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BRISTOW GROUP IS THE LARGEST OFFSHORE OIL SUPPORT HELICOPTER OPERATOR IN


THE WORLD. IN VERY SHORT ORDER I FIGURED OUT THAT THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TYPICAL ABOUT THE PEOPLE OR THE PLACES IN THE GOM.


While I was there, they were removing the sign from the building and began sanding the former name off the helicopters. By the way, Bristow Group is the largest offshore oil support


helicopter operator in the world. In very short order I figured out that there is absolutely nothing typical about the people or the places in the GOM. The purpose of this article and video sup- plement is to give the viewer a peek into the world of becoming and being a GOM’er. Additionally, we will share some highlights of one of the largest helicopter operators on the planet, Bristow Group.


LOCATION Helicopter operators support the offshore oil industry from


several bases scattered along the Gulf coasts of Texas, Mississippi, and Louisiana. I spent most of my time in the area of New Iberia, Louisiana and the Galiano base, also known as GNO. Other bases that you may hear while talking shop, or in GOM’er vernacular, may include Venice, Patterson, Galveston, and Creole.


ROTORCRAFTPROFESSIONAL 20 Nestled deep in the bayou country of Southern Louisiana, not


only is there a culture indigenous to the area (Cajuns) but also a subculture within the helicopter industry. As is the local culture, comparatively speaking, everything about the helicopter culture is different as well. The days are long, the pace is somewhat slower, and for the most part, the location is what some would consider austere. Of course, the notion of austere, really all depends on your perspective and what part of the planet you call home. It is a fact that most pilots flying in the GOM are not from there, nor do they live there. Most are commuters who travel from all over the country and work a variety of schedules. Despite the unique work- ing conditions, many pilots not only excel in the GOM, but make an entire career of it.


HIRING REQUIREMENTS Traditionally, in the last decade leading up to 2008, the hiring


requirements for most GOM operators would require a pilot to hold a Commercial/Instrument and have at least 1000 hours PIC heli-


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