SERVING MANY INDUSTRIES—SAVING MORE THAN TIME www.nehc.org
A MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT Dear NEHC Members, Helicopters are incredibly versatile machines. Of course, you already know that helicopters have the unique ability to hover and are highly maneuverable. This combination allows these aircraft to be exceptionally productive in many industries and, in many cases, offer vertical solutions that are more effective than any other means. Consider, for example, how helicopters are used as air ambulances (landing nearly anywhere to transport critically injured patients to the nearest trauma center), to support the worldwide energy industry (quickly moving people and parts to and from off-shore oil platforms), and aerial cranes (lifting external loads to mountaintop worksites without harming the surrounding environment). From Agriculture application to installing Zip lines, there are an incredible number of unique and diverse uses for helicopters. For instance, the picture at the bottom of this page shows an R-44 at work, carrying a fish receiver antenna along the Maine coast supporting a project to eliminate invasive carp. With great diversity comes equally great challenge. One such challenge is to recruit talented individuals to enter the rotary wing work force. And, once recruited, these individuals need to be trained to fly and maintain the machines, then gain sufficient experience to be productive, and to operate safely, in the industry. While there’s a vast difference in the experience required to lift an air conditioner onto a rooftop or to fly an instrument approach to minimums, basic helicopter handling skills are the common prerequisite. I’m pleased to report that helicopter flight instruction is ‘alive-and-well’ in New England. There are a number of very good helicopter training options throughout the region, several of which happen to be members of the NEHC. You may recall that, in a previous edition of the newsletter, we reported on Boston Helicopter and North Andover Flight Academy’s development of the SimR-22 Advanced Helicopter Flight Simulator. As you’ll read in the article beginning on page 6 of this edition, Seacoast Helicopters just announced its partnership with Great Bay Community College offering a new associate degree program in aviation technology to meet the growing demands for helicopter pilots. Whether your goal is to become a helicopter professional, or if your immediate plans are only to fly recreationally, you have a number of outstanding training choices. Don’t forget that one of the most important keys to long term success in aviation is training. Recurrent, refresher and ‘mission-specific’ training are just as important as your initial training. To quote Captain Richard de Crespigny, “Good enough is never good enough. If you don’t strive for perfection then you have no place in an aircraft cockpit.” (Qantas QF32—Airbus A-380 ’black swan event’—2010)
Our fall membership meeting will be held on Wednesday, November 12. The evening will start with a short business meeting, followed immediately by the featured presentation. James A. Viola is our guest speaker. He’s the Manager of the Federal Aviation Administration's General Aviation and Commercial Division and serves as the government co-chair for the United States Helicopter Safety Team (USHST). Jim received his helicopter training as an Army aviator, served as platoon leader in Somalia and ended his military career at the Pentagon where he served as the Chief of Current Operations for Army Aviation. Please join us to hear about the USHST’s current activities, and how this work is having a positive effect to reduce helicopter accidents in the U.S. As an added bonus, Jim plans to talk about his personal experience with ‘Black Hawk Down’. We hope you’ll join us at the Tewksbury Country Club on November 12. It promises to be a great evening and you won’t want to miss it!
W. Gregory Harville President
Robinson R-44 “On-the-Job” - Looking for radio tagged fish Photo courtesy of Peter Mekelatos