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Stiff-legging the pedals


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So I've realized lately that I've got a problem to overcome: when transitioning from approach to the hover, or after a particularly strenuous hover taxi, or sometimes when I feel like I'm not quite "there" with a quick stop, I find myself with both feet hard into the pedals, fighting each other.

 

Now, I've got 35 hours in 300's and 13 or so in the Robbie (darn switching aircraft), so you'd think I'd have figured this out earlier. But nooooo... so today I'm chanting in my head "put your weight back on your butt, relax on the pedals!"

 

It worked, to a certain extent.

 

Anyway, I can't imagine I'm the first guy to run into this. Any tips?

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Had a CFI make a comment to me about some students pushing on both pedals so hard that their butt had lifted off the seat and they were trying to fly off the seat before he asked them to put their butts back in the seat. Said its quite funny...

 

Later

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Take your right foot off the pedal and put it on the floor. After a couple of hours practice you should be able to keep relaxed.

 

 

Sounds crazy but it's good advice.. greatly improved my hovering skills in one flight! Discuss this with your instructor of course.

 

 

 

dp

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Sorry, only works in a hover, not on approach. The point is to help you learn how to use the pedals without jamming both feet against them, and the technique isn't a substitute for the proper use of the pedals. During an approach you will probably need to press the right pedal to keep the helicopter in trim, and you can't do that if your right foot isn't on the pedal. Once you have transitioned to a hover, and you need left pedal to keep the helicopter from spinning, then you can take your right foot off.

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Hello Helo students, after 41 yrs of flying/instructing, I still use a few statements that seem to help. "Pressure and Counter Pressure" for the pedals. You can practice this in a hangar flying situation. Also, do some very small pedal turns left and right, turn to a reference point each time, hold and turn back, then other direction to reference point, back etc. maybe 10 degrees and hold necessary pressure but relax. Here is one that works for your approaches. For the desired approach angle, ask yourself as you see your sight picture and start down the glide angle "High or Low/Fast or Slow"?????????? all the way down. This helps to determine if you are shallow or steep and apparent rate of closure. Good Luck, Mike

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particularly strenuous hover taxi,

 

Strenuous hover taxi's ?? Are you carrying the helicopter down the taxiway or flying it ??

 

I have noticed the slightly larger ships (300,47,44) do require just a bit more pedal pressure than the R22 does....The R22 is definintely a softer press on the pedals...I have never heard of anyone putting pressure on BOTH pedals though?? Do you drive a car that way? Lil brake and accelerator at the same time?

 

The scary part of that would be the inability of the instructor to overcome the students pedal pressure and regain control of a ship..one revolution in the air would freak out most students...causing them to lock up even more...no thanks.

 

Good that you are recognizing your tendency now and trying to correct for it. I noticed the first couple times I was flying backwards my pedal response was not automatic....I had to think about which pedal to press for a second. I'm speaking of backing out of a spot...not flying along backwards at 100 knots BTW.

 

Goldy

 

(edit) Oh yeah, forgot to mention...keep the heel of your foot closer to the pedals, so that you are not resting your feet on them...the more vertical your feet are, I think the softer control feel you have. If you notice your heels slide back closer to your body, then you are probably putting more weight on the pedals...just a thought.

Edited by Goldy
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friend im in the same boat and this question is exactly what brought me to this forum. i press so hard on both pedals that i cant move either one. i cant explain why i do it but it deffinatly is frustrating. sometimes my feet even fall alseep i press so hard, especially in wind of over 10kts. i only get to fly the 300's in private training and im glad for that (since the robbis arent so forgiving). i want to try that only left pedal trick tommorrow during my lesson. i was thinkin about getting controls for a flight sim on the computer but never been a big fan. lemme know if you get any good hints or suggestions.

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friend im in the same boat and this question is exactly what brought me to this forum. i press so hard on both pedals that i cant move either one. i cant explain why i do it but it deffinatly is frustrating. sometimes my feet even fall alseep i press so hard, especially in wind of over 10kts. i only get to fly the 300's in private training and im glad for that (since the robbis arent so forgiving). i want to try that only left pedal trick tommorrow during my lesson. i was thinkin about getting controls for a flight sim on the computer but never been a big fan. lemme know if you get any good hints or suggestions.

 

R-22, 300 CBi, didn't matter... I'd do it whenever the going got tough, which would make it worse.

 

Pretty breezy today. We have a cargo ramp to the east side of the airport that measures probably 500' square and is made up of 15' squares of cement. I spent 1.3 doing nothing but pickups and setdowns with the wind at all angles - first head-on (up, down, up, down), then right 90 (up, down, up, down), et cetera. Over and over again until I had to go do some 180 autos just to get the kinks out. And you know what? It helped!

 

Here are some basic facts that I seem to have "forgotten" in the process of changing ships:

 

1. Pickups and setdowns: look OUT. WAY OUT. Stop looking at the toe of the skid to see if you're sideslipping.

 

2. Windy taxi: look OUT. WAY OUT. Stop staring at the freakin' line in front of the nose.

 

3. Hovering in less-than-optimum conditions: look OUT. WAY OUT. The ship is going to move some, get over it.

 

Notice a pattern here?

 

4. If you have to write it in grease pencil on the inside of the windscreen, do it: CHECK POSTURE. Periodically take a moment to sit up straight, flex the muscles and park your ass back in the seat, good and tight.

 

5. When choosing your reference spot when you look OUT, WAY OUT, look in the direction the aircraft is pointing, not the ten degrees to the right where you meant to set it down last. If you're not looking straight ahead of the aircraft, you're waiting for the aircraft to turn to meet you before you start tracking directional changes.

 

Relax.

 

Ain't none of us born doing this, as my DPE reminded me today.

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4. If you have to write it in grease pencil on the inside of the windscreen, do it: CHECK POSTURE. Periodically take a moment to sit up straight, flex the muscles and park your ass back in the seat, good and tight.

 

this is proving to be a challenge for me (4.2hrs into PPL). at first, i was noticing a knot in the middle of my back to the right of my spinal column within 15 minutes of a flight starting. now that i'm up to hour-long lessons, it starts to ache around the half hour mark. i can't tell if it's posture of just plain nervousness (when i take controls, my immediate thought is "please don't spin out of control."). i'm thinking it's nerves, as i also have a vice-like grip on the collective, and the sweaty palms of a boy at his first jr. high dance.

 

please tell me this passes...and that it happens soon. i feel silly sticking my right hand out of the door vent every time my cfi takes the controls.

 

by the way, i love flying and i can't believe i get to do this for the rest of my life (as long as i can afford this training, and demonstrate some proficiency).

Edited by will
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this is proving to be a challenge for me (4.2hrs into PPL). at first, i was noticing a knot in the middle of my back to the right of my spinal column within 15 minutes of a flight starting. now that i'm up to hour-long lessons, it starts to ache around the half hour mark. i can't tell if it's posture of just plain nervousness (when i take controls, my immediate thought is "please don't spin out of control."). i'm thinking it's nerves, as i also have a vice-like grip on the collective, and the sweaty palms of a boy at his first jr. high dance.

 

please tell me this passes...and that it happens soon. i feel silly sticking my right hand out of the door vent every time my cfi takes the controls.

 

I bet it all starts with your feet. You push hard on the pedals, like you're bracing yourself for impact, that enables you to really tense up your legs, and put a good squeeze on your lower back, hunch your shoulders forward, flex your arms and voila! a coiled steel spring! I only guess this because I did that quite a lot, and still feel it creeping up on me when I'm feeling out of my depth. You will get less tense as you fly more and get more relaxed, and you can also mention it to your instructor. When you're doing something you feel fairly comfortable with, flying straight and level for example, just tell him you want to check your posture and relax a bit, take a deep breath, wiggle your toes, move your shoulders a bit etc. He'll take care of the helicopter and you can work on relaxing, setting your body up, and then putting your hands and feet on the controls again.

 

It will get easier and you will relax. Let it happen and let your instructor work with you on it. And like a lot of things, it may take a while. You will probably gradually get more comfortable and relaxed for the next 200 hours or so :)

 

Good luck, have fun (that's important) and don't worry so much about relaxing.

 

HVG

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(when i take controls, my immediate thought is "please don't spin out of control."). i also have a vice-like grip on the collective, and the sweaty palms of a boy at his first jr. high dance.

 

please tell me this passes...and that it happens soon. i feel silly sticking my right hand out of the door vent every time my cfi takes the controls.

 

 

Honestly, I cant remember what I felt at 4 hours..but remember that helicopter is looking for some gentle control inputs from you, not death grips. Sweaty palms go with the territory of holding something in the hot sun...and nerves...but do NOT death grip the collective. In a Robbie, the governor will modulate the throttle and do a great job of it, but it can't overcome someone gripping the collective and you will get into a low RPM situation in a hurry.

 

The only way the helicopter is going to spin out of control is if you dont move your feet when you need to. Relax, it gets better with time. I do remember hoping ATC would not ask me to squawk a code or Ident...I hated letting go of the collective for 2 seconds to set the code, and taking my eyes off the horizon took some getting used to as well.

 

Anyway, relax, enjoy, no death grips and do not EVER lock your feet onto the pedals, ..in fact as you are flying straight and level, slow down to around 50 knots and just gently apply right pedal and then left, just to get used to moving the tail around. It helps the muscle memory and helps you realize you are not going to fall out of the sky.

 

Good luck on your training,

 

Goldy

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9 hours in, the relaxation is coming. back feels better (a little bit of a slouch in the seat is alright, i assume?), and the feet are definitely softer on the pedals. as for death grips, i've made a conscious effort to move to a two finger grip on the cyclic and throttle (the other two fingers on left rest on the collective. the only sweaty palms are due to greenhouse effect (i like to think).

 

i am loving this flying business. i get a sinking feeling whenever my cfi says "let's taxi back to parking," and i can't wait to get back in air.

 

as always, thanks everyone for the tips.

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Like goldy said, don't death grip the collective. If you have to deathgrip something, deathgrip the cyclic!

 

Few months ago we had a guy overspeed the main rotors on the helicopter because he was death gripping the throttle on a solo.

 

Relaaax. I had a few of the same problems of stiff posture, and gripping everything like if I let go, I would fall out of the helicopter. Just relax, breath, and tell yourself to relax every few minutes. Eventually it will become more fluid, and it will feel better and you will relax more. Just take it a minute at a time.

 

Goodluck!

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Strenuous hover taxi's ?? Are you carrying the helicopter down the taxiway or flying it ??

 

:lol: :lol: :lol: Goldy....lmao

 

9 hours in, the relaxation is coming. back feels better (a little bit of a slouch in the seat is alright, i assume?), and the feet are definitely softer on the pedals. as for death grips, i've made a conscious effort to move to a two finger grip on the cyclic and throttle (the other two fingers on left rest on the collective. the only sweaty palms are due to greenhouse effect (i like to think).

 

i am loving this flying business. i get a sinking feeling whenever my cfi says "let's taxi back to parking," and i can't wait to get back in air.

 

as always, thanks everyone for the tips.

 

Tightness and sweat return for every new maneuver and unfamiliar situation, no matter HOW many hours you have! :angry:

The key is a (yet another) checklist, this time of yourself:

Are my legs tight? (poor heading/pedal control)

Is my shoulder sore? (cyclic death grip)

Do I have a knot in my back? (TRIM!!)

Sweaty collective hand? (pinky on metal so you can feel the throttle movement and not choke it)

AM I BREATHING?? (exhale) :D

 

My feet are my nemeses still to this day. However, I am happy to say, the prospect of hitting the ground seems to threaten them into cooperation. FTDAs haven't been a problem! There is hope for all!!! :P

 

Oh, and the right foot on the floor did WONDERS for me with pick ups and set downs way back when. HIGHLY recommend this lesson, it clearly demonstrates pedal pressure and eliminates temptation of stiff legs. Probably my favorite CFI trick in the entire book!

 

Fly safe.

~HG03 B)

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Heels on the floor, use the balls of your feet to control the pedals. Keeping your heels on the floor and the balls of your feet on the pedals themselves gives you the greatest control over the pedal. You never want to be karate kicking the pedals...

 

If you're death gripping the cyclic try resting your thumb on top of the cyclic grip, like you're giving the cyclic a thumbs up. This gives your hand less squeezing power so you can't quite death grip as hard.

 

Also, give your hand a break after a particularly stressful maneuver. Hold the cyclic with only your thumb and forefinger and stretch out your middle, ring, and pinky fingers. Then grip the cyclic with those 3 fingers and stretch out your thumb and index finger.

 

In any case, the big point is to relax. Hope some of this helped.

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  • 1 month later...

I pressed very hard on the pedals for my first 10 hours. Now I have about 26 hours in the R22 and my feet are relaxed and on the floor. I am now surprised how much pedal force is required to fly acrobatics in my Zlin airplane. I fly my Zlin from SZP to CMA for my helicopter lessons. It is so much less busy flying an airplane.

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