scottswanberg commented on scottswanberg's blog entry: It's going pretty good. Business could always be better, but we are keeping our heads above the water-line and it looks like things are picking up. The summer weather definitely helps. I will be out there flying this weekend. How are things with you?
July 13, 2012
mlanger: Raining like crazy down here in Quincy. If it ever stops, I expect to fly. Any rain up in E. Wenatchee today? Did you fly yesterday?
June 26, 2012
scottswanbergThe weather is gorgeous for once, and I have to go mow the lawn....GRRRRRR!
April 8, 2012
scottswanberg commented on scottswanberg's blog entry: Both are great aircraft in my experience. There have been days that I was in one wishing I was in the other. I definitely feel that the 300 is a better aircraft for initial primary training though.
We're operating out of Boeing Field, Seattle WA on the northeast side. There are two other heli schools on the field but we distinguish ourselves by being the only one to operate the Schweizer 300C. If you are interested in high quality, profe...
April 1, 2012
scottswanbergOk, it's official. I am an employed flight instructor! I will be the weekend instructor (that's really all I can do right now anyway) for Atomic Helicopters in Seattle, WA.
Atomic Helicopters is a flight school based at Boeing Field in Seattle, WA. We provide excellent training from zero hours through CFI. We fly Schweizer 300 helicopters, and pride ourselves in excellent flight and ground training.
March 31, 2012
scottswanbergHopefully I will have some exciting news to post tomorrow. Too early to tell...
I have been in love with helicopters since I was 2 years old. I always aspired to be a pilot and got my PPLFW when I was 17. 2 years later I took out a monstrous loan and got my PPLH add on. Immediately following I joined the Army with the goals of being a Warrant Officer Pilot. Alas, our Army at war had more important things for me to do, like work. So now I am out of the service, working as a contractor doing maintenance on H-47 aircraft for the Army, and continuing to get my ratings in the hopes of someday landing a job as a helicopter pilot. Currently a CFI in the Seattle area.
We're operating out of Boeing Field, Seattle WA on the northeast side. There are two other heli schools on the field but we distinguish ourselves by being the only one to operate the Schweizer 300C. If you are interested in high quality, professional training that will prepare you for a ...
If you are trying to suggest that I am scared of flying and should seek counsel, I think you misunderstood my point greatly. I agree that it is not something that should be stewed on constantly. But you can hardly say you don't concern yourself with it if you are reading NTSB reports, and you mentioned the Robinson Safety course, there are some pretty gruesome videos that you see during that. But those case studies provide insight into how to avoid an accident. My point exactly. When I first started learning to fly helicopters, I was taught by a high time pilot who had been involved in several crashes and other incidents. He passed on everything he learned about those events to me, so that I may some day avoid them. Where I am flying now, they are so concerned about the student feeling safe, and keeping their business, that I wonder if they (the student) are getting the knowledge they need to avoid those situations later on. Rose colored lenses may help one get through the day with a more pleasant attitude, but they reduce one's vision.
I read a great book called "Fatal Traps for Helicopter Pilots" by Greg Whyte. It details case studies of accidents, discusses the causes in detail, then provides insights on how to avoid the situation that led to the accident. The point of the book is to make helicopter pilots aware of the dangers so that they can step around those "traps". The question I was trying to address is: If you, as an instructor, know about a flaw in a system, or a potential pitfall in a particular manuever, are you going to keep your mouth shut to keep your student feeling safe and happy and keep their hard earned money flowing into your school? Or are you going to teach them about it, even if it makes them a little uncomfortable at first, so that they can learn about how to avoid that pitfall, or be aware of that flaw, and therefore, be safer, more proficient pilots? I would hope you would say you would do the latter. I would. But I am seeing more and more of the former as schools try to mitigate potential training accidents and keep the flow of students flowing. No one wants to discuss accidents, and though I know why, I think it is irresponsible. Firefighter's don't get into the job thinking it's going to be all waxing the firetruck and riding around showing off. There is dangerous work there. And though flying a helicopter is FAR safer than that, it has it's dangerous sides too. Especially when you get into arenas like heli-logging, seismic, fire suppression, search and rescue. It's not all about ferry flights and scenic tours. There is some dangerous work out there. Why ignore the pitfalls? It's not going to make them go away. Discussing accidents is a great way to learn how to avoid them.
This post was edited by scottswanberg at December 31, 2010 6:56:29 PM PST
I agree that keeping students interested is important. I am not an instructor yet, so I don't know the challenges ahead, but I feel it is very important to be honest, and even more important to make sure the student knows what they are getting into before they spend their savings, or dig themselves into debt. I would have been a very pissed off individual had I spent all that money only to suddenly have it dawn on me how dangerous it really can be and because of that it wasn't for me. This wasn't the case for me, and it may not be for most people who really want to do it. Everything has risks, and they are still relatively low. With good training we can keep them low. My old school, Western Helicopters has been around for a long time and they have some very good and experienced pilots. That being said, both the helicopters I learned to fly in are in the boneyard. One downed during mountain training, the other on a PPLH checkride (simulated engine failure became an actual engine failure). And those were not the first aircraft that school had lost. If you want to be in this industry for a long time, there is a good chance you are going to have an incident (or several). When that time comes, are you going to be ready? As an instructor, are your student's going to be ready? Are we teaching them everything they need to know? Or are we skating over the dangers to keep the money flowing? A couple of recent crashes in the north west, along with my current training routine, have me asking these questions.
I have been thinking alot lately about the inherrent dangers of flying, and the increasing lack of emphasis on them during training. The FOI states something to the effect that Instructors should emphasise the fun, safe, and rewarding aspects of flying, rather than the dangers. At least, to a point. Emergency procedures in helicopters are usually where most students drop their training. Everything happens so fast in a helicopter. Rigorous training is required to make EPs second nature. It also takes some nerve and a strong stomach. I have heard some pilots say that ANYONE can learn to fly with some training. But I disagree. It's true, it's not hard to operate the machines. Merely a matter of generating muscle memory. It's the decision making that is the challenging part. Learning how to handle stress in adverse conditions. This can be taught, if the individual being taught has a baseline of calm and common sense. However, if this baseline does not exist, creating it in that individual may be impossible. I would say that most successfull pilots are type A personalities with a strong survival instinct and a sharp attention to detail. It's true you don't have to be one of these personalities to learn to fly, but if you plan to make a career out of it, your chances of surviving are greater if you are. The rest kind of weed themselves out. Flying is not for the foolhardy or the naiive. I have seen, read about, and had too many close calls to have any misconceptions about how dangerous flying can be. It's true, flying is safer than driving on the freeway, but if everyone took care of their cars, carefully planned their routes, had radio communications procedures to communicate with each other, and were as well trained as pilots are, there would be far fewer accidents on the road. Can you imagine that scenario? I can't. Too many people out there don't care enough to go to the trouble. Those people should never be pilots. So why should we coddle students that may be scared away by the inherent dangers? At some point we must pull the blindfold off and teach them how to handle EPs. If they cannot, or do not wish to grasp this concept, they will either fail their training or quit. At that point... did you waste their time and money spent getting them to that point? Should we, as instructors, spend the first 10 hours keeping things light and fun to get them hooked? Or should we give them a well rounded first couple lessons that show them the good the bad and the ugly, and then let them decide for themselves if it is what they really want to do? I was not coddled as a student. EPs were hammered into me and I was told many different stories by my instructors about the dangers that lurked out there for helicopter pilots. Not only did it not scare me away, but it challenged me to be the safe, consious pilot that I am. I intend on training my students the same way. However, I have noticed around my flight school that discussing accidents and mishaps and any of the inherent dangers is done in a whisper. It is touched on in training but not drummed in. The school, which is barely hanging in there due to the poor economy, does not want to scare potential customers away. Now, they also get alot of their business from scenic flights and tours, and I can definitely see how scaring your passengers is bad for business. Keeping passengers calm and assuring them of their safety is critical in keeping this industry alive. But for those that intend on operating these machines... I feel that is another story. Some of my closest calls came on days that I was just enjoying being in the air, not paying attention to something I should have been, taking it all for granted.
Any opinions or comments are welcome. I am not thin skinned so if you disagree with me on some point, please feel free to make your case.
This post was edited by scottswanberg at December 24, 2010 11:01:51 AM PST