Francis Meyrick

Moggy’s Tunaboat Helicopter Manual – Feedback

Posted on September 20, 2009

Is that a shark I see below?
(a perfectly executed autorotation after another C18 engine failure…)


(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 tuna pilots a chance to study up on the issues before they get chucked in the deep end. People who want to read it, great. People who don’t, great. It’s all about safety, and being forewarned of the issues. As for personal likes/dislikes… I shrug my shoulders. Good luck. Life’s too short…



Hey moggy. just had another brief flick through your tuna manual and thought i better send you a quick note. im back in nz on holiday for a bit, after 14 months on the boats and looking at your manual reminded me of how much it helped me, and maybe kept me alive. in hindsight i dont think i would have gone out if i hadnt read what you had writen, so thanks bro! i was on 5 korean boats, working for Hansen and i couldnt say a bad word about them (hansen)at all. not sure where im going for the next mission, looking for more money and new challenge but if i cant find anything i’ll be back out on the boats. for me it was tough at times living on the boats, but overall one of the best things ive done, and most fun ive had. i reckon 99.9% of your manual is bang on, so thanks again and good job.

(name supplied)




I ran into a few situations which were exactly as you warned about. For sure, i was able to recognize the threats before i maybe got hurt. A member of staff at my employer warned me not to read the manual.
They sure do not like you. I tried it anyway one evening in Ponpeh, and was at it all night long. Internet slow there. Good job, man. Do you really suck at Karaoke?

(name and address supplied)
(omitted to avoid possible employer retribution)


Moggy, you old rascal

Have just finished reading “Blip on the Radar 20 “. Your comments on the character assassination going on kind of amused me. Spot on. As you already know from others, there sure are some crazy stories being spread about. Actually, some pretty vicious lies. Those of us who have objectively read the manual, (more and more pilots, for sure) and found it pretty darn good, can’t figure out why such absurd negative stuff would be put out as fact. Unless, certain people are running SCARED . scared stiff of too many questions being asked by the new generation of pilots. Best way for them to try and keep a lid on the accident/fatality rate becoming a ‘hot potato’ is for your detractors to pass you off as a nitwit whose Manual is full of codswallop (or tunawallop !).
Without EVER having read a word of it, some of the guys immediately repeat the slander they have been told about you. I’m really far from being alone in thinking it should be COMPULSORY reading for any pilot (no matter how many other hours in the log book) before embarking on Tuna boat flying.

Personally, I feel quite sorry for the anti-Moggy brigade — because they have clearly been brainwashed, and are possibly in awe of whoever first gave them the “newbie Tuna pilot speech ” when they arrived in Guam (or wherever) to take up their 12 month contract.

“If you have heard of a former Tuna Pilot named Francis (Moggy Meyrick) don’t believe any of the nonsense he writes because …. blah blah blah “.

Well, I guess it’s their life. I’d like to tell them to be careful whose hands they put it in, and be wary of believing rumours without any proof. The employers are getting desperate I’m thinking. This is publicity and safety questions they don’t want being debated, never mind written about on the Internet, as pointedly as you do!

Good luck, Mogster, keep writing. There’s plenty who appreciate what you’ve done. A beer awaits you. And stop that Karaoke racket!
(you remember that session on the Fu Kuan 707??)Crazy bastard!

(name and address supplied)
(omitted to avoid possible employer sanctions)

From Moggy: Heck, yeah! I gotta write that one up…

When I test ’em, I test ’em good…

G’day Moggy – & thanks…

Sunday, September 6, 2009
From: Kiwi contractor

G’day Moggy,
I am writing to express my gratitude for compiling ‘Moggy’s Tuna Manual’,
an absolute must read for all ‘first time’ tuna pilots.
Your writings are so incredibly accurate I would swear I’m on the same boat.
With the downturn in the American economy, I found myself having to seek other employment and having had the opportunity to speak with a previous Hansen employee, I gave Marvin Reed a call in Guam. Within a week I was meeting up with John Walker in Missouri and before long on the plane to Pohnpei.
Not really knowing what to expect I searched the net for info only to find any information on the subject to be extremely scarce. Fortunately I came across ‘Moggy’s Tuna Manual’, an informative, entertaining, incredibly accurate record of what to expect and where to start.
Having being met at the Airport by my A&P (Tibo), before long I was living aboard the Ocean Galaxy (formerly Tuna Queen), a Taiwanese owned vessel operating under an American License and Captain. The biggest challenge to date has to be the language barrier. The US Captain & myself being the only fluent english speaking personnel on board.
I strongly recommend your manual to anyone either contemplating or currently involved in the Tuna Flying industry
and thank you Moggy, for your works do not go unappreciated.

Rick F.
Kiwi Helicopter Pilot living in Florida, working on the south West Pacific Ocean.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Hi Francis,
I’m a low time helicopter pilot and I know what you must be thinking by now……Oh my not another beggar. Yes I’m sorry I’m yet another Robbie instructor begging and scrounging for an opportunity to enter the turbine market like I’ve been doing for the past couple of months….
I read your Tuna pilot manual and loved it. I can’t wait to read the rest when it’s done. While reading it I decided that this is the way to enter the turbine market. I mailed Ron Barr from Tropic and Marvin Reed from Hansen. Perhaps you might know some other guys I could nag for a chance to fly the H500? I would really appreciate it a lot if you could spare some advice or contact. My total Robby hours are 398 and should touch on 500 by year-end. Pleeeeeeeze if you could help me with a contact I would be forever in your debt and promise to “pay it forward”.
Anton S.
South Africa

I give up – Fukkit!


Re: the finest single malt

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Dear Sir.
First of all I would like to apologize for writing this email out of the blue.I have taken your email address from the Tunaseiners forum and decided on the unorthodox approach of contacting you directly.The excuse that I have given to myself before such action,was that this industry and people that partake pleasure and benefits from flying helicopters are most unorthodox themselves. I have read your articles about tuna helicopters and must say ,Sir, that you have a way of getting your point across with eloquence and class.Maybe you should compile all this words in a book and distribute it to a bunch of flight schools for all to learn. My name is Dan M. and I am a Canadian licensed helicopter pilot .By birth ,I am Romanian but God and its mysterious ways brought me across the ocean and gave the opportunity to accomplish a life long dream of flying .In previous episodes of my life I graduated with a law degree ,worked as plain clothed police officer,paved streets,drilled for oil and guarded inmates in a maximum security transit penitentiary.For the last 3 years I am a bush pilot flying R44s in Northern Alberta and North West Territories in Canada .I consider this as being the pinnacle of my accomplishments .I am 37 years of age and look forward to a long career as a pilot that should include in my opinion flying off a boat over the ocean .And sir,if from the brief description of my past endeavors you concluded that I am an adventurer you may be right but please refrain from making the same assumption about my flying.I am one of the most “conservative, procedure following,VSI and airspeed watcher on final “pilot that you can find North of 60th at my level of experience.Professionalism ,care for the machine I fly and for my passengers has been instilled in my attitude since I have first touched the cyclic by the strictest flight instructor in western Canada.I am now at 1000 hours ,most of witch are on the 44 ,flying burly oil and gas workers in and out remote locations. Marginal visibility,hot and humid at gross weight and in tight unprepared confined areas, slinging with a 100 ft long line at -30 C with the door off for 7 hours,etc.. are what I do for a living.I enjoy and cherish every moment of it. That being said,I feel that it is the time that I move on and flying off a boat has been always in my mind.In spite of my efforts,contact numbers and informations about this have eluded me for now.The only job offer recently on line required 100 hrs turbine time and 25 hrs on 500s.Both of this requirements I can not fulfill ,but somehow l live under the impression that there are companies out there that fly 44s.If you somehow did not fall asleep by now or deleted my email in favor of more enlightening literature,and if your time allows would you please enlighten me and bring my ignorance to an end. In all seriousness ,a bit of guidance will probably make my path easier and would entitle you ,Sir ,to the finest single malt in the shadiest of taverns if we ever meet,regardless of the outcome .Thank you for your time.
Dan M.

Re: Pilot Articles

Saturday, September 5, 2009
From: Shane S.

I have been reading your articles on the website with great interest. I am wondering if you had any recent information on what the operators are looking for in qualifications. I currently have just over 500 hrs and tuna boats have always intrigued me since I was in flight school. I apologize if this e-mail is too forward. Any insight you could give me into this sector would be valuable. Also if you could tell me what shortcomings you noticed in new pilots that are coming down so that I can begin to “fix ” those if I can find a job down there would be appreciated. I found the landings article you wrote very informative and helpful. I thank you for any information you may be able to give me.
Warmest Regards,
Shane S.
Salt Lake City, UT, USA

Re: Moggy’s Tuna pilot manual…

Thursday, July 16, 2009
From: Alison L.

Hi Mr. Meyrick
I’ve been avidly following your Tuna Pilot’s Manual, and can’t wait
for the next installment!
I’m a baby rotary pilot, and reading your
accounts makes me want to get a CV out to the Tuna companies toot
Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience – there are far too
many new pilots who never get to hear this stuff! Please keep up
the good work!

Alison L.

Re: Moggy’s Tuna Manual
Thursday, July 16, 2009
From: Jon W.

I enjoyed reading Moggy’s Tuna Manual immensely. I have had a fascination with commercial tuna fishing since my youth when I worked aboard albacore trollers and bait boats fishing in Southern California fishing from as far south as Cabo San Lucas north to Morro Bay.

Jon W.
Florida, USA

Re: information about tunaboats
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
From: Ricardo M.

Hello Francis.

My name is Ricardo, I´m a Spanish pilot.

I don´t know if you can help me I´m looking to work in a tuna boat, I spoke with Francis Graterol that is the manager of Aviatun but it´s impossible to work with them, I try during 2 years but the answer is ok at this moment we don´t need but in the next boat I´m gong to try to give you an oportunity.

Now I work in a medical service here in Spain with a EC-135 but I would like to work out of my country because I need to see other countries, forms of work, other languages and other people. My intention is to work out of Spain during 5 or 10 years but I know that it´s to difficult to get it because the Companies don´t get a pilot if they don´t know him.

Those worlds are because I read your manual of tuna boats and all the places where you work and the experience with other pilots and I think that perhaps you can help me with this, I send my curriculum to more than 40 companies around the world but all of it said me that in those moments they don´t looking for a pilot.

With kind regards
Ricardo M.

Feb 8th, 2010
Hello Francis,

I have been reading your manual the past few days and found it very helpful. I am heading to Guam soon to try the tuna boats out. I have had no training, and I was told nothing about the boats from the owner..
You have really great stuff on it and its super delux. lol. I am grateful that I found this manual.



Last edited by Francis Meyrick on March 25, 2012, 7:07 am

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6 responses to “Moggy’s Tunaboat Helicopter Manual – Feedback”

  1. Your manual is VERY informative and I like your way of flying as it is very much the way I like to approach things…. we helicopter pilots are gentle folk but you do get the Jet-Jock Top Gun sort who watched to many episodes of Airwolf…. The worst part of it is that these Hot-Shots pride themselves on being able to carelessly and fearlessly throw the machine around but they lack the ability to do a featherlight landing or a smooth transition. I’ve watched many R44 owners “hover taxying” @ 50ft and 60kt flying over hangers and other aircraft doing a quick pirouette over the LZ and then ………. Only to plonk the machine down because the idiot can’t hover properly. On further inspection of the machine you’ll see the tell tale dents in the skid spats and even around the mast fairing. Even high time EMS pilots come hurtling down at breakneck speeds with EC130’s. Then all my students stand in amazement and wonder: ” one day I want to fly like that”. I started flying at a relatively high age of 30 so most of my testosterone (and sadly my hairline) has receded a bit. Gone are the days of my bullet-proof attitude and I’ve wound my neck in quite a bit in the 400 hours I’ve spent so far in a Robbie.
    I would love to spend some time in a helicopter with you. It would be great if you could offer would be tuna boat pilot with a bit of a training course. It would have to be outside the US though because of their post 9/11 flight training laws. It could be a type of recruitment agency for the likes of Hansen and Tropic. You are well known in the industry so any candidate you recommend for a post will be appreciated – because you will save them lots of money and stop the high turn over of pilots. You could even offer them a rotation type operation.
    I would like to see some information on equipment and clothing you recommend. I see some pilots use helmets but none wear flight suits. I always give my slops, shorts and T-shirt wearing students this advice: Never fly in anything you wouldn’t want to hike or spend a lonely night outside in. I would wear the brightest flight suite I could find with a life jacket with some supplies in, including flairs and a personal ELT? Or am I being impractical.
    I can’t wait for the next chapter.

  2. You raise mucho, mucho interesting points.
    Actually good, because you tweaked my aging memory cells with some anecdotes I could work into future chapters of "More of Moggy’s Damn Lies". I mean, Moggy’s Manual.

    Hmmm…. lemme have a cuppa tea, I feel a story coming on.

  3. I love stories…
    What about stacking a self inflating life raft on one of the rear seats….
    Oh yes and another question: What kind of CPL do I need? Will I have to get my South African CPL FAA validated?

  4. Something that I would love to see:
    A packing list from; clothing to electronic devices to personal hygiene product with quantities. What kind of electricity supply do they have onboard? European type 230v or 110v American style plugs?
    Number one on my list would be my laptop – preloaded with my ATP notebooks. I guess it would be a good time to start studying for ATP?
    When you dock, would there be cell phone reception? Then definitely my phone as well. I have worldwide roaming.

    I think you’re going to regret inviting me here……I’m giving you lots of ideas (read work).

  5. Things have moved on wonderfully, and now many boats have email capability. In my day,it was mostly satellite fax, and we thought that was wonderful.
    I would be lost without my laptop. I don’t need no soother, no ‘binkie’, just gimme my Internet! In the lunatic asylums of the future, the wards will be crammed out with white gowned freaks, slobbering incoherently, tapping away dementedly on a laptop. Mostly ex tuna pilots, probably.

  6. 6/21/14

    Hey Moggy,

    It seems strange writing to you, I feel like I know you so well after reading all your writings over the past few weeks and yet I have never met you.

    Thank you for your written works they have been both educational and inspirational. I have savoured every chapter.
    I hope we can share a cold ale one day at some point in the future together in pilot communion, you can be assured it will be my shout.

    Until then keep it above ground level and in the green.


    (name and email supplied)

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