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A Risk Analysis

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There's another thread if we are going to revisit the pond hockey incident, my referencing it was merely a attempt to deciminate between them as, weather ill conceived or not, this one is a commercial machine working under what I can only assume is the correct permits. I also alluded to the fact that this was outside my comfort zone but so is bringing a hook into a seismic staging at 80 MPH but I'm not a production long line, comfort is subjective.


I was hoping to get feedback from some older guys that have done movie work and how they manage customer pressure while still keeping them happy. I've seen some pilot asked to really crank the machine during a shoot to get the perfect shot only to see them use the smooth safe approach in the film that was shot fist. What's the reception to pulling the safety card? Do they back off as quick as forestry employees do?(I'm thinking not, but I'd like to be wrong)


Sorry if I came off like I was ragging on the hockey video.

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Film flying is all about the smoothness, just like a good long line pilot. A good film crew understands that you, the pilot, is part of the team and holds the keys to the success of a good aerial's session. If they don't, they probably aren't very experienced in the business and whatever 'trick flying' you do still won't get them the shot... hand held or mounted camera.


The pressure to fly lower, closer and even fly a 'fade away jumper' or similar profile is all moot if you aren't comfortable and didn't do your homework/ flight planning on locations and hazards. Besides the fact, that today's camera technology, mounts, lenses and professional operators really negate some of the requirements to get up close and personal with a train, boat, people and in this case... surfers on a very large wave.


Looking at these two images I suspect the crew and pilot both had a 'breather' after that particular roll out/ wave. I picture shouting and the productions insurance provider adjusted aviation premiums across the board after these images came out:) Lastly, if the pilot owned the company and machine and that's how they roll... their prerogative. As someone flying someone else's machine... totally disrespectful to the Huey and it's owner.


Rotors right... they'll use the clean/ smooth shot every-time! Don't fall into the 'get the shot' trap. Besides... if you bank it too hard the rotors get in the frame.

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After a quick search, I found out the pilot in this movie was Don Shearer, the owner of Windward Aviation on Maui.

He is a very accomplished pilot, and I'm certain he is the sort of guy that does a very thorough risk analysis.

Personally I wouldn't want to be that low over water without floats, but that's his call.


I worked on a lot of TV And movie shoots many years ago.

It was the director's job to ask for all sorts of shots, some of them pretty wild.

It was MY job to calmly tell him what was safe and what was not.

Once I understood what decisions the movie crew expected me to make as a professional pilot, it all went very smoothly and was some great work to do.

Some pilots didn't like movies because they didn't know how to answer 'stupid' requests.

But it's easy. Calmly say NO.

That's why they hired you.


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