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Heli Expo 2017 Overview

March 19, 2017

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Heli Expo 2017 Overview

March 19, 2017

With Heli-Expo Dallas a week behind us, I finally had a second to download and catch up on my photographs from the event.  As always it turned out to be an exciting and exhausting whirlwind week. Even more so due to the fact that in was in my hometown, and I had aircraft run-ups and general Chief Pilot duties to attend to. On top of that I got sick, and instead of recovering at home for the weekend, flew to VA to work four night shifts and train a transition pilot. With all that said, lets look at some of the highlights from the expo. 

 

 

The Shamu Blackhawk was a big fan favorite, I had the chance to chat with one of the pilots who had an adventure ferrying it out to Dallas. On the way, they had an engine chip light and an entire engine was changed in AZ, they were about an hour out of Dallas as it started to get dark on Saturday night, and the weather turned IFR fast. As Love field was not allowing aircraft to fly SVFR into the convention center, they ended up at a nearby airport and trucking it in on Sunday. Well worth the effort, everyone loved the Shamu Blackhawk!

 

 

 On Monday I was honored to participate in the military to civilian workshop presented by Stacy Sheard and Marc Stanley. The workshop consists of speakers on topics such as building effective resumes and advice from others who have made the transition to different sectors of the civilian industry. One of our SevenBar Rotorwing pilots from ABQ NM, Roone McKaig, gave an amazing talk about making the transition into EMS. In between the sessions myself and others mentored the attendees, giving advice about our prospective fields and companies. I met some amazing people, and am encouraged about the future group of pilots coming into the civilian market place. With a massive pilot shortage on the horizon, companies want to pick the best of the best, and this is a great starting point for networking. 

 

 

 

After the workshop, Stephen and I sneaked by security to get one last look at the set up before Tuesday's opening. The Gazelle is one of my favorite helicopters, although I have not flown in one myself, Stephen told me that it was his first helicopter ride, and what sold him on the magic of helicopter flight. This one here is the short skid model....

 

....eh not really, just its transport gear....

 

 

 By Tuesday morning its skids and blades were on and it was ready to be admired by all. 

 

 

I could really see myself owning one of these someday! 

 

 

 

Not one of these

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\/     These two little helicopters are what I referenced in a previous blog post, where I was yelled at for photographing them before the 'big reveal'! Believe it or not, the red one is actually a two seat (tandem) helicopter that you have to be very comfortable with your flight partner before agreeing to go for a ride. Both in the aspect of flying skill and of body odor!  

All teasing aside, I am fascinated by these helicopters, and would love to visit their facility in Mesa, AZ one day to do a proper aircraft review. Powered by Rotax 912 or 914 engines, these little Cicare helicopters weigh between 584lbs - 617lbs single seat/ tandem seat respectively, and have a max gross weight of 948lbs -1014lbs. They cruise around 80 kts with a 104 kt Vne and a fuel endurance of 2.5 hrs. They seem to cost around $125,000 - $140,000, and there was some mention of a kit.  Although my husband is still convinced that he needs a turbine HeliCycle, these are definitely an interesting addition to the tiny helicopter market.

 

Most interesting was the fact that one of their helicopters comes as a trainer, a helicopter with training wheels...skids... This platform with an arm attached to the helicopter, allows for it to hover up to three feet and hover taxi on a flat paved surface. With skids wider than that of a Bell 429 and an instructor with an iPad controlling the mobility of the arm, it seems impossible to crash. Attached to the arm is a letter from the FAA...apparently this can count for some solo helicopter flight time.

 

After a brief wander around the showroom floor on Tuesday morning, I had to prep for a lecture that I was surprised with earlier that morning. One of our pilots from Maine was supposed to fly down to Dallas to present his real life autorotation story about an event that occurred earlier this year when one of our helicopters lost a portion of its blade.  Due to travel arrangements falling through, I ended up giving the lecture in