My name is Tim Tucker and this website is a result (hopefully, a useful result) of 30 days and counting of mandatory coronavirus self-isolation, lockdown, quarantine or whatever the correct term should be in the early spring of 2020. After wearing out my Netflix account, rereading every book in the house and adding more than a few grey hairs to my wife’s lovely head I thought this might be the opportunity to gather up all the bits and pieces of a 50 year career flying helicopters and put them all in one box. This is that box.
First, a little of my flying background to add some context to the things going into this box. I learned to fly in 1970 in the US Army’s Warrant Officer Program and ended up spending 27 years, in various capacities (active duty, reservist and DOD civilian) as an instructor pilot teaching in the Army’s venerable UH-1 “Huey”. Overseas assignments included Vietnam, Korea and Honduras while the rest of my service was in the US. As for my civilian career, I received my FAA helicopter flight instructor certificate in 1973 and a few years later purchased the very first Robinson R22 that was sold, serial No. 003 (Serial No. 001 crashed in the ocean and sunk midway through the FAA certification process so Robinson built serial No 002 to complete the program.). I later went to work for Robinson as a test pilot and as Chief Instructor started the initial Pilot Safety Course. Little did I know that that first R22 and the man responsible for it would go on to transform the helicopter world and I’ve been on board for the entire ride. Along with the monthly Robinson factory Safety Course, I’ve conducted over 120 foreign Safety Courses in 31 countries and since flying is a part of each course I’ve accumulated 17 foreign pilot licenses.
I’ve been an FAA Designated Pilot Examiner (DPE) in helicopters since 1984 and have conducted over 8000 private pilot through ATP practical tests. I am authorized to conduct tests in, not only Robinson’s three models but also 12 other make & models. My 21,000+ flight hours are split about 60-40 civilian vs military.
That’s my helicopter experience in under 400 words. As one might imagine, during these 50 years I’ve seen a few things, heard a few things and developed a few opinions. I will throw some of what I’ve seen, heard and think about into this box.