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Full down autorotation before solo?


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#1 pilotarix

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Posted 30 September 2017 - 13:05

Hi all, 
 
just a simple question: 
 
Should a student have done full down autorotations before his first solo flight rather than "only" autorotations with power recovery?
 


#2 r22butters

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Posted 02 October 2017 - 10:14

I would have liked to at least had one shown to me back then, sadly where I trained touchdowns were reserved for CFI students only!

Seems odd to have been a commercially rated pilot and have never done a touchdown auto! I had to go to Jerry Trimble (look to the right) to finally do some!
The only dream I have left is to live long enough to see the pilot shortage. Its been about fifteen years since they first told me it was coming, so,...

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#3 Wally

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Posted 02 October 2017 - 11:10

We did at least one full down autorotation every day in my day, by cracky!  Interestingly, the Vietnam era Army had stopped allowing solo autorotations,,, so the analysis to a very different process was underway.

 

I hate it that solos haven't routinely performed autos to the ground.  The idea is that the ability to reliably perform a survivable autorotation is the key to soloing a student.  Solo time is required so the student has the opportunity to apply the decision making processes taught in other maneuvers.

 

There's something to be said for the present philosophy of instruction that repeating the process down to a power recovery is a more 'efficient' method of teaching- repetition is the root of skill.  I believe that is so.  That one can do 10, 20, 100 autos to a power recovery for the same cost as one touchdown means that process is superior in many ways.

 

That said, allowing the student to complete at least one full on autorotation brings everything into view and confirms the skills acquired.  


Just a pilot (retired, so I have a LOT of time)...


#4 Eric Hunt

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Posted 02 October 2017 - 16:11

Before solo, a student MUST have at least seen a touchdown.

 

Like Wally, when I trained, every auto was a touchdown - power recoveries were only for if you stuffed it up, but with the T53 turbine, it needed plenty of lead time to wind itself up to recover - so the instructor had to decide in the flare if it was going to be a good touchdown or not.

 

However, the real skill is in everything that leads up to the flare and level off, because we have absolutely no control over the ground that will be underneath us. If a pilot can enter auto, turn into wind / towards a safe landing spot, adjust the glide path to get there, flare off that deadly forward speed, and finish at a suitable height agl (3 feet or less) then his job is done. The ground may be totally unsuitable, and the bird rolls over, but it will be a low-energy roll-over.

 

Specially at night, you don't know whether that black patch you are aiming for amongst the suburban streets is an unlit park or golf course, or a bunch of woody old trees.

 

No point being an expert at touchdowns at the airfield, because when you have a real auto, it won't be a hard, clear, flat piece of airfield underneath you. So, finishing an auto with a power termination satisfies 99% of the training objectives. And generally is nicer for the aircraft.


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#5 Thedude

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Posted 03 October 2017 - 00:23

Power recovery is great for training repetition and habit building, but there's something to be said for the confidence boost of touching down a well performed auto with the engines decoupled all the way down.
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#6 Andrew N

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Posted 04 October 2017 - 09:35

I'd like to do some, but as others have stated.. my school reserves full downs for CFI students. My school only has 3 helicopters and 2 out of those 3 stay down for maintenance 11 months out of the year.



#7 adam32

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Posted 04 October 2017 - 09:41

11 months of maintenance? Dang

#8 Boatpix

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Posted 04 October 2017 - 14:05

I think you should only do full touchdown autos in the CFI class with the expert CFI that teaches the class.    "R22Butters" posted that he did full touchdown autos with a guy that has been doing them since 1979 when the R22 was certificated by the FAA.  That sound like a safe way to do it and not with the guy that learned to fly last year.   Remember, an airplane is on tricycle gear.  An R44 is like a bicycle.  An R22 is like a unicycle.   The Hughes 300 and Bell 47 are like flying tricycles as they come from an era when helicopters were designed to be very stable.  Full touchdown autos in those are much easier but pilot still were known to wreck them, too.   How often do you expect your engine in the car to fail?  Do you practice for that?   


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#9 Thedude

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Posted 04 October 2017 - 17:26

When the engine in your car fails you coast to a stop on the side of the road. When the engine in the helicopter fails and you're untrained you fall out of the sky like a brick. Kind of a big difference.

#10 gw263

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Posted 04 October 2017 - 18:09

Touchdown autos are still done in US Army flight school for students flying the TH-67. The typical flight in primary includes two to four touchdown autos after the first week. Students flying the UH-72 only do power recovery autos because touchdown autos are prohibited in the rotorcraft flight manual, and are prohibited in twin engine helicopters by 95-1.

#11 pilotarix

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Posted 05 October 2017 - 08:11

Hi all,
 
thank you so much for all the input. 
I think that is giving me a better understanding of the situation and why it may not be absolutely necessary to do full down autos pre solo. 
For me as a student still pre solo it's certainly important that I have at least some idea how to bring the heli down in case something happen to the engine or any other piece of the helicopter that would require to land without engine power.  It for sure won't be  be a "great landing" but in my mind a "good landing" or  "walk away" landing would be more than sufficient. Getting alive to the point where I would normally start power recovery in a training autorotation might already do the trick in a real autorotation, certainly not for the helicopter, but who cares about that when it comes to the worst. 


#12 Jaybee

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 10:42

I insisted that I wouldn't solo until I felt confident I could do a full down. The owner of the Bell 47 that was teaching me - said I like the way you think ! and that's what we did. I actually found the power recovery auto to be harder. The full down was just like flaring an airplane to land with a pushover at the end.

 

We also did running landing to *GASP* grass fields !!! OMG !!!

 

Its amazing I survived my Private Heli Add-on.

 

I do agree with BP above though, my instructor has been flying for 40 plus years and had owned that same Bell 47 for 20. I definitely wouldn't have been comfortable doing it with a new CFI.


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"In flying I have learned that carelessness and overconfidence are usually far more dangerous than deliberately accepted risks." — Wilbur Wright in a letter to his father, September 1900. 
 
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#13 Boatpix

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Posted 30 October 2017 - 13:37

Who trains in the Bell 47 anymore?  More likely an R22 and that reliable de-rated Lycoming rather than the Bell 47's Franklin engine which wasn't as reliable at full power.  Leave the full downs for the CFI  class based upon my 30+ years experience with R22's. 


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#14 Boatpix

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Posted 30 October 2017 - 13:41

There are inherent risks in landing to the grass, the helicopter is designed to land on a hard surface which would be asphalt or concrete.  Grass is not hard surface and in the Robinson can bend a frame.  People have argued with me on this but source is Robinson Helicopter Company.  


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#15 Jaybee

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Posted 01 November 2017 - 14:57

Uh, what ? 

 

The Franklin in the Bell 47 I learned in went to TBO a few times over.

 

The risk in landing in grass isn't as great as people make it out to be - in fact as someone who did all of my Private Airplane, Private and Commercial Helicopter to a combination of grass strip and an old Ag strip; I've found the people that drone on the most about how dangerous grass is have either none or very limited experience landing to grass.

 

I did no hydraulic running landings to an abandoned Ag strip that was as beat up as beat up could be doing a Private Heli Add On rating. If my incompetent butt can do it  and not bend metal anyone can.

 

and thanks for justifying another reason not to fly in a Robbie.


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"In flying I have learned that carelessness and overconfidence are usually far more dangerous than deliberately accepted risks." — Wilbur Wright in a letter to his father, September 1900. 
 
"The foot rests have a profound impact on the outcome of today's flight ending safely" - My flight instructor.

#16 Eric Hunt

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Posted 01 November 2017 - 16:37

Ain't nothing wrong with autos, hyd off, tail jams etc to grass. In my 45 years of flying and instructing, mostly on Hueys and B206, I only ever did one auto to a hard surface, a taxiway, and the maintainers were angry because it wears out the skid shoes too quickly. And only ever had 2 doubtful touchdowns, because the grass was too wet after a storm, but we had to get a sequence done. The toes dug in at the last second and it tipped forward a bit. No damage. Never had a problem in 1400 hrs R22 instructing.

 

We had a US Army exchange pilot in the squadron in the 80s, and he was astounded that we did everything to the grass - 6 parallel lanes of grass for the choppers, away from the runways. We were equally surprised to hear that he never landed on grass.



#17 r22butters

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Posted 01 November 2017 - 17:21

What's grass?
The only dream I have left is to live long enough to see the pilot shortage. Its been about fifteen years since they first told me it was coming, so,...

Aaaaaaaany day now! :D

#18 Eric Hunt

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Posted 02 November 2017 - 00:07

To you non-english speakers, it is "sod".



#19 adam32

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Posted 09 November 2017 - 09:56

To you non-english speakers, it is "sod".

 

I thought Trump kicked out all the non-english speakers... :P



#20 Eric Hunt

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Posted 10 November 2017 - 01:57

 

 

I thought Trump kicked out all the non-english speakers

Sorry, that was # fake news.






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