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Utility pilots, hows the neck?

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Utility pilots, hows the neck?

Old 19th Nov 2018, 04:51
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Japan
Posts: 16
Utility pilots, hows the neck?

Hi all,

Ive been exploring future career prospects, and the challenge of utility flying is appealing to me. Ive had a couple very minor issues in my neck and upper back in the past though, and it seems like looking straight down trying to stretch your neck out far enough to see straight down would be a killer after a while! For those of you that have done/are doing it, is it difficult to deal with physically or is it not as bad as it looks? Thanks for the answers!
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Old 19th Nov 2018, 12:39
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Join Date: May 2002
Location: "Deplorable but happy as a drunken Monkey!
Age: 71
Posts: 16,313
Long Line work is what gets your neck and lower back!

Twenty Thousand hours of vibration, particularly vertical vibes from poorly tracked aircraft, will beat your brains out in no time at all.
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Old 19th Nov 2018, 13:13
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Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Shropshire
Posts: 599
Hi Chucklehead
I suffered near crippling neck problems in my early career (coupled with occasional bursts of lower back issues) that meant I had to brace my neck with both arms and roll out of bed onto my knees and restricted my neck rotation to about 10 degrees either side. Two books were recommended, Treat Your Own Neck and Treat Your Own Back, both written by a New Zealand Physio (Robin McKenzie) about 50 years ago. Very simple exercises that have almost completely sorted my problems, I do the exercises if I feel the early twinges of a problem and they just don't develop. I'm approaching 60 now and regularly fly with NVG with little or no neck problems.
Well worth a try.
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Old 20th Nov 2018, 06:33
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Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Japan
Posts: 16
Oh wow, so sounds like it can be pretty bad but there are ways to take care of it?

Ill have to check those books out whether I get into utility or not, thanks for the recommendation!
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Old 20th Nov 2018, 06:57
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Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 1,621
Basically stretching as any athlete will do before competing. helps a lot. Also discovered having a heated seat makes a huge difference, as does a descent seat !!!!!
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Old 20th Nov 2018, 17:00
  #6 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: EU
Posts: 79
a heated seat
...this caught my attention... Please elaborate: how does it work? 28V? where to buy & how much?

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Old 20th Nov 2018, 18:48
  #7 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 1,621
get the pads from any truck dealer so they are 24 volt, I plug them into the utility socket in the helicopter. Best 70 I have ever spent on a helicopter
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Old 21st Nov 2018, 02:42
  #8 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: On top of the Longline
Posts: 298
Originally Posted by Hughes500 View Post
as does a descent seat !!!!!
I didnt realise we had the option of a different seat for ascent & descent!😉

As for getting a decent seat, it seems to me that the more crashworthy they are the less comfortable they are. Id much rather sit in a B2 seat than a B3 seat, particularly for longlining. Stay fit & exercise regularly.

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Old 21st Nov 2018, 06:30
  #9 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Australia
Posts: 27
I’ve got a 100mm thick dual chamber ROHO seat. If I’m slinging I can let some air out of the side I’m slinging from and it’s made a huge difference to my back and neck. They’re worth the money.
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Old 21st Nov 2018, 07:59
  #10 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Next door.
Posts: 649
Does headborne mass have any effect on your overall condition after a day of flying?
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Old 21st Nov 2018, 10:39
  #11 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Redding CA, or on a fire somewhere
Posts: 1,685
I use inflatable cushion from "Relax the Back" and we also have the tilt seats fitted in our mediums....it helps. Also as long as you do exercises on your core, you should minimize any major issues.
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Old 22nd Nov 2018, 18:05
  #12 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Japan
Posts: 16
I appreciate the info guys, its made me feel a lot better about giving it a go without being as worried about the long term health effects and such. Thanks!
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Old 23rd Nov 2018, 09:41
  #13 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: australia
Posts: 94
Check out the 'Iron Neck 'sold in the US.

I rate it and it works!

I reckon this will be the new thing for pilots down the track
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Old 24th Nov 2018, 09:28
  #14 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2015
Location: Australia
Posts: 9
Smile this stuff is serious !

Hi All,

I don't want to be the prophet of doom here, but please take this stuff seriously.

A few years back, after ten years of solid utility work wearing an Alpha (around 15 years of general choppers prior to that), my constant neck pain wouldn't go away. Visit to doctor, sent for scans, visit to specialist, sent for MRI, sent for surgery. Titanium plate in the neck to stay permanently and you guessed it, they pulled my license. So all of a sudden, no income and no other way to really earn $$$. It took me 2 full years to get my license (medical) back from the authorities, but with the caveat that I must not do any vert ref work. I burnt through all of my savings, and then some. The Neurosurgeon said If I didn't change my ways, I would end up in a wheelchair.

No amount of stretching, heat pads, or chanting will help if you have stuffed the disc between the vertebrae. And the only way to prove that is with an MRI. And once you see that, believe me you will change your ways. I keep the photo of the MRI and a snap pic from during the surgery (of the plate, 4 x screws and assorted tubes etc all inside my body) on my phone to remind me to take things easy. I still fly. But gently !!

Life is too short. And helicopters are just a job...

Take care.
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