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Monday, June 1, 2009

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Now, About Silver State

Why isn’t anyone going after EOS ("Silver State Helicopters: What Really Happened?," March 2009, page 50)? They owned the company when Airola ran it into the ground. They should be held accountable. The lenders were corrupt as well. They never checked SSH’s books, never followed up on their duties to ensure the money was used for the purposes it was being loaned. To all the former students, all the former employees and flight instructors: Don’t get discouraged, don’t give up the fight. Justice must be served! If you don’t know who your point of contact (POC) is in your state, find out. Ensure the POCs and the bankruptcy courts know how to contact you: www.silverstatehelicoptersbankruptcy.com/contact.html.

And by the way, great recap by R&W and Rowles but you missed acknowledging one of the BIGGEST Advocates for the former SSH Students. Senator Bill Nelson of Florida is the only elected official that responded to the former SSH students’ cry for help. Nelson wrote to the Federal Trade Commission and requested an investigation. He also encouraged all of the students to file a victim report with the FBI and a complaint with the Florida Attorney General’s Office.

Cameron B. Ford Jacksonville, Fla.

In my opinion, Senator Bill Nelson deserves some credit! I am a former student and am left with the overhanging bad debt. It sucks to think that more than 2,200 people in this same situation can’t stick together for the common good. If you were a former student...Get on board! Your voice needs to be heard. We need your help! Thanks again for keeping this in the spotlight.

Ryan Dalton Coral Springs, Fla.

Our financial institutions nationwide are weak at the knees from fraudulent business practices. SSH students happened to be a victim prior to this massive investigation. Our newly appointed President demands transparency. Much appreciation and support to our Senator Bill Nelson believing and responding to the needs of students in a financial crutch in his State of Florida. May we and our great country prevail.

Scott Fraser Torrie West Palm Beach, Fla.

We need to continue to follow up on this matter. Do not give up. Law suits against the banks have begun, with good results for some students. But, there are many other students out there that have this situation hurting their lives. Thank you to those that are fighting for us. Keep pushing and contacting the Attorney General’s Office and FBI.

Name and Address Unknown

Q of the Month Responses

Can a 400-hour civilian pilot ever be as good as a 400-hour military pilot ("Question of the Month," April 2009, page 7)? Turn that question around!

I served as a U.S. Army pilot for 11 years and have spent the past 18 flying in the civilian sector and I would ask the question exactly backwards. Can an 400-hour military pilot be as good as a 400-hour civilian pilot?

A 400-hour civilian helicopter pilot has probably flown a majority of his hours in a single pilot environment with no CW4 sitting in the next seat to bail him out. At the end of the mission, the civilian pilot is likely rolling the helicopter back into the hangar, refueling, adding oil and filling out maintenance logs with no crew chief to bail him out. The civilian pilot has likely spent most of his time in an R22 or Schweitzer 300 with limited power and control margins with no stability augmentation or additional horsepower to bail him out of an inadvertent downwind approach. Lastly, a civilian pilot operates in a largely unforgiving environment where one accident or incident could mean the end of a career without the remedial resources such as no-cost additional training and possibly a new duty station.

As a chief pilot in charge of hiring for a law enforcement/medevac operation, I would give an equal chance to each pilot, but I would put odds on the 400-hour civilian being a better pick. You can teach complicated systems to just about anyone. Stick and rudder skills and the responsibilities of operating in the largely unsupervised world of civilian aviation are much more difficult to teach.

Paul M. Schaaf Fairfax, Va.

As both a 3,000-hour military and 2,000-hour civilian helicopter pilot I would have to say there is no definitive answer to who is a better 400-hour pilot, unless you compare how that time was utilized and how quickly it was obtained.

The environment flown in has a lot to do with the expertise obtained. If all that time was spent in the traffic pattern doing emergency procedures training, he/she would excel at that (in theory). But how would that same pilot fare in the civilian environment?

Bottom line, maturity of the individual and what that 400 hours was spent doing would go a long way towards who might be a better pilot.

CW5 (ret) Kevin Stewart Harrisburg, Pa.

Do you have comments on the rotorcraft industry or recent articles and viewpoints we’ve published? Send them to Editor, Rotor & Wing, 4 Choke Cherry Road, Second Floor, Rockville, Md. 20850, USA, fax us at 1-301-354-1809 or e-mail us at rotorandwing@accessintel.com. Please include a city and state or province with your name and ratings. We reserve the right to edit all submitted material.

R&W’s Question of the Month:

"Do you think the turbine-powered Robinson R66 will be a success or a failure?"

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