18 January 2009

When To Be A Chicken

I had a student scheduled yesterday. He's a VERY experienced pilot (a fixed-wing Designated Pilot Examiner)... and I love teaching fixed-wingers to fly helicopters. But as I indicated in our coffee test post below, we woke hearing the wind blowing so hard the walls of our log home were creaking against the strain.

Let me back up a little here...
This fixed-wing guy has recently gotten his helicopter rating across town and now that company won't allow him to rent their helicopter. The company I teach for allows students to rent our bird following their training, so he needs a checkout with us to insure he's competent before renting our machine.

When I check, the report is: wind out of the West at 15, gusting to 27 with peak gusts up to 30 knots. That's a bunch. It presents an interesting question-
If I give him his checkout under these conditions, he'll be exposed to wind he probably would never choose to fly in on his own, and I'll be able to evaluate his skills under extreme conditions... sort of "If he can safely fly in this, he'll be safe in anything."
But there is a limitation in the operator's manual restricting pilots with less than 200 hours from flying in this kind of wind. I really don't want to reinforce the idea that he could safely fly under these conditions. I decide to call him and see what he will decide to do.

I call his cell phone and he answers, "Hey Greybeard, I'm giving a speech. Can I call you back in 45 minutes?"

When the phone rings 45 minutes later he says, "I was giving a speech at a flight instructor renewal course. Sorry about that!" (This will be an interesting student!)

When I pose the question, he defers to my judgment-
"If you think it's safe I'm ready to fly."
I press him to make a decision, but begin to get the feeling he thinks my schedule is tight and I may not want to cancel, so I ask, "What's your schedule look like tomorrow?"
I hear relief in his voice... "Oh, I could fly either really early, or late afternoon. Your pick."

I think I like this guy. I'll bet I like the way he flies.
I'll let ya know.

1 comment:

christian soldier said...

He certainly doesn't suffer from 'get there itis"..that's a good thing...