OK here goes, I will take a bite at this topic. Bring on the debate.
CPL: full down
PPC annual training: 25% full down, 75% power recovery
CPL: power recovery
CFI: limited full down
Bell and Robinson factory course: full down
PPC annual training: power recovery
CPL: Power on glide
Auto training whats that?
Actually did auto training there for Nepali pilots but due to lack of proficiency of local pilots they dont roll the throttle off. So they call the power on glide an auto for PPC purposes.
I trained in Canada with Chinook Helicopters. Did around 200 full down autorotations in my commercial course which was 100 hours. We did a few power recoveries so I would know how to do those too. This was with the Bell 47 and last 10 hours Jet Ranger. Honestly the power recovery on the 47 is a handful to get the engine rpm matched so its easier just to do a full down. Its a high inertia rotor system so plenty forgiving. Later I did CFI in the US at 300 hours and we did a dozen or so full down autos in the R22 in preparation for the CFI checkride. Over the course of my career have only done full down training during annual recurrency with 2 companies in Canada. All the rest have been power recoveries. Some of the best auto training I ever did was with Blue Hawaiian. They set a very high standard, must get to the spot every time with the trainer imitating the failure at different spots so you have to use range variation to make it. The most realistic and thorough training Ive experienced despite not doing full downs. One advantage of dual fadec EC130 is the snappy engine response so throttle can be rolled back on in the flare.
In my opinion the R44 is one of the best for auto training. It does full downs and power recoveries very well and is fairly forgiving. If the RRPM is kept at the very bottom of green arc just before the flare, you can flare hard and it will not overspeed. This allows a real flare to arrive at the spot with zero airspeed and then it can be a nice full down or if throttle is rolled on it will power recover without the torque spike typical of a Jet Ranger. Of course the H125 is awesome for that too but its 4 times the cost. And most companies dont want to risk their 3.5 million dollar helicopter doing full downs! When I did training with the R22 I did just enough autos with it so the student would have a fighting chance if the engine failed during solo. I suggested they invest in 4 hours of sold auto training with the R44 with a good Instructor who can do full downs and range variation. Some students did this but sadly most saved a few bucks at the risk of later saving their life. Its super important to build primacy for a good auto in the beginning. If you dont flare hard enough to arrive at a complete stop over a precise spot in a real life engine failure then the outcome may not be walkoutable. Im interested to go for an intro flight with the Cabri G2 to see how it autos. However since most initial training is done with the R22 my advice is invest in a few hours of quality R44 training including full downs with a good Instructor.
For this reason I hope the R44 cadet gets some traction in the training industry. Having worked as a 300 hour newly minted CFI I was not confident at that time to do full downs with students in the R22. The R22 training style auto most students learn in my opinion teaches bad auto habits in the most critical phase of primacy training. This is because of low time instructors and the unforgiving nature of the R22 for autos. To avoid the dreaded costly overspeed the flare is gentle and high, throttle rolled on early and usually terminates with airspeed carried into a fly through. Thats not how to do a real life save your ass auto if the engine quits. I love flying the R22, super fun little helicopter but it is the worst of all makes/models for auto training in my opinion.
Im glad I learned my primacy in the Bell 47 with full downs.
This summer Im new on the Bell 212. We did actually practice autos during training despite twin engine but it was power recovery with throttles rolled back on early before the flare. Most of the focus was on one engine failure at different altitudes and airspeed and respective procedures. There was a company on fires this spring that had an engine failure on the 212 while bucketing. He dropped the bucket, secured the engine, and flew to a safe landing for an engine replacement. Vertical hover in or out of 100 foot trees confined area with a 10 man fire crew the outcome probably would involve bent metal. At least a chance of no bent backs but that situation would sacrifice the machine. After all these years on singles I do like the big heavy twin more than I expected.
We should all have a plan on how to successfully crash. No time to figure it out in the heat of the moment. Primacy will prevail. But even with only a few seconds to play out the scenario your reaction can be critical to the outcome. Pre-thinking your plan for thick trees, water, steep mountainside, congested city, which way to turn for wind, etc... will give a fighting chance for your reaction.
I recommend reading Shawn Coyles Little Book of Autorotations.
Also recommend Factory Course Training. Did both Bell and Robinson factory courses. On the Bell course we did an auto from 200 ft and 40 kits while climbing out from take off to full down. Had never actually done that before. That was on the Bell 505 which is a fantastic trainer. Bit on the spendy side however.
Interested to hear others opinions on this topic.
Let the debate begin.
Edited by Whistlerpilot, 01 September 2019 - 16:35.