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Why isn't the R44 IFR approved


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I've had a look back through the forum topics but didn't find a thread about it. Although the Robonson R44 is an IFR Trainer, it's not (as I understand) approved for IFR :mellow: . Does anyone know why not?

 

There are others here that are much more knowledgeable and can give you a better answer, but at least part of the reason is that it doesn't have some of the required systems (eg, autopilot/stability augmentation). That, and Frank isn't interested in making it an IFR ship.

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There are others here that are much more knowledgeable and can give you a better answer, but at least part of the reason is that it doesn't have some of the required systems (eg, autopilot/stability augmentation). That, and Frank isn't interested in making it an IFR ship.

 

 

It's not the most inheritently stable ship, and ditto all of the above. Many have tried to fly it into IMC with deadly results. The NTSB website has several examples.

Edited by Goldy
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It's not the most inheritently stable ship, and ditto all of the above. Many have tried to fly it into IMC with deadly results. The NTSB website has several examples.

 

 

Please excuse an ignorant question from a FW guy but are you saying that it's common to use a helicopter (the R44) as an instrument trainer even though it's not certified for flight in IMC?? What about the other common instrument trainers like the Schweizer and Enstrom - can you fly them in the clouds?

 

I guess I understand now why so many helicopter guys have instrument ratings but have never seen a cloud.

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Please excuse an ignorant question from a FW guy but are you saying that it's common to use a helicopter (the R44) as an instrument trainer even though it's not certified for flight in IMC?? What about the other common instrument trainers like the Schweizer and Enstrom - can you fly them in the clouds?

 

I guess I understand now why so many helicopter guys have instrument ratings but have never seen a cloud.

 

Yes, the R22, R44 and 300 are common IFR training platforms, none of which are approved for actual IMC. Nor would I want to encounter IMC in any of those ships. Because we can fly SVFR with no minimums, (only stay clear of clouds) many helo pilots are actually flying SVFR in conditions where a fixed wing would be on an IFR plan. However total whiteout, which I see rather often in a fixed wing flight for short durations, we would never want to encounter in most helo's. The GOM and EMS guys fly some pretty nice aircraft, several of which are approved for IMC, but none of those ships are really ever used in training.

 

Just a simple autopilot for a helicopter starts at around 300K and goes up from there.....that and the inherent instability (let go the cyclic of many ships and you would be inverted within 10 seconds)...just doesnt allow for safe flight in IMC, except for the multi million dollars ships.

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Yes, the R22, R44 and 300 are common IFR training platforms, none of which are approved for actual IMC. Nor would I want to encounter IMC in any of those ships. Because we can fly SVFR with no minimums, (only stay clear of clouds) many helo pilots are actually flying SVFR in conditions where a fixed wing would be on an IFR plan. However total whiteout, which I see rather often in a fixed wing flight for short durations, we would never want to encounter in most helo's. The GOM and EMS guys fly some pretty nice aircraft, several of which are approved for IMC, but none of those ships are really ever used in training.

 

Just a simple autopilot for a helicopter starts at around 300K and goes up from there.....that and the inherent instability (let go the cyclic of many ships and you would be inverted within 10 seconds)...just doesnt allow for safe flight in IMC, except for the multi million dollars ships.

 

 

 

Thanks! I knew that you generally don't NEED to fly IFR in a helicopter - it jus never occurred to me that you CAN'T.

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Thanks! I knew that you generally don't NEED to fly IFR in a helicopter - it jus never occurred to me that you CAN'T.

 

It's not that you can't in any helicopter, just your normal trainers are not certified. While you can go out as a fixed wing guy and rent a Cessna 172 for whatever cheap price they are these days, in order to get a helicopter with the same IFR capabilities you're talking 1K+ an hour and people don't want to pay that for training pruposes when actual IFR is not required for the rating.

 

Operators in the GOM conduct IFR in S-76, AW-139, and S-92s, but even that is restrictive due to fuel and alternate requirements.

 

I would, however, encourage any aviator seeking an instrument rating to spend a little time in a Cessna in the clouds with an instructor even if you never plan to go actual IFR or ever fly a fixed wing again. The realism of that experience will enhance your skills grealy and can only help you down the line.

Edited by Oil Pilot
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It was my understanding at the Robbinson course that making the 44 IFR rated was simply against what Frank stands for..... lightweight, economical & affordable helicopters. The costs of making a ship IFR rated is so great that it would be passed on to the customer and the 44 would lose its place in the market.

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IFR approval for a helicopter gets very, very expensive.....and heavy. I flown a few ex-IFR certified LongRangers and you wouldn't believe all the extra stuff that's on them. All three have been stripped of all the IFR stuff to get the gross weight back up so you can carry more than 4 people.

 

First off, a single pilot IFR helicopter has to have some sort of autopilot system on it. Then it has to have two alternators/generators, Standby/emegency bus bars, flux gate for the DG or HSI, etc. There's quite a bit more, I can't think of it right now though.

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There's quite a bit more, I can't think of it right now though.

 

Flux capacitor I think was one item needed. Makes you go faster.

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Flux capacitor I think was one item needed. Makes you go faster.

 

The BK I fly is IFR cert and it is 500 pounds heavier than a normal BK b2. They get really piggy.

 

As for the flux capacitor. Its a trade off in weight as you can use your left over luch for fuel once you are done eating it enroute.

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