Auto Biographical – Tuna Helicopters


This describes these stories

  • Loco Ocean Life
    Cabin fever – Going Crazy on a boat Your mind is an interesting thing. It can be a great contributor of thoughts of valor and intrigue but… It can also be its own undoing. Since nearing 8 months in the fishing ground. The relevance of “That guy said he was going crazy ” is more […]
  • Good Pilot! I can be that!
    Good Pilot We must first examine a balance that can make a pilot 'good.' A good balance of attributes seems to be the key. A balance that can prevent the hazardous attitudes of aviation. Except for anti-authority, a slight amount of this is required because your ship, your ultimate command decision may be needed without […]
  • Veritas
    “THE MOST DANGEROUS RISK OF ALL – THE RISK OF SPENDING YOUR LIFE NOT DOING WHAT YOU WANT ON THE BET YOU CAN BUY YOURSELF THE FREEDOM LATER… ” Veritas is a Latin word meaning truth… A symbol of my longing for freedom and my hobby of flying things. To see the world on the […]
  • Moggy’s Tuna Boat Helicopter Manual
    NOW AVAILABLE IN E-BOOK FORMAT CLICK HERE Moggy’s Tunaboat Helicopter Manual (excerpt from www.chopperstories.com or www.tunaboathelicopters.org) (Note: maybe a little technical in places for the lay reader; where there is an “icon ” it’s probably readable even for the armchair pilots) Click on any link Moggy’s Tunaboat Helicopter Manual – Introduction Moggy’s Tunaboat Helicopter Manual […]
  • Moggy’s Tunaboat Helicopter Manual Ch.5-4 “Packing your Bags “
    Moggy’s Tunaboat Helicopter Manual Ch.5-4 2/2/2015 “Packing your bags for the Tuna Fields” A cheerful morning ramble to include some simple thoughts on “Packing your bags for the Tuna Fields” 1) Moggy’s Muddlings 2) Human Relations 3) Mindset, and middle digits 4) “instant walls” 1) Moggy’s Muddlings It’s a quiet early morning here on the […]
  • A Blip on the Radar (23B) “Eggs and Psychopaths “
    A Blip on the Radar Part 23B: “Eggs and Psychopaths “ “Come into my parlor, said the Spider to the Fly; the place is very comfy, the ceiling nice and high. Your wings could do with leisure, they look quite beat to me come in and fill your measure of jam and toast for tea. […]
  • A Blip on the Radar (Part 24 A) “I have control!…JESUS! “
    A Blip on the Radar (see also www.tunaboathelicopters.org) Part 24 A: “I have CONTROL!…JESUS! “ Given a choice, I can’t imagine a Tuna helicopter company not much preferring a 5,000 hour pilot over a 500 hour pilot. Or a 2,000 hour pilot over a 200 hour pilot. I hired a few real high timers, 8,000 […]
  • A Blip on the Radar (Part 24B) “What I mean is that some people do stupid shit… “
    A Blip on the Radar Part 24(B): “What I mean is that some people do stupid shit…” My new plan, formulated in all sincerity, was to postpone further flights until we got into port. I reasoned that perhaps he was getting so stressed up because he was (literally) at sea. I thought that if we […]
  • A Blip on the Radar (Part 24C) “A local jolly “
    A Blip on the Radar (Part 24 C) Part 24 C: “A local jolly over the Rain Forest” Needless to say, armed with my increasingly lengthy notes on my young friend’s “problem areas”, I started asking more and more theory questions. Especially aerodynamic theory. Why? Because these are Good Questions that have Good Answers. Which, […]
  • A Blip on the Radar (Part 24D) “I’m good. I don’t need your help. “
    A Blip on the Radar (Part 24 D) Part 24 D: “I’m good. I don’t need your help. Can’t you see that, numb nuts??” As we readied ourselves for another Tuna Boat take-off, I watched my… (student?)(candidate?)(ward?) carefully. My hands were very close to the controls. I knew, in my heart, that I didn’t trust […]
  • A Blip on the Radar (Part 24E) “What did you do THAT for…? “
    A Blip on the Radar (Part 24E) “What did you do THAT for…??” I had let it go as long as I possibly dared. Longer. I had given this Commercial Pilot every opportunity to recover. To get with the action. Hell, to blessed well get involved, even. But no… Too busy waving The Royal Wave […]
  • A Blip on the Radar (Part 25) “Floored by a Russian Hooker “
    A Blip on the Radar (Part 25) “Floored by a Russian Hooker “ I miss Steve. Steve Hoffman. Tuna Pilot. Owner, operator, of “Hoffman helicopters, Guam” for many years. He’s long since dead now. Many years. At a young age. Poor old boy. Steve ran a fleet of really fine Hughes 500 Tuna spotting helicopters. […]
  • A Blip on the Radar (Part 26) “The Funny Guy “
    Photo by “Konr4d “ A Blip on the Radar Part 26: The Funny Guy Question: What is it, that keeps us alive? Us half crazy guys, that fly helicopters in far off places, jump out of airplanes, fly aerobatics, participate in open cockpit biplane mock dog fights, race motorbikes, but who point blank refuse to […]
  • A Blip on the Radar (Part 27A) “Musing about Mother Earth “
    Photo by Wayne Sutherland A Blip on the Radar Part 27A: “Musing about Mother Earth “ A) Environmental issues Most people are vaguely aware of the many threats to our little planet home we call “Earth”. Depending on your outlook, you care a lot, a little, or not at all.It’s hard sometimes to even begin […]
  • A Blip on the Radar (Part 27B) “The Quiet Observer “
    A Blip on the Radar Part 27 (B) “The Quiet Observer” One day we were told (by a displeased Captain) that we would be receiving an official observer on board ship, who would be making a trip with us. The news was greeted with annoyance by the ship’s officers, and by mild curiosity by the […]
  • A Blip on the Radar (Part 28) “The Immarsat Problem “
    A Blip on the Radar Part 28: The Immarsat Problem I worked on different fishing boats, for varying periods of time. The longest straight run was one year, the shortest was a holiday relief for two. Some Fish Masters I really liked, one or two were hard to get along with. The odd one was […]
  • A Blip on the Radar (part 29A) The Hookers are coming
    Photo: Jorge A Blip on the Radar Part 29(A) “The Hookers are coming “ I remember one night, in port, in Guam. I was standing quietly alone, away up on the helideck, above it all, just taking in Nature. The dark sky, the lights of Guam, the hustle and bustle on the working decks below, […]
  • A Blip on the Radar (Part 29B) An Old Sailor’s Poem
    Photo: Advocates for Human Rights A Blip on the Radar Part 29B: An Old Sailor’s Poem I remember reading a poem, written by an old seaman. An old tuna fishing captain. In it, he reminisced. About the old days, when Yellow Fin tuna were so large, that the sailors working the nets below the nets […]
  • A Blip on the Radar (Part 29C) Hotel Excelsior
      A Blip on the Radar Part 29(C) “Hotel Excelsior ” Hotel Excelsior, Manilla, Philippines June 1997 For once I was a passenger. Flying back to the Tuna Fields, via scheduled airline to Fiji and Papua New Guinea. With a layover for one night at Manilla. On the approach, gazing down from my comfortable seat […]
  • A Blip on the Radar (Part 30) The Grease Monkey
    A Blip on the Radar Part 30: The Grease Monkey A tale of a Grease Monkey, a drive shaft, and a gibbering idiot For most of my aviation career, I have been a dual rated fixed wing and helicopter commercial pilot. But I do hold an A+P license, obtained via a tortuous thirteen month full […]
  • A Blip on the Radar (Part 31) ” A Strange Premonition “
    Photo: K.Mark Demon A Blip on the Radar Part 31: A Strange Premonition Let’s be honest: we tend to refrain from writing about fellow pilots who… die. It makes us uncomfortable. There is also the fear that we may come across as judgmental, or unkind, insensitive, arrogantly superior, gushingly sentimental or downright maudlin. It’s easier […]
  • A Blip on the Radar (Part 32) “An Unusual Passenger “
    A Blip on the Radar Part 32: An Unusual Passenger I am indebted for a description of what happened on this particular night, to a friend of mine, a long time Hansen Pilot. It is through his patient description, the next day (when I had sobered up a bit) that most of my memory exists. […]
  • A Blip on the Radar (Part 33) Fly Quietly, for our Friends lie there
    A Blip on the Radar Part 33: Fly quietly, for our Friends lie there Truth, many say, is stranger than fiction. For sure. I wholly concur. As an obsessive scribbler, I seldom worry about inventing a plot. I just try and describe what I see and feel. But I would add this: Looking back on […]
  • A Blip on the Radar (Blip 34) “Die with the Dolphins (1) “
    A Blip on the Radar (Blip# 34) Note: although this is part of my draft for a novel, it actually truthfully describes an experience I went through. Everything is factual, including the outcome… DIE WITH THE DOLPHINS (novel excerpt) He had heard the Fishmaster’s shouted ‘Let Go!’ in the distance, through a haze of sleep, […]
  • A Blip on the Radar (Blip# 35) “Die with the Dolphins (2) “
    A Blip on the Radar Blip# 35 “Die with the Dolphins (2) ” Surrounded and blinded by bubbles, he thought only of his mouthpiece. Experimentally, he sucked air, and relief flooded through him as his lungs expanded normally. The bubbles occasioned by his mighty splash entry abated a little, and now he could see that […]
  • A Blip on the Radar (Part 36) All our Mother
    A Blip on the Radar (Part 36) “All Our Mother “ Light in the Darkness, perhaps When it comes to scuba diving, one of the cardinal rules is: never dive alone. Always have a dive buddy along with you. You never know what you might encounter. If you train with any accredited dive training organization, […]
  • A Blip on the Radar (Part 37) – The Pilot who hated me
    A Blip on the Radar (Part 37) THE PILOT WHO HATED ME Truth is stranger than fiction. Much. Stranger. I look back, many, many years now, decades in fact, and I still see the incandescent, glowing red hot fury in the eyes of a fellow pilot. I see the angry fists, and I feel the […]
  • A Blip on the Radar (Part 38) – The Missing Fisherman
    A Blip on the Radar Part 38: The Missing Fisherman As you grow older, you inevitably witness tragedies. It’s part of the Great Learning we experience on this little, blue, pipsqueak planet of ours, lost in the Immense Universe. We are small, tiny in fact, short-lived, but we matter. Our lives matter. Our kindness matters. […]
  • A Blip on the Radar (Part 38B) – The Fisherman’s Legacy
    A Blip on the Radar Part 38 B: The Fisherman’s Legacy I posted a link to what turned out to be only the first part of this story on Facebook. I belong to the two groups, “Tuna Pilots” and “Tuna Spotter Pilots”, and I usually post a link to any new story there. I also […]
  • A Blip on the Radar (39) “I could have been a Librarian “
    Forgetting to undo one tie-down… the one millionth pilot to make this same old mistake A Blip on the Radar Part 39: I could have been a Librarian There was a period of time in Oz and New Zealand, when, if I understand correctly, Federal student loan programs were very readily available for those wishing […]
  • A Blip on the Radar (40) “The Duel “
    A Blip on the Radar Part 40: The Duel Of all the duels I have fought, including a strange, oddball jousting session with another helicopter, and sundry other Testosterone indulgence events, the one that comes to mind tonight is one I lost. My opponent, more resourceful than I, although knocked backed against the ropes, recovered […]
  • A Blip on the Radar (41) “Dropping a Missile “
    “I always do a good pre-flight. Always. Yep. I’m good…” A Blip on the Radar Part 41: Dropping a Missile I soloed some forty four years ago. If there is one thing I (might) have learned by now, it’s that we always seem to do stupid sheeee stuff. No matter how hard we try, no […]
  • A Blip on the Radar (42A) “The Peacemaker who tried – Part 1 “
    THE PEACEMAKER WHO TRIED – Part 1 Part 1: Three Little Words I don’t like fighting. It seems such a primitive, savage, somewhat crude pastime. Whether it be physical, emotional, psychological or the result of business competitiveness taken to the extremes of what Testosterone charged males are capable of, I find it unsatisfying. Politics increasingly […]
  • A Blip on the Radar (42B) “The Peacemaker who tried – Part 2 “
    A Blip on the Radar (42B) Part 2: The Peacemaker who tried Our net boat bumped against the hull of the purse seiner, and a sailor, alerted by the noise of our arrival, poked his head over the side. He recognized me. I had worked a three month vacation spell there, covering for the resident […]
  • A Blip on the Radar (43) “Vertical Flight without a Helicopter “
    A Blip on the Radar Part 43: “Vertical Flight, without a Helicopter” In my dreams, in common with many people, I have achieved amazing feats of levitation, and flying under my own power. Sailing through the sky, accepting that my spontaneous flying abilities were perfectly normal. Invariably, these experiences were pleasing and relaxing. They seemed […]
  • Reading MTM?…Shhhhh! Keep it quiet at the bar!
    “I’m the King of the Castle! Heh-heh-heh!” Reading MTM? Shhhh… Keep it quiet at the bar! “Ha-Ha! We are funny creatures, you and I, are we not?”, spoke the old Penguin pleasantly. But the Dromedary was not amused. “What do you mean, you stupid, fat Penguin? I am a most perfect creature! I have four […]
  • MTM – An Alternative Introduction- “An Ancient Chinese Poet “
    (This is a cymbal of wot I am trying to say) MTM – An Alternative Introduction An Ancient Chinese Poet I reached Cold Mountain and all cares stopped no idle thoughts remained in my head nothing to do I write poems on rocks and trust the current like an unmoored boat Han Shan, 8th century […]
  • (continued from intro to www.tunaboathelicopters.org)
    (continued from intro of WWW.TUNABOATHELICOPTERS.ORG) or WWW.CHOPPERSTORIES.COM “Moggy’s Tunaboat Helicopter Manual ” is an ongoing project I started, through gritted teeth, and many a midnight session, after the personal impact of the tragic deaths of some of my friends in tuna boat helicopter crashes. Some were rank novices. Some were very, very experienced. One in […]
  • A Blip on the Radar (23A) “Birth of a Psychopath “
    (kind of a really BAD DAY) A Blip on the Radar Part 23A: “Birth of a Psychopath ”   Every so often, I would think of some useful word that I might need some day, in the execution of my duties, and look it up in my Chinese -English dictionary. Then I would go to […]
  • A Blip on the Radar (22) “He not like to eat with crew “
    A Blip on the Radar Part 22: He not like to eat with crew… I was doing a ‘holiday relief’ on a new boat. It just meant that the boat had a long time regular pilot, who was off on a three month break. I got to cover for him. It was a fine boat. […]
  • A Blip on the Radar (21) “Flipping the Bird “
    A Blip on the Radar Part 21: Flipping the Bird Alcohol on tuna boats is all right. Up to a point. It lowers the inhibitions. Makes a good time easier. Helps you relax. Blow off steam. But there is a time and a place. Whilst in port, that’s one thing. Offshore, with serious work to […]
  • Moggy’s Tunaboat Helicopter Manual Ch. 5-3 “Keeping your Captain happy “
    Moggy’s Tunaboat Helicopter Manual Section 5. Trying to keep everybody happy 5-3 Relations on the Bridge – keeping your Captain happy The Captain, or ‘Fish Master’ as the Taiwanese call him, is the ultimate representative of the customer. Just to totally confuse everybody, the Taiwanese ‘captain’ is actually the #2 man on the ship. Sometimes […]
  • Moggy’s Tunaboat Helicopter Manual Ch.5-2 “A Bit of Theater “
    Moggy’s Tunaboat Helicopter Manual Section 5. Trying to keep everybody happy 5-2 You and your observer (2) “A Bit of Theater “ It’s wise to remember that a lot of observers have spent literally thousands of hours, sitting at one thousand feet altitude in little bubbles, suspended underneath one single nut, wholly at the mercy […]
  • Moggy’s Tunaboat Helicopter Manual Ch. 5-1 “Observer Happiness Basics “
    Moggy’s Tunaboat Helicopter Manual Section 5. Trying to keep everybody happy 5-1 You and your observer (1) “The Basics “ Observers vary in character and outlook so greatly, it’s funny. One man, very serious, you could annoy by simply talking. He would peer and peer through his binoculars, never relaxing, always frowning. Him you would […]
  • Heads Up! “The Fifteen Most Likely Scenarios for a Tuna Chopper Crash “
    Moggy’s Tunaboat Helicopter Manual The fifteen most likely scenarios for a tuna chopper crash Below I offer you merely an opinion. And you know what they say about opinions. You are strongly encouraged to form your own, and don’t mind me. But my listing (in order of ranking!) might give you some food for thought… […]
  • Moggy’s Tunaboat Helicopter Manual “GPS 4-5 “
    Moggy’s Tunaboat Helicopter Manual Section 4. GPS Systems and Offshore Navigation Issues 4-5 Hey, it sure is getting dark! Why, you may wonder, a whole chapter devoted to ‘sunset’? Because it catches people out. The closer you get to the equator, the faster the sun sets. You may have had a nice blue sky all […]
  • Moggy’s Tunaboat Helicopter Manual “GPS 4-4 “
    Moggy’s Tunaboat Helicopter Manual Section 4. GPS Systems and Offshore Navigation Issues 4-4 Limitations and Failures 1) Limitations You need to consider carefully that a ship can move quite a distance in the two hours you are away. Some purse seiners can cruise at 18 knots. That’s 36 nautical miles! If you are in a […]
  • Moggy’s Tunaboat Helicopter Manual “GPS 4-3 “
    Moggy’s Tunaboat Helicopter Manual Section 4. GPS Systems and Offshore Navigation Issues 4-3 Digital Select Calling, the Ross DSC500, and other clever stuff Okay, we’ve given you some anecdotes, to wet your appetite, now for some clever ‘technical schtuff’… To recap, these days just about everybody uses GPS systems. There are a few purists left, […]
  • Moggy’s Tunaboat Helicopter Manual “GPS 4-2 “
    Moggy’s Tunaboat Helicopter Manual Section 4. GPS Systems and Offshore Navigation Issues 4-2 Hey Moggy, I can’t find my boat and I’m almost outta gas…! It was a pretty horrible day. When there’s lots of wind, and therefore a rough old sea state, and lots of low, scudding cloud into the bargain, it’s a lot […]
  • Moggy’s Tunaboat Helicopter Manual “GPS 4-1 “
    Moggy’s Tunaboat Helicopter Manual Section 4. GPS Systems and Offshore Navigation issues 4-1 The long, dark tunnel Before we delve into tuna helicopter specific GPS systems, first a general warning about GPS and the over reliance many pilots place on it. In two short sentences: “Don’t be one of those GPS slaves who always meekly […]
  • Moggy’s Tunaboat Helicopter Manual “Too much Gloom and Doom? “
    Moggy’s Tunaboat Helicopter Manual Too much ‘doom and gloom’? 4/6/2010 I’m enjoying the feedback I get from pilots, usually total strangers, who kindly drop me an email from time to time. I had one today, and it just brought a smile to my face. I have to thank you for the time you spent assembling […]
  • Moggy’s Tunaboat Helicopter Manual “A Word to the Wise “
    Moggy’s Tunaboat Helicopter Manual A word to the wise… 3/4/2010 We have now covered quite some material, eh? We must not lose sight of the fact that helicopter flying is wonderful fun. It beats actually working for a living any day. And flying the Tuna Fields adds a whole extra dimension of cultural experience, strange […]
  • Moggy’s Tunaboat Helicopter Manual Ch.3-I “Reducing Speed Quickly – Scrubbing “
    Moggy’s Tunaboat Helicopter Manual Ch.3-I Reducing Speed Quickly during Herding: “Scrubbing “ I’ve mentioned the tail rotor and the imperative need for ‘tail rotor awareness’ many times now, and especially in connection with hovering and during ‘herding’. I don’t think it’s possible to over-emphasize the importance of guarding against a tail rotor strike. Remember those […]
  • A Blip on the Radar (Part 20) “Only the Idiots “
    “End of the Dream ” for one of our mates… Rick Faulkner commented on his photo: “Moggy – your mate Cliff (Mech) survived this one, unfortunately the pilot was killed which is just a reminder to us all of the dangers we face day to day. “ A Blip on the Radar Part 20: Only […]
  • TRUE HELICOPTER STORIES (www.helicopterstories.com), or CHOPPER STORIES (www.chopperstories.com)
    A Note to my Regular Readers (all 2 of you) Click Here… And to too many Absent friends… Miss you guys. Fallen, but not forgotten… Photo: One fine Helicopter Sunset, somewhere in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. A long way from home, my friend. CLICK HERE FOR MUSIC WHILE YOU READ    THREE E-BOOKS AVAILABLE  CLICK […]
  • A Blip on the Radar (Part 19) “Pilot-not-in-command; Moggy, Moggy, what DID I just do…?? “
    A Blip on the Radar Part 19: “Pilot-not-in-Command; Moggy,Moggy…what DID I just do? “ (Pilots tell me they find “Moggy’s Tuna Manual ” truthful and honest. Thanks, guys. I’m glad. I don’t try and portray myself as a super hero pilot. Because I know… I’m not. I make mistakes, just like everybody else. Of course, […]
  • An Interesting Letter ref MTM – #001 – Jon Wagner
    AN INTERESTING LETTER REF MOGGY’S TUNA MANUAL – #001 from retired Dentist, current philosopher, and former tuna fisherman Jon Wagner Feb 9, 2010 Hello Francis, I was reading your Moggy’s Tunaboat Helicopter Manual Ch.1-E. Again. You have some great video clips in that Chapter 1- “The Iron Men of Tuna Fishing ” is an outstanding […]
  • An interesting letter ref MTM – #002 – Richard Grills
    AN INTERESTING LETTER REF MOGGY’S TUNA MANUAL – #002 from Tuna Professional Richard Grills January 29,2010 Photo: Richard Grills (another boring day at the office) Hello Francis. I have read your articles and have found your research informative and questionable. I come from Australia and due to a certain helicopter company with an apparent nine […]
  • An Interesting Letter ref MTM- # 003 -Jon Wagner
    AN INTERESTING LETTER REF MOGGY’S TUNA MANUAL – # 003 from Jon Wagner, retired dentist, former tuna fisherman, and current philosopher July 17, 2009 Hello again, Francis, I share your awe of the behavior of tuna. Others look at me like I’m nuts when I get totally stoked at spying a breezer or foamer or […]
  • An Interesting Letter ref MTM – #004 Richard Grills
    AN INTERESTING LETTER ref MTM #004-Richard Grills February 13, 2010 Hello Francis. I read with delight your responses to my questions. It is good to have fixed wing experience as I started my aviation career this way. I flew c 180/85 aircraft for many thousands of hours conducting mustering operations. In Australia, we have a […]
  • A Blip on the Radar (Part 18) “Starry, starry night “
    A Blip on the Radar Part 18: Starry, starry night (for Brenda) At night, after a day’s hectic fishing, most of the crew always retired below to their cabins. Oftentimes we would be hove to. Then the ship would rock quietly, and only the distant diesel generators would disturb the Ocean peace, The main engines […]
  • A Blip on the Radar (Part 17) “Barking Mad; Moggy, Moggy, what you DO?? “
    My buddy, Adona the Great!   A Blip on the Radar   Part 17: Barking Mad; “Moggy, Moggy, what you DO?? ”   Dogs can be funny. Their territorial instinct extends to the most unlikely places. We’ve all walked up to somebody’s house, and found ourselves confronted with a protective canine. It might be a […]
  • A Blip on the Radar (Part 16) “Shithouse Etiquette “
    A Blip on the Radar Part 16: “Shithouse Etiquette; Moggy, Moggy, what you DO?? “ People that know me well, marvel how I do it. I have a unique gift. The ability to waltz, wholly innocently, into all sorts of serious trouble. Then, having unintentionally caused complete and utter chaos, I tend to be forgiven. […]
  • A Blip on the Radar (Part 15B) “Beautiful American Film Star “
    “Sexy ” by Odegaard A Blip on the Radar Part 15B: Beautiful American Film Star If he was disappointed, the Captain never betrayed any sign of it. After a few seconds of contemplation, he merely motioned over the waiter, now doubling as the Captain’s personal pimp. Handing over the keys to his room, he instructed […]
  • A Blip on the Radar (Part 15A) “Beautiful American Film Star “
    Carole Landis Note: Sometimes there is a conflict in a writer’s mind. He feels the need to honestly paint a TRUE scene with accurate, authentic brush strokes. At the same time, he doesn’t want to be seen to necessarily condone or approve of the behavior, ethics or values he describes. I mean no fundamental disrespect […]
  • A Blip on the Radar (Part 14) “On Holding Hands, and Smoking Pot “
    Your very own scribe, shooting hell out of…. milk cartons A Blip on the Radar Part 14: On holding hands, keeping your shorts on, rotor brakes, and smoking Pot I have worked, on and off, for different charities. That doesn’t make me a saint, or better than you. It just makes me a Seeker, a […]
  • A Blip on the Radar (Part 12) ‘No Man is an Island’
    Photo by Francis Meyrick A Blip on the Radar Part 12: No Man is an Island I have read stories and biographies that, in the final thrust, left me unable to identify, to connect, with the protagonist. It was as if the make-up team had been in. The dreaded publicist. Massaging the true writer away. […]
  • A Blip on the Radar (Part 13) “The Lady in Blue “
    A Blip on the Radar Part 13: The Lady in Blue I try hard, not always successfully, to live by my own maxims. One of these goes like this: never mock what you don’t understand. It has to do with respect I guess. Other people’s religious and spiritual beliefs may seem strange, unreal, but if […]
  • A Blip on the Radar (Part 11) “Plastic, War, and Manta Rays “
    A Blip on the Radar Part 11) Plastic, War, and Manta Rays In my little life, I have frequently witnessed distressing events, man-made, that made absolutely zero sense to me. No rhyme, no logic, no sense. I’d be left thinking… why on earth… do people do and say-such incredibly silly things? Do you have to […]
  • A Blip on the Radar (Part 10) “Burning The Garbage; Moggy, Moggy, what you DO?? “
    A Blip on the Radar Part 10: “Burning The Garbage; Moggy, Moggy, what you DO?? “ Looking back, I know I elevated naivety to an Art form, truly worthy of the Guinness Book of Records. But I plead innocence. After all, I mostly meant well. That is probably what I shall be telling Saint Peter […]
  • A Blip on the Radar (Part 9) “Deck Boss have Big Problem “
    A Blip on the Radar We were all ship mates. In our own way, despite different nationalities, cultures and priorities, we often relied on each other. I was learning Chinese, and I often chatted for hours with the crew members about their lives, their homes, their goals in life. They showed me photos of their […]
  • Moggy’s Tunaboat Helicopter Manual Ch.3-H-1 “Drawings “
    Here are two drawings that attempt to illustrate two different possible roll-over scenarios. They illustrate parts of the story described in “Blip on the Radar(8) ” “Eyes of Dead Man “. (note: for an interesting discussion on Dynamic Roll-over, see Vertical Reference.com Here is the link) You can imagine wobbling about, big rollers coming through, […]
  • Moggy’s Tunaboat Helicopter Manual Ch.2B-1 Potential Employers
    Ch.2B-1 “Potential Employers “ 10/6/2009 You still see websites today, posting information which is totally out of date. Some times ‘years out of date’. This then is the ‘rough start’ of a chapter which tries to address that issue. I will need help to do so, as I am out of the tuna helicopter business […]
  • A Blip on the Radar (Part 8) “Eyes of Dead Man “
    A Blip on the Radar Part 8 Fear and Panic: “Eyes of Dead Man “ Fear and Panic are two different beasts. A helicopter pilot does well to ponder the difference. And research, study, envisage ugly scenarios, prepare mentally for them, and try hard to never be surprised. In this last endeavor, believe me, he […]
  • A Blip on the Radar (Part 7) “Routine and Sudden Terror “
    A Blip on the Radar Part (7) Routine and Sudden Terror: How to crash a Helicopter In the Introduction to “Moggy’s Tunaboat Helicopter Manual ” I wrote this: “But if I had never had any help, never had any advice, never had mentors… I would be stone dead by now. I have waltzed -innocently- into […]
  • Moggy’s Tunaboat Helicopter Manual Ch.3-H “Attaching a Radio Buoy “
    Moggy’s Tunaboat Helicopter Manual Ch.3-H “ATTACHING A RADIO BUOY “ Having safely descended to your log, your observer may now want to attach a radio buoy. Also referred to as a ‘pipper’, this will guide the ship to the log later that day, or maybe several days later. The first time you approach a log […]
  • Moggy’s Tunaboat Helicopter Manual Ch.3-G “Descending to a Log & Blue-Out “
    A forgotten Atoll; note the deep, translucent blue Moggy’s Tunaboat Helicopter Manual Ch.3-G “DESCENDING TO A LOG & BlUE-OUT “ So there you are, flying along quite happily at 800 or 1000 feet, and your observer spots a log. He wants to see if there’s bait fish around the log, and if so, how they […]
  • A Blip on the Radar (Part 6) “Backflips “
    A BLIP ON THE RADAR (6) Life and Death are real and immediate in the Tuna Fields. Men cope with the inevitable risks in different ways. Gallows humor, cruel and unkind to some, is an ever present fact of Life. No target is ever too sacred. Some would say it’s just a method of coping. […]
  • Moggy’s Tunaboat Helicopter Manual Ch.3-C Take-Off Video Discussions
    Moggy’s Tunaboat Helicopter Manual Ch.3-C Take-Off Video Discussions VIDEOS I LIKE: Video 3-C/001 “Helicoptero despega de barco “ Orthodox, normal,calm, no sweat… what more can you say? Video 3-C/002 “An helicopter taking off from tunaboat “ Nice, calm. Wonder why he delayed that cyclic push forward? No biggie, but I would have shoved forward a […]
  • Moggy’s Tunaboat Helicopter Manual – Feedback
    Is that a shark I see below? (a perfectly executed autorotation after another C18 engine failure…) ATTABOYS and BOMBS (A little encouragement, very greatfully received, guys.. thanks! Note: 3/8/2010 Overwhelmingly, I would like to steer clear of the politics. As far as I’m concerned, this manual is an honest attempt to give new or prospective […]
  • Moggy’s Tunaboat Helicopter Manual Ch. 3-F “Herding (2) “
    One ace deck helper PART 3 “Moggy’s Tuna Manual ” “Handling your helicopter “ Chapter 3-F HERDING (2) When I started herding, I was on my own in a Bell 47, with not much of the faintest clue as to what was going on. Rather unexpectedly I noticed a Hughes 500 twenty yards away, hovering, […]
  • Moggy’s Tunaboat Helicopter Manual Ch.3-E “Runaway Blades “
    The Luck o’ the Irish, put (maybe excessively) to the test! PART 3 “Moggy’s Tuna Manual ” “Handling your helicopter “ Chapter 3-E RUNAWAY BLADES Runaway blades, or ‘rogue blades’ are one of every helicopter pilot’s worst nightmares. You tend to hear all sorts of stories, and it’s hard to know what’s fact and what’s […]
  • Where’s Bill, A Pilot’s Tale
    Where’s Bill A Pilots Tale Introduction: “Where’s Bill ” is an afterthought. When I started this book, I was going to write about my experiences as a pilot, in particular, a helicopter pilot. As such, I named the book “Rotor Trash, A pilot’s tale” but I could not seem to keep from writing about all […]
  • Rotor Trash
    The sun comes up around 5:30 and in spite of me trying to talk him out of it, my observer and I lurched off the deck about 6:00 am. I say, “Lurched” because Launched is just not sufficient to describe our departure. About this time I think to myself “Now you’ve done it! You have […]
  • Moggy’s Tunaboat Helicopter Manual Ch.3-D “Tie-downs and Blade Socks “
    PART 3 “Moggy’s Tuna Manual ” “Handling your helicopter “ A good view of the right hand side tie-downs, and the wax I lavished on my baby Chapter 3-D TIE-DOWNS and BLADE SOCKS Typically,you will have four separate tie-downs to anchor your baby on the deck. Two at the front, one left, one right. Two […]
  • Moggy’s Tunaboat Helicopter Manual Ch.2-E “Food, food, glorious food! “
    PART 2 “Moggy’s Tuna Manual ” “Job offers and job duties “ Fish head soup… yup! Chapter 2-E Food, food, glorious food…..! (You want me to eat….THAT?????) Ha! Food, my friends, food. Let me say two things. 1) All the WILD stories you hear, the outrageous tales, the amazing horror stories, the un-be-liev-able stuff…. Very […]
  • Moggy’s Tunaboat Helicopter Manual Ch.2-D “Other duties? Humping fish? “
    PART 2 “Moggy’s Tuna Manual ” “Job offers and job duties “ Taiwanese sailors at work moving fish; some of the most hard-working dudes you will ever meet Chapter 2 -D Other duties? Humping fish? Taking the watch? (You want me to do….WHAT?????) So there you are, young sailor, three days at sea, on your […]
  • Moggy’s Tunaboat Helicopter Manual Ch.2-C “Your Cabin and your room mate(s) “
    PART 2 “Moggy’s Tuna Manual ” “Job offers and job duties “ landing a Hughes 500 from the port side; notice the interesting ‘winglets’ on the end of the floats! Chapter 2 -C Your Job Offer: Your cabin and your roommate(s) (Cockroaches or Carpets?) Let’s face it, you’re young perhaps, anxious for your first job, […]
  • Moggy’s Tunaboat Helicopter Manual Ch.3-C “Take-Off “
    Bell 47, a classic work horse PART 3 “Moggy’s Tuna Manual ” “Handling your helicopter “ Chapter 3-C TAKE-OFF You may hear it said that -where Tuna boats are concerned- there are more take-off accidents than landing accidents. If you include all the really unpleasant (and usually fatal) tie-down accidents (see next chapter), then I […]
  • Moggy’s Tunaboat Helicopter Manual Ch.2-B “Your job offer: Pay? How Much and When?
    Chapter 2 -B Your Job Offer: PAY? HOW MUCH and WHEN? (Will you be an employee or a sub-contractor?) There are two different pay structures: 1) straight salary, and 2) pay per tonnage caught. Or a combination of both. 1) Straight salary is exactly that: $3,500 per month. Or $7,000 per month. If the ship […]
  • Moggy’s Tunaboat Helicopter Manual Ch.3-A Landing Video discussions
    Moggy’s Tuna Manual Ch.3-A Landing Video discussions There are some great tuna helicopter videos around, and I’m hoping people will send me many more links and photos, so I can include them here. For the purpose of discussion, a few things: 1) remember that the video often doesn’t tell us the whole story about the […]
  • Moggy’s Tunaboat Helicopter Manual Ch.3-B “Wind, waves, and wild decks “
    Landing on the Chi Tai 866, 30th January 1998 PART 3 “Moggy’s Tuna Manual ” “Handling your helicopter “ Chapter 3-B Wind, waves, and wild decks Few things can compare with this crazy dare; if you crave the ultimate trip go land, my friend, on a ship, on a wild and stormy deck rolling around […]
  • Moggy’s Tunaboat Helicopter Manual Ch.3-A “Different techniques for landing “
    How NOT to approach a boat – Reasons why explained below… PART 3 “Moggy’s Tuna Manual ” “Handling your helicopter “ Chapter 3-A Different techniques for landing (Been there, done that; been there, done that; oh, yawn….! Boring, boring…. been there…………………….OOPS!?????) In slowly putting together this manual, I have spent some long hours up on […]
  • Moggy’s Tunaboat Helicopter Manual Ch.2-A “Your job offer: legitimate questions “
    Approaching the Calipso by Sven A.Saeboe PART 2 “Moggy’s Tuna Manual ” “Job offers and job duties “ Chapter 2-A “Your Job Offer: Legitimate questions you SHOULD ask “ (But have some sympathy with the helicopter owner) So, having read Part 1 of this manual, and seen some interesting articles, in a moment of weakness […]
  • Moggy’s Tunaboat Helicopter Manual Ch.1-E “Herding, and the tow-line “
    Ch.1-E Herding, and the ‘tow-line’; the Brown Ball, speedboats, netboats, green dye, seal bombs, underwater breathing devices 1) Herding, and the ‘tow-line’; speedboats and net boats. I want to mention at this stage the concept of ‘herding’. We will talk about it again under Section 3 (Handling your helicopter), but for now I want to […]