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#1 octagon

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Posted 01 July 2018 - 19:04

Hi everyone,

 

Just logged my very first hour in an R22! It was everything I imagined it would be, and more. The machine was beautiful, the instructor I flew with was cool, and I was permitted to fly the thing (level flight, some easy turns, and gentle ascents and descents). Holy cow, it was amazing. (Although, it did make my motorcycle seem boring on the ride home from the airfield, which was a bit of a sad thing. Luckily it grew back in a few hours, whew!)

 

I have dreams of flying helicopters professionally, one day. I'm especially attracted to the idea of the type of flying like utility missions in remote areas[1], but really I haven't seen any job out there, from flight instructing to tuna boats, that wouldn't interest me.

 

Anyway, I'm now getting down to the nitty-gritty of planning my education. I'm very lucky to be in a position, both financially and in my life, to see it through and do it right (when I decide what "right" is, of course).

 

I've enjoyed reading this forum for some time now, so thanks to all of the regulars for that. I joined up just now because I logged my very first hour of flying and my enthusiasm is at maximum! If the forum can use a naive newb who is just super happy-to-be-here, well, I'm your guy.

 

[1]: https://jsfirm.com/P...ka/jobID_209130



#2 Eric Hunt

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Posted 06 July 2018 - 22:58

Welcome to helicopters. An unfortunate choice of a fixed-wing avatar, but at least it was from a great old movie - prompting the thought, from She'ff J W Pepper, (of the Lou-siana State Po-lice)"Ain't you pointy-heads e'er seen a airplane befoah??"

 

People say that flying is dangerous, but the most dangerous thing you will do is ride your motorbike to the airport.



#3 Nearly Retired

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Posted 07 July 2018 - 10:26

Oddly enough, I still remember my first helicopter ride. It was on my thirteenth birthday, so it must have been 1968. (Fifty years ago?? Whew!) We flew (me as a passenger) from the W30th Street Heliport in NYC.

It. Was. Awesome!

Now, all this time later, all these hours, all these different ships I've flown, and being nearly retired out of this industry, I still get the biggest thrill from pulling up on the left-hand lever and making the damn thing rise up. Like motorcycle riding, it never stops being fun.

Welcome to the club ;-)

Edited by Nearly Retired, 07 July 2018 - 10:28.

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#4 Nearly Retired

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Posted 07 July 2018 - 10:27

Oddly enough, I still remember my first helicopter ride. It was on my thirteenth birthday, so it must have been 1968. (Fifty years ago?? Whew!) We flew (me as a passenger) from the W30th Street Heliport in NYC.

It. Was. Awesome!

Now, all this time later, all these hours, all these different ships I've flown, and being nearly retired out of this industry, I still get the biggest thrill from pulling up on the left-hand lever and making the damn thing rise up. Like motorcycle riding, it never stops being fun.

Welcome to the club ;-)
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#5 Wally

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Posted 07 July 2018 - 13:02

Almost 50 years ago, I took my first helicopter ride as a warrant officer candidate.  Loved it then, love it now- or would love flying, had I not retired 2 years ago.  Miss the flying and the 'work'; I don't miss the 'work place'.

 

As much as I loved "pulling up on the left-hand lever and making the damn thing rise up,"  flying does get to be a 'job' if you're successful in your goal of "flying helicopters professionally."  There were days (LONG days!!!), weeks, months, when I wondered why I kept doing 'this'. 

If you do 'the job' to the best of your ability, you will work very hard at times doing tedious jobs in surprisingly demanding situations... And then you'll fly one leg that will go almost perfectly (always self critique honestly, there's something that could have been done better) from engine start to shut-down, and nobody but you will know- and that's more than enough.

 

My greatest ambition in the Gulf of Mexico was to fly the approach and land so smoothly that I had to wake up the passengers...


Edited by Wally, 07 July 2018 - 13:03.

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


#6 octagon

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 12:06

Thanks for the encouragement, everyone. I now have 3.2 hours logged. The helicopter is very different from any vehicle I have ever piloted before. The machine is fascinating and I can almost see my brain learning totally new weird things.

 

Like today I tried hovering for the first time. It was completely different from what I expected it would be based on my 2 hours of flying at 65 knots. My instructor was great. He let me wander around kind of crazy at first, while my brain tried to grasp the concept.

 

Finally it started to click when I realized that at 65 knots I was doing just incremental, steady adjustments of pressure on the controls to get in trim, but in a hover it's all about little spurts of impulses with no steady incremental adjustments or pressure.

 

Long story short, helicopters are the bee's knees. I definitely did not expect my brain to be doing so much work; it's refreshing to exercise the noodle unexpectedly.


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#7 octagon

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 13:12

My brother works on a drill ship in the Gulf of Mexico, how cool would it be if I got to see him at work from time to time? Pretty cool.



#8 nightsta1ker

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Posted 29 July 2018 - 12:54

Don't let that enthusiasm wane as you dive into this industry.  My love for these machines is all that keeps me going sometimes.  



#9 octagon

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Posted 29 July 2018 - 13:37

Enthusiasm level still elevated. I am a complete tool, but so it goes. Maybe pilots on this forum enjoy hearing newbs like me babbling about how awesome helicopters are, so if it's OK maybe I'll continue posting occasionally about what new cool thing about them I've discovered?

 

I have found the vibe around helicopters so far to be refreshingly practical and not as bureaucratic as I expected. It makes sense; helicopters being generally small and light, not too many of them, somewhat limited in the amount of damage they can cause. Sort of like the motorcycle of aviation. Air taxiing over the grass to go around an airplane so we can take off from the taxiway -- sort of like lane-splitting on the bike.

 

In other news, I learned how to hover for real now! It was amazing.

 

It didn't seem like it was coming together for me. Like, I could sort of maintain the machine in a general area and not hit things or bump the ground or anything, but the helicopter seemed to have a mind of its own -- hey, why are we way up here now, and why are we moving at a high rate of speed to the right all of a sudden? Computing all the corrections from my probably not so accurate understanding of helicopter dynamics was not cutting it.

 

So I decided that when below ETL I would keep all the controls moving all the time, whether they needed it or not. I decided that I'd try to scan my hands and feet continuously and whenever one of my appendages wasn't doing anything I'd twitch it a little in a random direction, just to keep it in the action.

 

It worked! The thinking part of my brain was bypassed and who-knows-what took over. The helicopter stabilized itself and instantly, no problem making it hover wherever I wanted it to go. Also, I no longer tended to push the wrong pedal, which was something that was completely baffling and quite alarming. 

 

My instructor was amazingly calm throughout the whole process, mad props to him.


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#10 Eric Hunt

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Posted 29 July 2018 - 13:44

As with forward flight, it is all in the attitude out the front.

 

Keep the horizon flat, and crossing the canopy bow at the spot that the instructor shows you for a hover.

Make it point - if you don't control the heading, you have NO hope of hovering.

Then fix the height.

 

The order of action is

Make it point

Keep it flat

Fix the height.

 

over and over again.

 

Yes, you are using big movements now, but your instructor (if he/she has more than 100 hours more than you) will demo a hover with one finger on the cyclic, one foot on the pedals, and left hand in the air. Not much needs to be done once you are in the zone.



#11 octagon

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Posted 29 July 2018 - 14:13

Eric, that's interesting, thanks. I definitely didn't realize that heading was the key. (I think maybe there is a fourth action: arrest horizontal drift?) I think I can see now how that would have been helpful, as abrupt pedal inputs upset the machine and result in more cyclic and collective requirements, so keeping the heading in the tightest range seems very logical to me.

 

My instructor did demonstrate the one hand, one foot hover, just as you described. On a day with some wind gusts, even. He was very patient and calm about it; I imagine it could be pretty frustrating to teach something that is so easy for him to do to a student who doesn't appear to follow his instructions...

 

I guess the difference is that I still have the "order of action" in mind, but the lizard brain handles the mechanics of hovering somehow, while the order of action procedures merely correct for external forces like wind gusts, change in power requirements, or moving to a new spot.

 

I noticed that almost instantly something clicked (the "hover button"?), and in calm air the control inputs went to nearly zero -- the cyclic moves only a few millimeters now, and the pedals and collective hardly any, at all.



#12 Eric Hunt

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Posted 29 July 2018 - 18:40

The hover button means that your brain is subconsciously aware of the attitude, and is wanting to keep it flat.

 

There will be some conscious movement of the cyclic to set the correct attitude (which is different with every heading change, relative wind, cg position, but only by a small amount) and then drift is corrected just by pressure on the controls, rather than a conscious input.

 

When the student is learning the cyclic, the instructor has to make a serious effort to keep the machine pointed steady, or else Bloggs will have a horrible time trying to set an attitude - secondary effects of pedal will make the attitude tilt either way.


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#13 Pilot4him

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Posted 30 July 2018 - 07:02

Not to dampen your enthusiasm, but I couldnt help but add a comment when you mentioned learning to hover with some continuous movement. Id recommend while youre still early stages trying to minimize continuous movement hovering in the R22. The reason I say that is the R22 has no hydraulics and can teach the bad habit of stirring the pot while hovering. You can get away with wiggling the cyclic around continuously and keeping the R22 nice and still, but when you move to the R44 or other hydraulic ship that wiggling will translate into movement. I had to break myself out of the habit when I switched airframes. Just my two cents. Welcome, btw. There is nothing like flying a Heli! Best wishes on your training!
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#14 mudkow60

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Posted 31 July 2018 - 08:50

I just retired after flying in the military for 20 years.  Now I fly fire, rescue, and law missions.  I absolutely love it.  I am excited (most) every time I get to go up and fly. 

 

Keep the passion, as there are hard times ahead, but the good prevails.  Also,  I never did it for the money, but with retirement, this job, etc etc, I do pretty good in the pay department.


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#15 octagon

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Posted 05 August 2018 - 15:32

Thanks for the advice Pilot4him, that sounds like great info. I've been keeping it in mind.

 

Mudkow60, I wanted to fly for the Army so badly, but alas, in the end the paperwork won and I ended up in Iraq instead of flight school. I'm hoping to absorb some of that knowledge by osmosis in the civilian aviation world. I think I'd maybe prefer the old task/conditions/standards training methods of the Army in my civilian part 61 training, but I'm doing OK so no complaints.

 

In other news the weather has finally cleared up and we've been able to fly! Did some steep approaches and max performance takeoffs from a confined area out in the country. Incredible! Being able to descend and put the helicopter right where I wanted it was magical, I can only imagine what it must be like for a skilled pilot.

 

Also I have to say, I know it's annoying for people on the ground and noise abatement, don't do it, etc., but blade slap sounds are cool once in a while.


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#16 octagon

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Posted 05 August 2018 - 16:03

Oh, we also did some settling with power drills, which were very interesting.

 

The first thing I noticed was that the R-22 doesn't seem to enter vortex ring state easily. We were at 2,000' so there wasn't a good visual reference to judge sink rate, and the vertical speed indicator has a bit of lag, but I really had to work at it to develop the situation to the point where I could pull max power and remain in VRS. In my first attempts I must have unconsciously pushed forward cyclic because after entering VRS and letting it develop a bit, when I pulled collective and looked back inside to see what the manifold pressure was I noticed we'd already flown out of the VRS condition. I had to really let the helicopter wallow in it to get full power on.

 

We did the standard recovery procedure (cyclic forward, lower collective, then max power when rotor enters clear air) and the Vuichard method (max power, left pedal, right cyclic). The Vuichard method seems far superior, in that we ended up in trim in a nice attitude with very little altitude lost, vs the standard method where we had to dive. The standard method seems like a risky maneuver at low altitudes, and at higher altitudes you have all the time in the world so technique is less critical.

 

I guess I don't fully understand it yet, though. With the standard method the approach is to trade altitude for air speed, thereby removing one of the three conditions needed for VRS to develop. That makes sense. The Vuichard method, though, merely gets the rotor into clear air, without directly addressing the conditions that induce VRS. I'm thinking that buys the pilot time to gently push the cyclic forward and increase airspeed without needing to dive (with full power on there will be power to spare to increase airspeed without losing altitude)?

 

Anyway, helicopters are fascinating.


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#17 r22butters

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Posted 05 August 2018 - 16:36

Oh, we also did some settling with power drills, which were very interesting.
 
The first thing I noticed was that the R-22 doesn't seem to enter vortex ring state easily. We were at 2,000' so there wasn't a good visual reference to judge sink rate, and the vertical speed indicator has a bit of lag, but I really had to work at it to develop the situation to the point where I could pull max power and remain in VRS. In my first attempts I must have unconsciously pushed forward cyclic because after entering VRS and letting it develop a bit, when I pulled collective and looked back inside to see what the manifold pressure was I noticed we'd already flown out of the VRS condition. I had to really let the helicopter wallow in it to get full power on.
 
We did the standard recovery procedure (cyclic forward, lower collective, then max power when rotor enters clear air) and the Vuichard method (max power, left pedal, right cyclic). The Vuichard method seems far superior, in that we ended up in trim in a nice attitude with very little altitude lost, vs the standard method where we had to dive. The standard method seems like a risky maneuver at low altitudes, and at higher altitudes you have all the time in the world so technique is less critical.
 
I guess I don't fully understand it yet, though. With the standard method the approach is to trade altitude for air speed, thereby removing one of the three conditions needed for VRS to develop. That makes sense. The Vuichard method, though, merely gets the rotor into clear air, without directly addressing the conditions that induce VRS. I'm thinking that buys the pilot time to gently push the cyclic forward and increase airspeed without needing to dive (with full power on there will be power to spare to increase airspeed without losing altitude)?
 
Anyway, helicopters are fascinating.

Yeah, settling with power can seem laborious to initiate in practice, but don't worry, in real life, while your attention may be elsewhere (like oh sh*t I've just gone IIMC) it can sneak up on you pretty easily.

,...and recovery isn't really about removing one of the conditions that cause it, but just to get the rotor back into clean air as quickly as possible.
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Side boob is just so awesome,...yes it is!




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