March 2021 News

Home News March 2021 News

Isn’t it hard to comprehend that Easter is almost upon us? This year is definitely off to a flying start and there’s plenty of action happening at Melbourne Heli.

It’s been an exciting few weeks thus far, from students going solo to passing their flight tests and making real life decisions like getting married.

Student Congratulations

First off, a huge congrats to Ed Taylor for gaining his wings (CPL) in quite a dramatic fashion, with his flight test concluding in the middle of a paddock due to adverse weather. Now that’s a well deserved pass and we bet Ed’s not about to forget that experience any time soon.

On another note, Jason Tang and Anya added some glamour to Hangar 7 by tying their knot in style. We wish them the very best for their future.

(Pictured L to R: Alex T presenting wings to Ed Taylor and little Leo, dramatic end to Ed’s flight test, Anya and Jason Tang’s wedding)

New Traditions

  • We’ve started a new tradition (well, it’s more of a habit at this point) of getting students to sign on the in-house rotor blade after their first solo flight. Thanks Lulu for being the first one to autograph it.

  • Fancy sipping a hot cup of your favourite coffee on an airfield? Lethbridge airport is now equipped with a cool new cafe to let you indulge in that delicious hot drink during a pit stop. Chris has verified their toasty sandwiches himself. Next time you’re headed there, check it out.

  • We’ve made friends with the Melbourne Gliding Club (thanks to our recently qualified CPL student Jason Tang who’s also a gliding instructor and volunteers at the club). Wing and Lovel had an absolute ball during their recent gliding adventure with Jason at Bacchus March airport. For anyone keen to give it a shot feel free to contact us and we’ll happily put you in touch with Jason.

(Pictured L to R: Lulu Young; the autographed rotor blade; Lethbridge cafe with EDX in the backdrop; Wing, Jason and Lovel gearing up to go gliding at YBSS)


  • Our first CPL Theory course has kicked off this month. Chris taught Performance over 3 days from 15 to 17 March. If you’re interested in enrolling for any of the future CPL theory courses, please get in touch. Cost of our CPL courses per subject is $700 with the class capacity capped at 4 students.

  • The next PPL Theory Course will be offered over 2 weeks starting 19 April and concluding 30 April (Mon-Fri: 0900 – 1600). Maximum class capacity is 4 students, with 2 spots currently available. Cost of the course is $2,500 inclusive of GST.

  • Post PPL/CPL Flight Training – We’ve recently published this course as a new offering on our website. The course is mainly designed to cater for students who’ve completed their PPL/CPL but are looking to refine their skills for navigation, flying into confined areas (for example, wineries), use of Oz Runways etc.

  • Our summer roster is due to end on 5 April. The new hours of operation for flight lessons will be 0700 -1730.

  • NEJ, our beloved R66 is back in action effective 22 March, whilst the Jetranger bids farewell to Hangar 7 on 31 March.


Given the unusual 12 months we’ve had, things can sneak up on us. Just a friendly reminder to keep an eye out for those Medical and ASIC renewals to save you scrambling at the 11th hour.

Carburettor Heat and Carburettor Icing

When we think about inflight emergencies as pilots, we often get fixated on engine, governor or hydraulic failures. Even though a communication failure is the more likely scenario in the normal day to day of a pilot, it’s something that seems to go under the radar.

So in this month’s edition, we thought we’d give you a refresher on something that we ought to be prepared for.

If a pilot suspects a radio failure in flight, the first step should always be to ensure that it’s not simply a matter of the headsets requiring fresh batteries or not being plugged in properly. If that’s not the case, then the operation of the primary radio (turn on/off, change frequencies) as well as the alternate radio should be checked. If a complete communication failure has in fact occurred, the following procedures as summarised below are recommended.

Emergency Procedures

In the event of a communications failure, ensure that terrain clearance is maintained throughout all procedures and the following actions are undertaken as soon as practicable:

Indications by Aircraft

  • Squawk 7600 on the transponder.

  • Flash the helicopter’s landing lights on and off twice or, if not equipped, switch on and off twice the navigation lights.


If VFR in Class G Airspace

  • Remain in Visual Meteorological Conditions (VMC).

  • Broadcast your intentions based on the assumption that, the transmitter is operating and prefix all calls with “TRANSMITTING BLIND”.

  • Remain VFR in Class G airspace and land at the nearest suitable aerodrome.

  • Report arrival to ATS if on SARTIME or reporting schedules (SAR telephone number: 1800 815 257).

If in Controlled/Restricted Airspace

  • Listen out on ATIS and/or voice modulated NAVAIDs.

  • Transmit your intentions and make normal position reports on the assumption that the transmitter is operating. Prefix all calls with “TRANSMITTING BLIND”.

  • Stay in VMC and land at the most suitable aerodrome.

Destination Procedures

  • Track to the destination in accordance with your flight plan (amended by the latest acknowledged ATC clearance, if applicable).

  • Commence descent in accordance with standard operating procedures or flight plan.

  • Note that certain Class D aerodromes have specific communications failure procedures (for example, Moorabbin) so be sure to familiarise yourself with them.

Look out for the following light signals from the tower (if relevant to the aerodrome you’re landing at).

Light Signals: Meaning to Aircraft in Flight

STEADY GREEN – Authorised to land if the pilot is satisfied that there is no risk of collision

STEADY RED – Give way to other aircraft and continue circling

GREEN FLASHES – Return for landing

RED FLASHES – Airfield is unsafe – Do not land

WHITE FLASHES – No significance

Detailed emergency procedures for a communication failure can be found in the ‘Aircraft Emergency Procedures’ section of the En Route Supplement Australia (ERSA) – a publication of Airservices Australia.

We hope this equips you with the basic knowledge of what you need to do, should you ever find yourself in the situation.

Over the next month, we aim to place some cheat sheets in our company fleet in order to better equip the P-I-C for this type of emergency. They will also include contact details for Melbourne Helicopters as well as the control towers most commonly used by us in Melbourne. This will enable the pilot to notify us and the relevant control tower of the emergency, using their mobile phone which can be connected to the headsets via bluetooth. Meantime, should you have any questions feel free to chat to one of our instructors.

– Lovel

Instructor's tip of the month

This month’s safety tip comes from our newly appointed Safety Manager, Alex Thorsen. If you need to leave the helicopter unsupervised on the apron, ensure that all doors are closed and locked. This will prevent the downwash from affecting the doors if someone’s coming in for a landing.