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Long Line Operations In Mountains..

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KO (Chinook Helicopters) "disciplined" me in the basics of mtn flying. Learning from KO is quite something, let me tell you! Some of the approaches I flew with Andy (Roe, Chinook Helicopters) were quite unconventional and not in any of the books I'd read, but they made sense and they worked. He opened my eyes to some unlikely possibilities while forcing me to be more critical of my planning and precision. Thanks KO and Andy!


Thanks also to Uisdean and his most excellent crew of training pilots for the many mountain flying tips, tricks, techniques and pointers passed on during recurrent and heli-ski training.


Nothing can compare to good instruction, coaching and mentoring.


D Mitten

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I agree with most of these posts on the value of a mountain course, I have one myself and was very fortunate to have a company pay for it. That being said, with the current state of the industry if you are at a place now that isn't giving you one, they are probably still expecting you to go and do the work.

Some tips I would offer would be having the sense and confidence to shut down the job early if you are feeling like the conditions are too much for you to handle at the time. Everyone faces this, there are no super-pilots who can do every job in horrible conditions.

Try to get the wind figured out as quickly as possible but also have a good out if it isn't what you anticipated. Always leave an exit and have a plan in your mind before you need it.

I usually try to load the disc early and go slow, this may give you a few more options.

I think there are many people who could ad to this so I hope they speak up.

Have fun, it is gratifying flying when it works.

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Have to agree with Whitestone on this. I got a course from ko, and it was good but nothing compares to real world experience. Obviously the more training the better, but I can guarantee there are people flying around out there without "approved" Mtn courses that know their stuff better than trained individuals.

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This thread is so far proven that there is freedom of speech.


For the fellow who started the thread, you maybe should quantify your question by providing some info for us to answer. Are you learning to longline, have some time at it or just sniffing around? A troll perhaps? The old statement of garbage in = garbage out is coming to mind.




Obviously the more training the better, but I can guarantee there are people flying around out there without "approved" Mtn courses that know their stuff better than trained individuals.



You can guarantee this? Who would be the judege,,,,let me guess???YOU. Imagine how much better your untrained pilot would be if he was trained? Ha ha. But am guessing that what you are trying to say is that an inexperienced pilot with a fresh course is not as good as an experienced mountain pilot without a course? You may find an interesting fact that almost all the "old experienced" mountain pilots have had a course, approved or otherwise. Would hazard a guess that KO even has had one. So your point is what, that a 2000 hour untrained mountain pilot is as good as a 2000 hour trained one...bet is on.




I think what you fellas are trying to say is; that a course is not needed but just some reading, listening, and observing abilities to fly safely in the mountains and that over time if one is careful then a course is not necessary?


So let us take into account a 100 hour pilot,,,,would you go fly with him/her in mountains without a course?(I have, with duals doing a course), I know it would be not so great. Where do you draw the line 300 hours, 600 hours, 2000 hours and then a course is not needed? There is also the argument that a pilot with 100 hours does not "get" as much out of a course as a 500 hour pilot, it is true, but have flown with pilots who have many thousands of hours in the mountains and still have seen them "learn" something, if you are interested in learning, each and every pilot will become more enlighted. One young fella who had been thrown to the wolves with little training in the mountains kept at me for a course for almost two years even though he was well respected and proven much more than competant in the mountains. When I did fly with him in the mountains on our "course" he could fly every bit as well as I if not better, but at the end of the course he thanked me and felt much more safe as in his mind he knew that what he was doing was ok and the mystery of some of what we do was taken away and replaced with fact.


I have seen pilots in BC/Alberta do a bunch of dumb stuff and seen pilots from the "east" fly very well so you cannot generalize that a pilot from Alberta with 2000 hours does not need a course but a pilot from Quebec does. The customers who put together these limits are often guided by common sense input.


By the many statements given, there seems to be an underlying theme that if you have the right "stuff" flying in the mountains without a course is ok. And perhaps if one has experience to start off with and a safe open minded attitude then is not so unsafe but safer???Better??Builds more charecter?? No way. I am in complete agreeance that there has to be training for a pilot to work in the mountains, an "approved" course, well if you want to fly for certain customers then yes, but to get your course approved is not hard last time I checked.


Mountain training and longline training have the same start in my opinion in that you need some form of initial "ground and flight" training prior to being let loose(sp?) to learn. That is all a course is good for, to safely learn how become experienced.

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Well glad we have that all cleared up! Now back to my original question since I do have the prerequisites of a mountain course and long line experience.... Does anyone have any advise or tricks or any stories regarding the issue that might help further everyone's knowledge base? As OTR mentioned "there were a lot of great aviators whom paid the price so the rest of us "nogs" could learn and survive." Never hurts to share some experience ( thanks pilot5 for providing some relevant personal experiences to the thread) and the worlds a lot nicer when we all get along...Cheers and hope to hear from you folks

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I would strongly recommend checking out the conditions with an empty line before beginning to move a drill, load, bags ect....


I prefer to use 130 foot line to give yourself an extra gap even if your moving a drill in the alpine where you could use a shorter line.


Always have an escape route as everyone will tell you.


Have fun,



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Well for one, your meantioning that you would like to know about the demarcation line with different line lengths, the answer is as ambiguous as the question. How steep is the mountain? How strong is the wind. Setting a load down on the top of a vertical cliff in a strong wind the demarcation line is vertical for some height above the mountain and that it may be impossible to do the set without a 150' line or longer. Yet a laminar shaped top with a very strong wind will have a demarcation line which is as shallow as the terrain and that the only turbulence will be from rocks or obstacles in the way thus a short line will be sufficient. For mountain top ops I have used 50 to 100 foot lines mostly. Basics of demarcation line is that it cannot get steeper than terrain and the base of line moves towards wind as it gets stronger and the top point of line moves away from wind and gets longer as it gets stronger even though the angle will be no greater than the terrain.

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