Its the first and second question you get asked when people query you on your occupation and you respond , ” I am a helicopter pilot.” The second question goes like this usually. “So what do you do? fly for the news , air ambulance, military etc…
The public has a limited knowledge of the work helicopters do despite the medias extensive use of helicopters in television,movies,news gathering and sporting events etc… H.A.I. does a pretty good job representing the industry although individual membership and participation is dismal. I can not understand why pilots don’t join more organizations that represent their industry? Perhaps we see ourselves as companies of one and rugged individualists that take care of them selves, or maybe we just want to hide in the center of the herd ?
I admit that after seeing the kind of participation that exists on public helicopter forums online, I would be hesitant to participate publicly as well. Most people, (pilots and mechanics) post comments on these helicopter sites anonymously and the childish rhetoric that gets posted would frighten most potential users of helicopter services. In this case the public is best left ignorant to this representation of our industry.
I received an email the other day from the administrator of a helicopter companies forum site. He made the point that I was no longer an employee of the company and that while there was no “policy” on non employees on the forum site currently,that policy may change. I could see what his concerns may have been and not wishing to have myself found persona non Grata or possibly be in a conflict of interest situation ,I asked him to remove me from the site.
The irony to my no longer being on the forum is that I was one of the more active participants and contributors when the site first opened. I quickly confirmed what I already suspected about most of the other pilots in the company who joined the forum. They would sit back and read the posts without contributing anything. To my way of thinking its like voting. If you don’t participate then you have nothing to say about the results.
I have had a great career with a huge variety of flying assignments but there will always be a type of flying that I didn’t get to do or perhaps didn’t want to. Nevertheless, I am trying to create an open discussion thread where helicopter pilots could submit a brief description of some interesting type of flying that they have done that was out of the ordinary .
Any ideas on where to start? I already know that most helicopter pilots would much rather talk than write anything.