Posts about helicopter

Free sightseeing trip

Had the opportunity to ride on the back seat of the helicopter and played the role as a lookout man for my colleague’s instrument flight this morning. This is the first time (and expecting many more) in which I am “flying” as a non-flying pilot with no worries and enjoying the scenery! For the non-aviators, an instrument flight refers to flying the aircraft purely by relying on the aircraft instruments. This is the only means of navigating around safely when visibility or weather does not permit visual flying.

During the 2 hour flight as the observer, apart from assisting the crew in looking out for other traffic within the vicinity, I’ve made a couple of interesting observations which I thought one would never realise it when you’re actually flying. In a multi crew environment, there is plenty of emphasis in inter cockpit crew resource management (CRM). For instance, during an instrument approach, the cockpit was overwhelmed with activities such as setting up the instruments for the approach, obtaining the necessary clearances from the relevant ATC agencies, referring to the approach charts. On top of these, the pilots have to fly the aircraft and achieve the parameters as accurately as possible since this aircraft does not have the luxury of autopilot!

The only complain I have is the long ride and backaches. Unlike commercial aircraft that allows passengers to walk down the aisle, I have to remain seated throughout the flight. Otherwise, the ride was definitely an eye opening experience as I get to see almost the whole of Singapore, including some of its prominent landmarks such as the Singapore flyer and the central business districts.

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Ditching ditching

Equipped with a life vest and a short term air supply system (STASS) oxygen bottle, I had my first experience of being submerged underwater and learning to escape from the confined space of the helicopter cabin. Known as the Helicopter Underwater Escape Training (HUET), this is a yearly water survival drill requirement and it helps to embed confidence among helicopter aircrew in the event of water ditching.

Besides HUET, there’s also dinghy drill where we are learn to survival in open water conditions in a life-raft. For the regular swimmers and divers, learning to breath from the oxygen bottle should be a piece of cake but for those who fear being in the water and struggle to escape, you will find the 4-6 minutes of oxygen supply depleting at a faster rate than desire!

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