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Monday, August 1, 2011

Importance of Training

What are some of the unique 'tricks of the trade' that your helicopter operation uses to approach training?

By Andrew Parker, Senior Editor

This month’s issue features a variety of themes from different sectors of the helicopter industry—new airframes and updates on existing models from the Paris Air Show (see Rotorcraft Report); offshore (“Training Profile: Bristow Academy,” and “Inside FlightSafety Lafayette,”); firefighting (“Dousing the Flames,” and “Around the World: Australia Preps for Fire Season,”); and military updates including an interview with three Sikorsky presidents (Sikorsky’s Comet,”), transfer of the BA609 tiltrotor to full AgustaWestland control and a visit with a major helicopter manufacturer (“All Change for the Better at Boeing,”).

But one topic that filters through all these subjects—and the primary theme of this month’s issue—is training. In addition to the Bristow Academy cover story, there’s an article that focuses on IS-BAO for helicopters (“Should the Rotary World Invest in IS-BAO?”), a Helicopter Safety & Training column and a Training News section, as well as a visit to FlightSafety Lafayette mentioned in this month’s Offshore Notebook. On top of regularly occurring feature articles and news briefs on training, we include a training-focused issue every other month in Rotor & Wing. At least once or twice a year we expand our coverage to dedicate much of an issue to training, and this is one of them (some other recent examples include the March 2010 and June 2010 editions).

But why is it necessary to focus on training on such a frequent basis? Because of the importance of keeping it fresh in the minds of all those involved in a helicopter organization. As many have pointed out in the pages of this magazine, training is the responsibility of everyone involved in an operation—including management and ownership—and not just the pilots or crew who fly the aircraft.

When I was young, my dad—who is very good at building and fixing things, both in the handyman, fixer-upper sense but also with electronics from his career as a computer network engineer—always stressed the value of not only putting in the hard work required to complete a task, but the importance of doing things right—starting with gathering “all the research” before making a decision, and paying attention to the sometimes-monotonous tasks that make up a bigger project.

“Work hard now or you’ll have to work harder later,” he says. But it isn’t just his words that struck a chord, but his actions in showing me how to approach continual learning and be persistent in completing all the little things required to get a larger goal done. This advice applies well to training in the helicopter world, in that the approach needs to be judicious, relentless and recurrent.

Do your homework, pay attention to all the small details and take training seriously—whether sitting down at the simulator, running through a checklist, reading through a manual or any other task—and it will significantly increase your chances of avoiding mishaps and accidents. This is especially true in the helicopter world, where having to “work harder later,” could potentially lead to a string of events that results in a damaged aircraft, injuries or worse. For many people, this approach to training is second-nature and just a refresher, but I’ve included a few training quotes from around the web that seem to fit into this discussion. Murphy’s Law ensures that accidents will continue to happen, and for that reason, no one should feel they are ever “fully trained” on a particular subject, because there’s always more to learn and ways to sharpen your skills. What are some of the unique “tricks of the trade” that your helicopter operation uses to approach training? Send me a note at aparker@accessintel.com and we’ll include it in a future issue. Don’t forget to check out our expanded Paris Air Show coverage on the web and on our social media channels: www.facebook.com/rotorandwing and twitter.com/rotorandwing

“Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”
–Aristotle

“It’s all to do with the training: you can do a lot if you’re properly trained.” –Elizabeth II

"I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’” –Muhammad Ali

“Education is not the piling on of learning, information, data, facts, skills, or abilities—that’s training or instruction—but is rather making visible what is hidden as a seed.” –Thomas Moore

“Training and education are two different things. Training gives you a skill set to perform a specific task. Education provides you with academic theory for problem-solving issues.” –Master Sgt. Juan Lopez, USMC

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