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rooting for The Ohio State Buckeyes while living in the middle of Roll Tide (University of Alabama) country. Go Bucks!


RPMN: What is your greatest career accomplishment to date?


I have a few. Receiving a Gold Seal on my CFI certificate was a great accomplishment. As an instructor, I helped 22 people realize their dreams to become pilots. The other was gaining the confidence of aerial power linemen when they allowed me to start flying human external cargo operations at Haverfield Aviation. It’s a whole different thought process doing long-line operations when the cargo is people. Those people trust you to bring them back to the ground in the same condition you picked them up.


RPMN: Have you ever had an “Oh,


crap!” moment in a helicopter? Can you summarize what happened?


Oh, yes! As a flight instructor, I had a 10-hour student with me during a normal takeoff. About 200 feet AGL, our fuel cap separated from the aircraft and took out our tail rotor. We spun 90 degrees pretty quick. I instantly knew we lost tail rotor authority as I lowered the collective and rolled off the throttle. In my head, I heard my old flight instructors telling me the emergency procedure for this: “Keep airspeed up and let the vertical stabilizer help


with yaw control.” At about that time we had spun 180 degrees. I saw the vertical stabilizer falling to the ground as I thought to myself:


There goes that idea. I was now just trying to manage the rotor RPM as we continued


to spin. We spun one-and-a-half times, and when we landed we split the landing gear. There were no injuries, and I made sure to call my old flight instructor to thank him for working so much with me on those types of emergencies when I was a student.


RPMN: If you could give only one piece of advice to a new helicopter pilot, what would it be?


Set goals and work hard to achieve them. You will have some hurdles to jump, but don’t let that stop you. Also, know that your entire career is a job interview from the first day you show up to flight school. Our industry is small and it’s easier to get a job if everyone your potential employer talks to tells them how hard you work. Always be professional and don’t burn bridges.


RPMN: In your view, what is the greatest current challenge for the helicopter industry?


Educating the non-flying public. I can’t tell how many times the police have been called on me while we were working on


powerlines. Many people think we are stuck to the lines or to the towers. Other callers believe the lineman sitting on the platform is a crew member that is about to jump because of us being “stuck.” It makes for some interesting stories on the 6 o’clock news!


Do you know someone who would be a good subject for Meet a Rotorcraft Pro? Email your suggestion to the editor-in-chief:


lyn.burks@rotorcraftpro.com.


rotorcraftpro.com


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