English Version

Hi there English-speaking friends and fellow pilots,

you will find some information about helicopter flying, national and international events and my personal comments right here … I write a kind of summary in English as long as I have not set up the entire website in two languages yet.

You can contact me here – I am looking forward to reading you or even flying with you some day!

Best regards,

Sabine Buehlmann

Convention Time in California

It is that time of the year again: Heli Expo is at the doorstep and I am in California, had the great pleasure of flying N888SD again, a beautiful MD500E being at Western Helicopters, Rialto, CA. I will include a picture later – it has been all wonderful Mountain Flying! I even spotted the landscape that gave Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water its name. Thank you, Pete, Pat, Jenny and everyone who made this visit possible … I feel very blessed to be able to spend time with such wonderful friends here.

Looking forward to attending Heli Expo with you,


Ride and Fly

As I announced a few months ago, I did it: combining “horses and helicopters” in one journey, traveling to California to fly with Pete Gillies from Western Helicopters again and riding with Buck Brannaman in Corvallis, Oregon, just a few days later.

Here’s the perfect picture, featuring Pete and myself, just about to start the MD 500 D:

Starting MD 500

Starting MD 500

Big Thanks to everyone at Western for again making my stay incredibly wonderful although it was way shorter than last fall … however, I beat the Swiss in returning earlier, yes!! Looking forward to flying with you again!

And, riding in Oregon was great, too – see pictures in the German Version of this article. I am planning to return in Summer 2013 and will keep you posted …

Thank you all, especially Pete and Pat for their warm welcome and perfect days in sunny California!

Take care,



California Flyin’ Reloaded

Just a quick note to let my English readers know I’ll be flying in California again pretty soon – and riding in Oregon next. For the first time, both of my passions – horses and helicopters – will be combined in one trip and I am very much looking forward to this opportunity. Thanks to everybody who helped in making this possible!

See you down the road … Take care,

Sabine, nickname: “Turbine”

Visiting Heli Expo 2012 – Texas style, this time focused on helicopters …

Hi there, friends and fellow pilots!

As many of you already know, I have again been visiting this year’s Heli Expo, worlds biggest helicopter exposition and convention. And it was just great – meeting so many friends including a lot of Whirly Girls, spending a wonderful time with them as well as greeting friends, instructors and students from all over the world. Special thanks go to Pete and Pat from Western Helicopters who spent so much valuable time with me – I am so grateful for all your help! And: Today, I have received mail from Mark, the helicopter pilot we met by chance … what a wonderful time to meet in the hotel hall with four helo pilots and start talking for more than an hour!

I strongly recommend attending the expo at least once, because this is the heart of the helicopter business worldwide – and you want to feel the heartbeat, too! Looking forward and keeping my fingers crossed for Las Vegas in 2013!

All the best and always safe flights,



Short trip to Budapest, Hungary

Hi there, Friends and Flying-Enthusiasts around the World!

Here’s my English summary regarding my December flight: I was visting the City of Budapest to say hello to a legendary blogger and world traveler named Niall Doherty and to ask him to join me for a short helicopter flight along the Danube.

This was our fabulous little ship:

Helicopter before takeoff

Helicopter before takeoff

When checking flight possibilites around Budapest, I found “Fly4Less” who operate this Schweizer 300 CBi two-seater (besides others, like EC 120) at the airfield Budaoers (LHBS). If you are there, be sure to visit the historic tower – it’s old, but famous: even Elly Beinhorn had been there during one of her adventurous flights in the last century.

Thanks to flight instructor Laszlo and the entire team at Fly4Less, we had a perfect preparation and flight – this picture was taken by Niall during approach for landing:

Approach for landing

Approach for landing

Yeeehaw! No, we had not been banking hard (as the Artificial Horizon in the panel can prove), but the picture simply looks way better this way!  I bet everybody had lots of fun that day and I was impressed by the excellent condition of the aircraft and the hospitality of the crew. And I can now count country no. six of foreign countries where I have flown a helicopter: France, Belgium, Switzerland, Czech Republic, USA – and Hungary.

Thanks to Niall for writing his blog and supplying the above pictures – although he claims to be “traveling the world without flying” I believe this exception does not count: it was a local scenic flight and not for traveling … ;-)

I strongly recommend both Niall’s blog as well as Jen Gresham’s – both were the best surprise in online material for me throughout the entire year 2011.

Happy New Year 2012 and there will be an entire new site coming on for Turbine-Online and MD 500 fans … and completely in ENGLISH (finally!)

Stay tuned!


Sabine      “Turbine” :-)

Flying in California: Great Helicopter Training Week at Western Helicopters, Rialto

Dear Friends and English-speaking readers of this blog,

I must admit: This adventure of my first flight time in the US was going to be big, I knew. But actually it blew my mind – I could not have imagined a week full of helicopter flying any greater than this!

Let’s see: We were a group of nine people, mainly from Switzerland and students of Fuchs Helicopter, Switzerland. Jonathan, our flight instructor, was looking for a flight school in the US where we could train both in the Schweizer 300 and MD 500 model and have a variety of training possibilities such as Cross Country Training, Nightflying, Touchdown Autorotations, Vertical Reference Training and Mountain Flying.

And we wanted good weather, too! So, there must have been only one place that could provide it all: Western Helicopters Inc. at Rialto Municipal Airport, CA. We somehow could not believe that and asked again and again if we do this and that training with the helicopters … “Sure you can!” Clendon, the owner, would answer. And that was only the beginning…

Helicopters available: MD 500 D and E, Schweizer 300

Helicopters available: MD 500 D and E, Schweizer 300

It started with introductory flights, navigation exercises and we all had to get used to the different voice style in the US – remembering the name of the airport also comes at the end of the message! Here, Rob did a fabulous job instructing Ground School and even setting up a whole airport on the hangar floor named “Fuchs International” where we could practice walking along our runway and reporting our position …

Of course, our flight instructors did not only keep us busy on ground but well in the air, too: Bob, the Chief Flight Instructor would schedule our flight times and available ships and off we went! All the instructors provided us with very good training. Bob and the Chief Pilot Pete were the two long-time pros, each one having logged more than 18,000 hours of helicopter flight time and years and years of experience and expertise. We got outstanding instruction on Touchdown Autos, Vertical Reference and Mountain Flying in particular. Roger, Bill and Jonathan were also instructing, doing a great job and together we flew approx. 90 hours during one week which I find pretty amazing!

105JL getting to work...

105JL getting to work…

I think practicing Touchdown Autorotation was a profound experience to everyone of us: in Europe, we mostly get to practice Autorations with power recovery only and hardly anyone has experienced finishing the Auto with a run-on landing yet or has been shown how to do it only very few times. Here, we were actually DOING it, along with a variety of Autoration profiles: steep, backwards, slipping … and yes, we were to make that spot we picked!

No matter how well I liked the Vertical Reference Introduction, the Nightflights and the Autos, my personal preference still is and probably will continue to be the Mountain Flying! Here, my thanks especially go to Pete for introducing me to the topic and sharing three great flights to the local mountains with me, including a landing on top of 10,064 ft Mt. Baldy. I will never forget this experience and will continue my off-airport approaches using the four steps … Thank you very much and I’ll be back as soon as I can!

California Dreamin'

California Dreamin’

Big thanks to everyone at Western, especially to Clendon for all the organization, to Joe who kept us going during I-don’t-know-how-many refueling stops and Pat who provided great support both personally and by adding all the nice things to our lunches … yummy!

I promised to come back as soon as possible and I mean it – the others, too, I’m sure!

Looking forward to flying with you,


German Open Helicopter Championships 2011 at Bamberg-Breitenau Airfield, July 28th to 31st

We have had a wonderful time at this year’s Championships and this is mainly because of our international guests: teams from Great Britain, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland and Russia came to join our precision flying and demonstrating of helicopter performance. And especially Russia and Britain brought home results: Russia placing 1st, 2nd and 3rd in open ranking, quickly followed by Brits David Monks/Caroline Gough-Cooper (5th ranking over all teams). Also doing very well (7th): a very nice helicopter AS 350 flown by John Jackson/Craig Finch – here’s a pic:

Britains got helicopters!

Britains got helicopters!

Thanks a lot for enduring my translation during the briefings and especially Brenda and David for teaching me a lot of very useful vocabulary I won’t repeat here – *smile …

Hope to meet you next time and fly with you, it has been a pleasure as always.

Uta and I are thinking about Russia and the World Helicopter Championship next year … we will see!

Have a great time and always fly safe,


Final Flights: in memory of fellow pilots …

August 2010: Guenter Zimmer and his MD 500 C “Whiskey Mike”

I first saw the Whiskey Mike when taking pictures of all attending crews and helicopters at the national German Helicopter Championship 2003 at Stendal-Borstel airfield (I did not even hold my PPL back at that time..) This picture will stay forever in my mind as it forms the headline of this blog (without complete callsign).

Whiskey Mike being a MD 500 C I was even afraid to tell Guenter once I held the type rating for this nice flying machine in 2005 – I knew, he was not at all interested in allowing me to fly it on double controls, as she was “his baby” and that was perfectly okay. I talked to him every time we met – he would always call me “min Deern” which was a nice greeting – and I petted the helicopter, wishing the team a good night at every championship we shared. Whiskey Mike was the turbine start I admired the most of all, and it was the first one I recorded on my cell phone to have a turbine ringtone ;-)

Guenter had only recently bought a van and trailer which a friend of us named “Guenter’s travelling circus” (because he could backpack his helicopter, stuff and family) to carry his helicopter with him wherever he went (Noerdlingen training, Switzerland, or Russia). On 8th August 2010, both Guenter and Whiskey Mike hat their final flight at Minsk – together.

I miss them both and wish Guenter and his Whiskey Mike may continue flying together in their endless skies.

Sundowner Picture courtesy of my copilot Uta:

Whiskey Mike im Sonnenuntergang

Whiskey Mike im Sonnenuntergang

The Team: Martin Rutty and Simon Lichtenstein, Helicopter Club Great Britain

On December 9th, 2010, the next bad news was broadcast quickly: Martin Rutty and Simon Lichtenstein had lost their lives in a fatal accident with a Robinson R22 helicopter in the south of France.

Nobody knew why they crashed – and this was the most disturbing question: why would a crash like this (shortly after departure, no other aircraft involved) happen to two of the most experienced Robinson pilots I knew? Did they encouter bad weather or extreme turbulence? Has a technical failure been overlooked or did it happen spontaneously?

I wil always remember Martin and Simon as the most friendly team I ever encountered as a young pilot taking part in championships for the first time – they had been very helpful to me in Rouen and it was always fun talking to them and partying in the evenings … I think I never ever saw Martin Rutty without his hat ;-)

One thing to add: there are several pilots who are known to fly hazardous … but not these two gentlemen. I am unable to attend the celebration of Martin’s life at the end of this May (because I am organising the helicopter flights at Wandelbarcamp 2011) but I am sending my deepest sympathy to everybody there – may they be well remembered all the time.

This is THEIR picture – it does remind us of the Top Gun movie and it has become the most famous of Scott’s pictures taken at WHC Rouen. Always remembering Martin and Simon …

Martin und Simon bei der Heli WM 2005 Rouen/Frankreich

Martin and Simon at WHC 2005 Rouen/Frankreich

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