It’s said that sometimes you choose your career and sometimes it chooses you, but in this case it was found somewhere in between and stuck for a lifetime. We have talked to our newly developed helicopter pilot training program instructor Gintautas Griauzde who has been soaring the skies for over thirty years. We want to share with you a few stories and insights about the helicopter pilot profession and how to choose it.
Gintautas story seems to start simply because he always knew he wanted to fly, but helicopters just came into his life while he was trying to figure out what to do after the high-school. Then, while amidst his search, he was asked a very practical and clear question. What is it you wish to do with your life and achieve with your career? The three choices that were posed in front of Gintautas were straight forward: Do you want to be in the military and fly fighter jets? Do you want to fly from airport to airport and see the world? Or do you want to have it all: be in the army, participate in the rescue and emergency operations, travel from airport to airport or to any place in the world and land wherever you want? The answer was more than clear: helicopter license will be the best choice.
This choice has taken Gintautas all around the world: he was in the army, he transported body transplants, he has been and still is instructing and teaching, he flew VIPs, passengers and seen the beauty of this world. Gintautas feels like industry still has ways to go and evolve into the big and massive industry that it has potential to become, but let’s take it from the beginning.
Industry and its changes
When asked Gintautas for his point of view towards the industry and especially the machinery he said that perhaps the outside and the frame of the helicopters hasn’t changes as much compared to the changes in avionics and flight instruments. “When I just started flying helicopters, such things as autopilots were not so well developed, so it required a lot more strength to navigate the helicopter, and especially hold it is “hanging” above the water.” According to Gintautas, these days, when avionics and flight instruments are so well developed, pilots can now focus on the perfection of the skills, travels to the extraordinary places where it might have been still a bit difficult to go, and also the full exploration of the helicopter flight possibilities.
As the industry keeps expanding, there has been various concerns raised during the Heli-Expo 2015 about the performance standards as a whole and individual desire to improve personal performance. When we asked Gintautas about such concerns he commented that there has never been such instance that someone with lower than acceptable performance records was accepted for the training. If anything, pilots who are graduating from the academy are usually trained way above the requirements, because each instructor has a personal drive to make sure that his students performance is flawless.
While so many things are changing, according to Gintautas, the fundamentals of flight training have remained the same. The training lessons and skills that must be developed don’t change from year to year, but the only thing that is different is the familiarization with the aircraft and its performance. And the performance of the helicopter is wide and still growing. Gintautas believes that there is still a lot of room for growth, especially in the emergency and rescue market, however the infrastructure must be able to keep up to facilitate the needs of the growing industry. Gintautas’ experience proves that helicopters are irreplaceable in the mountainous regions where it is difficult to travel or are no roads to access deserted locations, especially in the situations when people are in need of help or rescue.
This is only the glimpse of the stories and insights that a helicopter and airplane pilot with a lot more than ten-thousand hours of flight in his log book can tell us. If you wish to be able to experience it all and be able to tell your breathtaking stories – maybe it is time to take to the skies?