A lot of people ask me, "How can I become a helicopter pilot"? I have answered most of them in the same way over and over again. I just figured I should post some general information to help people decide if that is what they really want to do. There are a lot of things to consider before you make a career decision like that, and there is a lot of things you need to know first. Please take the time to read this before you e-mail and ask questions. I am pretty sure your answer is already here somewhere. As much as many things change, many things do not. I have tried recently to update this information, but most of it remains the same.
Combining the "FAQ" and "What's New" pages, and eliminating the "Links" page were necessary to stay within a desirable 10 page web site size limit.
Well, you have to decide first how important all of this is to you, what your goals are, what your expectations are, and how your expectations match with reality. Do you want to be a helicopter pilot as your full time job, a part time job, or as a hobby? Are jobs available in your area? Is the money in the jobs locally good enough for you to live on or raise a family? Can I afford my own helicopter, or will I have to fly one that belongs to someone else?
If you decide to become a full time helicopter pilot as a job, do you want a lifestyle where you will be "On the road" all of the time? Piloting usually means having to travel a lot. Helicopters however, typically have about a 2-hour fuel load, and they generally fly 100 to 120 Knots indicated airspeed. So, unless you refuel a lot, you probably will never be too far from your home base. That is not always the case, but that is a general rule. So, you may ask, why I am concerned with being "on the road"? First, if you break down somewhere or get weathered in, you have to stay away from home. That does not happen all too often, but it does happen. Mission requirements may call for you to go to a remote location, so that also means staying away from home for weeks at a time. Most importantly however, is that helicopter jobs as a rule are not the most stable forms of employment. Many last 2 years on average. The next one may require you to pack up and move across the country with a real short notice. It is usually not a lifestyle conducive to owning a home and raising a family. Some pilots live in one area for a long time, doing Medevac, or working for a News Station, but these jobs are very rare. Once someone gets into a position like that, they are most likely going to stay in it for as long as they can. You may have to wait until they die or retire before another position like that opens, especially in a place where you want to live.
Usually, not really well. Civil helicopter operators have a very high overhead. Between the initial cost of a helicopter, maintenance, fuel, and you the pilot, the cost factors are really high. Since there are more qualified pilots than there are jobs, operators can afford to pay less to you to keep their costs down. The other costs are more fixed (Fuel may fluctuate in cost, but the need to buy so many gallons per hour is a fixed situation) and they can do little about them. Since there is more of a job shortage than a pilot shortage, a lot of pilots will often work for less money so they can keep doing what they enjoy. If the operator can find someone who will work for less, they will hire them before hiring you. It is simply a matter of economics for the operator.
A long time ago, I was priced $170 per hour in Oklahoma for a non-turbine helicopter (Early 90's prices, so this is only a basic example of the ratio of cost between airplanes and helicopters), just so I could get current and it takes going up for at least 1 hour every 90 days to stay current. It may be cheaper elsewhere but Oklahoma is usually one of the least expensive places to do anything in the USA. I have to contrast that $170 per hour to $45 per hour in a fixed wing airplane. I could get almost 4 hours in an airplane for the price of 1 hour in a helicopter. When you start talking about 30 to 50 hours of training just to get your license, it really starts adding up.
My best suggestion would always be to learn to fly a fixed wing first. That way you learn how to make radio calls, navigate, and generally get an "Air Sense" at a much cheaper rate. Then transitioning to a helicopter will take a lot less of that costly time, and in the end, you will have two ratings.
That, in my opinion, is the absolute best way to learn. Military pilots spend their day in a flight school environment. They fly, and go to school for flight at the same time. They do not have to worry about paying for lessons, having to go to work for a living, or other distractions. They are full time, hands on students at the best flight schools money can buy. The best part is that they get paid to learn. All of the military flight schools I know of teach under extremely stressful environments. This makes sure you can REALLY cut it as a pilot, and when you are thrust into an emergency procedure, you will tend to go right back to that training that you learned under stress since an emergency is quite stressful in itself, and your mind will usually function automatically. If you have to stop to think during an emergency, you may waste precious time. Emergency procedures need to be second nature, and the atmosphere you are taught in while in the military helps you to do things automatically. No one will argue that military pilots are the best in the world. If you don't believe that, just ask one. We are not shy about telling you how well trained we are.
Most police departments want you to be a "Street Officer" first. They usually select their flying officers from the pool of beat cops, and not from a pool of qualified pilots. They are often more concerned with the ability to be a police officer than a pilot. They figure that they can train you to be a pilot, but to be a police officer with experience is more valuable to them.
I never understood this logic, but I do understand that they use the flight detachments as an incentive program for their line officers. I believe more people have the ability to become a police officer than to become a competent pilot. I spend my free time with a lot of law enforcement people, so I do not want you to get the idea that I dislike the police. In fact, I like and respect them very much. I just do not believe the practice of choosing pilots from the line officer pool makes much sense, when you have so many competent and qualified military trained pilots available to choose from.
Police department administrations are not run by pilots, they are run by street officers or civilian politicians who worked their way up the ladder or were elected to positions of leadership. They do not always understand the safety issues involved in aviation, because most have no experience in aviation related matters. Often budget concerns are the most important factors, and safety is a lower institutional priority.
Unfortunately for all concerned, this situation puts less experienced people in the air, endangers the people on the ground and reduces the avenues for properly trained, experienced pilots to gain employment.
The truth is that I did not give up flying, but I no longer pursued it as a full time career. I still have a private fixed wing and commercial rotary wing license, but I have only used them for recreational flying since the military. My issue was that I got out of the Army when a lot of other pilots were getting out, and frankly, jobs were really scarce. It took a long time for me to find a civil job, and the job did not last long. The pay was not great, and I realized from day 1 that I was easily replaceable. They must have received 6 to 10 resumes a day, just to fill the position that I was in. Here I had 1800 hours of some pretty amazing flight time, numerous military decorations, combat time, and 5 safety of flight awards, but I felt like I was just another new guy who had to start over from scratch. Since I changed careers, I make more money, spend more time with my family, and feel fortunate that it happened sooner than later.
Many full time helicopter jobs now require 2500 - 5000 hours of flight time. Most employers will not touch you with less than 5000 hours for insurance reasons. If you are lucky enough to get a job with as many hours as I had, you were going to have to pay your dues for quite a few more years before you had 5000 hours. It took me 6 years to get 1800 hours, and that is A LOT for a 6 year Army pilot, and could get a better job. Many times I had friends who told me to lie about my flight time just to get a job. While the employer may never have found out, I would have to have lived with the fact that I misrepresented myself to get the job. That is something I find very difficult to live with. Also, I would have to live with the fact that if they ever found out, I could lose my job and possibly my career. Once people find out that you lied about flight time, you usually gain a reputation you can not shake. Believe me when I tell you that you don't want that kind of reputation in this kind of business, or any kind.
You lose your career, it's really that simple. If you have a family history of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, or a number of other ailments, you risk losing your career to a health related problem. I knew an Army pilot who had just gotten his fixed wing transition, had a lot of rotary wing time, and was in great physical shape. He exercised regularly, ate well, and even ran 5 miles a day. His EKG came back with a small abnormality while taking his annual flight physical. The doctors were concerned and asked him to fly back from Korea, and check into the Army hospital in San Antonio. There they ran a group of tests. They all came back negative until the very last one, which showed that even though he was in great physical condition, he had 4 blockages around his heart. They gave him emergency heart bypass surgery and forever grounded him from flying. He had spent his whole Army career waiting to become a fixed wing pilot, and just as soon as he got what he always wanted, his career was taken away. There was no way he could have ever known what was going to happen. He did everything he could to remain in good physical condition. His genetic makeup was the one obstacle he could not overcome. Some people can fly until they are old and never have a problem. Some get to a certain age and lose the ability to continue to fly due to health problems that they can not control. Every pilot risks their career on maintaining their health. Once it is gone, so is their career, and if they have nothing to fall back on, then they will have a rough time changing careers.
It is not "gloom and doom", it is reality. If you want to go into this business, you had better do it with your eyes open! I only wish that someone had told me something before I set my sights so high and had to come face to face with reality. Not that I would have given up my Army career for one moment. I really loved the experiences I had and I would recommend military service to anyone who is willing to take orders and serve their country.
I suggest that if you really want to fly and you can join the military, then do it. You gain so much from military service; Amazing life experiences, the best friends in the world, the opportunity to get an education in a very specialized field, and responsibilities far beyond your imagination. I was responsible for many lives; The crew of the aircraft, the passengers aboard, the crews and passengers of other aircraft in formation with us, and the people on the ground. Everyone depended on me to do things right and to get them home safe. People instantly respect you for the wings on your chest and the bars on your shoulders. They know that you are competent, or you would not be there. The military definitely has its advantages.
Learn in a fixed wing airplane. Then, if you really want to fly helicopters, do it. My best suggestion is to get a good education first. Make a lot of money and buy your own airplane. Fly for fun, and fly when YOU want to. Recreational flying is the best flying and it never turns into a "job". No one tells you when or where. You go when you want to and land when you are tired. The best thing is that no one is trying to kill you while you fly. Even if you join the reserves, you have to be aware that you can be called up at any time, and people may just want to shoot you out of the sky. Civilian flying is not as exciting, but at least no one is shooting at you. It is just you and your machine, dancing across the sky. It just does not get any better than that.
I hope that this has given you an insight into what it takes to have a career in helicopter flying. I do not claim to have all of the answers, I can only impart my experiences to you. I am sure that in some places it is easier to get, and hold on to, a flying job. I can only tell you what I have known to be true. I wish anyone who really wants to fly all the best, and if I can give you any more of my first hand knowledge, feel free to contact me and ask.
Update: 7/11/00 (An excerpt from an e-mail from Brad Roberson):
Just an update for you if you want to be a little more accurate on your FAQ page. Due to fewer pilots getting out of the service recently and also due to the fewer number of hours pilots are flying in the military the hour requirements to get a decent job (for a helicopter pilot, anyway) have dropped quite a bit. Pilots can now get hired for offshore work with as little as 1000 to 1500 hours. The magic number for EMS (my field) seems to be about 3000 hours although I know some EMS pilots that were hired with just over 2000. The company I worked for before my current job even had a $100 bounty for any referral they ended up hiring. Some of the requirements that seem to come up more often now than total time is experience in a given specialty (long-line experience, seismic etc.) or experience in a given type of aircraft.
Mountain time is often a requirement difficult to fulfill. The outlook is getting better for those that have the experience as far as getting a good job, just too bad the pay isn't keeping up with the supply/demand aspect of it. I, too, always recommend to those that want to fly helicopters to get their airplane ratings first. A couple of jobs that I tell them they may end up starting with are flying for TV stations, flying tours or, as always, instructing. Just thought you might want an update from someone in the industry since you haven't been involved with it for a while.
Editors Note: The flying jobs he mentioned with the Television stations are some of the hardest jobs to get, because they are enjoyable and most people who are doing them are not going to quit any time soon...in my opinion.
Television stations also have their pilots do some pretty dangerous things in the spirit of getting the story at any cost. Our local stations fly very close to lightning, tornadic activity, hail, and high wind / turbulence to bring the viewing public immediate images of severe weather.
Update: 6/25/06 (An excerpt from an e-mail from Steven Morris):
Ran across your 'The Helicopter Page' and thought I would comment. I am currently looking for a job. I have a commercial rotorcraft ticket along with an instrument rotorcraft ticket + 1300 hours and 50 turbine and can't find a job. I thought the UPDATE comment should be updated to provide that things are NOT getting better and in fact are getting worse. In many cases they want a MINIMUM of 1500, 200 turbine and some now even want specific time in a particular model. On the interviews I have been able to garner they already had the deck stacked with ex ex-military, ex-oil, ex-ems and in case 3 of the applicants already knew the Chief Pilot. Guess who DIDN'T get the job!!?? These companies somehow think that their future employees are available in premarked, prewrapped, prehoured packages that just "drop of some shelf" somewhere and come to work.
This whole situation remindes me of the old saying: "I would like to give you credit but I can't, so once you get some credit then come back and we'll be glad to give you some".
Anyway, just thought a NEWER update might stop someone from believing they are going to just go out and get a flyin' job - they really need a dose of REALITY!!
Update: 3/2/10 (An excerpt from an e-mail from Peter St Croix of Canada):
I just want to add to your site. I am a Canadian commercial fixed wing and rotor wing with ATP on both and over 12,000 hrs combined. Never an accident or incident of any kind. It has cost me a fortune to get where I am, but I am no longer employed and the future is very grim for any experienced pilot. I love flying and that passion is the way people become career pilots. But the reality is you still have to pay bills and support your family. This career is the last career you should consider if you want a financially secure future. Less then ten percent of pilots make it into the high paying airline jobs and get to keep their position for life. It would make more sense to get a real career and buy your own airplane or helicopter and have fun and enjoy you financial future with your family.
Capt. P. St. Croix
Update 6/1/97: Today I met some truly fantastic people. I wandered by the model airplane airport near Lake Hefner here in Oklahoma City late in the day on Saturday. They were having a helicopter fly in for RC helicopters and people came from miles away to participate. They were going to be there again today, so I dropped by to see what they were up to. I met a very nice group of RC helicopter owners and pilots, and I was pleased and honored to be in their presence. They had a wealth of knowledge of helicopter aerodynamics, as well as everything needed to make the RC models fly. The only thing that I noticed was that some of them used the term "Rudder" when talking about the tail rotor. I will have to break them of that nasty habit (Smile). They have a genuine love for rotary wing aviation, and they work on a system of courtesy and trust amongst themselves. These are great qualities that are not found much anymore. I was very impressed, and I hope my association with this fine group of individuals continues.
Update 9/17/97: We (Miss America Air Racing Team) placed 2nd in the Silver Division at the Reno National Championship Air Races. Not only was this a complete jump in division over last year, but we remained as one of the top 3 prize winners for the division we participated in for the 3rd year in a row. (WAY TO GO BRENT!!!) Credit is due to all of the crew members in Oklahoma and Georgia who made this all possible.
Update 1/30/98: A special thanks to all who have recently linked my page to theirs. Especially the RC helicopter folks. I have noticed an increase in traffic, which makes me very pleased. I will try to reciprocate when ever possible. Check out my Links Page, to visit some of these fine sites.
Update 2/10/98: I added another section to the site. It has specifications of some U.S. Army helicopters that I got from the original Technical Operator Manuals.
Update 6/10/98: I was contacted today via E-mail by the webmaster of the Bell Helicopter/Textron website. He honored me by requesting to put a link from the company page to mine. It made my whole day.
Update 9/24/98: Miss America wins 1st place in the silver class at the Reno National Championship Air Races. Congratulations to everyone who helped to make this years Reno a success. I was unable to attend due to a death in the family, but I was there in spirit.
Update 2/2/99: Go have a look at my All New Images Page. There are images of helicopters and other items that may be of interest.
Update 5/5/99 No Tornado Damage. For those of you concerned with our well being, the tornado that ravaged Oklahoma City was nowhere near us. It was several miles Southeast of where we live. Many of our friends were touched by the storms, some lost homes and suffered injuries. A good friend of mine, had her apartment damaged and many of her belongings ruined. She and I have worked together at the FAA center for the last year and have become good friends. She is without injury, and doing well. Our prayers go out to Brenda and her sons.
Update 8/14/99 A New Section Entitled: The Threat Identification Game. Click on the link (Menu button) and get ready to play! I hope you check it out!
Update 8/26/99: Two new animated graphics (At the top and bottom of this page) and a new "What's new page". Since the main page was getting crowded and taking a long time to load, I decided to move the update information to this page. It makes the main page load faster and I can better keep track of improvements to the site here.
Update 9/3/99: I broke the guestbook down by year so it would not take so long to load.
Update 12/15/99: I added new backgrounds to the animation pages, just for a little variety.
Update 12/28/99: I officially resigned from the Miss America Air Racing Team earlier this year and finally decided that it was time to reflect that on my website. While I really love and respect Brent and Marylynn Hisey, Bob and Nancy Avery, Darcy and Dan Evans, Brian and Sherri Sturgill, Kenny King, and most especially John Batchelor, I felt it was better to move on. 4 years on the team was enough. I was a part of the ramp security team for the Air Racing Association this year at Reno and I had a lot of fun doing it. I met some great people and have more stories to tell. I am looking forward to doing it again in the years to come.
Update 1/7/00: Another year, another guestbook goes into the archives. I took all of the 1999 entries and put them in their own separate guestbook file. Feel free to browse old guestbooks and look for aviation friends.
Update 1/28/00: I changed the front view of the P-51 (on this page) to an animated view and changed the paint scheme to reflect that of "Voodo Chile" before the canopy and the paint scheme were changed. Also, a new schematic drawing of an early model UH-1 on the images page, and another animation of "Voodo Chile" on the 1st animation page.
Update 3/9/00: I created a new "FAQ" page called "So...you want to be a helicopter pilot". I did so because I get a lot of people who really want to know how to become one, or want to know what is involved in becoming a helicopter pilot. Now they can get a little insight into the business from someone who had to learn about it one day at a time.
Update 3/16/00: I created a new "Boat restoration project" page to let those who are interested know the progress of my project. I know it is way off the subject of the site, but some people have expressed interest.
Update 3/21/00: I created another page...I am sure it is a big surprise. This time it is a Site Map page to help people get around the site. Things started to get so complex around here that I decided to make it easier for people to find things. Plus, I needed something to do. (Since deleted in favor of the menu system).
Update 5/11/00: I added a sound file to the main page and changed the photo I had on the biography page from one of just me, to one of me and my lovely wife at a company dinner party.
Update 7/11/00: I added a link to this really cool aero auction site...kinda like E-Bay for helicopters. I also added the comments from Brad Roberson on my FAQ page.
Update 7/16/00: I included a picture of the helicopters flight controls on the section1 page, to show what the pilot uses to control the aircraft.
Update 7/19/00: Good things continue to happen! The site was selected as a "Key Resource" site by "Links2-Go" and was rated the number 7 site out of their top 100. (I think that is pretty cool!).
Update 9/1/00: Long overdue updates to the boat project page.
Update 9/8/00: The maiden voyage of the boat!
Update 10/1/00: I took this opportunity to thank those who helped with the boat project. I also learned some valuable lessons about boat care and where to buy things I needed.
Update 10/18/00: I added a description of how to do a normal takeoff on the section 1 page (Terminology page) just above the picture of the flight controls.
Update 10/24/00: I added an animated picture of a Bass Guitar where the paint scheme continually changes (On the first animation page).
Update 11/1/00: I got rid of any links that were no longer working on the links page. Since there were so many links and so many that did not work, I did not see where it would be in my best interest to research each one to see what happened to them. If anyone has a link they wish to send, I will try to put it in the list of links that now exist. I also added some information and slightly reformatted the section 1 page.
Update 12/26/00: I had a few reports that my page counter was not working. Since Geocities changed the counters system and did not bother to tell me, I had to recreate the one on the main page. Problem: How many hits did we have? The last number I remembered was somewhere in the 170,000 hit range...So I started at 170K again. So we lose a few hits, it is more or less a way to gauge how things are going and whether this page is still being seen. From the guestbook alone, it has been a success beyond my wildest expectations, so a few hits are lost, and it is no big deal. I am grateful that people want to see what I have done. I guess I would rather be a little under than over anyway, and with as many times as I have been to the site myself to check up on it, I guess it all evens out in the end.
Update 1/20/01: Geocities/Yahoo pulled a fast one on me. In the same way that they killed my counters, they also killed my guest book without any notice. Unfortunately, the new guest book is not the same as the old and I have had to make some changes... not for the better. This one will only display 15 entries at a time, and I have no control over the way it looks or acts at all. My apologies to you, but it seems that if you want to play their game, it has to be by their rules.
Update 1/29/01: I added a link to my brothers band web site, "The Dangertones" (www.dangertones.com). I felt that it is only fitting since we discuss a lot of high performance rotation here...and they are as rotationally balanced and high speed as you can get.
Update 2/15/01: I had a brilliant idea. I have had so much trouble telling people how to get to this site, I decided to make a new site on "Geocities". The URL is: www.geocities.com/helicopterpage . On that site, there is an introduction page that brings you here. Pretty cool huh? (Since changed to bring you right to the helicopter page without one more screen to load).
Update 2/21/01: A good friend from the FAA center (Jimmy Ipock) gave me a new URL to use for the site using his web server: helicopter.metalbox.net . Thanks Jimmy and congratulations on the new job.
Update 3/16/01: I just got the main page current by adding a little of this and taking away a little of that. I like to make sure the the page is as up to date as possible when ever I can.
Update 3/30/01: The guestbook was getting too large, so I had to archive the entries and create a link to them. I also had to remove the link on the main page to the "Online Educator" which has apparently been gone from the Internet for some time. I also added an award from Military.com who deemed the site worthy of a "best of the web award". I also created a veterans resource page to make it easy to find helpful web sites for veterans.
Update 4/21/01: I wrote a little tribute to a good friend. You can get to it on the main page. (Since moved to the "Tribute" page).
Update: 5/12/01: I added two links to the links page. One for www.aafo.com and one for www.acro.ca. www.aafo.com is a wonderful resource of information about all aspects of aviation, but especially, air racing. Have a look.
Update: 5/15/01: I was testing my links to make sure they were current and found the Ken and Judy's UH-60 link inoperative and the www.rotors.com link went to something other than a helicopter site. I removed both. I also found that the "pilots resources" link has been re-directed to a pornographic site. I have removed that link as well and hope that no one went there by mistake as I did when checking it.
Update: 5/17/01: New photos on the boat page. (It is about time).
Update: 5/30/01: More boat news. I made some more enhancements to the boat and learned a few more tricks which I have passed along.
Update: 6/22/01: Created a new section for the V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft.
Update: 7/3/01: Included information
documents and .PDF file for the V-22 Osprey page. The .PDF file is the entire congressional hearing report concerning the V-22 and the problems and solutions concerning its future.
Special Update: 7/10/01: A revamping of the website to include a frameset to hold the menu readily available. This was done to remove a lot of redundancy and embedded links in the page and give it an overall new look since we are getting close to 200,000 hits and I know people get tired of seeing the same old stuff. I do try to update often, but lets face it, how much can you really change when your site is facts based? I did try to remove any old and outdated information, but if you see something that needs to be fixed or updated, let me know. A lot of moving of .html files and photos were done to better organize my file structure. What does that mean to you? Probably not much, but some things, no matter how well I tried to test them, may not work perfectly. Again, let me know if something needs fixing.
Update: 7/13/01: The new look goes online. I also got an e-mail from someone telling me my description of translating tendency was inaccurate. I did some research, and found that they were correct (I said right...when I should have said left). I have made the necessary adjustments.
Update: 7/26/01: In keeping with the new look transition, I have combined the old guestbooks into one menu button and made a menu page for all of the old guestbooks. This way, more of the different menu options are available in one full screen page.
File under: "How cool is this"...I came back from vacation to read my copy of Network World Magazine, and found my name on the back inside cover. I had written a letter to the editor and included my web site address in the tag line. Paul McNamara, the columnist of the "Net Buzz" section, who I have written to a few times, had included my site in his "Net Buzz" column for this week. Not only is it wonderful that he took the time to write back and to check out the site, but it was really great of him to tell others about it. Thanks Paul. Check out the "Buzz" at Network World
Update: 8/2/01: I went to look at my current guest book and all of the entries have disappeared. I have become so displeased with the guestbook and the limitations of the newer style geocities guest book that I have installed a new one from a completely different source. Also created new buttons, dividers and logos to round out the new page look. In doing so, I have used a system where I can change the buttons, logos and dividers in a much quicker fashion to give the page a make-over with little effort.
Update: 8/7/01: I added a new photo to the "Boat Project" page (The name plate), and I went into more detail and added a link on the "Forces at Work" page. The narrative explains more about slopes and dynamic rollover based on questions I received from a hopeful candidate for the Warrant program. The link is to a video which demonstrates rollover better than I could ever explain it. I also took time today to edit this "What's New Page" and remove all the old links and outdated information, and delete old files that are taking up space on the server. Just one more effort to get things up to speed and keep this site as current and well maintained as possible.
Update: 8/22/01: I added an explanation picture of a poor slope landing on the "Forces" page...with a little humor.
Update: 8/30/01: Another addition of a picture and explanation on the terminology page. It better explains the relationship between the component parts of a helicopter and shows the location of each part on an exploded view.
Update: 9/4/01: I removed the "Award" and link to www.military.com. I also changed the main page to the 3copter background.
Update: 9/20/01: I removed the "Sound of freedom" in response to the bandwidth limits placed on this site by Geocities.
Update: 10/2/01: The Helicopter Page has a new location and is no longer being held hostage by Geocities. On one hand I must thank Geocities for providing me a location for my site to grow and flourish. However, I am not pleased with their tactics on trying to make people pay to use their service after they have established themselves and become popular. I have made their advertisment visable to many people and for that, they should have some consideration, but they chose to disable my site until I payed them. I chose instead to make the leap to my own domain where I no longer am held to their rules and their pop-up screens.
Update: 10/24/01: The threat ID game has been removed in an effort to reduce the total used disk space for the site.
Update: 12/10/01: I went through the boat project page and updated the information and tried to make the story of the project flow better. I removed the individual updates and added more current information. I also added a new section called "Flag Crazy". While it may not go over well with some people, this is my take on things.
Update: 12/23/01: I posted some new information about the V-22 that I obtained from someone who claims that Bell / Boeing is "Hiding something". I posted it to be as fair and impartial as I can be, but I also made sure to explain who and where I got the information from. I did not want people to assume this person has any official capacity at all.
Update: 1/3/02: On the "DOL" page I put an explaination of the difference between Contra-Rotation and Counter-Rotation with the associated graphic representations.
Update: 1/6/02: On the "Flag Crazy" page, I included a section about flag ettiquette that came in an organizational newsletter for the FAA.
Update: 1/11/02: Took all of the 2001 guestbook entries and added them to the on-going 2001 guestbook in the old guestbook section. The current guestbook now only has 2002 entries in it.
Update: 1/28/02: I changed the main page a little to make it current.
Update: 3/1/02: I updated the FAQ and BIO pages to make them more current and to remove strange characters that have somehow gotten into the pages. I was making changes to the main page a few days ago and deleted it by mistake. Good backups have made it possible to get it almost back to normal. I added a call to have people write to speedvision and ask them to give us our aviation and marine shows back.
Update: 4/4/02: Removed more pictures from the site to free up space. Added photos of my Mother in the Bio page from Reno 1977 and 1998. Also removed the link to the dynamic rollover video which showed a CH-46 falling off the edge of a Navy ship. The link was no longer valid. Removed the 1997-1999 old guestbooks. The information in them was old and no longer needed to be displayed. Many of the URL's and e-mail addresses were no longer current. The 2000-2002 guestbooks are still available for viewing.
Update: 4/25/02: Updated the links to Bell Helicopter as the ones that were posted here did not work properly.
Update: 5/23/02: Changed the verbage on the index page. Also added some graphics to the graphics page.
Update: 6/30/02: Removed the link to gyrokite.com. It no longer worked, and thanks to one of my visitors for pointing that out to me.
Update: 7/8/02: I watched "60 minutes" and they did a piece on the V-22. In the piece, they mentioned the accident rate of the V-22 comparitive to other aircraft like the F-14. I included a chart which compares the different aircraft accident rates versus flight hours, showing the V-22 is about the same as any other aircraft under development.
Update: 7/22/02: On the main page, I am asking if people would be interested in t-shirts.
Update: 8/12/02: The t-shirt idea showed absolutly no interest. I got no e-mail whatsoever about it, so I took that off the site, and canned the idea. I also found the "Links-2-go" link was no longer valid, so it too was removed.
Update: 8/23/02: I added a new section on how Jet Engines work. It is not an indepth study by any means, but it will give a general understanding of how they work.
Update: 9/26/02: Jeff Bailey who works on the Airforce team for the V-22 Osprey sent me a link to a story about the renewed testing of the V-22. I added the link to the "Tiltrotor" page.
Update: 10/1/02: Inserted a picture of a turboshaft helicopter engine in the "jet" page. Also added a runway caption to the V-22 page. (They are getting harder and harder to think up with each new page).
Update: 10/21/02: Installed a link to the Civil Air Patrol Wisconsin Wing, and their revision to one of my existing graphics.
Update: 10/28/02: Updated all of my links removing those that did not work and adding in a few more.
Update: 11/13/02: Changed some information on the main page to make it more current.
Update: 11/20/02: Bob Leder from navair sent me some milestone information about the V-22. I have posted it to keep the page up to date with the lastest information concerning the V-22 project.
Update: 2/10/03: On the main page, I included some brief information about the Heli-Expo and Bell press conferences I attended this weekend.
Update: 2/25/03: I updated some of the information on the V-22 tiltrotor page.
Update: 3/13/03: Information about the first flight of the BA-609 Civil Tiltrotor.
Update: 3/18/03: A new section: War, Hollywood, and the French.
Update: 3/26/03: I am floating an idea for t-shirts for an anti-Moore campaign on the main page.
Update: 3/31/03: The t-shirt idea got two positive responses, one was from Russia, one from here in the states. That is not near enough to cover the costs involved. I have decided to drop the issue and remove that from the main page.
Update: 4/2/03: Updated the information in the tribute page.
Update: 4/16/03: Happy 15th anniversary Ana (My wife). Added a link to group3 aviation from my original home in Southern California, and the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary web site I have created for our flotilla. I also included a call to arms...well...hands. Give me an "M"!
Update: 4/25/03: I rearranged and updated the main page. It seemed out of order. I also added a link to TC's Aviation info site. Also made a new menu button for the Flotilla web site.
Update: 5/15/03: There is a new e-mail address for me. firstname.lastname@example.org
Update: 7/6/03: I updated some of the personal information on the site.
Update: 7/25/03: I noticed that advertisers are using my guestbook and I wanted everyone to know that I do not endorse them in any way. I will be seeking a better guestbook format soon to eliminate the advertising problem.
Update: 8/2/03: Two new links were added to the links page: The Flying Mule (Great collectibles) and E-Flight (Electric R/C Helicopters from England). I also changed the e-mail link on the links page to the proper new e-mail address.
Update: 1/7/04: Added new links to the Netherlands 304 SAR group and the Ironbuilt Steel Buildings company.
Update: 1/14/04: I made some general currency updates to the site. Most of the updates are minor text editing to make sure things are current. I also added an explaination of one of the phenomena that effect helicopters. The new "Gyroscopic Procession" section was added to the "forces" page.
Update: 2/2/04: I added some new links to the links page. One for "Fly Magic" in the UK, and two for the US Power Squadrons (Boating Safety) in Oklahoma.
Update: 3/8/04: I removed the commentary on the war in Iraq. I felt it has served its purpose and is no longer needed. The link to "Heart of Texas Helicopters" was changed to the new company name, "Brazos Helicopters".
Update: 8/9/04: I added the long awaited link to Oklahoma Aviation. I had a chance to visit their world class facility and they definately deserve to have a place on my site. If you want to learn how to fly in a top knotch environment, this is it.
Update: 10/11/04: Another link addition for rc-cars-trucks-boats-airplanes.com (Ain't that a mouthfull???)
Update: 5/24/05: Wow...is it really 2005 already? I had to add a photo of my truck back window with the web site name.
Update: 6/4/05: I added a link to the Best Aviation site, a nice list of helicopter flight schools.
Update: 10/4/05: I got sick of dealing with my web hosting company. They had poor service and tried to jack the price of the web hosting up all the time. They said they sent e-mail, but I never seemed to get those specific e-mails. Time to make a change.
Update: 11/8/05: I am in the process of changing my domain over. It is amazing how much money you can save if you are willing to move.
Update: 11/27/05: Updated link to the USCG Auxiliary web site (New server).
Update: 1/8/06: I closed the guestbook since I had a few hundred spam entries in it. Old entries will stay, but no new ones will be added. If you support things like Netflix, or party poker.com, you support spammers and accept what they do. I hope you will join me in actively boycotting any company that you see ina pop-up message or in any other form of spam.
Update: 2/2/06: I reopened the guestbook. So far no spammers have returned. A milestone in the helicopterpage history books; 400,000 hits as of today. Whoo hooo. I added some interesting tidbits sent to me from Bell helicopter about their unmanned tiltrotor project (Including a photo of it flying).
Update: 4/12/06: I included a photo of me and two of the NBA cheerleaders, Lacie and Arianna of the Hornets / Honeybees organization. Thank you NBA!!! We love you here in OKC. My fellow season ticket holder friend Dwight took the pic. Thanks Dwight!
Update: 8/2/06: It was time to update the main page a little, add some interesting developments to the FAQ, and just do some overall site maintenance.
Update: 9/8/06: An update to the AHIP page was required. I heard from a 2LT with some great corrections and updates, and applied them as needed.
Update: 9/29/06: I deleted the "resources" page and included the "Oil" page, a suggestion for a better idea on how the USA should buy oil.
Update: 11/15/06: A new NBA season demands a new Honeybee cheerleader update. The Hornets are awesome and their cheerleaders prove that they are more than just beautiful ladies who dance.
Update: 12/21/06: I added a link to Scenic Airlines in the Las Vegas / Grand Canyon area.
Update: 2/1/07: I added a link to the "Tornado Aller Roller girls". Some very nice ladies we met recently.
Update: 2/21/07: I changed a few things around on the main page. Including a request for people to read the FAQ before sending e-mail.
Update: 3/17/07: The Helicopterpage hit another milestone today: 500,000 hits. I would never have imagined that this site would get so many visits from all over the world. I am honored.
Update: 5/11/07: An update to the oil page, change to the Scenic Airlines link to Grand Canyon Hotels and Tours.
Update: 8/10/07: Removed a dead link to Masquito helicopters.
Update: 10/31/07: Inserted Google ads into the pages, and updated the main page.
Update: 11/14/07: I updated the boat page with new photos and more information.
Update: 1/28/08: Created a link to my Brother's pipe making business and Los Angeles Helicopter Tours.
Update: 8/13/08: Updated the boat page. The boat is now for sale.
Update: 9/17/08: I removed any reference to the NBA from the site.
Update: 1/12/09: I received an e-mail challenging my information on WSPS systems. So I posted an excerpt from the e-mail to express the additional information.
Update: 1/30/09: Added a link to the Army Aviation Flight School page (Nice private site).
Update: 3/2/10: Tomorrow will be the 23rd anniversary of my leaving for the military in 1987. I updated the FAQ page with more current information, and a letter from a Commercial pilot in Canada concerning available jobs. It seems the market for flying jobs has not changed much at all.
Update: 11/8/10: I added a link to the Mesothelioma resource for veterans. I was contacted by the Veteran Outreach Director for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance, an Internet-based resource for information about mesothelioma cancer. I am adding a link at his request.
Update: 12/21/10: I deleted a lot of dead and unrelated links.
Update: 7/6/11: I added a link to Ladd Gardner Aviation Insurance.
Update: 7/29/11: I updated the front page with new information and removed some old information.
Update: 8/22/11: Thank you SPC Savage and William Jellison for helping me keep the page up to date. SPC Savage helped with valuable specification information and Mr. Jellison helped by finding an error in grammar.
Update: 10/14/11: Updated the oil page to include a lot of information about natural gas and why transitioning to it for vehicle fuel is a really bad idea.
Update: 11/1/11: Updated the oil page once again to better reflect the problems with a possible future natural gas addiction. I also updated my bio page.
Update: 11/14/11: Updated the V-22 page with a press release from Bell Helicopter. The V-22 has been doing an amazing job with the lowest class A mishap rate of any tactical rotorcraft.
Update: 9/11/12: Updated the Main page. We are just a few visits shy of 1 million site visits. The old guestbook logo was removed and more timely information has been added.
Update: 5/10/13: Updated the Flag page. I can not believe so many people are ignorant about the way to properly treat the flag of this country.
Update: 4/4/14: Updated the Main page. Added a link to my new book on Amazon.com: "The Next Step".
Update: 5/27/14: Updated the Main page. Expanded the description of my new book on Amazon.com: "The Next Step".
Update: 9/16/14: Updated the Main page. Fixed the hit counter. Also updated the oil page.
Update: 11/17/15: Updated all pages. Fixed the header graphics and spacing to make the site more mobile phone friendly. Also updated the links section.
Update: 3/30/16: Updated Link page. Fixed dead links in the links section, and added a new link to "Droney Bee".
Update: 7/13/16: Updated Link page. Fixed the main page, cleaned up the site, shortened the menu, got rid of excess pages, included a disclaimer about people who use our name without permission, and added a link to our facebook site.
Update: 7/19/16: Updated the main page.
Update: 12/5/16: Updated the wording on the main page.
Update: 6/26/17: Updated the main page to remove the cartoon of Miss America and to advertise the domain is for sale .
Update: 7/21/17: Updated the main page.
Update: 2/2/18: Updated the main page.
Update: 7/5/18: A major revamp of "The Helicopter Page". A whole new look, new information, updated information, combining of the "What's New" page and the "FAQ page". Total elimination of the "Links Page". It was time to update the old site and make this site more professional looking. We hope you like it.
Update: 7/13/18: New site went live. Still needs some refinement, but so far, so good. Found out I can no longer use a web counter with this version of the web software I am using. Right now the web count is 1,442,410. Not bad for 21 years online.
Update: 7/14/18: Refined the Google ads on the site.
Update: 7/15/18: More fine tuning of the site to include the "3Copter" Logo on the top of the FAQ / What's New page and to re-institute the phrase "Integrity, Respect, Honor" from the original site and include it on every page in the site.
Update: 7/16/18: Added more to the "Jet Engines" page.
Update: 8/21/18: Corrected the main page after receiving an email indicating an error. Thanks Bryant!
Update: 1/21/19: New picture for the main page. Also tweaked the colors and get the counter to work again.
Update: 2/27/19: General clean up and optimization of the site.
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