Vertical, the helicopter industry’s premier magazine, presents this new podcast featuring front-line, in-the-air, on-the-ground perspectives from helicopter industry leaders. Rotor Radio features first-hand accounts of challenging helicopter missions, the art of flying rotorcraft, in-depth industry analysis and news reporting.
Atlantic Destiny: U.S. Coast Guard pilot details harrowing rescue of fishermen from doomed vessel off Nova Scotia
A Canadian Air Force CH-149 Cormorant and two U.S. Coast Guard MH-60T Jayhawks on March 3 rescued more than two dozen fishermen from a sinking ship 130 miles south of Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Lt. Craig Campbell was piloting one of those Jayhawks on what would be his first major rescue mission. He tells "Rotor Radio" what it was like hovering at 90 feet in 55-knot winds while hoisting survivors from a bucking ship, without power or headway, taking 30-foot seas beam-on.
Fighting fire with an Air Crane
When wildfires are at their worst, as they have been in recent years, there are few more potent weapons than the giant orange dragonfly that is the Erickson S-64 Air Crane.
Erickson bought the manufacturing rights to the S-64 Sky Crane from Sikorsky in 1992, changed the name to Air Crane and has been building, operating and improving the 70-foot-long (21 meter) bus-faced heavy lift helicopter ever since.
S-64 pilot and training captain Keith Gill joins Rotor Radio to discuss the unique helicopter’s firefighting superpowers. Flying for Oregon-based Erickson, Gill has followed the fire season around the globe from Australia to Greece to the western U.S. most years for the better part of four decades.
Copterspotting: The many, many helicopters that inhabit Washington, D.C.'s skies
Washington, D.C., is covered by some of the most restricted airspace in the world, but that doesn't prevent dozens of government agencies, the military, police, hospitals and other operators from flying helicopters over the U.S. capital.
On any given morning, D.C.-area residents running, biking or walking their dogs along the Potomac River are treated to (or tormented by, depending on one's point of view) to helicopters flying the route into and out of the city.
On the 10th episode of Rotor Radio, Andrew Logan, founder of the Twitter handle @HelicoptersofDC, joins us to discuss all that chopper traffic and the data-gathering game he's developed to keep track of it all. He's now got more than 8,600 rotorcraft-rapt followers.
Dozens of D.C.-area residents, many of them stuck gazing out of their home windows for months on end, regularly participate in "copterspotting." They spot Air Force UH-1s, Department of Energy Bell 412s, Presidential VH-3Ds and other models. Using their phones, they snap photos or take video, then upload to Twitter using the hashtag #copterspotter and the helicopter emoji, then tag a geographical location.
It's a game, citizen journalism and a crowd-sourced data gathering effort all in one. Logan has plans to plug the data into an algorithm that could eventually ID helicopter models automatically, but for now it's all good fun.
What's next for eVTOL: Hype, hysteria, and still room for helicopters
Billions of dollars worth of private capital investment is flowing into the development of electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, spurred in large part by the futuristic, Jetsons-like vision of air taxis moving people around heavily congested cities. How much realism is there to this vision, and what other, perhaps more likely, applications will we see for these eVTOLs?
Brian Garrett-Glaser, managing editor of Vertical's sister publication eVTOL.com joins Rotor Radio to discuss air taxis, the possibilities of electric propulsion, technologies emerging from the sector and how these aircraft will augment helicopters.
Pandemic Pilot Training - It Can Be Done, Safely!
When, in early 2020, the world locked down in an ultimately unsuccessful effort to stem the spread of Covid-19, concern rippled through the helicopter industry that pilot training would be limited or even impossible.
Navigating the resulting maze of mandated travel restrictions at all levels of government, Oregon-based Hillsboro Aero Academy and other flight schools initially shut down but shortly resumed operation as an essential business, feeding new pilots into an aviation sector that was short on trained flyers before the pandemic began.
Jared Friend, general manager of the helicopter school at Hillsboro Aero Academy, joined Rotor Radio to discuss the challenges the novel coronavirus has presented pilot trainees and instructors and what the future of pilot training may look like on the other side of Covid.
A V-280 Experimental Test Pilot Answers Your Questions
Don Grove, Bell's chief tiltrotor test pilot and lead test pilot for the V-280 Valor, and Frank Lazzara, director of V-280 sales and strategy, join Rotor Radio to answer listener questions about the prototype aircraft that is competing to become the U.S. Army's Future Long Range Assault Aircraft and replace the venerable UH-60 Black Hawk.