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…
First of all I want to say thank you to everyone that’s been reading the latest posts, commenting, and messaging. Some loyal readers that had been waiting in the wings for me to start putting content back out – and some new readers! Welcome! I’ve been getting questions about certain aspects of being a helicopter pilot flying Oil and Gas in the Gulf of Mexico, so I’ve decided to field them here. The one I’ve been getting the most so far has been “What is life like off-shore?” Though my account of my current conditions are not representative of ALL platforms you might find yourself “living” on – it’ll give you an idea of what to expect.
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.
Even though I haven’t been writing for the past year and a half (give or take) I still get messages on this site, instagram, and on Facebook. It’s been a long time since I managed any helicopter pilot groups on FB so that last one is a bit of a mystery to me. Let’s roll with it. Lately, since starting in the Gulf the most common request I get is to write about what it is like to fly here, someone asked me to make a youtube video (not gonna happen for a few reasons), and now that I’m back writing again I figured this would be a good place to start.
So here we are again, a year between posts and I’m writing that I’ll do better, I’ll post regularly, I’ll stay more involved in the blog process. We’ve been here before. This past year has certainly been an interesting one, and there are a few reasons why “the roaming pilot” hasn’t been roaming much at all lately. The biggest reason of them all is that I took time off to run for U.S. Congress in Idaho. I didn’t win, but I learned a great deal, and it’s certainly given me a focus and a drive to continue on and do more.
I also took a job flying for PHI in the Gulf of Mexico, the salary and schedule are great, but there hasn’t been much time for roaming, and frankly the job itself doesn’t lend well to exciting reading, it’s not at all like being a sky pirate in the south pacific bombing around off of tuna boats.
But this blog is my passion, I love to fly, travel, photograph, and write. So here we are again, you, me, this page, my words. I’ve done a few domestic trips in the past few months, outing and localized adventures, I’ll see if I can’t breathe any life into those as posts in the next week or two.
For now, I’m looking for a WP guru to help me streamline and awesome-ize the layout and graphic design of the blog, and I’m also going to explore a VLOG/Podcast option. I’m getting the cameras out and dusted off and you should see more content from me as we go. In addition to some backdated posts I’m going to address a question I still get often from people that have read my tuna pilot guide, or my blog in general – what can we low time pilots do? I’m also going to address pilot saturation, pilot shortage, and the airlines (RTP).
One thing I’ll promise to try and do is remain neutral and focused on travel, flying and life. Though I’m more politically active now than ever before in my life, this blog isn’t the format for those views or platforms. So yeah, there we go, back to it, again! If you have any ideas for content or topics you would like me to address leave a comment below!
Honestly I’m surprised at the fact that I haven’t posted this post before. I kind of just dove into writing this blog and I guess along the way assumed that people just “knew” who I was. For those of you that are regular readers you probably noticed the major style updates to the site. Well, one of the things that came with those updates is this featured post.
Earlier this year I was asked to sit on a mentorship panel by Helicopter Foundation International at HAI’s HELI-EXPO 2016, and to participate in mentor sessions for the Mil2Civ program, which focuses specifically on transitioning from Military life to a civilian pilot life. With that came a bio, that was printed and distributed to participants – so I’m recycling that bio and putting it here. Enjoy. Continue reading “Who is The Roaming Pilot? (Pics)”
Back in the start of March I had to fly back to the United States. I’d been invited to sit on a mentorship panel for up and coming helicopter pilots at HAI’s Heli-Expo 2016, and to participate in the Mil2Civ (Military to Civilian) mentorship and transition workshops that were being held in Louisville, Kentucky.
I remember when the Airbus A380 first rolled off the line and I thought to myself – I can’t wait to fly on one of those! And then the pictures of the business and first class areas started to make the rounds on the internet and I swore that I’d be flying business class on Emirates one day – soon. Well, this was the perfect opportunity. Continue reading “Flying with Class…Business Class”
“The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected.” – Robert Frost
Tomorrow is January 29th, and once more I’ll be marking a birthday. To say that it is exciting to have made it this far would be an understatement – though a bit of a tired cliche as EVERYONE seems to think that they’ve “survived” the first 30 years of their lives. However, in all actuality, all things considered, the fact that I’m here now writing this, doing what I love for a living is a testament to some good luck, some good karma, and a whole lot of perseverance. In hindsight, after writing this, I should have broken it up into multiple posts. But I didn’t so you’ve got some reading ahead of you.
Hello! I know it has been a very long time since my last post and I apologize for that. Let’s just say that all this silence over the last few months was triggered by an epic soap-opera level of drama that served as eye-opening for me as to the true nature of the aviation industry.
I digress! The Roaming Pilot is back online. If you’re a regular reader you’ll notice some pretty significant changes, mostly in that I won’t be writing about pilot stuff very much. However, you’re going to be very pleased to read on because I am now going to be “Roaming” even more! I’ve taken a job with a great company in a great location doing a great mission. It’s launched me, what I feel, is years ahead of my career track if I had pursued traditional paths.
For instance, I had the opportunity this past weekend to visit Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates. Dubai has been on my bucket list of places to visit since they unveiled the Burj Khalifa and also because of two other influence. Click to read on –
Let me start first by qualifying myself to even make the following comments. I am a US Army Veteran, I served honorably in combat, and my honorable discharge reflects that. I carry a VA service connected disability rating of 20% (getting blown up and shot at a lot will do that to a guy – it’s mostly hearing related), and I am one of the many helicopter pilots currently working in the industry that earned not only my ratings as a pilot – but my degree – through the Post 9/11 GI Bill. On March 15th LA Times reporter Alan Zarembo published an article that sparked an online wildfire of judgments against Helicopter flight schools, vets, the VA, and what was mischaracterized as a “loophole” in the VA program – The Post 9/11 GI Bill. In the weeks, and months that have followed two schools have seen new enrollments stopped (albeit one was voluntarily), and now Congress is talking about pulling flight funding for the GI Bill, and all because one article, poorly researched, led people down a path of misinformation. With all due respect to Alan Zarembo and the LA Times, you’re messing with the wrong group – and your reporting on this issue was half-baked at best – though I appreciate you bringing light to the issue and hope that your reporting will help us solve this problem, I feel as though you set your sights on the wrong “big picture”. Allow me to not only fill in some holes for you, but also give you the solution to the problem. Vets represent some of the most capable and intelligent members of American society – this is a well known fact – we not only saw the problem coming, we know exactly how to solve it.