that?


    Anyways, I've mentioned this before. What would you guys think about tricking out a couple of 500's and having mile long drags? Rich man's sport of course. :down: Bet people would pay to see that. :up:


    Also, amongst all the types of machines, which one would you guys pick to come out on top in a mile long drag - respecting limits of course!!! B)



  6. Jetbox: No worries. I don't know if I can explain exactly what that means, but here goes. :D The way I interpreted those comments was that some people like to to see a pilot dressed like a pilot - whatever that means. I guess that's why I asked the question. ;)


    It doesn't matter to me, I like to wear whatever is comfortable and appropriate for the moment. As I mentioned earlier, my current "flightsuit" is a pair of functional bib overalls - something allot of maintenance guys wear. Other than my over-sized head, an outsider might not be able to tell that I was a pilot. :D:rolleyes:


    Actually, now that I think about it that comment was made to me by an engineer back in the days when I was wearing the navy blue "jumpsuit", and the engineer was working for a different company. He was saying how professional it looked for a pilot to be wearing a flightsuit as his pilot looked more like a biker.


    Another company I worked for used to give pilots and engineers the exact same type of coveralls - worked for me. They were free!! :up:


    I don't think it's important for us to differentiate between the two, but it might be hard to find an engineer willing to wear a flightsuit. :lol:




  7. The light weight version would be better called thread bare!! I liked the way you could tell the wind direction and speed by the way they bellowed around. :D


    During the dog days of summer a guy has to try his best to keep cool, but the most extreme was the picture I saw of a driver who's name escapes me now, but he was sitting in a long ranger with nothing on but cowboy boots, shorts, and a head set. Looked comfortable, but slightly out of place. It takes all kinds I guess. :rolleyes:


    .....oh yeah, and the machine was running!!



  8. I should clarify my time line. I did not empty my piggy bank untill 1990. I did grow up around the industry and got to meet some of the guys who are now veterans.


    I watched Bruce Risteau perform one of the biggest hairy a$$ flares I ever saw while training at Al Engst's flight school. Later that year Al burned up his beautifully over-hauled 58 in a grass fire started by it's exhaust.


    Hung around with Fred Kueber's kids and was allowed to get close to Buffalo's Allouette II's and gazelle. Fred Funk, Charlie Smith, Dave Reid, Doug Bryerly (sp?)


    Met an engineer by the name of Paul ? with Nahanni who was trying to single-handedly vanquish all the women in my small home-town. It's where I first heard the phrase "coyote f---" :D


    It's all good!! :up:

  9. I have a little time in the 120. Interesting bird to fly. Very very fast. It also has a very decent range, better than the 206, but memory does not allow me to provide an exact number.


    Nice interior, but the crashworthy seat design prohibits storage under them. Huge rear cargo that can take allot of stuff and weights up to 900 lbs (I think). You can even put a lift of 8ft 2x4's right inside, if you don't like to sling. Very quiet inside - once had a customer use a small hand held sat phone in flight, and talked with a normal voice!


    As it currently sits, it has a ways to go to displace the 206 as the industry standard. The potential is definitly there. IMHO. It is not built with the rugged purpose a utility helicopter requires. Too pretty. There are some other minor glitches that could probably be worked out. I still maintain that EC designed this A/C for the executive, law-enforcement crowd to fly in and around built up areas, hence the excellent noise abatement.


    I have heard rumors about re-designing the blades to include an extra sq. foot of lifting surface per blade which will make it a stump puller. Is that fantasy? Mags, what do you know for sure?

  10. No sh!!? Man, that is going to be a tough one. Do you think you will be able to completely stay away, as I assume you have many flying years left in you, or will end up pulling a Michael Jordan, and come out of retirement for a lucrative offer?


    Congrats on having a long and diverse career, and one in which you get to go home to momma bear at the end of the day with all your fingers and toes!!!


    Bottoms up!! :D




    p.s: I guess I could spring for donairs. :up:

  11. I have been on both sides of the fence. I have worn the "custom-made" dark blue flight suits, and have also looked like the typical helicopter bush pilot i.e: jeans, jacket, hiking boots, truckers wallet, and company ball cap.


    Does a flight suit look more professional, or should it be left up to the comfort level of the individual? I guess there are certain safety issues such as nomex vs. cotton etc. Lately I have been wearing carhart bib overalls that make me look like a farmer, but they sure are comfortable and don't seem to mind Jet B as much as my tight fitting $60 designer jeans! :rolleyes:


    I have had comments when wearing flight suits that suggest it is important for some people to differentiate between flight crew and maintenance.


    In addition do you guys think I should stop watching "queer eye for the straight guy" with my WIFE :D:D


    Standing by to stand by!!!


  12. Do you guys remember what it was that first got you interested in helicopters - other than chicks and big watches. :rolleyes:


    For me, it was one summer when I was an EFF (emergency fire fighter). It was 1979, apparently a very bad year for fires - some of you were probably out working some of those fires.


    During a stay at a fire camp I got talking to a pilot who offered to take me for a very short ride when he had to re-position his machine accross a small stream. I will never forget the feeling of going vertical and slowly flying over the trees, and then gently touching down on the other side. I was freaking hooked, and remain an addict to this day. I wish I could remember who that wiley veteran was so I could kick his arse. :D


    Cheers :up:


  13. A similar method would be the use of "fractionals", something that is becoming increasingly common south of the border. I'm not 100% sure how they work, but it seems that a group of individuals get together and purchase or lease an A/C and then divide the usage up accordingly.


    I don't know if this is a common pracitise in this country, or what the possible implications for the helicopter industry might be.


    O.K, last post I swear! I'm supposed to be out doing yard work. B)

  14. Yes, maybe there are more creative ways to increase the rates, instead of the one price for the complete package.


    Why not take it to the next step? Customer X who is looking for operators to provide 1500 + hrs experienced pilots to do routine flying. Maybe operators could start charging for that experience. :up:


    I agree that some customers are running their budgets to the max just to utilise helicopters for a certain job. That doesn't justify giving the thing away! As elitist as this sounds, maybe those types of customers should not be encouraged. It is a luxury, and should be treated as such.

  15. I just checked, and the current exchange is 1.36. That works out to $1632/hr for a 206.


    I realize that some companies feel that they can afford to low-ball because the equipment is paid for. Maybe those companies have DOC's and other costs that add up to $500/hr (my number). Now, rather than low-ball and maybe break even, how about commanding $1632/hr. What would you do with the remaining $1132.


    That is no doubt an un-realistic profit margin, or is it? In my simple little economic black hole, what would a 212 be making a day on a campaign fire? Maybe then I could afford that Valkyrie. Probably not. :(

  16. I was just wondering what you guys think the rates should be in a perfect world?


    A certain amount of profit has been factored in, but this profit margin seems to have the competitions rates in mind. Take a 206 for example. What should the ideal rate be? Within reason of course.


    I had friends return from the US saying that a 206 was going for $1200 USD/hr. At a middle of the road exchange of say 1.4, that would be $1680 CD/hr!!!!!!!Can we compare rates like that or is there something I don't understand - no, seriously. Could a brave soul in the know give us a generic breakdown of the costs of running a 206 in a typical operation. If not, I understand, but it would probably be enlightening for some.


    I looked into all the costs of running an R44 once, and it scared the sh!! out of me.


    Help me out here guys, is my math suspect? Man, imagine what we could do with those kind of rates - if they are realistic. Maybe our rates should float daily along with the USD and educate our customers for this. Is that already happening?


    Obviously I'm no economist. Just ask the war department in my house. Haven't made any money in 6 months yet I still want approval to buy a used Valk. All 1500 ccs. 98 lbs of Q!! :up: :up:

  17. There are I'm sure some fine people on here who are passionate about flying and who also own or operate a helicopter business. These people appreciate and understand that this is a very specialized and expensive service we provide. For nameless others, helicopters are nothing more than a tool that gets rented out by the hour. These same people have business/accounting backgrounds, or rely heavily on specialists with those skills. Yes, it's a business, but for many others this is a way of life!!


    This industry it seems to me is very quickly approaching the point where some are prepared to rally behind those who want to keep the passion and dedication about what we do while not turning it into a lesson in creative economics, where the Canadian Income Tax Act replaces our Flight and Ops Manuals as guidelines!


    Once we do that, the rewards are sure to follow.


    Kirk out. :(

  18. Early in my flying career, after the basic long line intro, I had a very good chief pilot suggest putting on the line at every opportunity to get used to the thing. This usually meant making perfectly round drums square! :blink: The result is that I am embarrassed/proud? to say that I don't know how to short-line, and in fact find the notion very uncomfortable.


    The article in question puts forward some very questionable methods about working with a long line from an operational perspective, however there is an under-lying theme that has me concerned. One that I have been thinking about a great deal the older I get, and the bigger the mortgage becomes.


    As our Canadian society becomes more comfortable with civil law suits, what lawyer would be able to defend our butts if it ever comes to the question: "are you familiar with your helicopters height-velocity diagram?" The worst case scenario (heaven forbid), is that you are having an off day, it's late in the season and your tired, or you just made that pick for the hundredth time, and then the gerbils go for lunch!! Yes, my prayers would hope that we all put it to the side and everybody goes home safe. What if however; the machine ends up in the drill shack and the primary wage earner in another household is not so lucky.


    While I maintain that long lining is the way to go, are there statistics that could be used on our behalf to temper the black and white that is contained in that legal document called the flight manual?


    Is this something we should be concerned about?

  19. You are too close when:


    You look over at the fire boss and he has big crocodile tears streaming down his cheeks!! :D


    I did some flying on the crown fire experiments a few years ago. Russians, Americans, Canadians, everybody was there. I was in the IR jet box over the fire at 1500 AGL, and one of the companies 204's was fitted with a bunch of vacuum sensors provided by NASA.


    Long story short is that the 204 was tasked with flying as close as possible to the fire in order to get the best readings while the fire was crowning. I think they were shooting for 60 mph. Other than the extremely violent turbulence, the aircraft suffered no significant damage. If memory serves me correct, the temperature readings on the ground were on the order of 2200 degrees F. :blink:


    There is a great video out there documenting the whole thing. The funny thing(well, not really) was watching the footage from inside the fire as it raced through the test area. Inside amongst all the sensors, was some survival gear the CFS was testing for the protection of fire fighters. Everything was reduced to crispy critters. So much for that survival blanket. :down:


    Would much rather be in the air rassling fires than on the ground!!


    Bottoms up. :up:

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