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a student while they learn how to fly. I truly enjoy collecting field experience and bringing the knowledge I’ve gained from flying 39 different aircraft variants back to the training table.


RPMN: Have you ever had an “Oh, crap!” moment in a helicopter? Can you summarize what happened?


Other than a couple of air restarts following unintentional engine shutdowns? I have many stories from my time flying overseas. Picture a Midwestern American kid flying a French helicopter in Afghanistan. While flying over a Chinese lithium mine, he gets hit by the Taliban firing a Russian anti- aircraft 60-caliber ZPU machine gun. (What a wacky world we live in.) The aircraft took two rounds: one through the main rotor and one through the tail rotor!


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


Anyone can develop cyclic and collective skills, but to be successful in aviation, you need to have a deep understanding of human behavior to understand your own limitations and to work your way up the ladder and open new doors. Start by reading How to


Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie and then learn Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs” psychology. Basically, I have two guiding principles:


1. Work like you’ll never leave your job. Always leave the door open. If you move on, do your best to continue to help your previous operator. You can recruit, consult, and even still fly for them sometimes.


2. There is an old saying, “Treat others the way that you want to be treated.” I couldn’t disagree more. I believe that we need to have the social intelligence to treat others the way


they want to be treated. Good CRM begins there.


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RPMN: In your view, what is the greatest challenge for the helicopter industry at this moment in time?


Quality personnel is definitely the biggest challenge for our industry. It is tough to sell this trade to someone who has the mental aptitude


to calculate and


determine that the total ROI of the career path yields a negative return for those who have to take out a personal loan to obtain training. Flying is only a small portion of career success, and yet, the minimum educational requirements are a high school diploma and 200 hours of stick time. A successful business requires a wildly more advanced and educated population than what is minimally required to enter this profession.


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


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