Helicopter Pilot Humor
Charlie Block
18 January 2003
When I grow up..I want to be a Naval Aviator
Charlie Block
14 June 2002
Those Marines...you gotta love them
Gary Zimmerman
3 April 2002
Retired Marine Colonels
Col. Charlie Block
28 JUL 2001
"Marine Captains, Ya Gotta Love Um!"
Capt. John F. Peterson
28 JUL 2001
How to Operate a Helicopter Mechanic
William C. Dykes
20 JUL 2001
The "Pay Back" System
"Fast Eddy" Creamer
20 JUL 2001
"Helicopter Pilot's Hell"
Charlie Block
17 JUL 2001
"Fighter Pilot's Prayer"
Charlie Block
17 JUL 2001
"The Mechanic"
Skip Burns
1 OCT 2004
"17 Reasons ..."
Skip Burns
21 NOV 2004
"Aviation Definitions "
Skip Burns
3 Dec 2004
"Rules of helicopter flying "
Charlie Block
14 Mar 2007

Helicopter Pilot Humor

Helicopter Pilot Humor

The following was provided by Col. Charlie Block.

Further Musings from a former Helicopter Pilot Anything that screws it's way into the sky flies according to unnatural principals.

You never want to sneak up behind an old high-time helicopter pilot and clap your hands. He will instantly dive for cover and most likely whimper...then get up and kick your butt.

There are no old helicopters lying around airports like you see old Airplanes. There is a reason for this. Come to think of it, there are not many old high-time helicopter pilots hanging around airports either so the first issue is problematic.

You can always tell a helicopter pilot in anything moving, a train, an airplane, a car or a boat. They never smile, they are always listening to the machine and they always hear something they think is not right. Helicopter pilots fly in a mode of intensity, actually more like "spring loaded," while waiting for pieces of their contraption to fall off.

Flying a helicopter at any altitude over 500 feet is considered reckless and should be avoided. Flying a helicopter at any altitude or condition that precludes a landing in less than 20 seconds is considered outright foolhardy.

Remember in a helicopter you have about 1 second to lower the collective in an engine failure before it becomes unrecoverable. Once you've failed this maneuver the machine flies about as well as a 20 case Coke machine. Even a perfectly executed autorotation only gives you a glide ratio slightly better than that of a brick. 180-degree autorotations are a violent and aerobatic maneuver in my opinion and should be avoided.

When your wings are leading, lagging, flapping, precessing and moving faster than your fuselage there's something unnatural going on. Is this the way men were meant to fly?

While hovering, if you start to sink a bit, you pull up on the collective while twisting the throttle, push with your left foot (more torque) and move the stick left (more translating tendency) to hold your spot. If you now need to stop rising, you do the opposite in that order. Sometimes in wind you do this many times each second. Don't you think that's a strange way to fly?

For Helicopters: You never want to feel a sinking feeling in your gut (low "g" pushover) while flying a two bladed under slung teetering rotor system. You are about to do a snap roll to the right and crash. For that matter, any remotely aerobatic maneuver should be avoided in a Huey. Don't push your luck. It will run out soon enough anyway.

If everything is working fine on your helicopter consider yourself temporarily lucky. Something is about to break.

Way back in 1971 while I was flying Huey gun ships in Vietnam, Harry Reasoner wrote the following about helicopter pilots:

The thing is, helicopters are different from planes. An airplane by its nature wants to fly, and if not interfered with too strongly by unusual events or by a deliberately incompetent pilot, it will fly. A helicopter does not want to fly. It is maintained in the air by a variety of forces and controls working in opposition to each other, and if there is any disturbance in this delicate balance the helicopter stops flying; immediately and disastrously. There is no such thing as a gliding helicopter.

"This is why being a helicopter pilot is so different from being an airplane pilot, and why in generality, airplane pilots are open, clear-eyed, buoyant extroverts and helicopter pilots are brooding introspective anticipators of trouble. They know if something bad has not happened it is about to."

Having said all this, I will also tell you that flying a helicopter is one of the most satisfying and exhilarating experiences I have ever enjoyed. I went on to fly over 11,000 hours in jets, props and helicopters before hanging up my wings. What I miss most is skimming over the trees at 100 knots, all by myself in a light observation helicopter.

When my brother heard that I was going to fly helicopters he related with all the superiority of a fighter pilot (who had never flown a helicopter) that "flying helicopters was similar to masturbating. Fun at the time but nothing to brag about."

Many years later I know that it was sometimes anything but fun, but now it is something to brag about for those of us who survived the experience.

Semper Fi and keep the green side up.

Rock Lyons (former helicopter pilot)

- submitted by Charlie Block        

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When I grow up.. I want to be a Naval Aviator

When I grow up.. I want to be a Naval Aviator

The following was published in the December issue of QB Beam (Quiet Birdmen). Supposedly, a fifth grader wrote it.

I want to be a Naval Aviator when I grow up because it's a fun and easy thing to do. Naval Aviators don't need much school. They just have to learn numbers so they can read instruments. I guess they should be able to read maps so they can find their way if they are lost. Naval Aviators should be brave so they won't be scared if it's foggy and they can't see or if a wing or motor falls off they should stay calm so they'll know what to do.

Naval Aviators have to have good eyes so they can see through clouds and they can't be afraid of lightning or thunder because they are closer to them than we are. The salary Naval Aviators make is another thing I like. They make more money than they can spend. This is because most people think airplane flying is dangerous, except Naval Aviators don't because they know how easy it is. There isn't much I don't like, except girls like Naval Aviators and all the stewardesses want to marry them, so they always have to chase them away so they won't bother them. I hope I don't get air sick because if I do, I couldn't be a Naval Aviator and then would have to go to work.

- submitted by Charlie Block        

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Those Marines...you gotta love them

Those Marines...you gotta love them

The pentagon recently found it had too many generals and offered an early retirement bonus. They promised any general who retired immediately his full annual benefits plus $10,000 for every inch measured in a straight line between any two points on the general's body, with the general getting to select any pair of points he wished.

The first man, an Air Force general, accepted. He asked the pension man to measure from the top of his head to the tip of his toes. Six feet.

He walked out with a check of $720,000.

The second man, an Army general, asked them to measure from the tip of his up-stretched hands to his toes. Eight feet. He walked out with a check for $960,000.

When the third general, a grizzled old Marine General, was asked where to measure, he told the pension man: "From the tip of my penis to my testicles."

The pension man suggested that perhaps the Marine general might like to reconsider, pointing out the nice checks the previous two generals had received. The Marine general insisted and the pension expert said that would be fine, but that he'd better get the medical officer to do the measuring.

The medical officer attended and asked the general to drop 'em. He did. The medical officer placed the tape on the tip of the general's penis and began to work back. "My God!" he said, "where are your testicles?"

"Vietnam," the general replied.

- submitted by Gary Zimmerman        

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Retired Marine Colonels

Four retired military veterans are walking down the street.  When they see a sign that says "Veterans Bar," they go in. 

The bartender asks what they will have and they order a very dry martini (straight gin up).  He delivers the drinks and says: "That will be 40 cents."  They can't believe their good luck.  They finish the drinks and order another round and the bartender again says: "That will be 40 cents."  This sparks their curiosity, so they ask the bartender: "How can you afford to serve martinis for a dime apiece?"

The bartender replies: "I guess you've seen the decor here.  Well, I am a retired Navy Master Chief Boatswain's Mate, and I always wanted to own a bar.  Last year I hit the lottery for $45 million and decided to open this place for all veterans who paid their dues to Uncle Sam.  Every drink costs a dime -- wine, liquor, beer all the same."

They direct his attention to four guys at the end of the bar who haven't ordered anything and ask: "What's with them?" The bartender responds: "Oh, those are 4 retired Marine Corps colonels.  They're waiting for Happy Hour."

- submitted by Colonel Charlie Block        

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"Marine Captains, Ya Gotta Love Um!"

Here's a great response to a letter in the San Diego paper complaining of USMC flight training exercises.  The author of the complaint, Mrs. Harvey, clearly ruffled the Captain's feathers, but his response, while liberally laced with sarcasm, makes point after point about why they do what they do:

Responding to Maura Harvey's letter wondering if the Marine helicopter training flights that passed above her Del Mar home were simply to harass residents, I can say that, yes, our mission is to harass residents, specifically Mrs. Harvey.  We do not train 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide freedom and security to all residents of the United States.  We exist only to annoy the very people we are sworn to protect, against all enemies, foreign and domestic.  We spend months and years overseas, away from our families and loved ones, in some cases making less than minimum wage, choosing to live a life in which many qualify for food stamps, just to have the chance, one day, to annoy people like Mrs. Harvey.  There is no more sought-after position in the military than the Maura Harvey Annoyance Task Force.  As a matter of fact, the Marines who spent Christmas dug into fighting positions in northern Kuwait and their brothers in the sky, braving antiaircraft missiles and artillery, were just training to come back to the States and fly missions over Mrs. Harvey's house.  It has nothing to do with the security of the nation.  It has no impact on our ability to carry out missions in Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe, and it has no bearing on Mrs. Harvey's ability to enjoy "nature and peaceful, quiet living." The "strange, almost science fiction war scene" she described was put on solely to make noise and to destroy her "scenic view corridors" in Del Mar Terrace.  It certainly was not valuable and necessary training to help sustain the lives of those who ensure this nation's freedom, should they ever be sent into harm's way to do just that.  Next time, Mrs. Harvey may want to look upon those loud machines and think about the men and women, who fly, ride in, and maintain them.  Ponder the sacrifices they make in providing this nation with the warm blanket of freedom we all enjoy.  Maybe she might even imagine how much more disturbing it would be if she were not sure what country the helicopters were from, or whether they were going to attack her beautiful neighborhood.  But she shouldn't worry too much about that, because we will not let it happen. 

By Capt. John F. Peterson, USMC        

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How to Operate a Helicopter Mechanic

A long, long time ago, back in the days of iron men and wooden rotor blades, a ritual began.  It takes place when a helicopter pilot approaches a mechanic to report some difficulty with his aircraft.  All mechanics seem to be aware of it, which leads to the conclusion that it's included somewhere in their training, and most are diligent in practicing it.

New pilots are largely ignorant of the ritual because it's neither included in their training, nor handed down to them by older drivers.  Older drivers feel that the pain of learning everything the hard way was so exquisite, that they shouldn't deny anyone the pleasure.

There are pilots who refuse to recognize it as a serious professional amenity, no matter how many times they perform it, and are driven to distraction by it.  Some take it personally.  They get red in the face, fume and boil, and do foolish dances.  Some try to take it as a joke, but it's always dead serious.  Most pilots find they can't change it, and so accept it and try to practice it with some grace.

The ritual is accomplished before any work is actually done on the aircraft.  It has four parts, and goes something like this:

1. The pilot reports the problem.  The mechanic says, "There's nothing wrong with it."
2. The pilot repeats the complaint.  The mechanic replies, "It's the gauge."
3. The pilot persists, plaintively.  The mechanic maintains, "They're all like that."
4. The pilot, heatedly now, explains the problem carefully, enunciating carefully.  The
    mechanic states, "I can't fix it."

After the ritual has been played through in it's entirety, serious discussion begins, and the problem is usually solved forthwith.

Like most rituals, this one has it's roots in antiquity and a basis in experience and common sense.  It started back when mechanics first learned to operate pilots, and still serves a number of purposes.  It's most important function is that it is a good basic diagnostic technique.  Causing the pilot to explain the symptoms of the problem several times in increasing detail not only saves troubleshooting time, but gives the mechanic insight into the pilot's knowledge of how the machine works, and his state of mind.

Every mechanic knows that if the last flight was performed at night or in bad weather, some of the problems reported are imagined, some exaggerated, and some are real.  Likewise, a personal problem, especially romantic or financial, but including simple fatigue, affects a pilot's perception of every little rattle and thump.  There are also chronic whiners complainers to be weeded out and dealt with.  While performing the ritual, an unscrupulous mechanic can find out if the pilot can be easily intimidated.  If the driver has an obvious personality disorder like prejudices, pet peeves, tender spots, or other manias, they will stick out like handles, with which he can be steered around.

There is a proper way to operate a mechanic as well.  Don't confuse "operating" a mechanic with "putting one in his place."  The worst and most often repeated mistake is to try to establish an "I'm the pilot and you're just the mechanic" hierarchy.  Although a lot of mechanics can and do fly recreationally, they give a damn about doing it for a living.  Their satisfaction comes from working on complex and expensive machinery.  As a pilot, you are neither feared nor envied, but merely tolerated, for until they actually train monkeys to fly those things, he needs a pilot to put the parts in motion so he can tell if everything is working properly.

The driver who tries to put a mech in his "place" is headed for a fall.  Sooner or later, he'll try to crank with the blade tied down.  After he has snatched the tailboom around to the cabin door and completely burnt out the engine, he'll see the mechanic there sporting a funny little smirk.  Helicopter mechanics are indifferent to attempts at discipline or regimentation other than the discipline of their craft.  It's accepted that a good mechanic's personality should contain unpredictable mixtures of irascibility and nonchalance, and should exhibit at least some bizarre behavior.

The basic operation of a mechanic involves four steps:

1. Clean an aircraft.  Get out a hose or bucket, a broom, and some rags, and at some strange time of day, like early morning, or when you would normally take your afternoon and start cleaning that bird from top to bottom, inside and out.  This is guaranteed to knock even the sourest old wrench off balance.  He'll be suspicious, but he'll be attracted to this strange behavior like a passing motorist to a roadside accident.  He may even join in to make sure you don't break anything.  Before you know it, you'll be talking to each other about the aircraft while you're getting a more intimate knowledge of it.  Maybe while you're mucking out the pilot's station, you'll see how rude it is to leave coffee cups, candy wrappers, cigarette butts, and other trash behind to be cleaned up.

2. Do a thorough pre-flight.  Most mechanics are willing to admit to themselves that they might make a mistake, and since a lot of his work must be done at night or in a hurry, a good one likes to have his work checked.  Of course he'd rather have another mech do the checking, but a driver is better than nothing.  Although they cultivate a deadpan, don't-give-a-damn attitude, mechanics have nightmares about forgetting to torque a nut or leaving tools in inlets and drive shaft tunnels.  A mech will let little gigs slide on a machine that is never pre-flighted, not because they won't be noticed, but because he figures the driver will overlook something big someday, and the whole thing will end up in a smoking pile of rubble anyway.

3. Don't abuse the machinery.  Mechanics see drivers come and go, so you won't impress one in a thousand with what you can make the aircraft do.  They all know she'll lift more than max gross, and will do a hammerhead with half roll.  While the driver is confident that the blades and engine and massive frame members will take it, the mech knows that it's the seals and bearings and rivets deep in the guts of the machine that fail from abuse.  In a driver, mechanics aren't looking for fancy expensive clothes, flashy girlfriends, tricky maneuvers, and lots of juicy stories about Viet Nam.  They're looking for one who'll fly the thing so that all the components make their full service life.  They also know that high maintenance costs are a good excuse to keep salaries low.

4. Do a post-flight inspection.  Nothing feels more deliciously dashing than to end the day by stepping down from the bird and walking off into the sunset while the blade slowly turns down.  It's the stuff that beer commercials are made of.  The trouble is, it leaves the pilot ignorant of how the aircraft has fared after a hard days work, and leaves the wrench doing a slow burn.  The mechanic is an engineer, not a groom, and needs some fresh, first hand information on the aircraft's performance if he is to have it ready to go the next day.  A little end-of-the-day conference also gives you one more chance to get him in the short ribs.  Tell him the thing flew good.  It's been known to make them faint dead away.

As you can see, operating a helicopter mechanic is simple, but it is not easy.  What it boils down to is that if a pilot performs his pilot rituals religiously in no time at all he will find the mechanic operating smoothly (I have not attempted to explain how to make friends with a mechanic, for that is not known.).

Helicopter pilots and mechanics have a strange relationship.  It's a symbiotic partnership because one's job depends on the other, but it's an adversary situation too, since one's job is to provide the helicopter with loving care, and the other's is to provide wear and tear.

Pilots will probably always regard mechanics as lazy, lecherous, intemperate swine who couldn't make it through flight school, and mechanics will always be convinced that pilots are petulant children with pathological ego problems, a big watch, and a little whatchamacallit.  Both points of view are viciously slanderous, of course, and only partly true.

By William C. Dykes        

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The "Pay Back" System

I believe in the "pay back" system.  Nobody gets something for nothing.  You have to pay the price for every good deal you get.  It's the law of the land.  Drink a beer - take a leak.  Go on R&R - stand night medevac.  It all balances out.

Riding the six-by to the squadron area at Marble was one of those.  I believe that somewhere, in one of Dante's levels of Hell, is a place for those Motor T folks who drove the HEMORRHOID EXPRESS "bus" around the circuit at Marble.  For they knew each and every person who'd received a good deal by name and blood type. Knew, sooner or later, we'd all get on the "bus."  They just needed to wait.

Take the morning after one of those Filipino Christian Science Bands with Virginal Choir floor shows had played at the Club.  Attendance at these shows was considered important for bonding and soul saving.  And, as was the usual habit of most flight crews and maintenance folk, each did his best to assist the Club Manager in reducing the stock of outdated and aged refreshments.  Voluntarily of course.  Until the evening of meditation would come to a close.  With glasses held high in comradeship, each would proclaim with sincerity, "I ruv you man.  You're my Pard."  Then departed for a night's sleep.  For daybreak always came earlier in Vietnam after floor shows.

Before the sun broke, the EXPRESS could be found watching for us at the first stop near the end of Officer's country.  Smoke pouring out of a cheap coal fed engine that had long past the time when a ring job would have helped.  It's driver sat behind a bore sight glued to the cracked, dusty, windshield while his hands were taped to the wheel in suicide fashion.  Satan himself had blessed the driver and what would have passed for springs on newer trucks.

Have you ever climbed up and over a closed tailgate which stood suspended 40 feet off the ground when your head weighted 362 pounds?  Only to sit down suddenly and be reminded by the MIL-SPEC hardened benches your piles were having a bad hair day.  Knowing the only way you would ever feel better was to die.  Watching the lost souls climb after you seeking out the first class seating.

When the last had entered, the "bus", with gears clashing, coughed and jerked and bounced its way to the next stop.  Officer's stop!  O'Club stop!  Staff NCO Quarters!  All the while listless souls climbed in and over those barely alive as it made it's way past Enlisted Quarters.  Eventually it shuddered its cargo of human bondage to the H&MS stop.  A voice from the depths of the engine moaned, "Avionics!  Maintenance!  Those without hope!"  Causing some of the damned to depart.

It continued to jar along its route to Hell; slamming to a stop at various squadrons.  Searching its way all the while for the final stop at HMH-463.  The driver making certain the last man out at each stop never quite climbed all the way down as he caused the green machine to leap forward while leaving at least one poor wretch hanging in mid air.  Only to land in a cloud of dust as the "bus" screamed for second and an evil laugh could be heard coming from the cab.  With chalk in teeth, another mark was etched on the canvas roof.  When the bus was empty, the wheel was rotated so that the EXPRESS could return for another load of those who had experienced a good deal and needed to pay for it.

Thus started another typical day at war.

By "Fast Eddy" Creamer        

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'Helicopter Pilot's Hell

Mac died at the controls of his CH-53 and went to pilots' hell, where he found a hideous devil and three doors.

The devil was busy escorting other helicopter pilots to various "hell rooms."

"I'll be right back--don't go away," said the devil, and he vanished.

Sneaking over to the first door, Mac peeked in and saw a cockpit where the pilot was condemned to forever run through pre-flight checks.

He slammed that door and peeked into the second.  There, alarms rang and red lights flashed while a pilot had to avoid one emergency after another.  Unable to imagine a worse fate, Mac cautiously opened the third door.

He was amazed to see many sharply dressed Marine Crew Chief in dress blues ready to obey every pilot's request for coffee, donuts, and whatever.  He quickly returned to his place seconds before the devil reappeared.

"Okay, Mac," said the devil, "Which door will it be, number 1 or number 2?"

"Um, I want door number 3," answered Mac.

"Sorry," said the devil. "You can't have door number 3. That's Crew Chief's hell."

- submitted by Charlie Block, Dimmer-6        

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Fighter Jock's Prayer

- submitted by Charlie Block, Dimmer-6        

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The Mechanic

One pilot skill that should be taught is dealing with the mechanic. This is somehow neglected in the basic flight skills textbook. There was a great text going around awhile back on "How to operate a helicopter mechanic" but I feel that was for the advanced pilot. Therefore I shall remedy this and post a basic text that I feel should be inserted in your POH.


Mechanic: Worker skilled in using tools, repairing machines, etc., "Webster."

Mechanic: Worker skilled in using tools, text, voodoo, threats, intimidation, profanity, pagers, cell phones, and determination, "Pilot."

For specific breakdown:

Hanger Mechanic: One generally happy with a normal workday and content to perform repetitive tasks. (Inspections and such)

Field Mechanic: One generally not happy with other life on the planet. Thrives on unusual problems in rural areas in the middle of the night.

Although there is no one definition for "a mechanic," and they come in all shapes and sizes the ones that I have spent many years trying to figure out is the "Field Mechanic." This breed of person is far different from any society norm, and truly walks there own path. (Definitely an Alpha) They are easily identified and cannot be imitated (at least not for long), they generally travel alone but sometimes are assisted by another, or more likely a hanger mechanic forced to go and help with task that might require another set of hands. (Field mechanics have no problem getting a pilot dirty either)

I have met and worked with many field mechanics over the years, and there are some differences, but only minor ones. Some are generally happy even at two in the morning, while others are pissed all the time, but they all have the core beliefs and ideas of how the world actually works. A field mechanic generally believes that pilots are there for them to train, and to screw up their aircraft. We (pilots) are also owned by the field mechanic; we are referred to in their circle as, my pilot, and my helicopter, or my crew. This quickly changes when we actually do something wrong, "that pilot screwed up my ship." We are usually reclaimed later after the appropriate time of groveling and self-deprecation has passed.

I made the mistake early in my career and told a mechanic that I also had an A&P, big mistake; he was not impressed and also considered me a bigger nuisance than a pilot without one. Later in life I compared this with people coming up to me and telling me that they are also pilots, (80 hour weekend wonders) I have never mentioned this again.

I've dealt with mechanics that would argue for an hour to get out of a ten-minute job, or younger ones that would be so eager that when they came over they just had to find some little thing to impress you on how smart they are. Some, I feel, hate every pilot on the face of the earth, and some are good friends that I've stayed in touch with for many years.

There is one type of mechanic that just pisses me off to no end; I hate having to call them to come over because the results are almost always the same. They're generally always nice, experienced, and helpful, they never seem to complain, and are truly concerned with my problem. I despise each and every one of them (luckily there are only a few) I call them Healers. No matter the squawk, hang start, gauge stuck, bulb out, and on and on, they show up and with a simple "laying of the hands" it works fine every time. I think the aircraft has certain pressure points that allows the healing to take place, I watch very carefully every time but have yet been able to duplicate this phenomena.

On one such occasion, my aircraft would not start right to save my ass, after several attempts I had no choice but to call. With a pit in my stomach, I call and explain the entire sequence. "OK, I'm on my way" and that was that. After the appropriate amount of time, in he walks. "How long are we down for?" "Do we have time to go eat?" my med crew inquires. "I'll let you know in about ten minutes," replies the mechanic. I approach the aircraft and see the mechanic leaning on the nose waiting for me to get in. I wonder if this is one of the points or if this thing will still hang when I hit the button. As I strap in, I notice the mechanic has opened the other door and has his right arm in the seat and has carefully placed his left hand on the dash. He taps his fingers a few times as I go through my checklist. Clear, and away we go. This was about the closest thing to a perfect start that I have ever, in all my years, seen, DAMN HIM.

Walking back into the crew house, my nurse asks, "Were do you want to go eat?" I think the look in my eyes said it all. "He did it again, didn't he?"

I'm not trying to be to be hard on the healers, but damn it, it happens far to often to just be a coincidence. Generally, field mechanics are a special breed that have kept my ass alive for many years. I found that treating them with respect, food, and the occasional 18 pack will go a long way in establishing a good working relationship with this nomadic type.

- submitted by Skip Burns        

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17 Reasons why it is easier to live with a helicopter than a woman

1) Helicopters usually kill you quickly - a woman takes her time.

2) Helicopters can be turned on by a flick of a switch.

3) Helicopters don't get mad if you do a "touch and go."

4) Helicopters don't object to a preflight inspection.

5) Helicopters come with manuals to explain their operation.

6) Helicopters have strict weight and balance limitations.

7) Helicopters can be flown any time of the month.

8) Helicopters don't come with in-laws.

9) Helicopters don't care about how many other helicopters you've flown before.

10) Helicopters and pilots both arrive at the same time.

11) Helicopters don't mind if you look at other helicopters.

12) Helicopters don't mind if you buy "boys" magazines.

13) Helicopters expect to be tied down.

14) Helicopters don't comment on your driving skills.

15) Helicopters don't whine unless something is really wrong.

16) However, when helicopters go quiet, just like women, it's usually not good.

17) A helicopters attitude is easier to adjust!!!

- submitted by Skip Burns        

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Aviation Definitions

ALTERNATE AIRPORT: The area directly beyond the active runway when the engine quits on take off.

ALTIMETER SETTING: The place where the altimeter sets. Usually hidden by the control column during a near-minimums instrument approach.

BANK: The folks who hold the mortgage on your aircraft.

BI-PLANE: What you'll say to your bird if flying costs keep going up.

CARBURETOR ICE: Phrase used by pilots when explaining accident caused by fuel exhaustion.

"CLEAR": Warning shouted two seconds after hitting the starter button.

CONTROL TOWER: A small shack on stilts inhabited by government pensioners who can't hear. When they become blind, they are sent to centers.

CRITICAL ALTITUDE: Your altitude plus six feet.

CRITICAL ENGINE: That part of your airplane which used to be under the cowl, but is now in intensive care at the maintenance shop.

DEAD RECKONING: You reckon correctly, or you are.

DE-ICER: A device designed to operate under all weather conditions, except icing.

ENGINE FAILURE: A condition which occurs when all fuel tanks become filled with air.

FIREWALL: Section of aircraft especially designed to allow all engine heat and smoke to fill the cockpit.

GLIDING DISTANCE: Half the distance from your present position to the nearest decent landing area at the time of complete power failure.

GROSS WEIGHT: Maximum permissible take off weight, plus an extra suitcase, a case of bourbon, rifle, ammo, golf bag, bowling ball, and diving weights.

HOLDING PATTERN: The term applied to the dogfight in progress over any radio facility serving a terminal airport.

RANGE: Five miles beyond the point where all fuel tanks have become filled with air.

WALK AROUND: What you do when waiting for weather to clear.

LANDING FLAP: A 4000' roll out on a 3000' runway.

- submitted by Skip Burns        

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Rules of helicopter flying

The following was provided by Col. Charlie Block.

PS - Recalling my first flight in a UH-34, some of it is remarkably true!!

Subject: Rules of helicopter flying

RULES OF HELICOPTER FLYING Written by: David Berry ( They must mean Dave Barry)

TODAY'S AVIATION TOPIC IS: How to fly a helicopter.

Although flying a helicopter may seem very difficult, the truth is that if you can drive a car, you can, with just a few minutes of instruction, take the controls of one of these amazing machines. Of course you would immediately crash and die. This is why you need to remember:

RULE ONE OF HELICOPTER PILOTING: Always have somebody sitting right next to you who actually knows how to fly the helicopter and can snatch the controls away from you. Because the truth is that helicopters are nothing at all like cars. Cars work because of basic scientific principles that everybody understands, such as internal combustion and parallel parking Whereas scientists still have no idea what holds helicopters up. "Whatever it is, it could stop at any moment," is their current feeling.

RULE TWO OF HELICOPTER PILOTING: Maybe you should forget the entire thing. This was what I was thinking on a recent Saturday morning as I stood outside a small airport in South Florida, where I was about to take my first helicopter lesson. This was not my idea. This was the idea of Pam Gallina-Raisstguier, who flies radio reporters over Miami during rush hour so they can alert drivers to traffic problems ("Bob, we have a three-mile backup on the interstate due to an overturned cocaine truck"). Pam is active in an international organization of women helicopter pilots called (Gloria Steinem; avert your eyes) the "Whirly Girls." She thought it would be a great idea for me to take a helicopter lesson.I began having severe doubts when I saw Pam's helicopter. This was a small helicopter. It looked like it should have a little slot where you insert quarters to make it go up and down. I knew that if we got airborne in a helicopter this size in South Florida, some of our larger tropical flying insects could very well attempt to mate with us. Also, this helicopter had no doors. As a Frequent Flyer, I know for a fact that all your leading U.S. airlines, despite being bankrupt, maintain a strict safety policy of having doors on their aircraft. "Don't we need a larger helicopter?" I asked Pam. "With doors?" "Get in." said Pam. You don't defy a direct order from a Whirly Girl. Now we're in the helicopter, and Pam is explaining the controls to me over the headset, but there's static and the engine is making a lot of noise. "your throttle (something)," she is saying. "This is your cyclic and (something) your collective." "What?" I say. "(something) give you the controls when we reach 500 feet," Pam says. "What?" I say. But Pam is not listening. She is moving a control thing and WHOOOOAAAAAA we are shooting up in the air, and there are still no doors on this particular helicopter. Now Pam is giving me the main control thing.

RULE THREE OF HELICOPTER PILOTING: If anybody tries to give you the main control thing, refuse to take it. Pam says: "You don't need hardly any pressure to... " AIEEEEEEEEEEE "That was too much pressure," Pam says. Now I am flying the helicopter. I AM FLYING THE HELICOPTER. I am flying it by not moving a single body part, for fear of jiggling the control thing. I look like the Lincoln Memorial statue of Abraham Lincoln, only more rigid. "Make a right turn," Pam is saying. I gingerly move the control thing one zillionth of an inch to the right and helicopter LEANS OVER TOWARD MY SIDE AND THERE IS STILL NO DOOR HERE. I instantly move the thing one zillionth of an inch back. "I'm not turning right." I inform Pam. "What?" she says. "Only left turns." I tell her. When you've been flying helicopters as long as I have, you know your limits. After a while it become clear to Pam that if she continues to allow the Lincoln statue to pilot the helicopter, we are going to wind up flying in a straight line until we run out of fuel, possibly over Antarctica, so she takes the control thing back. That is good news. The bad news is, she's now saying something about demonstrating an "emergency procedure." "It's for when your engine dies," Pam says. "It's called 'auto-rotation'." Do you like amusement park rides?" I say: "No, I DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOnnnnnnnnn't"

RULE FOUR OF HELICOPTER PILOTING: "Auto-rotation" means "coming down out of the sky at about the same speed and aerodynamic stability as that of a forklift dropped from a bomber. "Now we're close to the ground (although my stomach is still at 500 feet), and Pam is completing my training by having me hover the helicopter.

RULE FIVE OF HELICOPTER PILOTING: You can't hover the helicopter.

The idea is to hang over one spot on the ground. I am hovering over an area approximately the size of Australia. I am swooping around sideways and backward like a crazed bumblebee. If I were trying to rescue a person from the roof of a 100-story burning building, the person would realize that it would be safer to simply jump. At times I think I am hovering upside-down. Even Pam looks nervous. So I am very happy when we finally get back on the ground. Pam tells me I did great, and she'd be glad to take me up again. I tell her that sounds like a fun idea.

RULE SIX OF HELICOPTER PILOTING: Sometimes you have to lie.

- submitted by Charlie Block        

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