Helicopter Humor

As anyone that is even vaguely familiar with the "helicopter", flying one is a full time job. It isn't a leisure ride when you have the controls of one of these great flying machines. One needs to keep in mind that old adage "if anything can go wrong it will". Things happen fast with a helicopter so crew alertness is paramount.

Having said that, one knows that regardless of the job, if you aren't having fun something is wrong. So when these superb airman are on the ground they have fun and as a result there is a lot of humorous acts that take place, some of which are depicted in various pictures, words, etc.

We have a collection of some of these artifacts that is all a part of Air Force helicopter history.

If you have items that fit this category, contact us.

This is a photo of a picture given to me years ago by a McAir Representative who had also been a tech rep for Bell Helicopter in Iran. How he acquired it as a Bell rep is a mystery. It is a hilarious picture, especially when viewed closely. The inscription above the fish on the vertical fin reads "Escape to Wisconsin".

Maybe someone can shed some light on the artist Nick Starr.

Nick Starr




Author Unknown / Maybe Jim Burns
Suffolk County AFB, NY. from the 1959-60 time frame

The helicopter is an amazing assortment of nuts, bolts, rotors, push-pull rods, irreversible, longitudinal collectives, differential quadrants, swash plates, wobble plates, gimble rings, cuff and trunion assemblies, and other gadgets to numerous to mention. All of these are welded, riveted, bolted or sewed together to make a single machine capable of flight. In fact, it is capable of flight in any direction, backwards, forwards, and sideways, up, down and even standing still. Standing still is known as ‘hovering’. This comes in handy for those who like to fly, but have no place to go.

One of the necessary components is the engine. This unit is expected to start with ordinary fuel, change it to BTU’s, the BTU’s to Brake Mean Effective Pressure (BMEP) (see definitions below), the BEMP to RPM’s. The RPM is then transmitted through a series of shafts and gears to the main rotor blades which are responsible for the fanatic egg beater motion.

The engine has several important parts. Among these are the cylinders. A cylinder is a long hole covered on one end with a plate full of holes containing valves. The holes admit air, fuel and sometimes water and carelessly misplaced tools. The other end is closed with a plug called a piston. This is free to move up and down and would come out altogether if it were not fastened to a connecting rod. The connecting rod, too, is important because it is responsible for converting your BMEP to RPM. Without it you would be left with BMEP, which now one knows how to use up to now.

The power of the engine is measured in horsepower. Why? Who knows! It is often difficult to get a self respecting horse in close proximity with one of these machines. It is better to rely on instruments the electrical men have invented. They indicate power in Amps, volts, or kilowatts, depending on the individual whims of the designer. With a little imagination these values can be converted to horsepower.

Starting the “thing” requires some knowledge, steady nerves, and a certain amount of bravery. First make a careful check of all your instruments. This gives you a little self confidence and adds prestige in the eyes of the onlookers.

After everything has been checked, it is safe to start the engine. If everything is as it should be, there will be considerable noise and you will start to shake and tremble. That means the engine has started. When your audience has returned, synchronize your eyeballs and look at the instrument panel, noting pressures, RPM, and before you forget it, check the flight controls. This is important, even though they quite often do not perform the function for which designed. It is very embarrassing to get into the air and find those items not working properly, or just not working, period.

Once airborne, you are on your own; you have willfully and knowingly placed yourself in the most horrible of all predicaments. May the Lord have mercy on your soul. You have earned it. (Courtesy of Jim Burns)

(The definition of BMEP is: the average (mean) pressure which, if imposed on the pistons uniformly from the top to the bottom of each power stroke, would produce the measured (brake) power output). (Courtesy of Ron Smitham)

BMEP = Brake Mean Effective Pressure. Pulling high horsepower at low engine speeds (talking about recips) makes for a high BMEP. Same HP at a higher engine RPM means a lower BMEP. High BMEP means high efficiency for the engine, but also may mean a blown engine if the high BMEP lasts too long. (Courtesy of Jerry Kibby)

"The term BMEP is an engineering term that means Brake Mean Effective Pressure (psi). Mean is another word for average, which in this case means average effective pressure of all stroke cycles. This is used to evaluate all engines whether they are Two or Four Cycle.

BMEP is a function of temperature of the gases in the cylinder. To increase the temperature you need to burn more fuel, thus making more heat. Or another way is to make better use of the existing fuel.

Torque is a function of BMEP and displacement only. HP is a function of torque and rpm.

It can be said a high BMEP and a low rpm, or a low BMEP and a high rpm, can equal the same power. Larger valves, ports, pipes, compression, etc. all come into play to increase the volumetric efficiency of the engine. The most effective is to increase the number of cylinders. The more efficient it is, the higher the average pressure or BMEP.

Pressure increases by compression alone can do wonders to a stock engine; it is, by factory choice, usually a low number. Note that after compression gets very high it starts to work against you in pumping losses, and in the amount of heat lost to the surrounding parts." (Internet)

The 10 commandments are courtesy of the USAFHPA. 

Ten Commandments original author: Then Capt Willis R. Kusy (Now Lt. Col, USAF, Ret)


View others in the photo gallery


These times, we must all stand together. A secret society, little known by most, has decided to allow inclusion of all those that would abide by the values that we cherish. Below is a short history of this organization. For those who accuse us of spreading barbaric concepts to the masses, we will revert to an age-old tactic that has served us well: Deny, Deny, Deny, and make counter accusations.

Brothers of Infamous Glory, Klan Of Khen

Phuh Khen (pronounced Foo Ken) 1169-???? is considered by some to be the most under recognized military officer in history. Many have never heard of his contributions to modern military warfare. The mission of the this secret society is to bring honor to the name of Phuh Khen.

A 'Khen' was a subordinate to a 'Khan' (pronounced Konn) in the military structure of the Mongol Hoards. Khan is Turkish for Leader. Most know of the great Genghis Khan, but little has been written of his chain of command. Khen is also of Turkish origin. Although there is not a word in English that adequately conveys the meaning. Roughly translated, it means, 'One who will do the impossible, while appearing unprepared, and complaining constantly.'

Phuh Khen was one of ten Khens that headed the divisions, or group of Hoards, as they were known, of the Mongol Army serving under Genghis Khan. His abilities came to light during the Mongol's raids on the Turkestan city of Turkestanis. Bohicans were fierce warriors and the city was well fortified. The entire city was protected by huge walls and the hoards were at a standoff with the Bohicans. Bohicaroo was well stocked and it would be difficult to wait them out. Genghis Khan assembled his Khens and ordered each of them to develop a plan for penetrating the defenses of Bohicaroo. Operation Achieve Victory (AV) was born. All 10 divisions of Khens submitted their plan.

After reviewing AV plans 1 thru 7 and finding them all unworkable or ridiculous, Genghis Khan was understandably upset. It was with much perspiration that Phuh Khen submitted his idea, which came to be known as AV 8. Upon seeing AV 8, Genghis was convinced this was the perfect plan and gave his immediate approval. The plan was beautifully simple. Phuh Khen would arm his Hoards to the teeth, load them into catapults, and hurl them over the wall. The losses were expected to be high, but hey, Hoards were cheap. Those that survived the flight would engage the enemy in combat. Those that did not? Well, surely their flailing bodies would cause some damage. The plan worked and the Bohicans were defeated. From that day on, whenever the Mongol Army encountered an insurmountable enemy, Genghis Khan would give the order, "Send some of Phuh Khen's AV 8ers". This is believed, though not by anyone outside our secret society, to be the true origin of the term Aviator (AV 8er). Phu Khen's AV 8ers were understandably an unruly mob, not likely to be socially acceptable. Many were heavy drinkers and insomniacs. But when nothing else would do, you could always count on an AV 8er. A Phu Khen, aviator, denied, perhaps rightfully so, his place in history, Phu Khen has been, none the less, immortalized in prose. As the great poet Norman Lear never once said:

"There once was a man named Phuh Khen

Whose breakfast was whiskey and gin

When e'er he'd fly

He'd give a mighty war cry

Bend over, here it comes again."

Consider it an honor to be a Phu Khen Aviator. Wear the mantle proudly, but speak of it cautiously. It is not always popular to be one of us. You hear mystical references, often hushed whispers, to 'those Phuh Khen Aviators'. Do not let these things bother you. As with any secret society, we go largely misunderstood, prohibited by our apathy, from explaining ourselves.

You are expected to always live down to the reputation of the Phuh Khen Aviator. A reputation cultivated for centuries, undaunted by scorn or ridicule, unhindered by progress. So drink up, be crude, sleep late, urinate in public, and get the job done. When others are offended, you can revel in the knowledge that you are a:


Submitted by:
Warren D. "Dan" Kalas, Colonel, USMC (Ret)

The Rules of Copter Piloting
by Dave Barry

Always have somebody sitting right next to you who actually knows how to fly the helicopter and can snatch the controls away from you.

Maybe you should forget the entire thing.

If anybody tries to give you the main control thing, refuse to take it.

Auto-rotation" means "coming down out of the sky at about the same speed and aerodynamic stability as that of a forklift dropped from a bomber.

You can't hover the helicopter.

Sometimes you have to lie.

The badness of a movie is directly proportional to the number of helicopters in it.
Dave Berry, "25 Things I Have Learned in 50 Years"

~You might have been an AF helicopter Crew Chief if.....~

You've ever said, "Oh yes sir, it's supposed to look like that."

You've ever sucked LOX to cure a hangover.

You know what JP4/JP5 tastes like.

You've ever used a piece of safety wire as a toothpick.

You've ever had to say, "My boots are still black!" (or ever spray-painted them black)

You have ever used soot from the tailpipe to blacken your boots.

You believe the helicopter has a soul.

You talk to the helicopter.

The only thing you know about any city is where the good bars are.

You know more about your co-workers than you do about your own family.

You can't figure out why maintenance officers exist.

You ever wished the pilot would just say, "Great aircraft!"

You think everyone who isn't a Crew Chief is a wimp.

You wondered where they keep finding the idiots that keep making up stupid rules.

You consider 'Moly-B' fingerprints on food an 'acquired taste'.

You've ever been told to "go get us some prop wash, a yard of flight line or the keys to the helicopter.

You have ever jumped inside upper cowling to get out of the rain.

Little yellow ear plugs are all over your house.

You have ever pre-flighted in really bad weather only to learn that the flight was canceled hours ago.

Your spouse refuses to watch any aviation shows or attend air shows with you.

You have ever looked for pictures of "your" helicopter in aviation books and magazines.

You can't figure out why two weeks of advance per-diem is gone after three days.

You can sleep anywhere, anytime. But as soon as the engines shut down you are wide awake.

You have ever used, wheel chock, or tow bar for a pillow.

You have ever stood on wheel chocks to keep your feet dry.

You have ever used a pair of Dykes to trim a fingernail.

You have ever pulled the gun switch while riding brakes.

You have ever started an APP inside the hanger!

You have ever wiped leaks right before a crew show.

All you care about is the flying schedule and your days off.

You have ever had to defuel your jet an hour after fueling it.

Everyone you know has some kind of nickname.

You have used the "Pull Chocks" or "Droops In" hand signal to tell your buddies it is time to leave..

You have ever bled hydraulic fluid into a Gatorade bottle or soda can because you are too lazy to go get a hydraulic bucket and the Hazmat keys.

If have you ever been tackled, duct taped to a tow bar, covered in PET and sand, egged, sourmilked, peanut buttered and jellied, and slapped under the emergency wash station in 30 deg weather?

You know in your heart that your jet is female.

You refer to ANY machine as "she."

You refer to QA as "the enemy."

You hate Ops, Maintenance Control, QA, and cops.

You know the international marshalling sign for "pull your head out."

You've ever worked weekend duty on a helicopter that isn't flying on Monday.

You've wanted the engines to start just so you can warm up.

You can't remember half of your co-workers real names... only their nicknames.

You fix 30 million dollar helicopters, but can't figure out what's wrong with your $150 lawnmower.

Your toolbox at home has wheels and foam cutouts, just like the ones at work.

Some of the tools in your toolbox at home are etched.

If the way you measure the cost of living in other countries is by the price of a beer at a bar.

And best of all, you know everybody you send this to will understand because they were all crew chiefs!

To which I say, "And your point is...?"

~Courtesy of Tom Green~

Integrity, Honor, and Respect
Some of the best things cannot be bought, they must be earned

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