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Letter to the Editor

Ron,

The article about PHI conducting flights in the gulf with ADS-B brought some in- teresting memories back. After leaving the Army as a Huey driver I flew for a small company in the Gulf of Mexico from 1980 to 1982. I was involved in some of the first IFR offshore in the gulf. We were flying IFR 412s and 212s with autopilots. The autopilots were very unreliable and we usually just flew hands on. We would file IFR from Intercoastal City VOR off a specific radial and DME dis- tance that would get us in the neighborhood of the rig. When we got to that area we would request a cruise to 1000 feet. At that point, we would switch over to Loran and fly over the rig outbound downwind for a couple of minutes, do a proceedure turn, and head back in and decend to a specific DH one-half mile away from the rig that we figured out on an earlier trip would give us 200 foot clearance over the highest obstacle on the rig. On the return trip onshore we would shoot an ILS into one of the local airfields.

There was almost no IFR in the gulf going on then and the workers had always been told that flying in the clouds was suicide in a helicopter. Needless to say on their first time into the clouds a lot of folks got very nervous. Smoking was allowed back then and when we would enter the clouds the entire helicopter would become a smoke cloud inside. I remember having to open the window even in the rain to let the smoke out. Many of the old hands thought their death was eminent and never got used to IFR. I think crew change day for these old hands in bad weather was their worst nightmare.

The small ships only had a compass and a clock so we thought we were technol-

ogy rich with an ILS, Loran and a state of the art DME. I think I logged around 100 hours AI out there before giving it up and returning to school and changing ca- reers.

Great magazine.

Dr. Tim McCullough Chiropractic Physician Houston, Texas

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