If you could give one piece of advice to a new helicopter pilot, what would it be?
I think it’s most important to maintain a very healthy respect, tinged with a bit of fear, for this tremendously varied world the helicopter pilot operates in. A little fear in the back of your mind aids good decision making and adds some discipline to your actions.
We fly in machines and machines will break. We fly these machines in an environment that’s not natural – we’re not birds.
As soon as you think you have total control of your machine or your environment and allow complacency to seep in, this helicopter world will rise up and take a big bite out of your ass, the size of which you may not be able to survive.
So, conduct a good preflight, use a checklist, check the weather and read your POH. Appreciate this world you’ve entered and give it the respect it not only deserves but requires.