Helicopter Maintenance Blogs

For those of you that work on or support helicopters or have ever been to the Helicopter Association International’s (HAI) main event — Heli-Expo, you know that it is undoubtedly the largest helicopter tradeshow in the world. This year’s Heli-Expo 2024 was no exception.

Although the main theme of Drone Scents is sUAS maintenance, it is always underscored by safety. 

Just like last year Summer is rounding the corner in the Northern Hemisphere.  Just like last year I am reminding you:  “To NOT stay thirsty my friends.”  Heat and Humidity, the curse of a helicopter mechanics’ workday, is coming to a hangar near you.

Just finished reading an article written by Arron Karp published in the March/April issue of Avionics International: “Aviation Maintenance Technician Shortage Threatens Post Covid Rebound”. The article begins: “As demand for aviation roars back generally—and for passenger airline services in particular—demand for aviation maintenance technicians (AMTs) is rapidly rising. Now, a long-feared AMT shortage has arrived, according to experts and industry forecasts, and is not expected to get better anytime soon.”

B-nuts to be specific. The NTSB has released Safety Alert 086 titled Mechanics: Ensure B-nuts Are Properly Secured! You can view the Safety Alert by visiting https://www.ntsb.gov/Advocacy/safety-alerts/Documents/SA-086.pdf.

The Safety Alert starts off saying, “B-nuts are a small piece of hardware that can cause a big problem if they are not properly secured.”

It goes on to discuss “The problem.”

The Helicopter Maintenance magazine team was in Atlanta March 7-9 attending HAI Heli-Expo 2023. It was nice walking the show talking to the exhibitors and learning about all the new products and services available for helicopter maintenance professionals. Thank you to all of you who stopped by our booth to say hi. It was great meeting new people as well as catching up with longtime acquaintances.

On January 11, the FAA published a notice of proposed rule making (NPRM) titled Safety Management Systems. 

The summary of this NPRM states:

After 119 years of aircraft technology advancements, we are still seeing technology developments. Like the Wright Brothers in the years leading to first flight in 1903, companies investing in the future of aviation do so with great risk at the chance of either rewards or failure.

Stress is one of the Dirty Dozen human factors. D.O.M. contributing writer Gordon Dupont discussed stress in one of his articles for D.O.M. magazine, our sister publication. You can learn about stress and how it affects us by reading Dupont’s article here: https://www.system-safety.com/articles/DOM/21%20Stress.pdf.

Stress is a normal part of life. As Dupont says in his article, “…the only time we have no stress is when we are dead…”

Like many of you, I have been through several changes in my career. For me, each change brought both excitement and anxiety. I was eager to tackle new jobs and opportunities, but also anxious about how I would handle the change. I’ve learned from every opportunity and continue to embrace change.


In a recent blog from Wally Bock's Three Star Leadership website, Bock tells the story of "Mater Man." It's the story of a farmer who sells tomatoes and other produce at a farmers market.

Mater Man is a successful businessman. Mater Man's key to success is following his four rules. I believe we could be better leaders and employees and make our companies more successful if we pay attention to Mater Man's rules. They are:

There has been a lot of discussion on how the nationwide rollout of 5G cellular service in the U.S. will affect the aviation industry.

I’m writing this blog on January 18th — the day before the scheduled 5G rollout. 

Wow! Great Human Factors term right? But “Effective Communication” is more than psychological hyperbole. Effective Communication is defined as the successful conveyance or exchange of information or news. Effective Communication is the single most important instrument in the symphony of aviation maintenance.  Because without it our maintenance activity becomes a cacophony of disorganized activity, with the creation of a safe product difficult at best, and impossible in most instances. Mike Broderick

When we discuss Human Factors in comparison to CRM, we distinguish one from the other as follows: “Human Factors is theoretical knowledge of psychology and CRM is the practical application of that knowledge”.  Thus, the concept of Human Factors, which is correctly characterized as a concept, is incorrectly characterized as the causative label conveniently hung on an incident / accident.   Because Human Failure is a tangible action and not an abstract term, Human Failure is the actual culprit, placing the blame where it belongs, with the human.

At Helicopter Maintenance magazine, we remain optimistic about the future of the helicopter industry. So much so that we are ending the year with our first ever attendance at a European helicopter trade show!

We have a new name — Helicopter Maintenance. We feel it is time to introduce a new name for the magazine that clearly identifies who we are.

Yesterday, the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) sent a message out to its members urging them to contact their House Members and ask them to protest FAA ATC Fees. Here is that letter:

Two weeks ago, EAA members and others sent more than 19,000 emails and letters went to U.S. Senate offices urging senators to sign a letter opposing FAA's effort to charge air traffic fees at aviation events, including AirVenture. This is costing events hundreds of thousands of dollars or forcing them to cancel.

Litigation extortion. That is how I like to characterize the crazy litigious society we live in here in the United States. Some people are all too eager to sue the pants off of companies, raising the price of just about every product we buy as consumers. Those of us in aviation definitely feel the effects of litigation. Talk to just about any aircraft manufacturer or aviation product supplier. Chances are high they have faced lawsuits. It is one thing to file a legitimate lawsuit because of negligence. It is another thing to take advantage of the system to “stick it to the man.”

We will be in Dallas, TX February 12-14 attending Heli-Expo 2012. Heli-Expo is a great opportunity so learn about the latest helicopter maintenance-related equipment, products and services. Our team will be out in full force scouring the show floor for information relevant to our readers. If you are going to be at Heli-Expo, I encourage you to sure to stop by our booth #6934. We would like to meet you and get your feedback on the magazine. 

Most of us in aviation are aware of FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt’s arrest this past weekend on drunk driving charges. Babbitt has been placed on administrative leave while FAA and DOT officials try to figure out what to do.

The Super Bowl has come and gone, as it has done for XLV years. There was a winning team and a losing team. The talking heads on TV, radio and internet have 20/20 hindsight and have been making comments on the performance of the teams, individual players and why the coaches did what they did. On occasion they mention teamwork. Teamwork, what an interesting concept!

This has recently been an interesting topic being discussed on the NBAA Part 135 discussion thread regarding TSA screening for air ambulance personnel. There are many opinions on this subject, depending on what your perspective is. In this case, my feelings are that the “screening” of air ambulance medical personnel is not warranted, and does not accomplish anything to promote safety of flight. What next? If there is a fire in the aircraft hangar, do we need to screen the arriving firefighters before we let them do their jobs? What about bus drivers and train engineers?

It’s that time of year that I dread: Christmas. My wife goes nuts over Christmas. This is that time of year when folks who seem perfectly normal the rest of the year become something else entirely. People go around wondering who to buy a gift for and what should it be and how much to spend and what did we give others last year and what did they give us? I often joke that I would like to go back in time 2,000 years and meet the three wise men on the road to Bethlehem. I would ask them not to bring any gifts. They didn’t know what they are starting and it has grown completely out of control.

It’s October 14th and I am up at 0’ dark thirty, drive to the airport, park the car and grab the shuttle to the terminal. Get a cup of coffee and a sweet roll for breakfast and try to remember if I forgot anything. Then get in line with everyone else to go through the wonderful TSA screening process and finally get to the gate and pray that my aircraft is on time. What you say, why don’t I try another profession? And get out of aviation! Are you crazy? I love it!

Labor Day has come and gone, NBAA is just around the corner, and the premier issue of HeliMx magazine for and about helicopter maintenance professionals will soon be published. I suddenly realized as editor that I had not yet started a blog on our website!  I better get busy.