At the company I’m currently flying for we recently switched everything to iPads. They are a great tool and the “Foreflight” app is pretty much the best app ever invented as far as I’m concerned. Another cool invention was that on some fires we can get the fire map as overlay on the iPad to navigate around the fire which is really handy on a big California Fire with many Branches and Divisions.
But we have to keep two iPads for every machine on hand, just in case one goes out on us. We also have to make sure we keep them in the shade so the iPad doesn’t overheat, so we can’t keep them in the aircraft sitting in the sun. Then there are the chargers, the need to keep them charged at all times, and most of us still have their own iPad as well. Additionally our old machines have hand-held GPS’s with a mount for the cockpit. It’s a lot of technology to keep track of to compensate for having just one paper map 😉
Ah, the modern day conveniences… gotta love them!
When it came to things like juggling or balancing something on your hand, my brother was always better than me. Maybe that’s why he became a helicopter pilot and I a cartoonist. Rarely do I ever have to balance a pencil on my palm, but my brother needs to keep those metallic beasts from losing balance all the time.
And now this strip gives me an idea … Maybe I should get him a unicycle for Christmas!
Well, Oshkosh is in full swing again, and unfortunately, my brother and I aren’t going to make it this year either. But we hope that everyone who’s there has a great time! Be sure to post some photos in our Facebook group or our forum, if you can!
And from where I am sitting, the weather over there looks pretty nice! I just measured 37°C (98°F) in my office right now. I really prefer the hot time of the year to cold, but I wish my boss would make me work less in these temperatures. Alas, that’s the fate of the self-employed!
Today’s strip is based on a true story, by the way. It didn’t happen in Oshkosh though. But you have to ask Mike about the details!
I guess I’m lucky that a) nobody ever gets close to my computer, since I work from home, and b) that I managed to surround myself with polite people who would never think of touching my computer without asking.
I remember that, in the old days, when computer were just becoming popular, it was more common to just go on somebody else’s computer and do whatever with it. I vividly remember self-appointed computer experts changing system settings or installing software on other people’s computer without asking. Nowadays I think that’s almost unthinkable. Same goes for smartphones. Only one person ever took my mobile phone out of my hands without asking, to play with the settings. What can I say, I’m not a confrontational person, and we were just talking about phone settings, so I just let him have at it, but still, it was a bit of an awkward situation.
Our dad used to be a teacher at and later the principal of a technical school here in Austria. He always used the password “work” for all his computer stuff at school and said it was probably the safest password to have, because it’s a word that none of his students has ever heard of.
I guess now you can guess where my brother and I got our sense of humor from!
Nowadays, of course, you wouldn’t get away with a password like that, because the software forces you to choose a word that’s at least 30 characters long and contains at least a capital letter, a number, a special character and the name of an Sumerian god.
Ok, as some of you have pointed out, not every pilot is driving a nice pretty car. I was not generalizing but rather speaking of my own experience. And as long time readers might know, Chuck and Julio get a lot of their ideas from some of my personal experiences and not the news.
Also, want to lay the rumors to rest that Chuck is done with his Corsair just to buy a car. Chuck can do both. Knowing Chuck, this car may be leased and if you think about it, he hasn’t spent all that much money on his Corsair quite yet. He is still missing a motor and has accumulated a bunch of stuff from junk yards so far, boosted by some gifts from his airline-pilot-uncle Ed. Don’t worry aviation fans, we were just working on a possible B-Story Line we can use every now and then.
One of you, a copilot of a regional airline, commented on the last strip that he was driving a tiny car with 280,000 miles on it. I feel like I want to address this post personally. The official Chicken Wings position (well, mine for sure, … so at least 50% of Chicken Wings) on what co-pilots are making in this country is a crime in our minds. We have addressed this many times in the past and it is near and dear to my heart. And one thing we feel we can do and have done is bringing more awareness to this issue. I believe that any pilot who put in many years of training and spent many years of eating Ramen Noodles taking out multiple loans in a lot of cases having peoples lives in his hands, should make more money than a teenager flipping burgers at Mickey D’s …
So there I was in the heart of San Diego when I suddenly found myself behind the wheel of a brand new Dodge Challenger. The pilot I worked back-to-back with at the time had such a high status with the rental car company after renting for so many years, that he could pick pretty much anything he wanted for a mid-sized car price. He would get the car, then switched with me wherever the helicopter was parked at the moment, and I would get to drive the rental back to the nearest airport to fly home for my days off.
I don’t even remember the other cars we came across that fire season but driving the Challenger with paddle shifters, massive horse power, many extra features, and such, I couldn’t help but think the whole time driving it “Man, this thing has CHUCK written all over it!” Which then in turn inspired this new mini-series.
But don’t worry guys, this will not suddenly become a comic strip centered around cars. We just thought we need to touch on the fact that most Chuck-type pilots we know, kind of have a need for fancy cars. The other funny thing about this whole story is the fact that on the other hand almost all the best A&P mechanics I personally know drive really beat up, old cars …
The Roost Air crew sure knows how to deal with customers. I actually prefer seeing employees having fun at their job, or not being 100% serious all the time to dealing soulless zombies, who had the love for life sucked out of them by the corporate machine. But if I was scared of flying, I would probably prefer them being serious in front of me too.
I have worked for many operators over the years and seen many different ways of how they deal with aircraft parts. I have encountered everything from small operator parts rooms where you just walk in and sign out your part, to massive operators where the internal system is so sluggish it takes you almost a day to get the part after filing your way through numerous TPS reports and parts requests. “Parts trace-ability” is a big word in aviation and in my mind very important.
Either way you want to go though, one thing I have learned is that it is never a good idea to let pilots in a parts room. Especially when you have Chuck as your pilot! 😉
Also, I really like the pink child gate Julio put on the door in 2004…
Do you guys know that old helicopter joke: “What is that big thing on top? A fan. The moment the thing is turned off, the people inside start sweating.”
I think once again, Chuck may have been taken things way to literally. Please don’t try this at home, no matter how hot it gets. It’s just a cartoon!
Even though the joke probably refers to the rotors turning in the air (which is always a good thing and we go through great lengths to make sure they keep turning), there is some truth to it that relates to reality. Imagine, during fire season, having your car parked in the sun until noon (You can use window shades, that’s fine. But you need to take them out when you get in the car), then get in wearing a flight suit and helmet and wait about 10 minutes before you turn on the AC in your car. That is about how long it takes going through the check list items in a Skycrane before you start turning rotors and the AC doesn’t turn on until then. Those 10 minutes feel pretty long, let me tell you 😉 And some of our machines don’t even have AC, like the one I’m flying this summer.
Also, almost all smaller helicopters I have flown for fire and utility in the past don’t have AC either to save on weight. They get off the ground quicker most of the time where the “FAN” will move some air bringing a little relief together with gaining altitude, but not if you are stuck on the ramp in North Las Vegas for example, waiting for clearance through Nellis Airforce Base airspace during Red Flag Operations. But we do it because we love it 😉