“After one or five or 15 years of feeling comfortable in that identity, some of us will fly our first long line. After hundreds or thousands of hours in the air with our head up, looking forward, we now try leaning out the side of the aircraft, looking down. Our heading drifts. The aircraft wobbles. Suddenly our identity falls to pieces because any casual observer would doubt that we know how to fly at all.
This is the frustrating, ego-bruising, addictively challenging experience that awaits any pilot who seeks a career in the utility helicopter industry. And it was the experience that awaited me last year, when I signed up for an 11-day vertical reference long line course at Volo Mission in Campbell, Texas.”