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Phil Croucher

Mountain Courses

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Hi guys - just asking for a friend of mine in Oz (don't worry, he's not looking for a job :) he's a HEMS guy already) who wants to do a mountain course - who are the current flavours of the month? He is already aware of Chinook and BC helicopters, and Mountain View and LR are not in the right location - is there anyone else that good to look at?

 

cheers

 

phil

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Why would he be looking to get a Canadian mountain course, which would require him to have the Canadian license conversion to fly HEMS in Oz????

 

Or am I missing something?

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No Canadian licence required for the course.....Chinook has without a doubt the most experienced and highest time mountain instructors above all others.....:)

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As mentioned if you got the cash I would go to Canadian in Kelowna.Is Jan still there?Second choose would be Chinook.Maybe I could get my former chief pilot to do my course.I did an in company ad hoc course in Norman Wells when I was with Midwest.Pilot/instructors name was Ted Prothroe.Very good!!!

 

Cheers!

 

 

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Some history and personal observations regarding helicopter mountain training

 

Carl Agar and his team at Okanagan Helicopters in the mid to late 1940’s developed a well-documented mountain training program that benefited from a large pool of mountain pilots applying the techniques and thus was continuously upgraded over the years. This became internationally know as the go-to mountain program. As a result of company mergers and such CHC and NZH inherited the years of experience and training techniques. As a result of having literally thousands of students pass through their doors from numerous countries and cultures the team in Penticton BC filtered out what works and what does not! This experience and the accompanying techniques moved on to other operators with the migration of mountain flying professionals who came out of the Okanagan and CHC system to work with other helicopter operators. Many very good mountain courses in flight schools and in-house mountain training evolved from these professionals.

As times and technology change we can now deliver specialty skills education far more effectively so you can find very good mountain training at a number of helicopter operators (for in-house training) and schools. Canadian schools are a good bet!

In brief mountain flying is a mindset and mental picture comprised of reading winds and airflow and the airflows interaction with the terrain and how this relates to the helicopter and its performance attributes in this environment.

Whatever school you chose, be sure to ask if the instructor benefited early on in their career from proper mountain flight and ground training and a background including high mountainous terrain operations. There are plenty of pilots who fly in and amongst the mountains and call themselves mountain pilots but many have not been properly trained to mountain fly. I have seen much of this in heli-skiing, seismic, logging and firefighting and many of these pilots will tell you they can teach you mountain flying. The stories I can tell of these self-proclaimed mountain pilots are endless and scary. With the high performance helicopters we have today you can get away with a lot….until you run out of tools to apply because you were not trained properly to fly in the mountains. The onset of hazardous conditions can overwhelm the most powerful helicopters if you do not take the time for a good recon read and interpret the airflow, terrain and the helicopter in this environment accurately! When paying for training, be bold and ask questions and listen, then take time to think and ask more questions. You worked hard for your money and the school should deliver accordingly! Spending some extra money for good quality training will come back to you later in job opportunities, income and each time you walk through the door upon your return home!

 

Remember! The only thing you have to do as a pilot is everything it takes to return home safely.

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Thanks guys - Helimentor, you make some good points - I myself did 4 years all over Scotland before I came to Canada, benefitting from a Chief Pilot who had spent 15 years in Nepal (I learnt more from him in 2 hours than I did with the Army over 25) and got grandfathered in, but I did visit a couple of schools on behalf of my company when we had to send a pilot off for some mountain time and I found that they could teach you good ways of landing in weird places, but they knew nothing about getting from A to B without making the passengers sick, which is where you spend most of your time.

 

And the reason he wants mountain training is the same reason I want to do a float course one day - just for fun, and the Canadians do it best :)

 

cheers

 

phil

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