The day to day routine of a helicopter pilot flying in the Gulf of Mexico does not suffer from having “too much” variety in it. Once you’re assigned to a job, and have flown that contract for awhile, you’ll essentially figure out the routine and settle into a nice pattern. The only time that really gets broken up is when a pilot elects to “work over” and make some overtime pay. It is when this happens that we find our variety. Today was one of those days for me, as I’m working over for two days. I was tasked with flying my first ever turtle watch flight – yes, we’re watching turtles from a helicopter and the reason why might surprise you! I totally wasn’t expecting #3….oh wait that’s a clickbait tagline. Well the reason might actually surprise you too, but never mind the clickbaity-ness of that sentence and click to read more! Damn…there I go again…
This is one I’ve been meaning to write since I started flying off-shore. It’s a topic I get questions about from time to time, and one that is worth mentioning. What is the weather like in the Gulf? How do you plan, fly, and work with it? Now that may seem like a ridiculous question to some of the old dogs of aviation, those long in the tooth greying, bitter old bastards that have heli-bellies and retirement on the horizon – but for the younger up and coming generation of pilots these are the things that they are thinking about, asking about and interested in. So I’ll take a stab at it.
Last year I tried to keep summaries for each day of HeliExpo and post them up here, that would end up proving to be a really tough task. It was my first HeliExpo and I made the naive mistake of thinking that I would have anything that resembled free time during the week. My days started before 7am at press breakfasts and meetings and then spilled over into the convention hall floor for interviews, booth announcements, and photography. The action of the day would only melt away and intensify into the after parties, banquet halls full of catered food (often the same menu) and open bars. I can’t recall a day that ended before 3am THE NEXT DAY.
Continue reading “HAI’s HELI-EXPO 2015 (part 1)”