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Kick The Tires And Light The Fires!


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Yeah the one placement yesterday that was trickey was putting it back on the pad at the hangar, and that was only because I was trying to do it with the machine crosswind, once I had it back into wind it was just fine.


Something unnatural about backing a load in I guess haha.


Im just sitting in the hangar by myself right now waiting for Wendell and when he gets here its off for more 100' slinging.




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So today started with a solo flight in the old 300 with the hay bail on a 150 foot line, while the other student went into the mountains with the jetranger and wendell.


I spent an hour doing that befor heading back to the pad for a splash of gas befor I was off to another hour of it going into tighter and tighter spots at higher altitudes and working on the approach and placement. Its good to see such dramatic improvement again, after you start going into confined areas and such the improvments are minor and not really all that noticeable so you dont get that feeling of accomplishment, but the difference between me now and me 3 days ago with an external load is unbelievable.


One area I went into had about a 4 foot circular cement block in the middle so I decided I was going to set down on it, I shot the approach and hit it smack in the middle first shot. I thought that must be a fluke so I moved it 20 feet to the side and then placed it back in the center again no problems. I can really respect the people who can place these things within inches and hold them there for a few minutes now though haha.


So after lunch as I suspected we pulled the bambi bucket out of the bag and learned all the functions and opperations of it befor the other student picked up the 300 and its hay bail and flew off. Now it was my turn to fly the jetbox.


We rigged up the bucket on a short line and I fired it up, the first time with Wendell sitting there not saying a word at all as he does when he expects you to be able to do something. Wendell acted as my N1 gauge for the startup as its been acting odd, not working until it wants to etc (gremlins I guess) and called out 15 and 58, thats about it.


So we picked up, flew to our source where Wendell showed me the basic water pickup technique and then drop. What a blast! Now it was my turn, I have a bit of a tendency to fade left in the hover over water with little reference straight down but corrected that fairly quickly and set myself up for the first drop. This one would be done in forward flight to spread the load over a longer stretch. I hit my target but was a bit long. The next one was in the hover, again made the target. And the third one we tried a different technique to pull out of the water, move forward and pull some power in and pick up as much as possible. Little did I realise this was to setup for the next lesson, dropping from the OGE hover when one cannot sustain the OGE hover. Basically you let the load go right as you move through translational lift (about 15-30 miles per hour depending on wind etc). Theres a bit of a trick to getting this one spot on but I managed to at the least splash my spot with a near miss (about 3 feet) befor I was instructed to set down with the bucket under the tail about 50 feet from the target.


I was wondering what this was leading to until I was just letting off the last inch or so of collective in the snow when Wendell opens his door and says the ever inspiring words "Don't crash in the river, it's cold". So he grabbed his camera and I picked up for my first solo external load in the jetranger. It hovers alot nose higher without my "ballast" up front and really makes for an easy flight.


With those words of wisdom in mind I set course for the river, a good approach and the bucket goes in. This time I manage again to hold directly over the bucket while it sinks and then I bring it back to make some drops.


The first one was a bit shakey but the other 3 were great. I can honestly say thats the most fun Ive had in the helicopter so far. Wendell should be glad I was running outta fuel, otherwise I probably would've just kept going haha.


So I wrapped up the day with another .8 solo in the 300 working to 4000 on cliffs putting it in wherever I could.


Tomorrow brings new challenges, like flying with an empty hook and longlining the bucket its self.


Once I can put the empty hook exactly where I want it we bring in the pickup truck.


Stay tuned. Pics to come soon.



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Thanks Twinnie and 67n, I appreciate it. Like I said the most excitement comes from feeling the dramatic improvement.


Today was a bad day on the weather front, which only brought me a half hour of flying (a mixed blessing I guess, it was about -5 on the OAT gauge with heavy snow in a mile vis), but what a great half an hour. We modified the remote hook first to change some basic wiring so that the brand new Bambi Bucket would work on the long line.


At first the bucket was intresting to fly and I found myself fighting it but within a half hour I had it to the point where I landed it 10 feet from the hangar without causing damage to anything haha... in fact it was under control all the way in. I cant say enough about having the right person next to you, often his teaching tactics involve sitting there and letting you figure it out and only making small changes but whatever secret he has, it works. I would be the first skeptic if I wasnt experiencing all this myself, at 60.8 hours I can handle a jetranger with a 130 foot line and place my drop with reasonable accuracy and place a load on target with everything up to a 200 foot line on the S300.


What a blast!


So heres my question of the day, I have alot more hours to go, (39.2 to be exact) and have a fair chunk of that which can be divided among mountain and longline time and obviously mixed in a bit of both (longlining the hay bail to a mountain pad etc) so Im wondering which I should do a bit more of. Obviously both are things I wont be around for a while now (mabey with some luck) but I really want to be at the top of my game when I leave here.


My associate has taken off to chase a lead down on a job for the next few days so I think Ill be getting some great flying in and mabey even fitting in my long cross country to take the 300 back to Penticton.


Thanks again.


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As fun as long lining is, the mountain time will be far more valuable I would think. Not to many newbies are going to go out with a jetbox, long line, & bucket on first job...


Nice to know how to do it and what it is like, but learning to "fly" is what you need to know.


Practice all you can, learn all the techniques that you can, but when you can "fly", you can do the rest...


Oh, and have fun!!!!

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Like you needed to include the last part haha. Its all fun.


Yeah I have about another 25 or so hours to play with as far as advanced training goes and about 13 of that is on the jetranger so I think Ill work into the mountains a fair amount but can also do that with a line attatched.


Not many schools will let you solo the jetranger but mine does so I have options as far as what I want to get out of it. I also happen to think that the mountain time with someone such as Wendell Maki is priceless (actually it runs about 900 an hour but whos counting) but then again, its not every day you get to longline with a 16000 hour logging pilot (I gotta stop using cliches, for the last few days it has been every day).


I think I'm going to throw this one at wendell tomorrow as he knows my strenghts better than I do so he'll know the proper way to do this.


Hopefully the weather cooperates with me tomorrow, I may even end up in Penticton haha.




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Ladies and Gents,


I like to read but rarley reply to the posts that come up on this site. In this case I feel compelled to express my deep concern about the activities mentioned above.


A student pilot of 50 hours should not be left to a 200 longline in the hills. It's truley not a position that would be considered safe or productive in the learning process.


Posting that you are involved in this type of scenario clearly illustrate the over confidence you have at this point in your training. This is a red flag for people that hire pilots. I am one of them.


This industry which I have been a part of for 15 years, is at a point where we will need to hire pilots to replace the old guys. Having said that, the pilots that come out of schools in this day and age tend to lack the knowledge and skills needed to operate safely inside our world. 100 hours of flight training is clearly not enough to truley satisfy the needs of our industry. A fixed wing pilot needs 200 hours for his/her commercail, yet they are not asked to fly into a unprepared site at the top of a hill several times an hour. With most operators needing to put extra flight training into a new guy, I find it difficult to fathom why longlining at this early of a stage would be considered productive to your development. Why not spend that wasted time on scenarios your likey to face at the begining stages of your carreer. Say confined areas or how about emergencies.


An introductory into verticle reference work is a great thing to include into the course, but solo slinging at 50 hours in is in my opinion braisen and irresponsible.


I love the fact that you have blogged your entire process from looking for a school to being trained. This information is priceless to the wannabe jockeys. Please don't stop. It's a great tool for all the newbies.


Being a Manager and training pilot I can't help but get concerned when I read about a 50 hour student out on his own with a longline in the hills. I have concerns with posting that you were flying around in a mile visability in rain. We need pilots with strong decision making and flying skills that an operator can build on, I need great pilots that can complete the job safely without destroying my aircraft or its components. The great longliners out there that truley impress that we all wish we could be like, have the true fundementals iced before they even see a line. What kind of example do we set for the new guys if we send them out in crap weather. We should all wonder why we hear of instructors setting there machine down on Hwy 1 last fall in a snow storms with a student on board. What kind of message are we sending. I know there is a few out there that will say, " we are allowed to fly in one mile vis the student should understand what its like." and my answer to you is what ever you think bud. You setting limits for that student that he will carry through his carreer.


Having some time on a longline at 100 hours will NOT land you your first job Cole. Flying in poor weather will NOT make you a better pilot.


It's your cash and your career, make the best of it.


Just my two bits.

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