We are proud to welcome our first helicopter pilot, “GT” this week: Capt. Wayne Tunick USN (ret) author of the book “American Quest” The book is a fun read and traces the career of a young man who had never considered the military as he serves his country and his fellow man.
GT had a successful career as a Navy Helicopter pilot who learned early on the seriousness of aviation in a crash that could have easily cost him his life and it changed the way he approached flying for the rest of his career. And, while everyone couldn’t experience exactly what he did, GT tells us how he demanded exacting standards of his fellow aviators so they could be ready to meet any challenge they faced – expectedly or unexpectedly in the airplane.
GT’s experiences range from incredible to terrifying – and how he was fortunate enough to be able to learn from his experience and pass that on to other pilots throughout his career – including two tours as a Squadron Commander.
Over the years GT came up with 18 Rules to live by. They are republished here:
COMMANDING OFFICER, HSL-44 AIRCREW POLICY
- THIS IS A LIFE AND DEATH BUSINESS. DON’T DIE BECAUSE YOU WERE STUPID.
- KNOW YOUR NATOPS-IT WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE.
- KNOW YOUR TACTICS. YOU MUST KNOW HOW TO FIGHT WHEN CALLED UPON.
- TRAIN HARD. THE REAL THING WILL BE EASIER.
- DEVELOP STANDARD PRACTICES. DO THINGS THE SAME WAY. WHEN YOU GET RUSHED-YOU WILL STILL DO THEM THE SAME. BUT DON’T GET RUSHED.
- NEVER HESITATE TO SPEAK UP OR IF NEEDED, TAKE CONTROL OF THE AIRCRAFT. IF YOU HESITATE YOU WILL DIE.
- HAVE A BURNING DESIRE TO LEARN THE AIRCRAFT. INSTILL THAT DESIRE IN OTHERS.
- NEVER STOP LEARNING.
- PRACTICE RISK ASSESSMENT. ASK YOURSELF: “IS IT WORTH THE RISK?”
- DO NOT CONFUSE A HOSTILE AREA WITH A WAR. THERE ARE HOSTILE AREAS ALL OVER THE WORLD.
- OPERATIONAL NECESSITY RARELY, IF EVER, PRESENTS ITSELF DURING PEACETIME.
- USE THE BOOK. CHECKLISTS, PREFLIGHTS, BRIEFS, AND DEBRIEFS REQUIRE DEDICATED EFFORT. NEVER GET COMPLACENT.
- NEVER TAKE AN AIRCRAFT THAT DOESN’T “FEEL” RIGHT. NEVER GIVE IN TO PERCEIVED PRESSURE.
- ERR TO CONSERVATISM. BETTER TO COME BACK AND FIGHT ANOTHER DAY.
- USE YOUR CREW. IF YOU ARE THINKING IT. SAY IT. OTHERS ARE PROBABLY THINKING THE SAME THING.
- AW’S ARE ONE THIRD OF THE CREW. MONITOR THE NAV TABLE, ASK QUESTIONS, DO NOT LET THE PILOTS KILL YOU.
- YOU DON’T CRASH GOING UP. NIGHT DECENTS OVER WATER ARE THE MOST DANGEROUS THING WE DO. RESPECT THEM.
- LEARN FROM YOUR MISTAKES. THEN NEVER REPEAT THEM!!!!
EXPERIENCE IS A TOUGH TEACHER, IT GIVES THE TEST FIRST AND THE LESSON AFTER. THE SH-60B HAS 3 FORECASTED CLASS “A” MISHAPS THIS FY. ARE YOU ONE OF THEM? THE ANSWER IS NO!!!