October 26, 2017
Sam Ratterree
"A Day in the Life" - Helicopter Pilots
Whiting Room

As part of The APEX Event Series, twice a season will feature a speaker who can help spotlight professions that are relevant to the SUU campus and community. This is the first of our two "A Day in the Life" events.

Sam Ratterree is the head of the Training Department at PHI, Inc. one of the world's leading helicopter services company. In addition to his managerial duties, Captain Ratterree is also an active instructor and check pilot for PHI, Inc. He is a former military instructor pilot for the United States Army. He will be talking about his responsibilities and his daily duties at PHI.

Event Reflection

by Billy Clouse, Blogger for A.P.E.X. Events and Editor-in-Chief of Thunderground

If I’m being completely honest, I know almost nothing about aviation; it wasn’t until this summer that I’ve ever been on a plane. However, Sam Ratterree’s talk was still wildly interesting.

He spent the first 15 minutes of his talk explaining his backstory. Instead of the typical boring intro that many speakers give, he explained the differences between fixed- and rotor-wing aircraft, his experience in MedEvac in the military, and how the oil and aviation industries work together every single day.

In addition to his intriguing stories from the military, Ratterree talked about the importance of school. According to him, it’s the stuff that seems useless at first that can be the most important, such as aviation fundamentals and general education classes. Lynn Vartan, the Director of the A.P.E.X. Event Series and Director of Percussion, found a parallel with the arts — students usually don’t want to spend hours learning how to hit a snare drum correctly, but it’s vital if they want to continue to grow as students and musicians. Both Vartan and Ratterree concluded that the seemingly boring things are the most important.

The final thing that stuck out to me was Ratterree’s insistence on the importance of writing. Pilots, especially in MedEvac, have to write reports constantly, and it’s important to be able to communicate clearly.

Overall, I enjoyed this A.P.E.X. Focus Event a lot more than I thought I would, especially since I have no background in aviation. I’m looking forward to next week’s event with the 1491s in the Great Hall of the Hunter Conference Center.