Wednesday, March 18, 2015

On Machoism...

I have always thought of (and discussed) machoism from a certain perspective. But it has different personas. Here is a comment from a post I wrote on a facebook string.

One of our problems is that we are assumed to have the experience for all the different environments we operate in, or perhaps it's left to "tribal knowledge" (a check-airman's actual words during a message exchange on this topic a couple years back) to prepare us. Landing on, in, and among high-rise buildings is akin to mountain flying. No one in HEMS addresses wind or turbulence limits - it's up to the pilot. And if "all the other guys do it" then I should be able to do it too, right? I now realize that this attitude (I can do it if they can do it) is another form of the hazardous attitude "Machoism."

While attempting a landing at the Medical University of South Carolina's helipad on top of a parking garage, downwind of an airfoil shaped tower (The Ashley River Tower), I realized that the vortices off the building were putting me at the limits of aircraft control.

Image courtesy Vertical Magazine

The thought went through my mind...all the other guys would be able to do this...

I decided that what I was doing and thinking was stupid. It was self-induced pressure to live up to an image. I aborted the approach and went to an airport. The patient went by ground.

Sometimes old pilots try to be bold pilots...

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