Jump to content

Recommended Posts

The pressure felt from a customer or employer is all self induced. If a customer told you to jump off a bridge would you? No you say, then why would you consider flying in an unsafe situation to satisfy them. The pressure you feel is to "satisfy" the customer or employer, so therefor self induced. The pilot is the person who sets up the situation, therefor you have total control. our responsibility is to the license that says we are "pilots" ( note the word pilot, not equipment operator) safety is our number 1 job. If your customer has an emergency, it's theirs not yours. You have one if the hydraulics fail low level in 1/2 mile vis.

Be smart and "always" have a back up plan!!




The machinery we fly today is fairly reliable, but if you fly long enough something bad will happen. The only control you have is how much time you spend exposed. PDM and human factors are serious issues, and all pilots should have a system to control our mistakes, as we set up the situation. If we put the machine in a situation that " it " does not have the ability to handle, or is above " your ability" then you are essentially crossing your fingers and hoping it all works out. The one hour of training we receive yearly is not enough, the responsibility is on our shoulders to continue advancing our skills.


I personally believe it is possible for this industry to achieve a much better safety record and that education is the answer.


There will always be risk involved with flying. Flying a helicopter is not inherently dangerous, but is absolutely unforgiving.




Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 23
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

something someone very wise told me


"Cole, just remember, its 'Pilot In Command' Not 'Passenger In Command'... Keep these things in mind and you will have as many landings as you do takeoffs"


Think that applys here, the main risks in aviation are when youre doing something you shouldnt be.


"If you dont, someone else will"- Very true, if you dont someone else probably will... and? To steal Rob's point- If the customer says jump off the bridge, would you? No, but someone else probably will.


If its what you want to do then giver... much safer doing this then driving a delivery van for a living statistically.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The pressure you feel is to "satisfy" the customer or employer, so therefor self induced. The pilot is the person who sets up the situation, therefor you have total control.





While I "agree" with your statement, I also have to point out that sometimes our fellow pilots apply just as much, if not more pressure.


In another thread, they lift more, fly worse weather, go faster, have lower mins, etc etc, which makes the customer want (or demand) more. And because there are different levels of expertise in all drivers, and that my concern for my grandchildren, which are a major reason for most of my decisions) really doesn't matter to the customer.


"We lifted it before, so if you can't, we'll get someone who can" Pressure??


What is a good answer for the customer?


Your company sold the job and machine, and you suck as a pilot. Pressure??


I was told in a Heli-ski operation last year that if I didn't get my production footage up, they would have to call my boss. As we were standing there eye to eye, I said, "Do you have his number? It's ???-???-????"


For me, I made the right choice. For the next driver, it might cause an accident. I knew that my boss backed me, and so I could make the choice I did.


Is the next guy as sure? Is that the company policy? Is safety #1? Or just until the job has to be done..., and then we'll do it right next time.


PIC means you are in command. But sometimes there is also a lot of pressure, influence and expectations from everyone else.


It's taken about 30 years to get to where I really know I am in charge of my life. I was lucky that nothing happened to prevent me from getting this far, so I could learn that!


To all, manage your risk carefully, all excuses aside, it is your butt in the seat....

Link to comment
Share on other sites



I agree with you completely, in my first season I had a plant operator tell my he would rather fly with a guy who uses 110% as his limit because that guy know the limits of the machine better. But that "pressure" comes from the desire to please others. I've never pursued heli-skiing for that reason.


I have told more than a few customers, " you can call my boss but if he finds out one of his pilots lifted that load into here he'll get fired. I can only lift to the red line. I'll pull to 100% if it comes off the ground I'll move it, if it won't, you have to make it lighter or call the last guy, here's my phone.


Poor weather, to the surveyor in the ice fog, "I'm not going, but there is a book under the front seat, it tells you everything you need to know. Just wait till I get out of site till you pull pitch ". Or, "If I'm scared, do you really want to go ".


They always want to get there job done, but their emergency is theirs. My job is to bring home the machine in one piece.


My safety briefings Begin with this line.


I have three responsibilities:


1 The safety of everyone working around the machine


2 I am not allowed to abuse the machine


3 Help the client get their job done in a cost effective manner


I will do all I can to accomplish #3 as long as 1 and 2 are never compromised.


(and if there is a juggy anywhere in site)

Have a good look down the side of my aircraft, no where will you see the words ford Chevy or dodge, this is not a pickup truck, this is an 1 million dollar aircraft and its mine, so if you break it, you are not allowed back in it!!! You can walk home!!


As an instructor of 100 pilots I spend every spare moment talking about decision making. My hope is the industry guys will continue to demonstrate the need to think it through before committing themselves, as the young ones are watching.




PS: There was a 30 kt wind the day I slung in the propane pig, honest!! <_<:rolleyes:





Link to comment
Share on other sites

One of my favorites in response to "the last pilot must have been a good pilot because he would......" is "good pilot? oh, you wanted a good pilot? should have said something 'cause i know lots of good pilots.....but too f####g bad- they sent me instead!" Never seem to know how to react to that one, we have a laugh and i'm in control. I also make a point during my safety briefing to let people know that they also have some control and if they are ever uncomfortable they also can pull the pin at any time they want and we can all go back and drink coffee. (obviously depends on type and experience of customers).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Although I did love the last few war stories (about time we had a few here) I will say this:


Know the Laws as set out by Transport, POH, and Ops Manual, and if it applies the Customer's Operating Standards.


Now, knowing what you are willing or not willing to do, given your ability, you can politely explain why you can't do it that way but don't forget to offer an alternative if at all possible...you will get paid by the hour after all.


Last but not least, and has been said by a few before, find a guy you can work for who you can phone at any time, or the customer for that matter, to deal with the fact that you don't want to do it that way. That in and of itself will remove a boatload of "pressure", and will mitigate alot of the inherent risks in flying helicopters.


Oh yeah, ASK your engineer anytime you have a problem or concern. Just remember that it is not important how angry, mad, disappointed, or how much fun he is having at your expense, when he answers it...just as long as he answers it.


Personally I"ll still take flying over driving any day.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...