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Harmonic_Vibe

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Everything posted by Harmonic_Vibe

  1. Horrible news. I assumed he'd be in Vancouver for the events over the next few days and was absolutely stunned to hear he wasn't going to make it. A sad and tragic passing and all condolences for family and friends. HV
  2. Oops... I literally thought almost everything I wrote would be censored... but since it's not, I hope the point still come across. It's not as funny as I planned with the actual words on display! But I stand behind every one. HV
  3. Sir Lands, please do not feel I'm picking on you, just using your post, which I think is fairly stated and to the point, as a good example. Do we work in private enterprise or are we State Owned? If an operator does most of their work in the winter and is able to allocate no fixed costs to their aircraft in the summer, the opposite of most, are we able to make a reasoned argument of unfairness, or are we just bee-atching (notice my clever workaround for these filters on this site that disable words like #### for no reason) because we don't benefit? As an Operator and in Management, I can't tell you how trump-in-moscow-prostitutes-peeing-on-bed (trying to avoid saying pissed off so I'm not filtered) I am that we are competing with such bids. But they're fair!!!! If rumours are true and biker gangs and mafia are laundering money in our industry then that is TRUMP-SPEAKING (sorry, I said bullshit and it translated itself)... This is capitalism and the way to succeed is to have the best pilots and engineers with the best business model.. it isn't to point fingers and ask for regulations or unions you'll regret later... My opinion of course... As Sean Hannity would say! HV
  4. When we say customer service reps, that is a very broad topic. People in the Philippines working from a call center under sweat shop conditions are often on the other end of the phone. It's frustrating when they have trouble understanding you and I am always amazed at how polite they are!! Offshoring that type of thing is what you should protest, not the seeming lack of help you sometimes receive. There is little doubt they're working hard. If we're talking about service reps in the Canadian helicopter industry, such as Bell or Safran or Rolls, etc, then I must take exception with anyone treating them poorly because to a man (or woman) they're fantastic to deal with... there was the one guy who told me to keep flying the aircraft making excessive metal, but not to go too far from an airport! But he's long retired. The fact is the people taking care of that role in Canada are awesome... So I can't imagine why there would be abuse... Of course I have zero idea what Graycloudsonthehorizon is talking about, but I love a good controversy! HV
  5. Holy cow, just read this. Best wishes for full recovery! HV
  6. I used "argue" in the sense it used to have, "give reasons or cite evidence in support of an idea, action, or theory, typically with the aim of persuading others to share one's view", rather than what we usually think of today... raised voices, spilled beer, followed by a head butt and yet another ruined shirt from rolling around on the floor! I have zero doubt, based on many calculations, that a 400 hour year for a B2 requires somewhere from 1800 to 2000 an hour. It varies because of geography, industry sector (pilots get paid more to move diamond drills in the mountains than they do to drop off road engineers in the morning and pick them up at night for instance) and a host of other factors that affect cost. If you're not getting the annual revenue, either because of reduced rates, reduced hours or both, than something has to give. Missed loan payments. Layoffs. No paint or tin bashing. Buying components with almost no hours remaining. Stringing out vendors for months. You name it. That's why prudent operators don't overextend in bull markets. Get those payments down, not up! Someone with no payments can operate at variable operating cost for years... most of us can't and really, nobody should. Even those that can, hurt themselves when things do turn around. HV
  7. Good morning, I see you were up early checking your stocks! Now not wanting to argue (ok, I actually do), I feel the need to point out some material differences from US Corporate and Canadian Utility. I have attached "B2 Variable" so you can see the breakdown of variable costs. I have zeroed labour because we, as an industry, employ engineers full time and it's not that useful to assign an hourly labour cost to a single aircraft, without knowing a lot more factors. ConklinDedecker says it's $108 USD per hour flown in maintenance labour and a corporate aircraft, always hangared, using an A&P and flying 295 hrs a year will likely run something like that, but to have an apples to apples comparison I made it zero. I also zeroed fuel cost since that is usually covered by the client, one way or another. Anyway, the cost of engine overhaul, all airframe parts, running maintenance and "major periodic inspections", which includes 12-years and paint, is roughly $290 USD per hour. I like using C&D numbers because they use OEM list pricing. They do not factor in discounts you might get for volume, nor do they consider you might find PMA or used parts for far less than factory list. In other words you should be able to operate more cheaply than C&D says, so if you use their pricing you have built in a buffer, small as it is. I also attached the C&D fixed cost summary. You will see they have a single pilot at $167,000 a year between salary and benefits - that's $215K Canadian at today's forex. That might be scale for corporate in the US but it's certainly not for utility in Canada. The US insurance rates can be close to twice Canada's (injury and wrongful death differences).They also include "Aircraft Modernization" at $30,600 a year and a bunch of other items we don't really see in utility. The point I'm making is C&D as raw data (what does an average engine overhaul cost for instance) is great, but unless you operate in the US, the totals and summaries need to be studied and understood. It's far better to use the actual costs you know are the same (parts and overhauls) and then use your own costs. What you pay your people. What your hangar costs, etc, etc. Some operators have paid off aircraft and don't factor in depreciation (depreciation is a tricky one for helicopters as some appreciate while the operator is still depreciating them on paper) so don't need to worry about their banker and can go much lower than anyone else. This doesn't mean they're losing money, but they're certainly not helping the overall industry maintain an expectation with the clientele. The final thing is the more you fly the more the fixed costs are diluted. At some magic number the fixed costs are all covered and then you really start making money. This depends on the clients and how much money they have to spend, because when they fly 800 hrs on an aircraft one year and 300 the next, they expect the same rate and will often go elsewhere if they don't get it. We are in the boat with the clientele and as much as we want to be proactive, our industry is necessarily reactive - we help paddle and sometimes we help man the pumps! HV
  8. I feel like I have to point out that the vast majority of the flying we do is for clients of the private type. Fires are great and since we all pay taxes it's good to get some of that back. However, on an average annual basis the industry, as a whole, spends 65% of its time flying for oil and gas or mineral exploration clients. All the other stuff we do is captured in that approximately 35% slice. The reason I bring this up is because when I read the posts it sometimes sounds like operators are a bunch of idiots with no idea how to run their business - and this is often true! But lots of operators know what they're doing and when the clients enter a downturn like we've seen in mining and oil and gas over the last 4-5 years, we do the best we can to keep the lights on, pay the staff and support those clients so they remember us when things get better, as they always do. It is so easy to say an operator "low balls" but what does that mean? An Astar only costs about $300 an hour (USD) to operate, not including fuel. The fixed costs are what drive the rates, and that's where tariffs come from. We calculate what all the costs we incur annually are, whether we fly or not (and the pilots and engineers are a massive part of that), target some reasonable hourly target like 400 hrs, factor in the direct operating costs to fly those hours (component reserve, flight pay, running maintenance, etc) and then divide by those 400 hours to get our tariff. For example, after calculating all our costs, a 407 tariff might be $2200/hr. So that tells you the company needs over $800K on an annual basis to break even and hit their profit goal. This is why talking about hourly rates is meaningless if you don't know how many hours, what time of year, etc. When I am asked how much an hour costs, I like to say, "if you only have one hour it's $750,000... if you have 2 hours it's $375,000... and so on". It's for laughs yes, but it's essentially true. If your 407 is not going to get $2200 an hour, which is likely barring BC bursting into flames again, then you need to adjust your hourly targets up as your rates go down. This is mathematical at this point but the key to the whole thing is the client! If I had a dollar for every time an accountant said we need to charge more and fly more I could retire. This is what we strive for always!!! Pretty hard to do when clients are going bankrupt at the rate of several per month as mining juniors were a couple of years ago. The 20+ seismic companies that had 40+ crews working every winter are now single digits with 4-5 crews. One tenth of what it was, but somehow the operators are not running their businesses properly! I'd say by how few operators have gone belly up that most know exactly what they're doing. It's too bad that everyone can't get more guaranteed salary, and that the downturn has caused pilots to leave the industry, but much of what has happened the last few years (since 2008 to be precise) were solidly in the realm of macroeconomic forces. The good news is, those same macroeconomic forces seem to indicate we're entering a definite upturn, with predictions of a 5-year bull market in the mineral exploration side of things. Maybe everyone can get those raises and better schedules soon. Hopefully we don't go out and buy a couple hundred helicopters to dilute the market again, but it'll probably happen, at least on a small scale. If you need to expand your business, buy existing aircraft that are underutilized, please don't import a whole bunch! Sorry OEMs but we're not ready for that yet! HV
  9. What a terrible thing to have happen just before Christmas. Of course there is no time this would not be awful, but especially with families coming together and looking to regroup and strengthen their relationships the timing could not be worse. Sincere condolences to all those concerned. So very sad.
  10. Anyone have a basket that can be mounted on the left hand side of an Astar with quick disconnect fittings they'd like to sell? Doesn't have to be mint but needs to be serviceable at a minimum! Thanks all and regards, HV
  11. NMH had a bunch of those and I hated them because there was no inertial reel. I was told they were the cheapest option available at the time, so possibly they were LSTC'd? As in they won't pass conformity perhaps? Not sure how helpful that was! HV
  12. Hi guys, there used to be a lot of guys available for ferry flights but perhaps there isn't too much in the way of ferrying these days... especially with all that BC smoke! Anyone interested in picking up a 205 in Calgary and taking it down towards Hollywood? Maybe a night at the Whisky A Go Go? What happens in LA stays in LA! It's N registered so I think it requires a US license but not 100% sure sop if anyone knows please share! Good luck on the fires! HV
  13. Chris Fyfe at MNP in Nanaimo... has a few pilots that he works with... he's used to how awful the records are! HV
  14. So incredibly sad. Bruce was a really great guy who was never without a massive grin. Cheered me up just to see him walking my way. Very tough year this 2016 and a very sad thing to have happen on top of the industry malaise. RIP Bruce HV
  15. Immediate need for a set of Astar floats for a couple weeks. In this rainy and uncertain season maybe somebody can make some bucks on their floats if not their whole heli... Please advise! HV
  16. On Friday last week a good friend called me and asked if Heli-One (i.e. Heli Zero) were any good because they had the best overhaul price on a B3 engine... I called around and confirmed that Heli-One is probably the worst MRO in the western hemisphere,IF NOT the WORLD... AVOID HELI-ZERO!!!!!!!!!!! Our colleagues are sticking with Turbomeca, an outfit that knows a few things about overhauls! The day they (Heli-Zero) get an overhaul from us from this point forward is the day we decide we've run out of options!.... Blowfan Gleeson has been replaced by Feather Lacey (or something like that)... Don't invest... unless you need write offs... Heli-Zero has bankrupted a Canadian company... DO NOT give them work... unless options are non-existent... HV P.S. That's 5 overhauls we have steered away from Heli-Zero.... AT LEAST!
  17. It sounds like you have a holistic views of things Mr. Thunder, which is what I've always tried to achieve, although to what measure of success I am not sure. I have been the guy signing the front of the cheque as well as the back and there are benefits and drawbacks to both. Faced with cost cutting measures a sympathetic and decent management team will spend their Christmas holidays attempting to move bricks from hole to hole with a mind to find the least painful measures for the greatest number of people, in a sort of Benthamite approach. Unfortunately people tend to have a narrow focus that doesn't really involve others when personal pain is felt (a completely natural reaction) and the messenger is a fairly easy target for opprobrium. The fact you don't take the 407 to work to avoid the optics of spending on yourself while your employees suffer (to varying degrees I am sure) is a testament to the fact you pay attention and care. I have seen the people with the $$ insist on single mothers being downsized and then purchase international long haul First Class tickets for a greater sum than the poor girl's annual salary.. a true and sad story but it's not hard (if you've been in management) to jump in the other shoes and find justifications. We always come down to the old adage of not judging people 'til you've walked a mile in their moccasins... This downturn is going to last another year or two, although a fire season could disguise it and make us all feel things are better. I am just hopeful that things are steady enough soon to keep that **** wolf from the door and provide for all the families affected. It's not easy for anyone, that is a fact, and everyone shares some measure of the pain... And there are no easy solutions as some would have you believe... I'm just thinking of the people that always fall back on "we just need to bid higher and pay more"... whether fantasy or inarguable fact, these thoughts are not in touch with reality in the market we find ourselves facing in early 2016. All the best for the next year and I hope my pessimism is wrong! HV
  18. One would hope! But I can attest (from personal experience) that oftentimes there are only one or two people (the ones with the $$$ in the outfit) who know what's going on and are involved with "the deal". Then one day everyone is gathered together in the office and the news breaks... And all the rumours that have been denied turn out to be true.. and life either gets better or worse but nothing will ever be the same... Best wishes that regardless of rumour the situation swings to the "better" for all involved! Which is not to say that anything is wrong with any particular outfit at this moment, just sharing my own personal experience and sincerely hoping nobody suffers. HV
  19. RIP Bob... a real loss to industry and to his friends and family... Maybe I'm living under a rock but I did not know he was ill and it seems like just a few months ago I was speaking with him and his energy made it seem like he was 25 still in his mind. At any rate pilots (and people) like Bob were always few and far between and becoming rarer as our industry matures. We are all lessened by this loss. HV
  20. Does anyone have or know where I could find a gimballed camera ball to rent for a few days? Or buy? Astar or B4 preferably. Lots available online but the TC STC seems to be an issue. Bonus bottle of single malt for finder's fee! HV
  21. What an interesting turn of events... What a stroke of genius it is to simply get higher rates and pay pilots more.... How easy it is to pay pilots a share of revenue (flight pay) that don't exist... How relevant it is to compare a company with long term contracts, that contain guaranteed revenue (so shares are available), to VFR ad hoc charters where we scrabble and scrape for what we get... How backwards Canada is for pioneering so many things that have made helicopters safer and better.... Yeah, I'm in management... So please let me know how easy it is to get all those things that make it so easy.... I plan to leave this "so easy job" where we are failing to deliver all these easy things... I can't friggin wait.... So Mr. Landsalot, please show us what you can do... I'm sure you must have all kinds of ideas how "upper management" can be straightened out.... HV
  22. Qoute: So why is cloudy fuel is being seen at warmer temps (-19c)? How do you explain his plugged filters? Could it be that some if his fuel was contaminated, but because all of the fuel had clouded (from FSII at cold temps) it was difficult to identify the drums that were contaminated? Not sure but when they list specs for fuel I think they're being slightly disingenuous because batches are different from one another and can vary considerably. We had a batch of drums that appeared cloudy tested and it was definitely paraffin, confirmed in a lab. I think the paraffin content was higher than "normal" in that case. FSII gets blamed for a lot of things it has nothing to do with but since each case is different when there are questions the fuel should be tested. We had a batch (bulk) of red fuel once that was of great concern but Shell tested it and said go ahead and burn it as it met "their" specs. At any rate we have seen a lot of cloudy fuel over the last couple of years that passes clear and bright when it's warm. FSII is hydrophilic (loves water) and the big issue with it is that as it enters water in the fuel at a certain point (approx 30% FSII to water by volume) the go-no-go filters will not stop the water. When you examine the filter after pumping that big slug of water through it there is no visible swelling of the medium at all and the filter looks fine. In fact it will still stop water no problem, but not the water-FSII mix. To get this situation all set up, all you have to do is have standing water in Jet A or B with FSII and it will gather FSII from the fuel until it becomes a very dangerous slug just waiting to get in your aircraft. Never allowing standing water will prevent this. I don't see how (mind you I'm not a fuel expert but I have had quite a few samples tested at the lab and I have spoken directly to the cooks at the refinery on several occasions) FSII would cause cloudy fuel that suddenly became clear with warmer temperatures. Bottom line of course is don't use it when in doubt and send it to the lab if the concern is great enough. HV
  23. I think cloudy fuel when cold is almost always from paraffin, not water and that's why water tests are passed. Filters get clogged but no harm is done to the A/C... difficult to deal with still when clear and bright is not passed. HV
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