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What's New In W. Africa (Nigeria)

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What's New In W. Africa (Nigeria)

Old 7th Aug 2006, 21:21
  #961 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Norway
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I tend to agree with tistisnot. Even if English is not my primary language I try my utmost to get it right, whether in writing or verbally. If you do not have a good command of the language you are using for communication, then communication becomes difficult.

Of course, this does nothing to improve working conditions nor terms and conditons in the region.

Some pilots seem to believe nothing will ever change for the better. They have been proven wrong again and again over the last number of years.

Some believe it's risky to try, because a supposedly lousy job could end up being lost to a citizen of the country in which you are operating.

If you really feel strongly that the above is the case, then you should stop complaining and enjoy the job you have, or you should quit and get another job.

I assume you all are aware of the shortage of helicopter pilots in the North Sea, the GOM, etc.?
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Old 7th Aug 2006, 21:42
  #962 (permalink)  
 
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If you really feel strongly that the above is the case, then you should stop complaining and enjoy the job you have, or you should quit and get another job.
A core value directly from the Bobby Suggs School of Helicopter Management!
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Old 7th Aug 2006, 22:20
  #963 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
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I shook hands with the man himself back in 1987 at Intracoastal base in LA while working for PHI. For obvious reasons he is sort of a legend in the helicopter industry, having been one of the early pioneers.

Within the first 3 months of being employed by PHI in July 1987 I must have heard the following quote at least 3 times: "If you you don't like it, quit". Well, I stayed for 17 months, then I took the advise to heart and quit.

The fall of 1987 the Airline Pilots Association of the US pushed ahead in an official campaign to organize the pilots of AirLog and PHI. At least 50% of the pilots needed to respond to a request to initiate negotiations.

I was horrified at listening to some of the pilots, some of which felt they were well off. Some had $2.000.- @ month in retirement benefits following long term service in the army. When they added the salary from PHI on top they felt they were doing ok.

I also remember more than one dozen letters sent to me from the management of PHI during this time period. Management stated clearly that PHI could not operate if a pilot union was established. The company would be liquidated if a pilot union was established. As I recall it was even insinuated that the airline pilots associtation was connected to the mafia.

It was a sad day for the pilots of the GOM when the union drive failed back then. Fortunately, the tide has turned. Today both AirLog and PHI have established a solid and constructive pilot union foundation, supported by the membership in the Office and Professional Employees International Union - OPEIU.

I know it took a lot of hard work to get organized for both pilot groups. Threats of potential negative consequences of getting organized were rampant. Fear, frustration, uncertainty seemed to have been the order of the day. When all was said and done, the pilots prevailed and the pilot unions were recognized, first in AirLog and a few years later in PHI.
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Old 7th Aug 2006, 22:24
  #964 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Africa
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Devil Spelilng is not an art, gamrmar myabe...

A daer fiernd of mnie's fhater is a coelelge prfofseor in comniumctation and lagnauegs and acrocrdnig to him and his furorty odd yaers of sudties and lceutring, if an msesgae can be deivlreed by any mnaes, aleibt hnad sginlas, somke or wahat eevr menas and the ohetr prtay can cmophrend waht was siad efefcitve cmomnuaciotn has tkean pclae, irerpsecivte of nnuos or ohetr blulhsit.
Now how difficult was that?
So not all of us are great at it, but if you have a little grey matter between your ears, which as a normal human being you should, you should get the message, without falling of the high horse or taking issue...
I shook hands with Nelson Mandela, talking of legends, and you know what he said: " Never give up!" and even after many years in jail, he fulfilled his dreams!
I'd rather not be a quitter... The eternal optimist, I believe things can only get better!
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Old 7th Aug 2006, 22:48
  #965 (permalink)  
 
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I sure hope you scrubbed yer mitts with some Dettol when you finished the handshake.

There is another fellow that I could not be forced, under penalty of death even, to shake hands with....who owns a rather large aviation empire based in the land of the Evergreens of the Pacific Northwest.

Funny thing is I admire Alan Bristow and hold him in very high regard. He was a businessman but he was a helicopter pilot's helicopter pilot!
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Old 7th Aug 2006, 22:56
  #966 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2004
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Sasless,

No mate, no mitts required. At 77 year old then, he was the most charismatic man I ever met and if more of our politicians and managers were like him and AB, we would live in Utopia.

Even Nigeria could have been a paradise and that is saying a lot about Madiba!
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Old 7th Aug 2006, 23:32
  #967 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
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I agree that Nelson Mandela is one of many great human beings of all time. Since April 2005 I have been commuting between Norway and Bloubergrant. The more time I spend here in the neighborhood of Cape Town, the more I realize how his philosophy have probably prevented South Africa from moving in the direction of Zimbabwe.

Neither mr. Suggs, mr. Dobbin, mr. Alan Bristow nor other entrepeneurs in the tiny little helicopter business where we make our living are remotely close to being in the same league.

As far as I remember having been told, Alan Bristow might have been friendly towards pilots, but back in the late -70's several pilots were forced to leave the company. This was in part due to a campaign to get organized within the British Airline Pilots Association - BALPA. The company management was not friendly towards pilots on this issue. If I am mistaken, please feel free to enlighten me.

Last edited by chc&proud; 8th Aug 2006 at 07:07.
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Old 8th Aug 2006, 02:12
  #968 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Las Vegas
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212man

Hi 212man

I really do have to agree with "tistisnot" on the impact of good grammar on explaining matters of a professional nature. I don't think expecting a certain level of grammatical competence is demeaning. When dealing with other educated individuals, good grammar communicates a higher level of professional ability to your clients. Whether we like it, or not, good grammar does leave a good impression.

However, I will be the first to admit that PPRuNe is not a formal situation. It's suppose to be a place people can gossip and express their point of view. If we only had a pint, I could imagine myself at the BRC.

Cheers,
musket33

PS. I was only expressing my opinion that I thought people really have no particular reason for saying Bristows instead of Bristow. So; I hope I have communicated my friendly point of view.
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Old 8th Aug 2006, 02:59
  #969 (permalink)  
 
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609,

I was referring to Bobby Suggs....not Mandela.

212man,

At least they ain't calling it "Bristol Helicopters" like so many do.

I do believe Musket is getting plumb edjucated on us. Those classes at the poker table must be working.
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Old 8th Aug 2006, 09:04
  #970 (permalink)  
 
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Meeting and greeting the big boss at PHI back then involved him coming into the "pilot lounge" while some of us were sitting around, waiting for the dreaded calls for the next flight. I guess he felt obliged to be polite and greet his pilots?

Even then I had heard rumours that he at least on one occasion had stated that he could find all the pilots he needed in the gutters of Bourbon Street. Consequently, I did not feel moved in a good way by the experience. Quite the contrary it left a foul taste in my mouth, especially knowing the high hostility level regarding pilot representation in PHI.

When it comes to Craig Dobbin and CHC, no doubt the multiple takeovers some years back brought all of us in CHC Europe together in CHC-PA. In addition some of us have become aquainted with lots of colleagues overseas.

The consequence of this has been numerous and in some cases substantial improvements to terms and conditions since 1999 for all members of CHC-PA.
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Old 8th Aug 2006, 14:45
  #971 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
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The late Mr Suggs...

He was quoted as saying that he could get all the pilots he needed by waving a $5 bill on Bourbon Street. I read that in some magazine and I think it was an accurate quote.

Well, that was then and this is now. I remember, back in the early Seventies, meeting a guy running a car-wash and another selling garage door-openers who had both done one or two tours in Viet Nam on helicopters. At that time I had not even got my private license and I (very naively) couldn't understand why someone would drop out of aviation.
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Old 8th Aug 2006, 15:42
  #972 (permalink)  
 
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chc&p,
Alan Bristow might have been friendly towards pilots, but back in the late -70's several pilots were forced to leave the company. This was in part due to a campaign to get organized within the British Airline Pilots Association - BALPA. The company management was not friendly towards pilots on this issue.
You are partly correct. The pilots in Aberdeen were trying to form an association in 1976/7, and whilst many pilots were in favour of an association there were many at that time who were not in favour of a union or joining BALPA. Whilst Alan Bristow was, as SAS says, a great pilot's pilot, he and the rest of the company management were very against any sniff of unionisation. One pilot, who was fairly vocal and always trying to persuade pilots of the benefits of joining a union came to the company's notice and he was posted to Nigeria (a popular destination even in those days ). This was almost certainly as a result of his union activities, and he refused. Almost half the Bristow pilots decided to use this as a test of their strength and when the pilot who had refused his tropical posting was sacked, went out on strike. Bristow gave them 48 hours to return to work or they would be fired. A couple did go back to work, but the rest were fired. In the court case that followed, the original pilot who had been fired was found to have been illegally dismissed, but all the other pilots were found to have been fairly dismissed (I think becuase they were in breach of contract). I believe that in the years that followed a couple were employed by Bristow again, but there is rumoured to still be a black book in Redhill (maybe transferred to Houston by now) with the names of all the strikers, none of whom were ever employed by Bristow group companies again. Not surprisingly, feelings ran very high at the time and there was a lot of bitterness between old colleagues for many years after.
Whilst things have seemingly improved for Bristow pilots in Europe, overseas the same old attitudes still apply. Possibly one of the reasons companies like Bristow and CHC now employ so many nationalities in Nigeria is to stop them from forming associations or unions. This seems to be failing as well, as it seems that CHC pilots overseas worldwide are close to having enough people to form a Global pilots' alliance which the company would be forced to recognise under Canadian labour law.
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Old 8th Aug 2006, 16:33
  #973 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
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tisnot et al, sorry I was being faceitious. I guess it proves sarcasm is the lowest form of wit!

I agree with you.

Back to West Africa..........(the thread I mean, not me!)
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Old 8th Aug 2006, 18:30
  #974 (permalink)  
 
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212man

Tell the truth 212man! You still miss Warri and the EC155? Not to mention the lower pay.

Cheers,
musket33
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Old 8th Aug 2006, 19:02
  #975 (permalink)  
 
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Ah heck....the Gulder prices will drop a Kobo....and he will be back like lightning!
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Old 8th Aug 2006, 19:28
  #976 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
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Thanks Phone Wind for that valuable piece of information re the pilot union drive in Bristow. It seems you know quite a bit about the sad happenings back then.

I believe it would be in the best interest of both OLOG and CHC if the respective pilot groups joined hands in corporate pilot associations. It helps streamline both communication and information all round.

Keep in mind that OLOG pilots in AirLog are 100% union through PHPA/OPEIU, Bristow might be 80-90%(?) BALPA members, and Norsk Helikopter in Norway probably have 95% of the pilots as members.

CHC-PA consists of the 5 pilot unions in CHC Europe, which have approx. 90% of the pilots as members.

PHI also have a pilot union, which is affiliated with PHPA/OPEIU. I believe the vast majority of pilots are members now.

The majority of the 550 pilots working for Air Methods are also members of PHPA/OPEIU.

All of the developments above have taken place over the last 5 to 6 years. It will be interesting to observe which position our colleagues in Africa takes on the pilot union issue.
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Old 8th Aug 2006, 22:32
  #977 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Nigeria
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Musket,
well the answer to at least one of those questions is yes!

SAS, I stopped drinking Gulder some time ago; we were posh on the Shell camp and only drank Becks

Just saw the latest BHL Europe /Scotia pay scales today (cos I'm in Aberdeen for a bit), showing the figures for this year and next. My basic pay when I left last year was year 3 SFO on the scales I saw, and my gross (Capt year 11 plus Nigeria Allowance plus CTC allowance) was less than year 1 captain! But hey; what's 20+K GBP a year between friends?

Phone, are you sure the pilot you mention was being posted to Nigeria? I read the government white paper on the strike and recall very clearly it saying that PR was posted to Malaysia. It also highlighted the horrendous tax regime then in place under the Labour Government: the author stated that PR's 12K tax free salary (had he actually gone) was the equivelant of 33K taxed in the UK. They do it the other way round nowadays!!

Last edited by 212man; 8th Aug 2006 at 22:43.
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Old 9th Aug 2006, 01:51
  #978 (permalink)  
 
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Are you suggesting the boys in Warri should go back to Gulder then?

Imagine paying Twenty Grand (almost Forty Grand US) for the pleasures of Nigeria over Aberdeen?

I believe we see why there is not a lot of interest to head south to sunny the fight the BoB.
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Old 9th Aug 2006, 07:52
  #979 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
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212 man,
Yes, I'm certain he was being posted to Nigeria. He refused that and the company then offered him the posting to the Far East, so it would look as if they were being more reasonable. The only thing I now forget was if the reason he gave was because of his dog or because he was going on a sailing holiday at that time (he was ex- merchant navy as well as ex- RN). It was all really to do with buiklding upm to the confrontation with Bristow and PR was the fall guy because he was the most vocal of those espousing the BALPA cause, having been a member since his time in BAH. The ironic thing was that although he was staunchly BALPA, he wasn't nearly as vociferous as a lot of the pilots who later decided they wanted to join. I think the other thing about those days is that the majority of the pilots in Aberdeen in those days were fairly recently ex-military (either UK, USA or Australian) and still had the anti-union bias that military men of the day had. The situation today is very different.
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Old 9th Aug 2006, 17:55
  #980 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: A man of the world
Posts: 128
Aviation Advisors

I am not sure what sort of rants this may start - I am donning helmet with visor down even now...
I know Shell have Aviation Advisors - do the other oil companies? If so - are they helping to promote and or maintain standards? We often hear that it is the insurance companies that demand pilots to have a minimum number of hours etc. Do these advisors help to quantify this? How closely do they work with pilot management, and the insurance companies. I read a page or two ago about how hours were at one time exceeded and the implication was that certain practices that are illegal or at least non-standard are "encouraged" for "efficiency". Would these advisors be interested in such things perhaps through an anonymous feedback means? I am sure the insurance companies would be VERY interested to hear that a pilot had exceeded his hours prior to making a fatal error. Of course, it all comes down to the pilot following the regulations but it is not difficult to imagine corporate and effciency pressures making this difficult for him.
I am not completely naive but throw this into the ring to learn and maybe start a side dabate to what is a thoroughly interesting thread.
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