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FEATURE GOMER Flying in the Gulf of Mexico: Part II BY LYN BURKS


TRAINING In my experience, if you would like to see how seri-


ous a helicopter operator is about safety, then look no fur- ther than its new hire or recurrent pilot training programs. On one hand, there are programs which barely meet the FAA minimums, with their training program loosely pack- aged between the covers of Part 135 Operations Specifications. On the other, there are operators who go beyond the OpSpecs and fill the training “tool box” with innovative techniques and dedicated people. Generally speaking, the training programs provided by


the big helicopter operators in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM), are some of the best the civilian world has to offer. In this continuing series on working in the GOM I take a look at the people, the tools, and the training pro- gram that Bristow Group utilizes when training pilots to fly in support of the offshore oil industry.


“Is it ignorance or apathy? Hey, I don't know


and I don't care.” – Jimmy Buffet Imagine a helicopter operator who flies a fleet of sin-


gle pilot turbine helicopters, loaded to the hilt, landing on small obstacle laden steel structures so far out in the ocean that one can no longer see land. Further to those minor issues, add in a smidge of unpredictable weather, a sprinkle of sketchy weather reporting as well as little to no air traf- fic control. Sound like fun yet? Oh, I am just warming up. You would think that all one would need to do is hire experienced pilots to fill the pilot’s seat of those helicop-


PHOTOS: LYN BURKS


WATCH VIDEO on JustHelicopters.TV to learn more about training to work in the GOM.


17 ROTORCRAFTPRO.COM


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