Helicopter Pilots – Care and Feeding

You can’t help but have the feeling that there will come a future generation of men, if there are any future generations of men, who will look at old pictures of helicopters and say, “You’ve got to be kidding.” — Harry ReasonerI was a commercial helicopter pilot for 35 years. In that time I logged over 12,000 hours in 21 different models of helicopter, both military and civilian, and I learned a few things about how to survive in the cockpit. Mr. Reasoner’s comment notwithstanding, helicopters do fly, and quite well most of the time. They’re used on pretty much a daily basis in many parts of the country, for various tasks ranging from the mundane, such as spraying fields of almond trees, to the exotic, like chasing bears across ridge lines, about which more later. And public opinion concerning these ungainly contraptions, whose addition to the pantheon of aviation is somewhat more than noise and commotion to be sure, is mixed at best. It should be noted that one of the brighter lights of aviation design, none other than Igor Sikorsky, started out scribbling plans for airplanes. Igor soon tired of that, finding more challenge and stimulation in rotary wing design. And speaking of mentors, Leonardo DaVinci is identified pretty strongly with what is possibly the earliest rendering of a flying contraption. His studies on a machine for vertical flight, the “aircrew,” circa 1493 were well in advance of the first airplanes.But little has been written or studied about the pilots of these clattering machines. Helicopter pilots are, in many ways, the mirror image of their craft: they tend to be wary of recognition; they avoid controversy or public spectacle; they tend to be unobtrusive; and they require very little attention, or coddling for that matter. Lord knows their employers believe the latter. Pay scales in rotary wing aviation are notoriously low, and kept that way by an unwritten, unspoken rule in the industry which seems to militate against making waves. Most helicopter pilots are just happy to have a seat, and they intend to keep it.Not that helicopter pilots are shy or introverted. Quite the contrary. In the company of other rotor-heads, they can be loud to the point of audible, and then some. Around the flying public, not so much. With customers, helicopter pilots keep to themselves, except for mandatory banter used to soothe the widespread, and sometimes pathological fear of flying found in many people. Full time helicopter pilots must often be part-time psychologists as well, easing their fares onto the couch, and then coaching them through session after anxious session in the air. This training also comes in handy when dealing with company owners, the FAA, air traffic controllers and those pilots who had the opportunity to enjoy a life in the sky, but who chose instead to attempt to make money flying–our fixed wing brethren.So who are these reclusive aviators, the pilots Harry Reasoner refers to in his essay as “brooders, introspective anticipators of trouble.”? What about the care and feeding of helicopter pilots?Once upon a time, in a hangar far, far away, two pilots, a flyer of helicopters and a flyer of airplanes engaged in a conversation about their chosen aircraft. The fixed wing fellow in his pristine uniform shirt, and golden epaulets, the aroma of Aqua Velva clinging to his clean-shaven face, sneered at a passing line boy who washed the airplanes, and readied them for flight. He snickered, watching the lad heft the fuel hose, while he sat in shaded comfort.Speaking of his machine, then being serviced in the punishing heat of the ramp, he bragged about the inherent stability of the plane, its capacity to stay aloft for many hours, its speed and altitude which made the distant earth pass by beneath him nearly unnoticed. He talked of his airplane’s built in safety features which allowed him to stay out of harm’s way while traversing the sky. He spoke in glowing terms about his airplane’s gauge-studded cockpit, each dial, bell and whistle installed to give him peace of mind in the unforgiving atmosphere. He mentioned the all weather capability of his plane, and he bragged about the number of ways he could communicate with professionals on the ground through numerous radios, with an array of frequencies at his fingertips, all installed to cover any possible emergency. He went on to speak in animated fashion about the system of navigational devices, radar, air traffic controllers at his beck and call, and the comfort of knowing he always had, just an arm’s length away, another pilot in the cockpit, someone who could back him up if and when things turned sporty, or just to spell him if he grew weary. Not that he’d need that, with his autopilot ready at the flick of a switch. “You see,” he said. “I have every intention of expiring in my bed at age 85.”The helicopter pilot listened, bemused. Smiling, he waited for his colleague to complete his homage to the relative value of airplanes.Then he patted the fixed winger on the back, and began. “Here’s my ambition,” he said. “Just like you, I’d like to die in my bed of old age, at around 85, after a long, colorful, adventurous career in the sky. And I intend to do just that. But here’s the difference between us, my friend.”I want to walk to the helipad every morning and pat the machine on its side, knowing there’s a bond between us, and that the touch is important. I want to fuel it myself, knowing every drop of go juice goes in, and it’s the right stuff, not half water, or sissy fuel. I want to check it over myself, and make sure the parts are still there, at least the big ones. I want to hit the starter, and suck in the stink of burning jet fuel, its glorious aroma sticking to my skin like aftershave. I want to lift the collective, feel the skitter of the skids as the machine gets light, and then feel it come alive under me. I want to pull pitch, and sense the imminence of the one maneuver that sets us apart from all you fixed wing guys–the ability to by God hover! There’s no feeling like it in the whole world, and even if I’d never done it, I’d still miss it.”Then I want to take off with a clatter and a rush, and feel the familiar rattle and shake in the airframe as I pass in to clean air. It always makes me smile. It’s not like driving along a runway; it’s like feeling the earth drop away beneath you.”I want to take off in the morning mist, slither through scud that sticks to my windscreen and drips on my cyclic stick ’cause there’s a leak in the greenhouse overhead. I want to soar across cornfields at 90 knots, scattering dogs and chickens as I go, while sucking in the loamy scent of fresh blown greenery that seeps into my cockpit. I want to careen through mountain passes at fifty feet above ground, counting the leaves of oak and hemlock trees as they whip around in my rotorwash, laughing with goats and elk as they salute me in their way as I pass them by. Then I’ll land and snatch the branches and twigs out of my skids.”I want to cruise near waterfalls, feeling the air turn chill in their wet presence out my door, and nip the underside of clouds with my blades, just to see the swirls and whorls I’ve created, and I don’t care what the authorities say. I want to see brother eagle up ahead, slow my craft nearly to a hover, just like him, and fly formation off the fellow’s wing, see him nod, acknowledging our fraternity, and then watch him fold his wings and dive as we part company till next time. I want to buzz a farmer in his field, and wave at his kids straddling his tractor, and give them ideas of maybe breaking free of the land and flying someday, too.”You see, I’m not interested in ‘inherent stability’. Life’s never gonna be like that. Hell, nobody gets out of it alive anyway; why not look life in the eye and spit? And your long-range thing? See, here’s why I picked helicopters: when I was a young pup, I could hold it all day. Now? That machine’s got a pretty small fuel tank. It’s perfect for me since I gotta pee every two hours, max.”High altitudes never interested me; I want to see what I’m flying over, and get to know the landforms and orientation of it, follow the contours and feel the way the wind flows over hills and surges into valleys. The air is glorious, but the earth is home. As for my cockpit, I don’t need two radios, a transponder, radar altimeter, GPS, fuel flow meter, digital gauges, and all that fancy stuff. Give me an altimeter, a radio, a map and a string in front to tell me I’m in trim, and I’ll go fly. All those bright and shiny gauges make you forget you’re supposed to be the one flying the machine. Every pilot worth a nickel knows where he is all the time, how much fuel he’s got, how to get where he’s going, what the weather is and when the machine’s telling him something’s about to spit up. As for the professionals on the ground, if they had the nerve and the imagination to fly they’d be up where we are. They’re just timid folks, mostly, God love ‘em. Men and women who’d love to be in aviation, but not too far in. And in an emergency, they’re no good to you. Accident reports are filled with descriptions of pilots found dead in the cockpit with their hands crushing the microphone, calling for help.”Peace of mind? If I was interested in that I’d have gone into the priesthood, or maybe bought a combination condom, bar and pizza shop in a college town. Peace of mind to me is being so attuned to the helicopter I can tell to the minute when I’ll arrive, to the second when a low fuel light will snap on, and to the instant when the skids will touch the pad. Peace of mind is being able to tell a nervous passenger there’s gonna be a bump thirty seconds before it happens, and then seeing their face when it does! Peace of mind is knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that I’m the one flying the machine, not flying by committee, and that whatever decisions get made stay made, right or wrong. Remember the eagle? You never see two of them flying along wing to wing. There’s a reason helicopters have one pilot seat.”See this,” the helicopter pilot said to the plane pilot, pointing to his knees.”Those are your knees,” the airplane guy said.”No they’re not,” the helicopter pilot responded. “They’re my autopilot. Every helicopter jockey worth a nickel can fly the aircraft, light a cigarette, read a map, eat lunch, apply makeup if that’s your thing, dial a radio, adjust the lighting, wipe the windscreen, open a soda, write coordinates, and tap a sticky fuel gauge to get it to read right, while flying with his knees, and never gain or lose twenty feet of altitude. The only autopilot I identify with is what I call myself driving home after work, ’cause my wife says I drive too fast.The airplane fellow checked his gold Tag Heuer chronometer, and stood to go. He stretched, flicked a scrap of lint off his creased blue uniform pants, and walked to the hangar door, staring into the distance at his airplane shining in the midday sun. Then he stopped, and turned back to the helicopter fellow, tears forming in his eyes. “I love flying,” he whispered. “I sure would love to try it sometime.”

How to Sell a Commercial Property the Right Way

Selling a commercial property brings a number of market factors together. Those factors have to be well planned and considered before the sale campaign commences. A real estate agent can help a property owner substantially with the trends of the local market.So the sale of a commercial property includes careful consideration with some important things including:
Timing of the sale
Impact of tenants in the sale
Orders and notices relative to the property
Impact of vacant areas in the property and on the sale
Levels of net income produced from the property
Strength and stability of the lease documentation for the tenants in the property
Good tenancy mix and a tenancy schedule that has been checked against existing leases
Methods of sale to be used that can create the sale interest and convert the buyers on a contract of sale at the best price in the current market
Other property up for sale in the same location or precinct
Time on market for selling property at the moment
Methods of marketing the property for sale
The ideal target market that the property should attract in marketing
The best price given the existing and prevailing market conditions
Levels of expenditure and outgoings in the running of the property
Evidence of prices from other sold property in the areaThe list can go on, but these are the main points to consider as you prepare to sell a commercial property. A good real estate agent will help a property owner through these key decisions and concepts.In the existing property market the choice of marketing is critical to attracting the right enquiry. If the target markets of purchasers are not reached, the sale price or offers will be lower than ideal.So what are the best ways to market a commercial property for sale? In most cases the marketing campaign will extend over a 6 to 8 week time frame and will include:
Internet adverts
Newspaper adverts
Signboard on the property
Flyers sent to the business community
Direct mail to an established database
Direct telephone calls
Email marketing to a qualified database of prospectsThis marketing plan should be balanced into a costed budget. With commercial property it is not unusual to spend around 1% of the property value in the marketing campaign. This is a cost to the property owner and should remain so. A well marketed property will attract the best enquiry and in reality the best price in the existing property market.Given the growth and impact of the internet in recent time, it is essential to implement a marketing strategy that releases the property into the different media channels at the same time. Buyers will typically go to the internet to seek more detail about the property before they call you to inspect.When the marketing campaign attracts the correct enquiry, then qualification of the buyers should happen before any property inspections occur. It is also wise to seek a signed confidentiality agreement from the potential buyers before they inspect the property. It is not unusual to get the property documentation back from the potential buyers after the property inspection if they are not interested in proceeding to sale.

Small Business Loans Explained

Small business loans are typically bank loans. People who are just starting out on a small business like to approach banks for financing because they give a certain amount of security. Generally, these loans are what are known as term loans. The concept of a this type of credit is really simple – this is of a fixed length, which means that one must return the amount within a stipulated period of time. Generally, the amount is also amortized.What They AreAmortization basically means that the loan must be paid in installments, which will cover both the amount of the loan and the interest calculated on the loan, depending on the rate charged by the bank. Term loans are generally of two basic categories and it is important to understand them before applying for a small business loan. These two categories are – Short and Long.As is obvious, in the case of a short term loan, one must pay back the amount in a short period of time – usually a year or two. But long term loans are for much longer periods of time and they reach a maturity in a period anywhere between one to seven years. A lot of times, the period of returning the amount of these loans run into decades!Application processHow do you secure term loans? Most times, you need to secure collateral to achieve this feat. The typical amount of the loan is about twenty five thousand dollars – a reasonable amount for a small business to take off. The average rate for fees is one percent. All sounds simple till now? Well, the tricky part is the approval bit.Generally, the process of approval is a very thorough one, so be prepared for a very tough screening process. As an applicant, you must be able to prove that you are of a good character, competent and able to handle your business and have a pretty good history when it comes to credit. This process is in fact similar to any other process of securing a loan because banks take into consideration all the same factors, in the case of a term loan.The good news is, if you are eligible for a loan after this screening process, the interest rate which you have to pay will generally be lower than it is for any other type of loan. For an established small business, it is a smart idea to take a long term loan or an intermediate loan. But do keep in mind, that your bank will demand a squeaky clean financial statement for long term loans of amount exceeding a hundred thousand dollars.Another thing to keep in mind when applying for a term loan is that banks often limit the liabilities that your business can assume, in addition to the loan. This may sound simple enough, but this can cover every aspect of your business, for example, the salary of your employees! So thoroughly evaluate the pros and cons before you apply for a small business loan.

What are business loans?

Business loans can be defined as money lent for a specified amount of time at a specific interest rate to a specific person or people that operate a business or plan to operate a business. This definition is very broad, but so are the various types of loans available to business people. Deciding on which type of business loan that you and your company will benefit from the most is very important. Often times, a start-up business or someone that has never owned a business will find themselves more or less applying for a “personal” loan. This can be a very risky endeavor, mixing business loans with personal loans, however, often times it is the only available means for first time business owners.One of the first things personal business owners need to do is establish business credit. Business credit can help you get a business only loan without using your personal credit. Establishing business credit can be done by:1.) Opening up a business credit card account and paying it in full.2.) Buying equipment and supplies from companies that will report good standing to the business credit bureaus.3.) Having a good business plan with potential earnings, letters of intent, and any type of customer contracts already laid out.All of these types of endeavors can help in receiving a business loan. Often times, financial institutions require in-depth business plans, be prepared to spend days working on just the certification paperwork prior to applying for a business loan. A business only loan can be obtained in the business name without use of personal credit as long as the business can justify the loan amount and the ability to pay it back.There are several different types of business loans available, ranging from those secured with collateral, non-secure loans, which are based upon the credit worthiness of the applicant, and even government loans for small business ventures, women and minorities. Government loans are those loans secured by the government; in most instances these loans are available when the business or owner can prove that the community will prosper based upon the business at hand. For the most part, government loans are based upon personal credit.The basis for which you may need or require a business loan may vary. Some of the most common business loans available to business owners are:-Acquisitions or a loan to acquire an existing business-Inventory loans-Account Receivable Loans-Working Capital Loans which converts a companies assets into working capital-Equipment Leasing-Commercial Property loans-Warehouse financing-International business loans-Franchise loansOne of the most important tools when deciding on what type of business loan your company needs is research. Researching the different types of loans available to you and your company can save you money. First, look into the different type of business loans available to you in your state. Many states have government loans available; some even offer grants, which is money available for specific purposes that do not require repayment. Research the different type of Federal loans available. You can do this at the following website: http://www.sba.gov. Call your local bank and investment companies regarding the business loans they have available for you. Many times, business loans are not that hard to acquire. With research and a good business plan, your dreams may come true.