High Altitude Training = Good Times

A while ago, myself and good friend (and instructor at the time), Mike K, decided to take a road-trip to experience the faa’s flight physiology program. The faa offers this program for free to all pilots or those with an faa medical certificate at their home base in Oklahoma, or, for a nominal fee (we paid $50) at an authorized training center. We decided to make a road trip to Andrew’s Air Force Base in Maryland to check it out.

gearNow why would a helicopter pilot want to experience high altitude training you ask? Well, for one thing, this is a controlled environment that actually lets you experience the first stages of hypoxia, which can occur at any altitude if you have some means of restricting oxygen. Everyone’s symptoms are different, and this is a way for you to feel what the onset is like to you. Also, the program covers some really cool demonstrations of spatial disorientation that very clearly drive home why us instrument rated helicopter pilots should always trust our instruments. Oh, and finally, who wouldn’t want to strap on a fighter helmet and feel like a top-gun for a short while, right?

The chamber flight was conducted in chambera pressurized chamber with oxygen stations for each pilot. We were brought to various altitudes and asked to do tasks with our masks off. I’ll spare the details but suffice it to say that some rather unexpected and funny things happened when the masks came off for a bit. We all had different symptoms…some of us were unresponsive, others were just plain giddy.

 

chiefcrewOur crew and commander were awesome…kept it really fun if you can’t tell. We also got to do a rapid decompression, and some night-vision training and a night chamber flight at 5000 feet. That was a real eye opener, because we got to see first hand just how poor your color vision is at night.

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In the spatial disorientation portion of the day, I learned not to trust my ear canals, and Mike (no, he is not sleeping) saw that moving your head around rapidly in chair-3the cockpit can produce alarming results (that’s him throwing himself into the wall after the spinning stopped!)

 

 

 

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Of course, we couldn’t go to Andrews without visiting the crew of one of the Maryland State Police Helicopters and their dauphin…stationed right there on the field.

Overall, this was an amazing trip, and I would highly recommend to anyone the value of this training day.

 

-Mike R (photos MR and MK)

Commercial Training Flight to NYC

We wanted to share our experience on our flight through New York City P11010004 (17) to Linden, NJ (LDJ). It was a warm summers evening and the winds were calm…okay, seriously. Our first task was flight planning. We utilized the TAC and Helicopter Route Chart as well as a great deal of information from students experiences who had already made the trip. They have well documented accounts of their trips including routes, frequencies, waypoints, pictures, fuel stops, and even the FBO with massage chairs! We also spoke with a Northeast graduate at Liberty Tours for local destination information. We finalized our own plan and departed 7B9 at approx 18:00.

Enroute to Bridgeport for our fuel stop, we flew directly over Sikorsky. P11010004 (23)After fueling at Bridgeport, we continued westbound to Westchester and transitioned directly over the field via the helicopter routes. We then proceeded to the Tappan Zee bridge and started southbound along the Hudson below 1100′.

 

 

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We continued southbound along the Hudson west side making position reports all the way to ‘The Lady’.

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After orbiting several times, we then requested transition through EWR class B via the Newark – Linden helicopter routes for landing at Linden. Upon landing at Linden, we met up with a former Northeast instructor now flying for Liberty Tours.

 

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Looking back on the flight, it was an excellent choice for my two hour day and two hour night dual instruction requirement. It was by far the best real-world flying I have done to date.

-K.R.

Northeast Visits Sikorsky Aircraft

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S-92 and S-76On Thursday night, approximately 40 students and instructors visited Sikorsky Helicopters Connecticut manufacturing plant in Stratford Connecticut. We were treated to a complete 3+ hour tour of the manufacturing facilities, production line, flight simulator facility, on-site memorabilia room, Igor Sikorsky’s office and gift store. We also got to sit in the highly sophisticated M-model Blackhawk and see the future of helicopter aviation avionics first hand. Connecticut is a US hub for helicopter and aviation companies, and is also somewhat historical in that Igor Sikorsky made his first tests of a flying helicopter in Bridgeport CT, not far away.

BlackhawkSikorsky LobbyProduction Line

Our thanks to Northeast Helicopters student and Shift Supervisor Jim Miller and his wife Beth for making this tour happen. Everyone was amazed the sheer size of the plant and the amazing helicopters it puts out. Thank you Jim and Beth for an unbelievable night!

Congrats and Safe Journey to Eric Rossier

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Eric and his new commercial ticket are venturing out into flying country up north to raise some small pilots and find more helo adventures, but will never be a stranger here. You’ll know he’s back around when the smell of the savory smoked meats he’s graced the hangar with before come wafting back again.

To paraphrase his words from an impromptu speech last night: ‘I’ve never found a community like this where people love life and love what they do.’

Safe journey Eric. Keep the blue side up!

CFII’s Leaving NEH for Liberty Helicopters in NYC!

Steve & Tony

 

 

Liberty just keeps adding more and more NEH alumi. Congratuations to Steve and Tony! We are going to miss you! Hard to believe that a few short years ago both of these guys walked through our doors with an interest in learning to fly, and now they’re in the cockpit of AS350 and EC120 turbine helicopters every day. Way to go guys!

HAI 2008 Memories

HAI holds the largest helicopter convention in the country one a year, each year in a different city. Even as a student just starting to follow your helicopter career path, experiencing HAI is a great way to see what lies ahead of you. Here a couple of highlights from our trip this past year.

 

DSC 0429We got to play with a 100% realistic IFR EC-145 simulator. Tim and Eric are showing it off. This thing was so real that people watching from the railing above would literally fall over if you put in a hard bank. Really amazing technology!

 

 

 

DSC 0421When you fly larger helicopters with more complicated systems you often learn the machines in varying phases. This is an S-92 cockpit mockup that pilots transitioning to the S-92 use to learn only the systems and cockpit layout. All of those flat screens are touch screens, and every button and breaker works exactly like the real thing…so you would normally start learning on this simulator, then once you understand the systems, you go into the full motion sim for flight practice, and then finally into the real deal.

 

DSC 0424Tiltrotor technology is continuing to emerge as a way to combine the benefits of hoverability of helicopters with the speed of airplanes. Tim is running the preflight checks on this this one. (We won’t tell him it’s a mockup of a soon-too-be produced version…let the boy have his fun!)

Northeast Helicopters Hanging out with Frank Robinson

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Here is some of the Northeast Helicopter members at the Robinson Factory party this year at HAI (Helicopter Association International) in Houston Texas. From left to right:

Eric Peterson – Commercial Student

Mike Rosenbush – Former ProTrak, current NEH CFII

Frank Robinson himself!!!

Mike Kwas- Former NEH CFII

Ellie Callahan – Former NEH student

Tim Dunn – Assistant Chief Pilot