August 2023 News

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Melbourne Heli Photography Competition

One Month to go!

Thank you to all entrants so far. We have had some spectacular photographs submitted through August but submissions remain open until September 29 – so keep ‘em coming!

Submitting a photo is easy: just tag us @melbournehelicopters on instagram  or facebook on a NEW post of your photo. Tagging us in an old post won’t count as a submission. You are welcome to post old images, so long as they are part of a new post.

If you have already posted a flic, don’t hesitate to send in more submissions. There is no limit to the number of photos you post/submit.

The winner will be granted $200 towards a flight of their choice and the top three photographers will have their image hung on the walls of Hangar 7!

Student congratulations

Melbourne Heli first solo
Handshake after earning private license with Melbourne Heli
Commercial License Graduate

What a busy month we’ve had! Firstly, congratulations to Michael Hiorth for completing his first solo flight. Welcome to the solo pilots club – the skies await.

We’ve also had two PPL graduates in August: Rachael Leeson and Matt Sleeth who both completed their tests with Alex are now licensed pilots! Well done on making it to this big milestone.  All of your instructors are extremely proud of your efforts.

A big congratulations to Darryn Henricus who passed his CPL flight test in late August. Having only time to fly on the weekends, Darryn chipped away at his hours patiently over many months before the big day. Well done Darryn on earning your license. The Melb Heli Team wishes you well for your piloting future!

Top – Michael Hiorth returning after his first solo at Moorabbin

Middle – A proud Gray with Matt Sleeth after earning his PPL wings

Bottom – A relieved but happy Darryn post CPL flight test with a beaming Wing.

Staff News

Student to master

This month, Instructor Gray is celebrating/mourning his 10th year at Melbourne Heli. Pictured above and left is Gray in 2013 next to the R22 which was the primary training aircraft back then. 10 years on he still looks much the same, expect perhaps for a wiser choice of pants and G2 upgrade. Gray was one of the very first students at Melbourne Heli and has since worked for 7 years with us as a commercial pilot and 4 years as an instructor, clocking over 2,500 hrs of flight time. We put our hands together for your long standing commitment and thank you for for all the things you have done to make Melbourne Heli such a great place to work and train.

Rob’s DFTE:

Rob Murphy, boasting 100s of hours of time in turbine engine helicopters has just completed his design feature training endorsement (DFTE) which will enable him to train students on turbine powered helicopters. Well done Rob! We can’t wait to hear more of that turbine roar.

New Training Time Slots

As of September 4th we are transitioning to a new flight training schedule. Each lesson has been increased from a 2hr slot to 2.5hrs. As the days continue to get brighter and the sun stays above the horizon for longer, we will maintain 4 slots a day. However they will commence at the new times of 07:00, 09:30, 12:30 and 15:00. If you have any questions about these changes please feel free to call +61 3 9118 8841.

Helicopter Kneeboards

Ex Student Ben Jessop has kindly written up an article on the ins and outs of kneeboards. He takes you through the benefits of having a kneeboard, its impacts on your flying and how to find the kneeboard that best suits you and your needs.

The benefits of using a helicopter kneeboard:

1.     Increased efficiency in flight operations

A kneeboard can improve your cockpit management. With a kneeboard securely strapped to their leg, pilots have quick and easy access to essential documents and checklists, eliminating the need to fumble through a stack of papers or search for misplaced items. This streamlined workflow allows pilots to focus more on flying the aircraft and less on administrative tasks.

When using an electronic flight bag like Oz Runways, the scratch pad function provides a stable platform for writing and taking notes during flight. Pilots can jot down important information, such as radio frequencies, waypoints, or weather updates, without the risk of losing or misplacing vital data.

2.     Improved safety and situational awareness.

A kneeboard can improve safety and situational awareness during flight operations. By keeping important documents and checklists within easy reach, pilots can maintain their focus on the task at hand, minimising distraction and the potential for errors.

Moreover, the kneeboard offers security of items in the cockpit environment. As per the safety note in August’s Newsletter, all loose items pose a risk to flight safety, particularly if they have the potential to jam controls or distract pilots. The kneeboard mitigates this risk in a simple and convenient manner.

How to choose the right helicopter kneeboard for your needs:

Firstly, assess the specific features and functionalities you require. Do you need a kneeboard with built-in storage compartments for pens, calculators, or other accessories? Are you looking for a kneeboard that can hold multiple documents or checklists simultaneously? Do you just need a way to secure your iPad to your knee? Does the strap fit snugly around your leg?

Additionally, consider the weight and size of the kneeboard, as excessive bulk or weight can be cumbersome during flight. Also evaluate the durability and quality of the kneeboard. Look for kneeboards made from high-quality materials such as nylon or aluminium, as these will withstand the demands of aviation operations and provide long-lasting service.

Tips for using a helicopter kneeboard effectively:

  1. Organise your kneeboard by arranging documents, checklists, frequencies, or navigation aid sin a logical order. Consider using colour-coded tabs or dividers to further enhance organisation and ease of use.
  2. Purge the board of old unused documents, and update the information on your kneeboard to ensure you have the most accurate and up-to-date data. An ERSA plate from 2019 might be misleading. Remove any outdated or irrelevant materials and replace them with current versions. This practice will not only enhance efficiency but also promote safety by ensuring pilots have accurate information readily available.
  3. Practice using your kneeboard on the ground to familiarise yourself with its features and functionalities. This practice will help build muscle memory and increase your proficiency in utilising the kneeboard efficiently during more demanding flight scenarios.
  4. Experiment – a number of different positions and setups are available and it is worth     experimenting to find what works for you and the aircraft you fly. Think about which leg you are going to use. In a Robinson using the right leg means the board is covered by your arm, but the using the left leg it may interfere with the central cyclic column. Try it out on the ground before you fly.

TOP TIP: Some pilots use the kneeboard upside down (Australian style) so that it is easier to see multiple items that are clipped to the board without folding documents towards the cyclic. if you are using a flight planning sheet, consider having the board on upside down with the flight sheet on top of the chart. The flight sheet can be easily folded back towards your body to view the chart, whereas if the chart is on top it can be tricky to keep it out of the way to reference your flight sheet.

-Benjamin Jessop

There are many options on the market. If you think the Flyboy’s reversible kneeboard is the right product for you; we sell it at Hangar 7 for $75.

Give us a call on +61 3 9118 8841 to order yours.

Helicopter Kneeboard