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Auto Relight

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Posts posted by Auto Relight

  1. There seems to be a lot of animosity being vented in this thread. The bottom line is, a business has to make money. If you think that it's making to much money at the expense of people such as yourself, start up you own business. See how easy that is!

    For the last five years, I've worked contract because it suits my life at the moment. Every year about this time, I've been fortunate enough to get an email asking if I'd come back to fly. And I do.

    Having been brought up in a large, busy family business (and still involved) I know the ins and outs of what makes a good employee as viewed from the other side of the desk. Basically, put up with a little inconvenience if you have to, don't complain, and do the tasks you were hired for competently/professionally. In my experience, it pays off in the long run.

    Now, who's offering these hiring bonuses?!!! LOL



    With all due respect, you're missing the point entirely.


    Nobody is begrudging companies making money - it's how they do it that is the problem, particularly when it's at the expense of their own employees. Reference my earlier post. The good outfits out there only serve to highlight how poorly most are run in terms of HR, pay, communication (or lack thereof), and respect.


    As to the highlighted portion of your post, you couldn't have more backward if you tried. It's precisely this attitude that has brought the industry to what it is for both pilots and engineers. An employment contract is a TWO WAY deal that extends far beyond the simple exchange of labour for money. Both sides have responsibilities in this equation, and more often than not, companies (DOM's, CP's, Ops Mgrs) learn that it is easy to take advantage of the employee knowing they have little recourse other than quitting which for guys with families and mortgages can be a daunting prospect. Unfortunately there are certain companies where this becomes the culture, and it is instilled in the young/new crews from day one. If I had a dollar for every time I heard a person tell me how good they have it, and how great their "deal" is when I know fine well they are being bent over the barrel, I'd be rich.


    I don't want to move this thread too far from the signing bonus discussion, but suffice it to say, most in this industry wouldn't know a good deal if it hit them in the face, and that's not a damnation of those people, it simply speaks to how little experience most have with being treated well. There are good reasons why certain outfits are staffed primarily with inexperienced kids with stars in their eyes and beaten down old folk who don't have the spine to move on.



    • Like 5
  2. The reality of the situation in aviation is that most of the companies out there are run by people with limited, if any, education in or understanding of, the management of people and resources. Unfortunately there are a precious few who operate with the best of intentions, the rest, well, fly by the seat of their pants (pardon the pun) and leave pilots, engineers, and customers to be treated very poorly. We can all name the companies easily enough.


    For all you young pilots - and some of you old "company men" - out there, understand one thing about this industry: There is no loyalty amongst thieves, and that analogy is not that far from the mark. Look after yourself, get your deals in writing, and walk out the door when you're treated like ####. It's all you've got to trade on. These signing bonuses, as well pointed out already, are being offered for a reason, and it really takes very little scratching to remove the veneer. Tread carefully.


    Safe flying in 2012 everyone,



    • Like 6
  3. I'm honestly starting to believe this forum has to be a collection of some of the most ignorant people in the country, and I mean in the literal sense of the word.


    "First world problems," indeed, well put.


    Fortunately I know a lot of very intelligent people in this industry, who do think critically, and understand the systems in which they work and live and the various constraints put on them. Because to flip through this site over the years a person could be easily lead to believe there are no such beasts to be found. It is no wonder there are countless shitstorms masquerading as helicopter operations out there, they seem to have an endless supply of lambs to lead to the slaughter. It really is sad to see the knee-jerk reactions on display here time and again, followed shortly by the loud "plunk" of heads diving into the sand amongst half-hearted cries of loyalty. No surprise the thread was removed either, guess "public" has a different definition these days.


    I will give Rob credit where credit is due: He seems to understand how this all works, or at least he does now, and that there are lessons to be learned in just about everything in life. When those lessons are learned it's time to move on and apply them. It's something most of you spagetti spined ignoramuses could learn from. You might find it actually solves some of the issues you moan about day in and day out yet do nothing to rectify.


    Really? This is the best we have to offer? Truly, truly, pathetic. I suppose I should leave as well, seems to be en vogue these days.



    • Like 4
  4. sirlandsalot,


    I posted a public document, which contains a lot of valuable information for the people in this industry, why would I be culpable in anything? I'm not sure you understand how this process works?


    If said individuals did not want their employment records made public, then I may suggest they have refrained from signing the offer of employment from a Government agency in the first place? It has NOTHING to do with where I work or how I would feel, as I work for a private company and stipulate privacy in both directions in my contract. They sign a very different document.


    Now, once again, I would suggest whoever is checking this topic read this document as there are a lot of important lessons to be learned in it, and from both sides. We can post thread after thread, year after year, begrudging TC and its employees, the way rides are done, the way audits are done, and the state of professionalism amongst all of us in the Canadian Helicopter industry. Well, here it is all laid out in black and white, frankly I'm disappointed that reactions like yours seem to be the standard.



    • Like 5
  5. Some of you make me laugh.


    This is a public document, open to public viewing. In case I missed something, THIS is the public. I think it's very relevant on a number levels given the ceaseless moaning and complaining that goes on here.


    It is also an extremely valuable reminder that should you want to work for the gov't in any respect, you are now in the Public Domain. Something worth considering before one pulls the trigger.


    I for one, am flabbergasted reading that report, as I'm sure most of you are as well.


    By all means, pull the thread so we can get back to trashing the usual suspects. :down:



    • Like 1
  6. Given the variety and vast number of sins to which you profess to have been witness this summer, AR, I'm not sure how you can make the statement we/they have 'earned' the enjoyment of the beer.


    I do not "profess," I am relaying concrete observations. Also, the statement you're referring to was an online attempt at sarcasm... guess it did't quite fly? Other than this, I think the rest of your post holds a lot of valuable discussion material, thanks for contributing. The only part of it I will talk about is this:


    Surely, in fairness, both the literal and figurative liability should be shared, and companies certainly aren't sheltered from liability if the fines levied by Transport Canada and the insurance rates offered by underwriters are any testimonial.


    "In fairness," indeed. However to borrow a tired cliche, but an apt one, "Life is not fair." Nor is this industry. It is about money, and while this may be a morally disagreeable viewpoint, and one that cannot be fully placed on the shoulders of owners, it is the reality. We have seen pilots prosecuted in criminal court recently, and given the advanced state of litigation we find our society in these days, it is logical that insurance companies and customers will do all they can to shift responsibility to the companies, who in turn shift it to employees or contractors. Make no mistake, the SMS system has once and for all passed that liability buck to the pilots and mechanics IF there is any deviation from arbitrary procedures devised by consultants, Ops Managers, or Chief Pilots. This is not to say the we should not be held responsible for negligence, of course we should be, but that is not the environment we operate in anymore. The stakes with litigation are too high now. Unfortunately, TC and CARS are playing an ever shrinking role in our industry, as you observed. They are the least of our issues.



    However, I do find it disappointing to see though we are always so quick to jump on the negative!


    Kilo Mike, thanks for the reply. As SkidsUp points out, it is not the positive that needs to be accentuated unfortunately, it is the negative. There were certainly some positive aspects to the summer's flying and my experience of it, but sadly, the negative stands out far more dramatically and is where attention and energy should be focused.


    I do have challenge your implication that because you've worked

    with some great aircrews with top notch machines (almost as nice as the machines I get to fly), every one did there job professionally and rarely had an issue
    that the rest, or even the majority fall into that category. Nice people and shiny paint do not make professional pilots and well maintained aircraft. The are some real POS flying around in the medium world these days, offset by some stunningly well maintained and kept machines. It is not all junk, but I think if you look closely you will find there are some glaring examples of shoddy maintenance. The number of disgruntled mechanics I've spoken to this year is profound, perhaps more than I remember. I will not name names, or discuss specifics for obvious reasons, but there have been some jaw dropping examples of companies leaving their crews out to dry with recurring defects, slow delivery of parts, and lack of support. Unfortunately there are also some notable examples of these crews NOT grounding aircraft that are unserviceable, but continuing to fly out of limits or with u/s systems. This is not right.


    Ran across a particularly nasty rumour this year, that a certain company had pencil whipped a medium pilots mountain course. Now, I cannot confirm that, nor will I hint at the company, but given what happened in 2009 south of Lillooet among other accidents, I am flabbergasted that this may be true. This is not a game. People are put in positions of responsibility and must be given the support, training, and tools, to do their jobs safely and satisfy the customer. If this is true, I hope the company is banned from flying for BCFS, full stop. But we all know they won't be.



    Respect is earned, not handed out like service medals.


    Glad you are enjoying the thread Three Per. You hit the nail on the head here, and I think we would all be reminded to remember this a little more often. How you conduct yourself and carry out your job is what earns you respect, hours in a logbook do not. Flapping one's lips in the bar is a time tested method of losing respect.


    Hope everyone is enjoying the nice weather this long weekend. (Not sarcasm ;-) )



    • Like 1
  7. Well,


    First off, it's nice to be back home on the patio after a safe summer! Beer is cold...!


    Other than the tragic accident with Campbell this May, I think it has been an unusually safe summer on the fire front, despite many of the agencies best efforts to the contrary, and a great deal of pilots these days who seem utterly incapable of standing up for themselves, their employer, or the safety of those in their care.


    Before I launch into my assessment of the general failings of the Fire agencies we work for (another post to follow up on the ASRD one earlier this year), I feel it is really important to highlight the absolutely appalling behaviour I have witnessed these past months from pilots and engineers.


    It seems to me that the simple concept of "pilot in command" has become muddied to the point of obscurity. Let me re-iterate: It is you, the PIC, to whom which all responsibility for your aircraft, its operation, its safety, and that of the people in and around it, lies. This has never been more true than now in this modern world of SMS and the ultimate passing of the liability buck by the operators onto the shoulders of the PIC. Yet, it seems that with each passing year the idea, or more accurately, the reality of this concept has become lost on the crews operating helicopters across the country.


    The serviceability of the machine is your responsibility. Flying machines that are "Flyable" but not legally serviceable is not only wrong, but illegal and hangs your *** out to dry, nobody else's. This means failing power checks is not on, this means flying with defects that have not been rectified save popping the caution segment is wrong, this means when the machine is not performing within the limitations set out in the flight manual, it is not serviceable and you guessed it, wrong. It is wrong and illegal, and it is stunningly unprofessional. How many threads do we see here lamenting the wages and working conditions that exist in our industry? How the **** can you expect to have a bargaining position of strength with employers when so many of you seem unable to understand these very basic concepts and operate aircraft that are LEGALLY unserviceable? I am flabbergasted by what I have seen this summer in several notable instances.


    We haven't even left the ground yet. You are responsible for your aircraft, full stop. Blades not being tied down, doors not being closed, buckets being punched, crews causing damage when loading/unloading, plugs not being pulled prior to starting, the list goes on, but in the end it is the PIC that bears the responsibility. Many of you would be well advised to take this to heart.


    It should also go without saying that when the aircraft is in flight, you hold the sole authority to its operation and the safety of those aboard. Unfortunately many of you seem utterly incapable of saying "no" to inadequately brushed out and constructed pads, flying in visibilities that are below either legal or "safe" limits given the situation, and flying in a manner that lends itself to accidents or incidents. It is the customer's prerogative to ask you to do things so they can accomplish their goals for the flight, and let's face it, compared to drilling, geology, seismic, or many other private section applications, forestry is a cake walk in this regard. It is your responsibility to evaluate those requests and say "yes," or "no." It's that simple. So why is it that so many of you merrily launch yourselves into precarious situations time after time, day after day? How many times does a helicopter have to land on an unsafe pad before someone finally speaks up and says "no?" How many times can we fly around in suspect visibilities before people start saying "no?" We see this every summer.


    Moving on.


    I am lucky, well maybe "lucky" is the wrong word. I work for people who take care of their hardware, and their software, that being us. Money comes in, money gets spent on machines and crews, and the operation ticks along nicely. Pilots and mechanics are supported in their duties, and aircraft that are broken get fixed.


    Sadly, over the course of my career this seems to be an anomaly. Judging by some of the rat bagged pieces of #### flying around on fires this year, I have to question where the priorities of the crews working for these companies lie, no to mention the owners? This is not to say many of these ships are not shiny and pleasant to look at, because many are, but start digging a little and it's truly shocking at how some of these ships are maintained. I ran into a young guy the other week who lamenting his time wrenching at a particular outfit spoke of the "kool-aid" mentality often on display out there in the field. I thought it was a fitting description!


    One fellow I worked beside in BC last year on a medium had a mechanic who couldn't even do a proper DI each night! I saw the same thing this season, guys putting big hours on Bell Mediums and the mechanic spending more time sleeping than wrenching. Yet nothing gets said, and the status quo carries on, the pilot jumps in the machine every morning and goes merrily to work. It is a testament to the original engineering of these machines that they fly in some cases. Many operators seem more intent on wringing out the last red cent from the aircraft than putting a well maintained machine in the field. Yet, many of these same crews stand around the coffee pot telling all who will listen how great their companies are! "Kool-aid" indeed!



    I could go on and on as any you can imagine, but I'll leave it here for now, the coffee pot is calling. The point being, TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for your aircraft and its operations. Take responsibility for who you chose to work for, vote with your feet if it is not acceptable. Call out those doing poorly. Stop being terrified of the customer, it's embarrassing and unsafe.


    Enjoy the beer this Fall, you've earned it.



    • Like 11
  8. would you and AR care to comment now on my opinion being the only one that count's?? <_<


    I have no idea what you are talking about, I simply have put forward that given your position as a moderator, this topic could and should be cleaned up and made somewhat useful again.


    Take it for what it's worth. At this point the entire point of the original topic is gone, and even a decent tangent or two has been wasted.


    Site has been like this for far too long.



  9. always 2 sides to the story and this thread is reaching its max crap content fast... either be civil, express your opinion without being ignorant, and keep the sticks down.... by the way, sirlandsalot, this is NOT about your post...


    last warning before i close it...


    With all due respect, why don't you do some moderation instead of just closing the thread. There are a fair number of posts here that can be disposed of or edited without just closing the thread.



  10. The point I was trying to get to is on the major fire complexs, multi aircraft, super high stress....maybe thats not the place to be "learning to longline"... In those scenarios, I want the competent,experienced pilots who have all the skills...ONES WHO CAN HANDLE THE STRESS AND CHAOS...



    This is exactly the attitude I was referring to in the OP.


    30yrs you say? Of what, exactly, I'm curious?


    Because if you had any idea what you are talking about the above quote would never have come off your keyboard. You seem to be overstating your experience somewhat, as I know a great many of the now retired BCFS personnel who actually had 30yrs in and developed a pretty good understanding of what works and what doesn't, where the lines are between running a fire and running a helicopter. I'm afraid your posts smack of a lack of experience and/or over-confidence in your knowledge of operational flying. Just enough information to be dangerous.


    FYI, flying fires - while enormously frustrating at times - is where many of us put ourselves out to pasture after considerable time doing jobs that are infinitely more "Chaotic," and "Stressful," not to mention more skilled, and certainly more demanding and taxing on the body. I would suggest your opinion of what flying on fires is like has been borne of lack of exposure to other areas of our industry, fair enough. Moving seismic drills in the mountains, setting towers in the mountains, heli-skiing in some places (particularly in the mediums), moving diamond drills in the mountains, setting power poles in a production type environment, logging on the coast, Class D mountain rescue, to name but a few of the applications I can tell you require an infinitely steadier hand and cooler head than dumping a bit of water on some burning trees in the middle of nowhere.


    Is there a problem with pilots and by extension some of the companies employed by the various forest services? Yes, absolutely as not all are created equal. Where this industry has gone in the last 15-20yrs disgusts me on a number of levels with some world-class scoundrels running various outfits, but it is most certainly NOT up to the customer to fix it - this has become patently obvious in the last 10yrs with misinformed people/insurance companies/Forest Services/consultants instituting frivolous rules, requirements, and regulations that have little to do with real safety. Many, or most, of these changes do little to ensure a safe operating environment because those making the rules have no idea what they are talking about and in many cases the optics of safety is more important than safety itself. We should be raising the bar, not catering to the lowest common denominator as we currently do with fix-all's like SMS that simply is a tool to transfer liability with no real oversight.


    This industry is in a race to the bottom (with a few notable exceptions), we all know it, and yet nothing is done to ensure positive change. HAC is total joke, with some of the worst outfits in the industry represented on the Board over the years, the pilots have never been organized in any way, shape or form, and never will be, and the Government in the form of Transport Canada has totally checked out of its role of oversight. It is not surprising we are seeing issues on our side of the equation.


    When it comes to fires, we are all on the same team - breaking news, I know. I simply do not understand the acrimony on display between the agencies and the aviation companies. Arrogance, ignorance, and ambivalence on both sides are responsible. I do not wish to lay sole blame at the feet of the various government agencies, as that would be an inaccurate representation of the issue, but, the general attitude of the forest services from ASRD, to OMR, to BCFS, has deteriorated over the last several years to a point I am beginning to find unacceptable. People are getting hurt, and there is a reason for it.


    I understand a large number of people in the various agencies read this board, and I implore you to check your egos at the door, start realizing we all have the same goals at heart, and there needs to be serious consultation between industry and government to improve the current situation. We need to clean up a great number of outfits supplying machines to the fire agencies, and we need to have the agencies understand that there are some very experienced, very capable, and very level headed people flying on fires who can help with educating forest service personnel. I can't remember the last time an IC came to a group of pilots and asked for operational advice - that used to happen.


    I have ignored this thread for a while since the language hijack, but felt it necessary to weigh in again.



    • Like 8
  11. Well,


    Just back to the land of internet, and I see this has gone sideways as usual. What a waste, almost had a constructive topic going there until "spelt" became the issue du jour.


    For all the young pilots reading this board, take a look at this tread to see why change will never happen in this industry, it's a wonderful little microcosm of our industry.


    Enjoy summer everyone, be safe.



    • Like 3
  12. thanks for reporting the other side of the story, hired gun... it's appreciated...


    It's not "the other side of the story" Twinny, it's what happened on fire 056, where the accident took place.


    Ask any of the people working 057 as two of my co-workers were, which is just up the road, and there was not a mention of it. Nor was there a mention on my fire which was also close enough to be "in the area." In fact, neither on my fire nor on 057 were there safety meetings held before or after the accident, although I understand the pilots on 57 managed to get one going for a period of time, not the case on my fire. The sad truth is ASRD has no over-riding policy for these type of situations. As I said in my OP, this is a side bar to the main issues of working with not only ASRD, but several of the other fire agencies, and a great deal of the private sector customers.


    Thanks for all the responses, I am glad to see the thread has mostly stayed on track. No time for a full post now, will try to get to it in the next few days.



  13. As usual, I find it rather interesting popping in here to see what pilots get worked up about. I am of course referring to the falsifying of logbooks thread.


    Not to say things shouldn't be done about this, but in all seriousness how big a problem is this in actual fact? I would submit it is a very minute issue in the grand scheme of things.


    Conversely, there are some pretty major issues each and every pilot working for ASRD should have, and those are with ASRD itself, their terrible organization, almost complete lack of standards when it comes to operational flying in the fire environment, and last but not least, the treatment of the companies they hire. This has been a topic of some discussion for a couple decades that I can remember, so I ask, who is auditing the customer these days? Unfortunately the answer is nobody.


    Some of the things I've witnessed during this spring's fire flap in Alberta can be described as appalling at best, negligent and potentially fatal at worst. If you are reading this and nodding your head in agreement, then it is you who I'm asking (along with myself) to step up and do something about this. If you are reading this shaking your head and wondering what on Earth I'm talking about, then it is you who need to open your eyes, pull your head out of your wallet, and start understanding how far off course this whole thing has gone in the last 20yrs.


    Without getting in to specifics, ASRD practices are very poor on fires, particularly fires like McMurray with some many aircraft. Talking about safety is one thing, implementing it is an entirely different concept. When the poor fellow from Campbell was killed, was anyone told to land for an hour, briefed on what happened, given time to call family or friends who only knew they were flying in Alberta? Not anyone on our fire. Not acceptable. In fact I have yet to hear a single official word from ASRD on the accident. Not good enough. A bit of a tangent here, but one I think any of us who have lost friends or family over the years can relate to, but it's not generally what I am talking about.


    So, who is going to audit the customer? HAC? Not a chance. The pilots association? Oh wait, we don't have one of those... so here we sit in 2011 working for customers (Gov't and private sector) who continually put conditions on our service in the name of safety, yet just as continually put helicopters and their crews in dangerous situations and there is not a soul doing anything about it. I find it astounding. At the risk of dating myself, I don't remember it being like this in the 80's. Perhaps I was just young and ignorant in those years.



    • Like 2
  14. Is it really a surprise the "Big" companies are having problems attracting good people who happen to be able to move drills in any geographical area? Not really... no, given the track records of these outfits.


    As numerous others have said, pay and conditions are a factor, but so are aircraft mtnc, client relations, and general company culture. There is simply a great deal to chose from once a person has established credentials, and these companies don't make the cut.


    Nothing new, been that way for 25yrs with the larger operators.



  15. Thanks for the facts Kelsey, and well done as usual.


    This thread is yet another example of the processed dog food that makes up this forum, and a large part of our industry here in Canada, spouting off without a clue. An opinion should be the result of thought, not a substitute for it. Folks might be well advised to remember that.


    Some people need a hobby, pet, woman, or an alcohol habit - anything to get a bit of perspective. Brutal as usual, carry on Vertical Forum! :down:




    Go Habs

  16. Thats what I thought......nothing!



    Thanks CM, you managed to show your true colours, although I'm not 100% sure what tint is best applied to a fool, but given your position you really should try to represent a little better. Don't you think?


    What an absolutely boring place this has become, if this is the level of so-called discussion that can exist. It really is sad you know.


    For the record, I fully agree with you - you have indeed thought "nothing." Bravo... :rolleyes:


    Have a nice weekend, I for one am going somewhere warm.



  17. I swear, this is like dealing with school kids sometimes.


    This. Is. A. Topic. Discussing. HAC. How difficult can that be to grasp?


    By your logic, I should go back through all your previous posts on any subject and ask you to tell me what you personally have done to contribute to that given issue... not to mention throw it right back at you to tell me what YOU have done to contribute to these issues. So I guess you refrain from commenting on the economy? Politics? Religion? Pro sports? Or any other topic you may or may not have direct involvement in for that matter? Makes a tonne of sense, now doesn't it?


    If you're in the market for an Ops manager or training pilot, PM me and I'll gladly give you my CV and a complete run-down of my career. Until then, I might kindly ask you to stick to the topic at hand and stop trying to evade it by trying to shift the focus. Answer my query and we'll see if it's worth continuing this.


    "Your choice" I suppose.




    PS I'm gone for the next few days, so I'm not "sliding away" as you say. Ball's in your court.

  18. The useless discussion started when you came on and made a bunch of negative comments on a organization then when you are confronted with how exactly are YOU making things better all of a sudden its a "Johnson measuring contest" and its not about you! Blah blah blah....


    CM, you make me laugh...


    So tell me, what has HAC done to improve the industry for all concerned - not just owners? How have they united operators to achieve a higher standard of flying/training/accountability in all aspects of the industry? How have they stood up to the ridiculousness brought about in recent years by insurance companies and so-called consultants? How have they conducted themselves professionally as board over the years (And no, that is not a blanket statement of all members, but a few glaring "characters")? How have they dealt with operator v operator issues when they have arisen? Has that gone fairly? Show me where my first hand knowledge of these things is mistaken, please.


    As I seem to recall, you never bothered to answer any of my "negative" comments, and as I said to an earlier poster, there are AMPLE examples of them, I just don't wish to start naming names as it is not something that is required. You just simply chose to start singling mud, yet managed to avoid telling me how far wrong I am. Am I? I really don't think so.


    That is not to say there are not some hard working and well meaning members, but as an organization it leaves an awful lot to be desired.


    Anyway, I really have a lot better ways to spend my time than engaging with someone who can only muster "Bla, bla, bla..."



  19. Enlighten us then, lets hear about the great things you have done! You have no problem expressing what others are not capable of.....go ahead.



    God, will this forum/industry ever change...? I think not.


    I'm not exactly sure why everyone feels so inclined to get into the Johnson measuring contests on here at the drop of a hat, but the topic is HAC, not me, and even it if were me, I have zero inclination to start boasting on here to people like you. You may feel some need to tell others what you do, I don't operate that way. To each his or her own.


    Yes, HAC is a wonderful and progressive organization - I stand corrected... :rolleyes:


    Yet again we have a useless discussion on Vertical.



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