So Chuck just got back from the Heli Expo 2015 in Orlando and told me about yet another change at Airbus Helicopters, formerly known as Eurocopter, formerly known as Aerospatiale. Now they are changing the name of the iconic helicopter, known in the States as “AStar” or “Squirrel” from AS350 to H125!
Uhm … what?
To me personally, naming a helicopter “Airbus” already doesn’t make sense and we poked plenty of fun at it last year. But even changing the designation? Well, I’m sure the highly intelligent marketing people have a really good reason for this which just isn’t easy to understand for a simple helicopter pilot, and the costs of changing marketing all the way down to re-writing the manuals and checklists will be absorbed somehow… probably by the customer.
Here is the Vertical Magazine article that was the inspiration for the current strip:
Paperwork and aviation, my favorite topic!
The company I used to work for had a whole library full of helicopter log books and that was only for a few helicopters they owned and a few more for helicopters they maintained. On top of the maintenance logs you have log cards for each critical component. A log card is kind of like a birth certificate for the component, when it was born, when it was installed, removed, overhauled, reinstalled … you get the point. And as you can imagine, there are many “critical” components on a helicopter.
My favorite part was when we overhauled and US certified aircraft that came in from Japan. Some of the logs were in Japanese, some in English, many in some strange language hybrid in-between. On top of that, getting the dates right was more complicated since some of the logs used a Japanese calendar. We had many people involved in this with mountains and mountains of paperwork. So, not only would the aircraft not take off, in some of them you couldn’t even physically put all of their paperwork inside of them and still close the doors.
This seems something that wasn’t mentioned to me when I first became fascinated with aviation.
Oh, and in other news! We’re having a contest! Check it out HERE!
I am sure it was really hard for Julio to admit to Chuck he needed help. I guess we’ll see if Chuck brings up this moment in the future. I wouldn’t put it past him.
I got myself in all kinds of tight situations back in my mechanic days. What didn’t help was the fact that I am a short and skinny guy. So whenever it came to somebody having to climb into an airplane tail or helicopter tail-boom, it somehow always ended up being me. I don’t remember actually getting stuck but I got close to panicking a few times, HAHA.
And then there are the airplanes for which you have to be triple-jointed for to work on them. The worst plane I have ever worked on was an air-conditioned Cessna Skymaster with retractable gear. Try changing a vacuum pump on the rear engine on that sucker! This might be where Julio’s disdain for Skymasters comes from (we might never know).
What’s the worst aircraft fixing experiences you guys have had? And other nightmare planes out there?
And the mug goes to …
William Vergonet! (Boy, I hope I spelled that right)
Thanks for playing, guys! We’ll have another contest soon. I think it’s great that a mechanic won the Julio mug! The runner up and winner of the CW book is Adam Jacobs. Please write us a PM or email with your address and we’ll have the prize to you in no-time!
Speaking of Julio, this is another of my favorite strips because it’s very relate-able and I may or may not have lived this moment in my aviation career (strongly leaning towards “may”).
People who know me know that I used a Muppet Show ring tone for certain individuals and a company I used to work for. We also used to listen to music while working with Panaca Jane and even had dedicated playlists for going to a fire, returning to base, or recons for example.
Of course Chuck, being the aviation movie fanatic that he is, has to play “Ride of the Valkyries” every time he goes out flying the helicopter. I’m guessing it’s followed by “Fortunate Son” and “Paint it Black”….
Which songs do you guys think are on his Fixed Wing playlist?
Where I used to work we flew right over a golf course if we were departing southbound. Being the cartoon-type creative mind I had always wondered what would happen if we “picked up” a golf ball on departure. I’m sure it wouldn’t have been pretty in real life.
Still it didn’t seem as threatening as what we had near our practice area where we did a lot of our training. There was a skeet shooting range close by so I always made sure I gave that one a really wide berth …
Speaking of golf balls: I just recently learned that the snorkel heads on our Sky-Cranes had to be re-designed at some point so they don’t suck in golf balls which then would ruin the tank doors. I guess engineers originally didn’t think about the possibility of the Crane dipping out of golf course ponds. But then again you can’t think of every scenario ahead of time …
Decisions, decisions. I might react similar to Chuck here, because as a libra, I tend to be indecisive. Fortunately my ascendant sign is sagittarius, which means I don’t believe in astrology!
I already mentioned this in our Facebook group, but for those who didn’t see that: I will be going to AERO in a couple of weeks. We don’t have a table, so I will be roaming around the premises on Thursday 25th and Friday 26th.
Since it’s my first time, and I don’t have a base of operations there, I have no idea how to do this, but if any of you out there want to meet up, please get in touch with me! Or look out for a guy with a Chicken Wings t-shirt, when you’re there. I will not, as some people suggested, run around in a chicken costume!
I’m in a really big hurry today and can’t think of anything smart or funny to write, so I guess I better don’t write anything then. But damn! I can’t seem to even get that right, since I obviously just failed at not writing anything!
It sure is better to see the traffic from up above than from down below. Although, the best thing is to see no traffic at all, which would be such an easy thing to do if other people would be a little bit more considerate about my schedule. But as Confucius said, “You are not just in the traffic jam, you are the traffic jam.”
Well, at least the Red Flapper didn’t fly into the tail rotor!
There is one bird here close to my house that I wouldn’t mind being blown away though. That bugger is so unbelievably loud, and starts chirping every day at the crack of dawn. It seems that he’s waking all the other birds up as well. My theory is that what then follows for two hours is all the birds screaming “Shut up! I’m trying to sleep!” “No, you shut up!” “You all shut up!” at each other.