“Pilots with lots of gas make good decisions!” As a pilot and flight instructor I really like that phrase, and it was actually only last summer that I heard it for the first time. The other captain I flew with most of the season always used to say it, especially when it came time to decide if we should fly another load on the fire or head back for fuel. The Skycrane is actually a pretty simple aircraft to calculate fuel burn with because it makes very little difference what the mission is or the altitude. She always burns almost the same amount, there really is no “stretching” it by using less power or flying way conservative. Even on cross-countries or sitting on the ground running it seems to burn almost the same. The only thing you need to watch out for is how FAST she is burning the gas. The fuel gauge is one of the fastest moving gauges on a crane.
Of course leave it up to Chuck to interpret the saying a little different. This strip actually took a lot of research because in trying to stay accurate with our strips we had to find out what makes a chicken gassy. And there you have it! Burritos! Who knew?
Since I have seen both side of this coin, I do feel for the mechanics. This happened to me plenty of times in my younger years. The pilot landed and walked away while I was there all night fixing the helicopter. And now, almost exclusively working as a pilot, I try not to be “that guy” for that exact reason. Yet there are times, after flying a noisy helicopter all day, looking into the sun, on a busy fire with many aircraft to watch out for, and no air-condition in the aircraft, when you just have to walk away at the end of the day because you would probably do more damage than good if you stuck around trying to swing tools. Also, and this might be an age thing or the fact I have a far better and prettier half, I don’t go chasing girls after a day like that anymore but rather seek a cold beer and then a clean bed pretty much right away.
There is one thing I have always thought is funny about aviation seminars. It’s the difference between mechanic seminars and pilot seminars. I have been to both. On a mechanic seminar, when it was said that it starts at 8 am, it almost always started right at 8 am with everybody sitting down, pencil in hand. On pilot seminars, … not so much. At 8 am they would still be trickling in, find other pilots they know, catch up on the latest rumors, grab another cup of coffee, stand around chatting, until around 8:20 the speaker would try to get everybody to shut up and sit down so we can get started with the meeting 😉
It’s that time of the year again. What I am talking about of course is that time when Chuck is headed to the International Helicopter Convention “HAI Heli-Expo”. Since he is such an important figure, not to mention the chief pilot of Roost-Air, I’m sure that HAI won’t be able to go on without him. And in typical Chuck-fashion he once again has all his priorities straight – see the ladies at Vertical Magazine, collect as much helicopter swag as he can carry, and scope out where they are giving out the free beer. Some things may never change I guess.
And speaking of our friends at Vertical Magazine, stop by their booth (Booth #9533) and say Hello if you are there. Or you can follow them AND the show through their Twitter, Facebook and Instagram feeds.
And look for their “Show us your Swag” Contest with give-aways!
I venture to say that each and every one of you who ever had to deal with pro-seal in one way or another, will be able to relate to this strip. No matter how much you prepare before you start sealing, it will always be a mess. And even if you’re not a mechanic or homebuilder, you can also tell just by looking at a pro-seal job (during your preflight, for example), that the application process must have been a mess by the little streaks that come off from the sealed area. Sometimes you also find wipe marks where the mechanic desperately tried to wipe of the excess sealant. Pro-seal has the tendency to just end up EVERYWHERE, your clothes, the floor, all over the aircraft, and of course your phone since you always get that one phone call you really need to answer right after you mixed the sealant. I am sure this probably applies to most resins or anything that comes in two compounds to be mixed before applying, but in my experience pro-seal has been the worst. The smell of it doesn’t help either.
We truly do live in an era of technological wonder. It’s so easy to lose sight of all the technological awesomeness that surrounds us, because we adapt so quickly and take everything for granted. I remember the first time I heard what a GPS was, I was about 12 or 13 years old. The concept blew me away! Satellites! In space! Helping you pinpoint your location to a few meters! Of course, back then it was ridiculously expensive.
Not so today. Nowadays, every third grader has technology in his pocket that would have blown the mind of even the most visionary person just a lifetime ago. But smartphones are around for just about a decade! So has Youtube! Of course, I also just take all that for granted. But every now and then stop and think about how things have changed just in my lifetime. It’s simply amazing! And I am curious about what else I will live to see.
Everything comes with its own problems, risks and drawbacks, of course, as Chuck experiences in this comic strip.
I have to admit I zone out when pilot speak gets really technical. And with technical, I mean stuff like regulations and form numbers etc. But I sure have learned a lot of aviation lingo since I started drawing this comic! Maybe even more than Sally.
I think I mentioned here before that I don’t have any games installed on my computer. The reason is simple: I work from home and sit either in front of, or right next to the computer all day. It’s so easy to tell yourself to “just play one little game”, and boom, suddenly your whole afternoon is gone. I experienced that in the past more often than I’d like to admit. My biggest problem is that I really like strategic and/or building games, along the lines of Civilization, Age of Empires or Sim City. Those things can absolutely absorb me. I decided to go cold turkey many years ago, because it seems that’s the only way for me to deal with it.
It’s not like I wouldn’t be wasting any time anymore. Tons of browser games are just one click away! But I limit myself to ones where I know I can quit, and a round takes maybe 10 minutes or so. I don’t play Airport Madness though, because that really stresses me out! However, my brother is rather fond of that game. But, let me stress again, that all similarities between Mike and Chuck are strictly accidental!
Here in Austria, we have a military draft for those people unfortunate enough to be born with the wrong 23rd chromosome pair. I kinda lucked out, because I came to a rather relaxed unit and was trained to be a truck driver. We learned on really, really old Steyr trucks where you had to double clutch etc. They were really fun to drive though! Because their parking brake was not operated by air, but via a cable, you could ease it in with a lever, just like with a normal (manual) car, and drift through rubble or on snow. Good times.
Anyway, what I really wanted to write about was that, during and after my time as a truck driver, I had a totally different attitude towards cars in general. I would check on the tires, equipment, engine etc. much more frequently than I do now. Nowadays, I’m basically like Chuck: Four tires? Steering wheel? Let’s go!
I don’t know how many of you are familiar with Reddit. But those of you who are, probably already stumbled across “Tales From Tech Support” or “Tales From Retail“. I really think Julio has it easy compared to what some poor people working in tech support or retail have to deal with all day. My favorite call of all time probably is the guy who can’t see the difference between 0.002 dollars and 0.002 cents. I think it’s way longer in the original, but I found a clip on Youtube here. Although in this case, it’s the support guy who’s the moron. If I remember correctly, it starts out with a disgruntled customer who has been quoted 0.002 cents per MB of data used and was then charged 0.002 dollars.
Does anybody have any stories to share in that regard? I know that in aviation, you have to deal with a whole zoo of customers too.
I know a few people with Chuck-like communication habits in real life. Personally, I like to limit my use of all this fancy new ways to communicate. It’s not as bad as my approach towards computer games (which is basically teetotalism), but I pretty much only use Facebook and WhatsApp. Because I work alone in my own office, I need to steer clear of as many distractions and time-wasters as possible. I’m getting sidetracked enough as it is! And I’m sure I’m not the only one with the problem …