I love flying Skycranes! They are not a comfortable helicopter to fly in by any means nor do they go far or fast, but boy can they pick up a lot of weight! It’s nice to watch the fire go out when you drop that much water on it per shot. As far as aerial firefighting goes and when utilized properly as a fast moving “initial attack” tool around urban interface, the Crane is absolutely the best helicopter for the job I have ever flown. It works really well here in Greece with the added ability of picking up salt water from the sea.
But now, after almost 3 months on the road, I am happy that today is my last work day I am getting a few day break away from the orange beast. I thought it would be appropriate to post a comic about Cranes to celebrate the occasion.
Orange is actually not the best color for flying around in the smoke I have found btw. We always get all kinds of questions about this helicopter. And most of the time, people even let us finish our sentences, LOL. I’m sure you guys all have met somebody who bombards you with questions without listening to the answers. We also have the guys who come up to us with a question and then proceed to dazzle us with how much THEY know about the machine 😉
Let’s open the blog section for Crane relate questions y’all might have. I’d be happy to answer them.
Sorry for the late upload, guys! I have a construction site going on in my garden that’s keeping me busy. And, as usual with my projects, I underestimated the real amount of work I’d have to put in. I know that I always underestimate the effort, but this time I underestimated how much I underestimated it! Also, the fact that it has been raining every single day in the last weeks didn’t help to expedite the work. Today it has been sunny, so I’ve been working my hind end off to seize the sun.
Anyway, to the real subject: Air Traffic Controllers! They are real people, just like you and me. I’ve even met a few and they all were perfectly nice and normal. Only one thing I noticed: I’m sure I haven’t met a representative sample, but I got the impression that they tend to be a bit on the twitchy side. And one friend of mine, who is one of the most relaxed persons I know, started to become an ATC, but he only lasted a few months. So maybe there really is a certain character trait you need for the job?
Oh, the checkrides. Will they ever end? I don’t think I was briefed correctly when I first got into aviation because if somebody would have told me that I constantly would have to take exams just like in school, only now my job depended on it and my livelihood, I might have chosen another profession. I have had some great examiners in the past though who made the whole checkride a learning experience which in my mind is what an annual checkride is supposed to be. But after many years in aviation, I’ve also had my share of not-so-great-ones. At least I am currently only flying one make/model (as far as the FAA is concerned) which means “only” one to three checkrides a year.
How many exams/checkrides do you all have to pass in one year?
Talking about forces … is anybody else counting the days to the premiere of the new Star Wars movie? Usually, when there’s a movie I look forward to, I try to watch as few trailers and gather as little information about it as possible. But what I have seen so far all looked pretty awesome to me! And the fact that Han Solo makes a reappearance is reason enough to see this one!
I wonder how many “rule number one”‘s there are out there. In aviation, this certainly is the most important one, of course! Unless you’re not on the controls, or a passenger …
Last weekend’s Vienna ComicCon was great, by the way! I have posted a couple of images in our Facebook Group. I later found out that the girl I’m posing with on one of the pictures is a real X-Wing pilot! I wish I had known, I would have asked her for flight lessons …
Well, here we continue with the Swiss Cheese Model. I’ve hit upload before I started writing this little blog entry to go along with it, so I better be quick now. Uhm. What else can I write about this subject? Maybe that as a kid I used to live on spread cheese and liver sausage. I was not a big fan of “normal” cheese though. To this day, I still don’t eat it that much. Are there any cheese fetishists among you? If so, what’s your favorite type?
For those who have the image of a pretty blonde dairymaid bob up in their minds, who is posing with a big wheel of cheese next to a cow, in front of a beautiful backdrop of the Swiss alps, when they hear the words “Swiss Cheese model”, you are on the wrong track. In fact, according to Wikipedia, the “Swiss Cheese model of accident causation is a model used in risk analysis and risk management, including aviation, engineering, healthcare, etc.”
I don’t want to go into too much detail here, but the basic essence of this model seems to be: If you want to be safe, get cheese with tiny holes and cut it into many layers. Or something along those lines.
I have learned over the years that pilots, just like sailors, can be very superstitious people. I myself admit to it and have certain rituals I just don’t do well without. They’re not quite the same rituals that Chuck has, but then again, I have learned that there are as many ways of doing things as there are pilots.
Around the Cranes we do a lot of things we call “tribal knowledge” and some of these things may not have a scientific background and might be things pilots just started doing one day but we do them anyways.
A lot of people believe in what might be good luck and/or bad luck and I believe in not tempting faith either way. For example I have never heard of a Crane being renamed ever since I started with them even when it came out of the National Guard with a name that had no meaning to us because it is said to be bad luck renaming a vessel. And in good old Panaca Jane, nobody ever took out the fuzzy dice (maybe that is where the idea for this strip came from? wink, wink) once they were “installed”. After many years of wear and tear they finally fell apart and wouldn’t look like dice anymore so they were stashed in a little bag underneath the seat. But they were not taken out of the aircraft as long as I flew the thing 😉
Let’s hear/see some of your aviation (or other, for that matter) rituals!
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!
You guys remember the discussions we had in the past whether to spell the instrument “gage” or “gauge”?
I think Sikorsky and my current employer must have had the same discussions in the past since all their manuals call everything an “indicator”, HAHA. I just looked it up!
And who of you has not tapped the old gauge here and there “just to make sure”? Let’s hear some stories!
What I find even funnier is our current switch from the old, what we call “museum models”, to newer glass cockpits. You won’t believe how many fingerprints I keep finding on the screens!
Are there pilots out there who are tapping the indication on the glass screens!?? Who does that!?
And, more importantly, does it actually work?
Maybe Chuck is working my cross shift! 😉