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.
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!
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”
It’s an age old question, since the introduction of color photographic materials people, photographers, and nit-picky mothers having photos made of their kids have debated this point. So which one is better color or B&W photography? Continue reading “What’s Better – Color or Black and White Travel Photos?”
“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.
My leave in the United States seemed to end far quicker than it began and I quickly found myself boarding British Airways for a flight back to my real job – being a helicopter pilot. If I could be paid to just travel and write this blog, and I mean…that would be nice.
Anyways, I had a 10 hour layover in London before my connecting flight back to the Middle East, and there was no way I was going to sit on my hands in the BA terminal (it’s a nice terminal – in case anyone from BA is reading and wants to sponsor the blog); not when there was a beautiful, thriving, vibrant London just a quick shot down the tube waiting to be discovered!
That was meant to be a bit sarcastic given the usual grey, damp, backdrop to London that the rest of the world just assumes is the weather 100% of the time, however while I was there it was blue skies and only a little bit of rain. Continue reading “London in…maybe 7 hours”
I’ve been saying that I was going to catch up on my blog for some time now, but today I finally decided to at least knock out a few of the posts I’ve got waiting in the wings. For my, two…is it even two…followers. The thing with blogging is that unless you’re consistent (like I was during the Tuna Pilot days) your readership falls off faster than frat pledges on initiation night.
Speaking of college grade antics and shenanigans I recently (as in last year in October) spent a couple weeks in Cabo San Lucas. Which is now, by far, my favorite “close to home” tropical getaway. All the sun, sand, and fun you could possibly want, and it’s a short flight from home. Continue reading “Cabo San Lucas, Mexico (Pics + VIDEO!!)”
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)”