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UH-1 Drag Brace


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Budget operator? Absolutely not. These guys gave me my start over 20 years ago and their mentoring is what got me to this point. This started as a technical question that I pretty much knew the answer to, but as I continue to think this through and battle this out with mechanics here is what I'm after.

Both of these incidents were "slips". I completely understand that. We try to hide it but pilots slip up too. (Don't tell anyone). The problem that I'm having is with the response. The drag brace incident is denial. The mast nut safety incident ended with two line level mechanics blaming each other. I don't believe in collecting data and sending out memos and "re-training". Those are for the safety weinie in the office. I believe in real conversations with real people.

At the risk of sounding like the safety guy I think the attitude is what's dangerous. Both in the response but also the cause. Take the drag brace for example. Your out on the pad doing the rotor smoothing. When you climb up to sweep a blade, you loosen nuts, turn the link and tighten nuts. Really? You couldn't focus long enough to tighten two nuts?

Now the mast nut safety. The safety Tang bolt and nut we're all in place... Finger tight... Found on preflight. My question is this. The whole process  takes about 30 seconds. You can't focus long enough to tighten the nut you just installed? And... Two mechanics working together should be checking each other's work, not pointing fingers when something goes wrong.

Again, my issue is not the mistake. It is with the refusal to talk about it. I'll quit there and see if anybody wants to bite.

But I also think I should apologize for all of the substandard UH-1 operators down here in the states. Remind me again, how many Canadian helicopter manufacturers are there?

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Oh god. Dont turn this into a canada US thing. Its bad enough as it is.

The human factors involved in the slips could be caused by anything. And i dont think that makes anyone a bad engineer for it. I dont like excuses or blaming as much as the next guy but it happens alot. 

I agree the one on one communication is the best route. Keep at it, i hope you resolve it, and i hope every learns something pulls up their socks and betters the whole situation in the end.

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Sorry GrayHorizons. I can't resist. I was actually just poking back in good natured fun (I didn't realize the US/Canada thing was really a thing.) But the last post...


Bell Helicopter a Canadian company; really!? Is this the same Bell Aircraft that was started in New York and currently headquarted in Texas? Will you tell me next that Eurocopter is Canadian as well?

Update on the original story:

Grumpy DOM won't even speak to me know... Sad state of affairs... I just want to walk through the shop and feel the confidence that I had when I told everyone this company's helicopters were as good as they get.

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Safety culture is important no matter what size the operation, your company is lacking in it from your description.  Sometimes the safety weinies have a point.  It may seem overkill but we have an independent control check that's accomplished by someone who didn't sign for the work.  206 mast nut and lock is one and after any rotor adjustments is another.  Any flight or engine control must be dualed.

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