Downwind takeoff and landings
Posted 13 February 2008 - 00:03
Posted 13 February 2008 - 01:31
This is aggravated by the fact that many schools are teaching you in a ship that may not have a lot of excess power available and at or near Max GW. This was common with me weighing 240 and flying an R22.
Not every off airport landing site has a 360 degree clear field of view. In fact, in the S&R environment, you are lucky to find a patch of land large enough to set down, regardless of wind direction...so yes, I think in many cases you are landing crosswind or downwind in many real life helo jobs. ..watch your power and descent rate!
Now one last thing. When was the last time you heard of a DPE requiring a PPL applicant to show him a downwind landing? If its not asked for, many schools wont teach the manuever...at least not at the PPL stage.
Goldy-CPL(H),R22A, HP, B, BII, R44R1,RII,R44Clipper, R66, B47G2, S300C, S333, B206B3, DG500, RV10, E480B, AS350BA, what next?
FAA Aircraft Dealer
Posted 13 February 2008 - 09:00
Are downwind takeoffs and landings "safe"? That depends on your expectations. My goals are: Survival, first; Certificate, second; Aircraft, third; Job completion, fourth. A perfectly aligned into the wind autorotational forced landing that ends in your death because of terrain is useless. On the other hand, a skidding arrival or hard landing from a downwind auto is a better choice than falling through triple canopy or terminating into a cliff. So why would the wind direction be the sole factor in deciding flight path?
I read an artical in Vertical Magazine a month or to ago about the lack of "good" instruction that flight schools are providing nowdays. In the artical it mentioned that students are not learning how to do downwind takeoffs and downwind landings. I for one was taught that this is to be avoided if at all possible. I would like to know how common of a practice it is to do this type of takeoff and landing away from the training environment and out in the real world flying when you are working the helicopter. Do you think it is a safe manuver? Should it be taught in flight schools? Any insight would be greatly appriciated. Thanks
Power management and aircraft control limits are separate issues that have to be considered, but always with an eye to assuring survival.
Should it be taught? The factors that go into the process are assumed to be a part of a commercial level training experience. How could you complete a full commercial level syllabus with the wind on the nose all the time? Perhaps you could complete training without ever having flown a significant downwind factor takeoff or short approach? Yes, that should be taught, optimally experienced, but at least discussed, because blindly going into the wind isn't the safest answer to all situations.
Edited by Wally, 13 February 2008 - 09:01.
Posted 13 February 2008 - 12:39
With that said, I think that the first thing that needs to be taught is the decision making skills needed to deal with these conditions. Does the student have the ability to recognize his or her abilties, and will they tell the other person/passenger/instructor no when they are exceeding their abilites?
Posted 13 February 2008 - 12:40
Posted 13 February 2008 - 16:07
Posted 13 February 2008 - 17:16
Ken Obi (owner of Orbic Helicopters), does teaches that. Yesterday, I have practice landing approaches and take offs with tail wind (I only have 7 hours on the 22).
Posted 13 February 2008 - 21:17
If you'll forgive me, I'm going to use an example from the fixed wing world. Back in the old days, spin training was a standard part of the training received to get one's private license. In the seventies or eighties somebody in the FAA noticed that some students were dying while learning to recover from a spin. In an effort to stop the accidents, the emphasis was shifted from spin recovery to spin avoidance. The idea was that if you never get into a spin, you don't have to worry about recovering from one and the number of accidents will decrease.
The problem is that now an entire generation of pilots have never experienced the odd physical sensation and bewildering sight picture that a pilot sees as his airplane enters a spin. My plane snaps over on its back and the nose points to terra firma as it starts to spin like a leaf. It can be pretty disorienting even if you intended to enter the spin. The idea of finding myself in that situation without any previous experience with it makes me shudder clear down to my toes!
The FAA sort of accomplished its goal. There are now fewer training accidents, but every year a few pilots die because they suddenly find themselves in a spin and they have no idea how to get out of it. When you're nose-down and the ground is spinning up at you, it's a little late to try to remember what you read in a magazine article once upon a time.
Downwind takeoffs and landings do offer more opportunities for something to go wrong and that's why we need to be exposed to them. We need to know that the situation can bite us, and that when it does we can manage to get the dog's teeth out of our rumps!
Posted 17 February 2008 - 03:38
I think more often than not just knowing that you're downwind is half the battle. Ask yourself if you can hover OGE, cause you will be till your nearly on the ground in a strong tail wind. Be ultra mindfull of your tailboom as you'll have a much higher nose-up angle than normal to stop you're forward movement. If you're dealing with a strong quartering tailwind from your right (left in a French machine) know you could easliy lose tail rotor authority for a variety of reasons. Load that disk up early!
Trust your gut as you always do and don't be afraid to say no to the customer.
Posted 02 March 2008 - 20:14
I heard a newly hired instructor a few weeks ago complain about tower putting him approaching to a taxiway with a 5-7 knot tailwind. Apparently no one had shown him that before..?
It falls under the schools policies I think. A bigger school will have more strict "blanket" policies that apply to everyone. As mentioned, flying the R22 downwind presents it's own problems, and is a likely reason many haven't practiced this in flight school.
I like to atleast show my students downwind work. More often, I like to teach them how to make a downwind approach into a headwind hover (like a bit of a pedal turn/slip toward the wind as they slow down). Or taking off from confined areas or pinnacles sideways with the nose pointed into the wind, etc.
Edited by choppedair, 02 March 2008 - 20:15.
Posted 03 March 2008 - 01:10
My instructor's point was that any helo pilot can land into the wind, but as someone pointed out earlier, there will come the day when you simply cannot land into the wind and its better to have the experience and training before you find yourself in that situation!
ATP ASMEL/Rotor - CFI/CFII/MEI
G-V, CE-525S, CE-500
1997 Citation CJ
1990 Mooney Bravo
Posted 03 March 2008 - 02:10
Posted 03 March 2008 - 09:43
Posted 03 March 2008 - 18:08
As Gomer Pilot says there are times when you have to make a decision as to the manover based on the machine your level of skill & the prevailing conditions, remember if YOU think it is unsafe don't do it
One of the things that opened my eyes was autos thought I had them down to a T,
One day the FI said we will take full fuel + a extra bag of weight to day just to let you feel how the ship handles at near max weight, Yeah I could handle it! required a lot more power to get it of the ground ( no wind day) climbed real slow, got to 900ft and he chopped the throttle on me!!!! boy did it felt different, I was glad when he said I have control, we discussed it and did it 6\7 times until he felt I understood the difference in the flight envelope, (we always did autos to the ground) He had worked out that I was getting complacent and was not thinking around WHAT IF, it woke me up and made me much more aware.
I would not want to hear my FI say no one has shown me this, would start to wonder what else he was not shown.
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