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Response To Hv's Petition Proposal


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The crux of the issue is that we are not in the airline business. Duty time to us is not the same as duty time to them. We fly low altitude and generally only work Day VFR. Much of my duty time over the years has been spent fishing... or napping... or taking pictures...


Apparently, the helicopter pilot's job as one with plenty of leisure time during which relaxation can be pursued. Yet the second quote below characterizes sitting around to be 'far more tiring'.


Which is it to be?


I think the job that most closely resembles a helicopter pilot's duties is that of a heavy equipment operator, particularly someone running an excavator. So much depends on the hand-eye coordination and the motor skills of the operator or pilot. An airplane (of any size) doesn't require anywhere near the "attention" a helicopter does. This causes a pilot to stay engaged and really does reduce fatigue effects. It is far more tiring to sit around waiting to fly than it is to actually fly a helicopter in my experience.


Airline pilots may not take kindly to the contention that their job does not require 'anywhere near the "attention" a helicopter does'. If the writer intended to alienate a large and powerful segment of Canada's pilot population, he could not have done a better job, but more important aspectsof helicopter flying are raised here.


Longlining and mountain flying are common helicopter activities which really have no analogues in the fixed-wing world and both of them are very demanding. Powerful arguments can be made that because of this the FDT limitations for helicopter pilots should be more restrictive than those for fixed-wing pilots.


There are also the issues of excessively long tours of duty and unacceptable camps. Even though some operators may favour their crews with 28 day rotations, it is the exception rather than the rule, and even 28 days is far too long. While some camps are unacceptable, they may be endurable for some period of time, such as the 15 days proposed as the maximum tour of duty in the new regulations.


Are there any reports of fatigue causing incidents or accidents within the heavy equipment world? I honestly don't know but that's where I would start to look if I was with TC and wanted a model that was close to the hours, shift and type of work performed by helicopters (obviously I am not talking about scheduled helicopter operations, or EMS, or those types of jobs that make up less than 10% of helicopter operations in Canada).


When the Transportation Safety Board examines the question of fatigue as an accident factor, it refers to the present Flight and Duty Time Regulations and if none of those have been contravened, no finding of fatigue is expressed. Unfortunately, the existing regulations are not based on fatigue science and so there almost certianly have been accidents in which fatigue was a factor. The new regulations are based on fatigue science and when they become the law, a reduction in accidents will be seen.


A compilation of accidents has been made at Canadian Helicopter Pilots Association (Unincorporated) - Accidents which

would not have occurred had the new FTD regulations been in effect and had the pilots in question adherred to these new regulations. Eight these accidents were fatal. To ignore this fact is to say that the loss of a few lives in the interest of the bottom line is an acceptable point of view. It is not.


During the Working Group deliberations the airline union representatives pointed out several times that helicopter pilots were not represented during the process. The fact that there were five helicopter pilots there made no difference to them because we were all management, or had been appointed by management or, in the case of Fred Jones of HAC, had been "tainted" by association with management and ownership. I found this offensive but you really are powerless when you stare down the barrel of the union gun with the Chair of the Working Group also being the President of that union.


What about those who really are powerless when they stare down the barrel of the management gun?. It must also be remembered that no pilots of non-scheduled on-demand fixed-wing pilots were at the table when FDT regulations were discussed. Their views must also be taken into consideration.


There were two chairs of the working group, the second being a TC representative who had no interest one way or the other in the outcome of the debate.


There are online survey tools that guarantee anonymity (although this vote is just for pilots so a name and licence number would need to be provided but "we" the survey holders would not get to see that) if someone wants to vote but doesn't want their thoughts known publicly, while providing a powerful data collection system that produces relevant and fascinating reports.


How can it be guaranteed who sees what? Given the reticence of people in general and helicopter pilots in particular to indentify themselves when addressing issues as contentious as this, will anyone respond if they have even the slightest suspicion that their views may be used against them? Long term readers of this forum will recall the talk some years ago of blacklists and culls. The fear is great of being so classified.


The results of any such survey must include the petitioners' names, addresses, employers and position held with those employers if any such petition is to have credibility. Management opinion must be separated from employee opinion.


It would help if everyone who posted here identified themselves, which happily seems to be happening more often these days. Will Harmonic_Vibe not post his real name, the company for whom he works and the position he holds there?
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Fred you are a buffoon. I cannot say it more succinctly than that. I clicked on your link to these so-called accident reports and the one that caught my eye was the one where the pilot had flown 187 hrs in 30 days and 513 in 90. Imagine my shock when the link to the report brought me to an accident I am very familiar with as I was there on that job and had just left the day before. The pilot was a good friend of mine and the last I heard when your engine opens up and allows all the hot gases to escape so that they no longer run through your power turbine there is a significant power loss. No where in that report does it mention the hours flown by the pilot. Your statement above that x-number of accidents would have been prevented by these regulations is a ludicrous statement. Since you are clearly not a helicopter pilot I would have to guess you spend a lot of time hanging around a hangar bitching about life... please stay out of our industry and find somewhere that you can call home...

 

Corey Taylor

(403) 585-7190

 

Call me anytime

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I think the struggle here is to separate the issues of safety and effect on logistics. The discussion of this topic always seems to trend to how we are going to conduct business efficiently and competitively with the restrictive FDT's proposed.

That, I think, is a by product that we need not worry about right now... how much money we make is somewhat irrelevant. If there is a SAFETY issue here that can be mitigated with fatigue management, then lets look at it very particularily. Forget about crew changes, double crewing, where all the pilots are going to come from etc. If we think tightening up FDT's will prevent even one accident...then lets do it. Something does need to change....quite crazy, in my opinion, that we can work 42 consecutive 14 hour days, wether companies do it or not, it is too much and I think that could be more restrictive. Maybe stopping this new FDT action now would buy some time to come up with set of standards from the industry that would mitigate fatigue issues (if it is determined there are some) and, as a by product, still allow operators to carry out business and pilots to make money.

Problem is, specifically identifying fatigue as a lead up to an accident is very difficult to do. We do know many accidents are a result of a poor, or a series of poor decisions...you just can't see how fatigue effected those decisions. Tough to measure.

Lots of external factors too...camp conditions...quality of sleep you're getting...type of flying you're doing...how your time off went etc. I personally would like to see a 12 hour duty day...max 8 hours flying...max 28 day tour including travel days and a minimum of 7 full, complete days off free from duty.

And just to clarify current FDT's...we are not required to have 8 hours of rest...we are required to have 8 hours of sleep...I like to think of the FDT's as the time free from duty being the root of it all...you need to have the 8 hours sleep plus travel to and from accomodations..plus time to eat and take care of personal hygene. All the rest of the hours in the day after that are free to be worked..up to 14 hours. If the former takes 12 hours...then you only have a 12 hour duty day.

I think we need to try to stop this all incompassing notion to really restrict FDT's...but then look at what might mitigate any fatigue issues we have. Most companies are controlling tour lengths etc. within the company and I dont think 42 and 5 is the industry standard...I could be wrong.

Engineer hours though....a whole other can of worms that needs to be looked at!

 

Geoff Reed

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Corey....your being kind, Buffon does not even come close to describing Fred Lewis...if that is even your real name Fred? Perhaps you can enlighten us as to your background, experience, education and job description also to us??!!!?

Cheers.....Bob Kellie

 

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I spoke to Fred. We have agreed to disagree. He said I was much more polite on the phone than in my post and I guess he might be right, but so is he!

 

Anyway, I am in complete agreement with what Geoff had to say above. As I just told Fred as well, we are avoiding talking about how these new Flight/Duty times will impact our business. We are not using the commercial pressure argument. We are stating, unequivocally, that we do not believe that the proposal is in the interest of flight safety. We do not believe that the slight similarities between the airlines and the helicopter industry warrant the "one size fits all" approach. We believe that changes may be desired but they should be changes made to fit the industry we are in. I have to go further here and state that if there are industry segments, such as offshore, scheduled commuter, EMS, etc., that need their own set of rules to fut their own specific challenges, then that is also something we should support.

 

In summary, we are for safe helicopter operations. We do not believe that TC's current process is going to move safety in the right direction. It would be one thing if we felt there were safety advantages but the commercial impact was weighing in on the other side of the scale. We DO NOT believe there is an increase in safety through these proposals.

 

Who are we? Anyone with a rotary wing licence who will sign the petition against the proposed FDT changes that we will soon put forward.

 

HV

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When I was on the phone with Fred he questioned me regarding my figures on industry segments. I told him I would send him some of the charts and tables but i don't have his email address. The following table is courtesy of Eurocopter but includes all Canadian registered helicopters. It is only a couple of years old. The point of this is to show how big the various sections of our industry are.Canadian Helicopter Market.pdf

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I am sorry for sounding old. I have found old Fred will try to stir something up with inflammatory statements. My Grandfather before me told me when I was a mere pup that it is better to ignore people like this than to waste time and energy on them.

 

I agree with oil pressure that the Flight duty times work the way they are. However that doesn't mean a little tweek wouldn't improve them. I know time is short for.proposals or reveiw but let's set our petty differences apart and work to come up with a response for the working group. If everybody who is on this forum talks with the crews that they know we should be able to get through a petition with decent numbers.

 

Steve Schulte

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After reading all the posts, it seems that TC is back to its old game, we are the boss, take it or leave. The comment alone by the DG saying that helicopter pilots have NO say in the matter is ridiculous. These people are public servants paid by the public to run the different departments to serve the PUBLIC in a civil manner. I would send the petition to the minister of Transport and a copy to the opposition parties in the House of Commons. The public is entitled to a civil answer. The minister of Transport upon receiving the petition does not answer the letter, but passes it onto the DG responsible to reply under the minister's signature.

Being elected to office he/she does not want to ruffle any feathers.

 

Should you not get a reasonable response from Transport, advise them that you will take them to Federal Court to apply for an injunction.

 

Have Fun.

 

Don McDougall

 

PS: Do it fast because they take about a month off over the holidays.

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