Read More: Dr. Carrol Max Voss Flies West
August 07, 2018

Dr. Carrol Voss, the founder of AGROTORS, Inc., and a pioneer in the use of helicopters in aerial application, died June 10 at his home in Maine at the age of 98. Voss joined the Navy Air Corps during World War II, serving as a flight instructor for PBY and PBM “flying boats.” He met his wife, Wilma “Jo,” who was also in the Navy at the time, and they married in 1945.

Voss continued his education and interests in entomology and aviation following the war, earning a doctorate at the University of Wisconsin. In the late 1940s, Voss received his helicopter pilot’s license and started working in the industry. After nearly a decade of working with helicopters and agriculture, he started his own company, AGROTORS, Inc., in 1958. The company became a leader in aerial application operations, later opening a flight school in the mid-1960s.

Voss served as a consultant with the World Health Organization, helping to establish aerial application programs for insect infestations in Africa. He was also a consultant for agricultural spraying in India, the USSR, and South America.

Voss began working with HAI in 1953 when it was still Helicopter Association of America. He was active in the Agriculture Committee and helped to produce a safety video about flying in the wire and obstruction environment. His son, Tim, who was also active in HAI, took over AGROTORS when the elder Voss retired in 1985.

Voss was the recipient of the Twirly Birds Les Morris Award (1995) and HAI’s Lawrence Bell Lifetime Achievement Award (2001). AGROTORS also received HAI’s Sikorsky Humanitarian Service Award (2000) for assisting with mosquito eradication in New York.

Read More: Threats … and Opportunities
August 07, 2018

As this is my first column as chairman of HAI, let me introduce myself. My name is James Wisecup. Most people call me Jim.

I began flying helicopters in 1969 in the US Army. After a fairly brief active-duty army career, I spent a few years in the National Guard and Army Reserve in my home state of Texas. After my army service, I flew for offshore operations in the Gulf of Mexico, the North Sea, the North Atlantic, the South China Sea, and offshore California before shifting to the helicopter air ambulance (HAA) sector.

I was a line pilot, check airman, and then chief pilot for Rocky Mountain Helicopters, which was the largest HAA operator at the time. I am currently an assistant chief pilot for Air Methods Corporation, one of the largest air medical companies in the world.

Safety and training are my passions. Safety, because both our operating costs and public acceptance of our industry depend on our ability to improve our safety record. Training, because that is how I think we will reduce accidents, most of which are caused by human factors.

The most important thing we can do to improve our industry is to pass along to the next generation of pilots and maintenance technicians what we have learned over the years. You may call this storytelling. Some people call it training.

After all, none of us will live long enough to make all of the mistakes ourselves. If we don’t learn from the mistakes of others, we will die trying. Be your brother’s keeper, as his actions can affect your profession.

I am proud to have spent my career in aviation. There are so many jobs that are done by helicopters — more than the average person realizes. However, things are changing.

Drones, or unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), seem to be the latest technology threatening our industry. But are they really a threat?

Yes, they will increasingly take over surveillance, inspection, and reconnaissance missions. But that makes sense. These often mundane missions can, in many cases, be done more safely, economically, and efficiently with UAS.

We tend to get rigid about how we have “always” done things. Instead of telling those drone-flying kids to get off of our lawns, however, let’s remember two things: First, there are still missions that can only be done by helicopters — our industry may change but it’s not going away. Second, we know that drones are here to stay — newer, cheaper technology tends to stick around — so let’s figure out how to integrate their operations into the airspace that we all share.

Another external threat to our industry is the noise issue. Many well-meaning, well-organized groups throughout the United States have banded together to voice dissatisfaction with the noise being generated by helicopters overflying their homes and recreational areas. Although the noise from helicopters may not in fact be the loudest noise in these neighborhoods, it does seem to generate the most concern.

It is imperative that we listen to these groups to understand what the true issues are and, if possible, find a way to mitigate them. We can still do our job — but we may have to do it while flying higher or taking a route that doesn’t impact our neighbors as much.

Yes, there will be times when we won’t have a perfect solution to a noise complaint. But if we do all that we can to minimize the noise impact of our operations, it will go a long way to improve our relations with our neighbors. We need to both model and teach these behaviors to new pilots as well as the more experienced ones.

Another issue is the pilot and maintenance technician shortage. There are many factors affecting the personnel scarcity. Training is expensive, the military is not producing as many qualified people as in the past, and the competition for talent from the fixed-wing world is greater than ever.

We need to actively get into our local communities and reach out to younger individuals to educate them about the opportunities available in the helicopter world. Without pilots and maintenance technicians to fly and operate our machines, the rotors won’t keep turning. Please consider working with Helicopter Foundation International (HFI) for outreach opportunities and assistance.

Obviously, the safe operation of helicopters is a main focus at HAI, but I firmly believe that we can operate safely and still be responsible stewards of the helicopter world as well.

I am excited to be working with professionals such as you in the vertical-lift community, and I hope I can contribute to advancing our industry into the future. Let’s take advantage of our opportunities to ensure that the helicopter remains a vital part of the global aviation scene.



Read More: Flight Path
August 07, 2018

Q Your current role?
In addition to being a pilot, I manage aircraft scheduling, plan routes, and ensure FAR/GOM compliance for on-demand charters to ensure optimal business output.

QYour most memorable  helicopter ride?
My most memorable flight was the first time I flew into New York City and circled the Statue of Liberty. Being from a small town in the heartland, New York City was a place I had only seen in movies, and I never imagined I would end up flying here.

Q What still excites you about helicopter aviation?
Walking out to the helicopter each day still excites me. The quick pace and challenge of using noise/traffic abatement routes, calling FBOs, hovering between parallels, calling out traffic, and getting a landing
clearance all at the same time is something I never would’ve imagined myself capable of in a solo pilot environment. Now it’s all in a normal day’s work.

Q What advice would you give to someone pursuing your career path?
Shake as many hands and make as many friends as possible. The people you meet will be your network of colleagues and friends throughout your career. The rotorcraft
community is very tight-knit and getting

Read More: Giving Thanks
August 06, 2018

Through my work on the HAI Board of Directors and several FAA working groups, I have recently gotten to know colleagues from different areas of the helicopter industry — people whom I’m not usually exposed to in my work in public safety aviation. I’ve been impressed with the passion they show for their respective areas of concern within the industry.

As a line pilot for a public safety agency, I never gave much thought to the engineering genius that goes into the modern helicopter. Through the FAA working groups, I’ve met some of the brilliant engineers who design these amazing aircraft. I’m constantly in awe of their analytic ability and the ease with which they solve complex problems.

I don’t have an engineering or manufacturing background; I’m a street cop who grew up working in retail. My dad was a CPA with no mechanical aptitude, a trait that was apparently inherited by me. So maybe I’m just easily impressed, but I don’t think so.

The passion these engineers have demonstrated for designing the safest aircraft and systems possible provides me with a new comfort level as a pilot. So, to all you helicopter engineers running your mathematical formulas to keep us aviators safe, a sincere thank-you.

An equally sincere thank-you goes to the mechanics who maintain the finished product on a daily basis. Your expertise has allowed me to pursue my passion for helicopters — and to go home safely every night for more than 30 years.

Another benefit of participating in these working groups is validation that I work in the part of the helicopter industry in which my passion truly lies. I love to help others by using helicopters to catch bad guys. More specifically, I want to pilot the helicopter while we catch the bad guys.

When I’m not flying, my passion is developing and conducting training events for those involved in public safety aviation so they can complete each mission safely and successfully. Like all of us, I feel I have the best helicopter job in the world. I’m not cut out to be a designer, engineer, maintainer, or even a crew member in any field other than public safety aviation.
This is my final message as chairman, so I’d like to share some parting thoughts. If I had to sum up the last 30 years, in one word, it would be “thankful.”

I’m thankful for the airborne law enforcement pioneers who made a career in public safety aviation possible. Mohammad Ali is credited with saying, “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” To have a job where I can serve others — while fulfilling my dream of being a helicopter pilot —  is a privilege and an honor.

I’m thankful for the Houston Police Department, which has supported my years of association work and my chairmanship of the HAI Board of Directors. I’m also thankful for the members and staff of the Airborne Public Safety Association and its Board of Directors, who have supported and encouraged my participation on the HAI board. My colleagues in public safety have been with me every step of the way.

I’m thankful for the opportunities that HAI has provided me to make a difference and give back to this amazing industry we are all lucky enough to be a part of. My sincerest thanks to my fellow HAI board members, both past and present, for your guidance and support, and to the HAI staff, who work so hard to promote this industry.

HAI offers us a place to come together as a community, whether that’s to promote safety, discuss technical developments, or just tell a great story or two. And in coming together, we learn a bit about each other.

Most importantly, I’m thankful for my wife and family, whose patience, support, and sacrifice have allowed me to follow my dreams.

Finally, I want to thank all my fellow rotorheads. We work in a unique industry, one that is full of amazing people with a vast array of skills. While I love helicopters, they are, after all, just machines. The positive contributions helicopters provide to society are the result of your efforts.

Give More; Expect Less,


Read More: Calendar of Events
August 06, 2018

August 13–15
31st National Training Aircraft Symposium
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Daytona Beach, Florida, USA

August 19
World Helicopter Day
“Celebrating helicopters and the people that operate them”

August 29–30
Aerial Firefighting Asia Pacific 2018
Tangent Link
Wollongong, Australia

September 10–12
Third Global Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems Symposium (RPAS/3)
International Civil Aviation Organization
Chengdu, China

September 18–21
44th European Rotorcraft Forum
Delft, The Netherlands

September 26–27
HFI Workforce Sustainability Round Table
Helicopter Foundation International
Alexandria, Virginia, USA

September 26–28
ASA+FNA 30th Anniversary Conference
Aeromed Australasia and Flight Nurses Australia
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

October 2–4
2018 CHC Safety and Quality Summit
Dallas, Texas, USA

October 16–18
Helitech International 2018
European Helicopter Association
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

October 16–18
NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE)
National Business Aviation Association
Orlando, Florida, USA

October 22–24
Air Medical Transport Conference 2018 (AMTC 2018)
The Association of Air Medical Services
Phoenix, Arizona, USA

October 25–26
Helicopter Tour Operators Safety Conference
Helicopter Association International
Long Beach, California, USA

October 30 – November 1
7th Asian/Australian Rotorcraft Forum (ARF 2018)
AHS International and Rotor Korea
Jeju Island, Korea

November 7–10
Indo Helicopter 2018 Expo & Forum
Jakarta, Indonesia

November 13–14
HAI Firefighting Safety Conference
Helicopter Association International
Boise, Idaho, USA

December 4–7
2018 Ag Aviation Expo
National Agricultural Aviation Association
Reno, Nevada, USA

Read More: HAI Aids HEC Operators with FAA Exemptions
August 06, 2018

Following a months-long grounding of US-based human external cargo (HEC) helicopter operations because of certification issues, the first helicopter operator has received its FAA-approved exemption and will be able to resume operations shortly.

Due in part to efforts by HAI staff members, the FAA approved the exemption for Haverfield Aviation on July 13. The Pennsylvania-based company expects to resume HEC flight operations as soon as the appropriate changes are incorporated into its Part 133 Rotorcraft Load Combination Flight Manual and approved by its flight standards district office.

“HAI worked tirelessly on behalf of Haverfield Aviation to ensure the HEC exemption process was moving through the complex system of the FAA,” says Brian Parker, president and CEO of Haverfield. “Chris Martino and Harold Summers [respectively, HAI’s VP of flight operations and its director of flight operations and technical services] were always available and kept Haverfield Aviation promptly updated. HAI certainly contributed to the successful approval of the waiver. Haverfield and its customers that rely on HEC are greatly appreciative of HAI’s assistance.”

The issue came to light earlier this year, when operators learned that the FAA was increasing its focus on compliance with the HEC requirements of 14 CFR Part 27 or 29. The agency had determined that the cargo hooks used for HEC operations were not certified for that use. The hooks, which have been used for decades in HEC operations, have never been implicated in any accident or incident.

Later in the spring, the FAA then requested all operators halt HEC operations until the companies complied or had received an exemption pending certification. The grounding affected operators using MD 500/Hughes 369 helicopters.

Haverfield’s exemption requires them to use an emergency anchor, or belly band, as a secondary safety device in case the cargo hook fails. The exemption also requires the operator to provide training on the use of the emergency anchor and to follow other best practices for HEC operations.

HAI became involved after being contacted by several member companies that had halted their HEC work at the request of the FAA. HAI began working to help resolve the issue while also calling for the operators to work sensibly and safely while waiting for the exemption process to proceed.

Haverfield joined 18 other operators in applying for an exemption. HAI stepped in as a neutral third party between the FAA and the operators, helping to facilitate discussion, address issues, and assist in resolving specific issues, including proper wording on applications for exemption. HAI also served as a central point of contact for the FAA and the operators.

“We served as a liaison, connecting the operators with the FAA. We understood that these companies needed to get back to work, but we also appreciate that we needed to find a solution that would keep everyone in compliance with FAA regs,” says Harold Summers. “We coordinated the communication between the industry and the FAA on a weekly, sometimes daily, basis to speed up and streamline the process.”

While several of the affected companies submitted requests for exemption, the FAA selected one application — Haverfield’s — that came closest to being complete. “Now that it’s approved, it will serve as a template for the other operators to use for their applications,” adds Summers. By modeling their exemption applications on Haverfield’s, other operators can receive summary approval by the FAA.

Founded in 1981 and an HAI Regular Member since 1994, Haverfield Aviation is a provider of aerial power line inspection, maintenance, repair, and construction support services for the North American electric utility industry.

Read More: Learning to Fly Drones
August 06, 2018

Stories and photos by Mark Bennett and PJ Barbour

It’s an exciting time in drone aviation. This is an industry making it up on the fly, figuring out basic questions about maintenance, operations, and training — just as a previous generation did with helicopters.

Among the many questions to be answered about using drones in your aviation business is this: how do we start?

If you haven’t already launched your first drone, here’s a look at some people who have and who are figuring out some of the basics of drone training.

The Town of Gilbert, AZ

Elizabeth Rohe and Jessica Bautista use drones as a story/image/video collection tool in their work as digital journalists for the town of Gilbert, Arizona, southeast of Phoenix.

The two had limited aviation experience: Bautista had flown her husband’s drone, and Rohe had flown a co-worker’s.

Both are hard-working, Type A students, so they took studying for the Part 107 exam seriously. They enrolled in an online course, studied together for a few weeks, and each passed much above minima

The two recommend building flight time as the best way to learn more about flying drones. “The more I go out and fly, the more comfortable I get,” says Rohe. “You’ll encounter other situations so you’re always learning.” In practice, they work as a two-person team — a remote pilot in command and a visual observer — which is not required by the FAA but is encouraged.

The two journalists stress that technology is not what drew them to drones. “We love using drones, not just because they allow a completely different perspective, but because that new perspective inspires us to push the envelope, creatively, when it comes to videography,” says Bautista.

They are members of a Facebook group, Amelia Droneheart, which promotes women in the UAS industry. As Dronehearts, they want to inspire other women to become part of this new wave of aviation.

Read More: HAI Welcomes 2018–19 Board of Directors
August 03, 2018

More than 100 people helped HAI welcome its new Board of Directors on June 25 as the association held its annual reception to mark the end of the fiscal year and the installation of the new board. Old friends and new connections mingled over hors d’oeuvres as they congratulated the board on another year of serving HAI members.

During the reception, outgoing Chairman Daniel B. Schwarzbach of the Houston Police Department passed the gavel to James O. Wisecup of Air Methods Corporation, who on July 1 took over as chairman of the Board of Directors (read more about Wisecup in his profile on p. 12 and his chairman’s column on p. 4).

HAI President and CEO Matt Zuccaro also honored Schwarzbach and outgoing board members Torbjorn “TC” Corell and Chuck Aaron with plaques to commemorate their time as HAI volunteer leaders.

Read More: Jim Wisecup: HAI’s New Chairman
August 03, 2018

“One of the good guys.” “A real gem.” “What happens when our industry gets it right.”

These are the types of comments I heard about Jim Wisecup as he was elected to the HAI Board of Directors and then was selected by his fellow directors as chairman of the association for the 2018–19 term. And spending an afternoon with Jim helped me to understand why he is so respected in the industry.

Jim is a highly experienced 16,000-hour pilot with a deep understanding of industry issues and an even better grasp of how we will solve every one of those problems: through people working together.

Deciding on Aviation

Jim grew up in the Houston area. After high school, he attended the University of Houston for a year, but he says that at 19 he was “too impatient” for college. (Fifty years later, Jim has more patience: he is finishing up his studies at Southern Utah University and expects to get a bachelor’s degree in aviation science in spring 2019.)

Even as a teenager, Jim knew that he wanted to fly for a living — his first ride in an airplane taught him that — so he joined the US Army. Unlike other services, the army did not require its pilots to have a college degree.

During his year in Vietnam, Jim flew for the MACV-SOG unit, which conducted special ops missions. Characteristically, Jim turns his year of living dangerously into a funny story, remarking that he had three engine failures caused by FOD (foreign object damage). The first was caused by a mortar round, the second by an artillery shell, and the third by a rocket-propelled grenade. He earned several decorations, including a Purple Heart, Silver Star, Bronze Star, and multiple air medals along the way.

Jim was discharged in April 1971 and then went to work for the US Department of the Interior. He had used his GI Bill benefits to get his fixed-wing ratings and was also working as a fixed-wing instructor. But his real goal was to find a job flying helicopters.

At this time, the helicopter industry was flooded with US Army–trained pilots and maintenance technicians, so finding a job in the helicopter industry wasn’t easy, even for an experienced pilot. Luckily, one of Jim’s fixed-wing students mentioned that he would soon be quitting his job at Offshore Helicopters in Sabine Pass, Texas.

Armed with that intelligence, Jim applied for a job at Offshore but was told that there were no openings. Jim didn’t share that there soon would be, and sure enough, he was offered the newly open position.

He started flying offshore in 1974 — pilot #5 of five pilot positions. After three years, when Offshore’s chief pilot left, Jim was offered the position. “I was probably the only one of the four pilots left who showed any desire or aptitude for the job,” says Jim.

Over 10 years of operations, Offshore went from five helicopters to 40, and from five pilots to 85. In 1979, when Bristow Helicopters bought Offshore Helicopters, Jim became chief pilot for Bristow’s US operations. After spending a year-and-a-half working for Bristow in the Gulf of Mexico, he was transferred to Bristow operations in Scotland and then to Malaysia as a training captain.

In 1984, Jim moved to Arctic Air as chief pilot — after several years abroad, he was eager to get back to the United States. He was working in California in 1987 when he got a call from Larry Kelly, whom he had worked with in the Gulf of Mexico (and with whom he later served on the HAI Board of Directors). Kelly urged Jim to apply for a job in Tulsa, Oklahoma, flying air medical missions for Rocky Mountain Helicopters.

Jim’s interview for the job was with John Heiskel, vice president of air medical operations for Rocky Mountain. Heiskel turned out to be someone who had interviewed with Jim for a job in the Gulf — and then didn’t get it. Luckily, Heiskel didn’t hold a grudge.

Jim has been flying in the helicopter air ambulance (HAA) sector ever since. Rocky Mountain Helicopters was acquired by Air Methods in 2002, and Jim is now an assistant chief pilot at the company, which operates 300 bases serving 48 US states.

Flying air medical has its own rewards, says Jim, who no longer flies patient transport flights. “I miss it sometimes, but not at four o’clock in the morning when it’s 10 degrees outside.” From thousands of transports, three or four patients have returned to say thanks, says Jim, and that makes it all worthwhile.

Read More: Coming Back Home to Aviation
August 03, 2018

Austin Rowles has been around aviation professionals practically his entire life. When he was very young, his father started a flight school called Palm Beach Helicopters.

“My family rode out three hurricanes [in Palm Beach County, Florida], and after one of those hurricanes destroyed the office, we rebuilt there. Every major event that has occurred in my life has been in some way, shape, or form caused by aviation.”

After high school, Rowles decided to major in computer science. Though his love of computers still runs deep, after a year of study in that field he decided to come back to his roots and pursue his other passion, aviation.

“A combination of watching my father pour his blood, sweat, and tears into this industry, and seeing my brother’s father-in-law work as a maintenance technician drove me to come back home.”

Rowles applied for and won a 2018 HFI Maintenance Technician Certificate Scholarship. He is working on his airframe and powerplant certifications and will finish his private pilot rating this summer. In addition, he has been working with his brother’s father-in-law at his shop on Meacham Airfield in Fort Worth, Texas. Rowles has done everything from a full four-phase inspection of a King Air C90 to fabricating instrument panels for multiple Cessna models.

“This industry revolves around a single word: networking.”

Rowles’s ultimate career goal is to eventually run his own Part 147 school that concentrates on the rotorcraft side of the aviation industry. “I believe rotorcraft are heavily neglected in our current schools, and I hope to be a driving force to fix that.”

When asked what advice he would give others considering a career in aviation, Rowles says, “This industry revolves around a single word: networking. Skill is always important — you should always strive to be the best at whatever it is you want to do — but when you’re shooting for that director of maintenance position at that popular company you’ve always wanted to work for, it helps to know the right people.

“Go to as many meet-ups as you can. Write names down and never forget a face. There are so many wonderful people in this industry, so it’s a pleasure just getting to know everyone.”