16 December 2011

You Know You're A Newbie Offshore Helicopter Pilot When...

1.  Your sortie cannot be written off in the authorisation sheets as "Cancelled Due To Weather".

2. You are expected to track navigational aids' radials outbound to your destination rather than look for a bridge or a valley or a limestone bluff that leads the way there.

3.  The popular question, "What's the name of that village down there at three o'clock low??" has been replaced by "What's the name of that rig?"

4.  You've stopped worrying about See-Fit or Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT). In other words, you're not so worried about slamming into the side of a hill when encountering poor visibility.

5.  You've forgotten what the world looks like when  the horizon cuts your windscreen at a 45-degree angle of bank or the joy of skimming at treetop height over a hundred knots.

6.  On base leg to land in a violent crosswind you cannot overbank past 25 degrees to intercept the extended runway centreline for the sake of the passengers' comfort, so you overshoot said centreline and offer them the scenic landing of the runway to either the right or left of the aircraft.

7.  Your safety consciousness says the pilot who buries his head in the cockpit may one day be buried in the cockpit, BUT...you still have to bury your head in the cockpit sometimes as you do the paperwork for the passengers and payload for each destination platform.

8.  Ninety percent of the time, you're flying straight in the dead centre of a cumulus instead of doglegging randomly to get around it and you're not sure how much it bothers you...or not.

9.  You call out V1 and VToss and Vy instead of counter flapback and inflow roll, translational lift and above critical speed in a take-off run.

10.  The best brandname you have is a BHPC GMT, while your passengers unanimously wear Oakley, Tissot, Deuter and Red Wing.
11.  You meet your passengers off duty at the same restaurant where you slurp down kuey teow soup while they buy themselves a lobster...each.

12.  Pilot and passengers alike have congregated at the row of urinals in the mens' room 5 minutes before rotor engagement.


  1. Capt Jeff, firstly let me wish you and your family a very merry Christmas and all good tidings in the coming year.

    I apologise for not visiting your blog in a while but now that I have, wow... there's a lot to catch up on. Love reading your updates Sir. Am happy that you're enjoying the new job.

    By the way, silly me just wondering on point no. 6, but why should helis require runways to land? I'd always thought pilots aim for a spot somewhere on the tarmac...

  2. Thanks for the Christmas wishes, that's so sweet of you. I hope that you and the rearing Red Alfa have had some time for revelry too.

    Thanks for raising the point on item 6, and it is a most pertinent question indeed.

    Helicopters do not need a runway for successful departures and arrivals as you have perceptively pointed out.

    Be that as it may, though a helicopter can land on a spot, in the event of any engine failure in the take-off run, the departure can be aborted and a safe landing be executed by a run-on landing over the stretch of asphalt available ahead of the point of said failure. That same run-on landing in the fixed-wing style is available for safe and comfortable use should said engine/engines fail on approach to land.

    This soft fall in case of engine failure by use of a runway isn't always possible, for instance, at an oil rig/platform/barge, or in a hole in the jungle, as would have been in the air force Nuri environment.

    Therefore where the terrain allows, we build a runway to enhance the management of risk and the handling of emergencies by manipulating the handling characteristics of the helicopter to its maximum.

    Hope this helps.

  3. You do have some skills. Im proud of you.

  4. Dear Hawaii Volcano Tours

    Thank you for dropping by and I hope this will not be your last visit.

    Thanks for your expression of pride in me. I think though, that I am receiving a kingly compliment from someone who does volcano tours, which surely demands better seat of the pants skills in flying. You turn me green with envy.

    Keep in touch sir.