Premium on Safety - Issue 25, 2017 - 1



Quiz: Braking Action 03
Best Practices: 04
Check Your Six!
ASI Message: 05
Pay it Forward

Upgrades: 06
Transition to Turbine
Lesson Learned: 07
Slippery When Wet

Some years back, I was on a panel at a
safety forum exploring "safety issues keeping
[us] up at night." One issue identified was the
talent, or lack thereof, flowing into aviation's
ranks. The concern was that if the caliber
of people the aviation industry is attracting
declines, fewer new entrants would shrink
the base of the workforce pyramid, even
as sizeable numbers of folks near the top
retire. When that happens aviation safety and
manufacturing capacity will suffer.
Aviation doesn't hold the same allure for
today's young career seekers as it once did.
A charter operator recently told me that even
as regional airlines have worked to make
themselves more attractive to new pilot
applicants, he's feeling the pinch, and can
hardly find any prospects. There are great
aviation mentorship programs emerging, led by
individual companies, non-profits and aviation
associations representing the interests of every
aspect of aviation and aerospace.
Consider this column my call to action. I
hope you'll get involved in one of these rewarding ventures wherever you live. Remember, the
safety and efficiency of our aviation system
depends on it. Fly smart, and fly safe.

Paul Ratté
Director of Aviation Safety Programs, USAIG


Are Your SOPs Working?

Where precision flying and effective teamwork meet
During my time as a US Coast Guard
helicopter pilot part of my job was hoisting
people from ships and boats, or directly
from the water. You might guess hovering
over a churning sea with people dangling
from the aircraft by a cable would be the
apex of pilot workload. Undeniably, those
could be stressful moments. We worked
to make them less so by flying lots of
practice hoists. But there was another,

visual cues, and our elegant human
design automatically compensates for
most of the nasty vestibular effects. But
flying over the ocean at night, or in pea
soup fog (or both) puts visual cues in
short supply. So, we constantly practiced
manually flying the transition from
forward flight to a hover over the water on
instruments alone. Over time, this would
generally cure any fixation habits in your

Figuring out the right size and scope for your SOPs isn't a 'do it,
then forget it' kind of thing.
less glamorous maneuver we practiced
just about as much. It epitomizes the very
intersection of precise flying and effective
teamwork, and taught me the value of
standard operating procedures, or SOPs.
Flying a helicopter in forward flight has
a lot in common with flying an airplane as
far as how the controls are coordinated.
To make the transition from there to a
hover at zero ground speed, however, the
pilot progressively switches to using all
the flight controls differently, while at the
same time slowing the aircraft through
a tangle of vibrations and motion cues
that seem specifically designed to mess
with one's equilibrium. Do this with ample

instrument scan, but it never stopped
challenging you to resist the unhelpful
seat-of-the-pants cues the aircraft would
dish out. Thankfully, this was a team
sport. The flying pilot would work to
finesse the aircraft into a 50-foot hover
without any outside visual reference, but
with a systemic, almost scripted backup
regimen coming from the other pilot.
Adding to the challenge, the maneuver
had to finish very near to a specific point.
While searching, we might see a flare
and mark atop its origin, or mark position
overhead a vessel from which someone
needed to be evacuated. That began a
(continued on page 2)


Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Premium on Safety - Issue 25, 2017