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Landing at the Big Bear Lake Airport


HeloJunkie
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Here is a link to a short video I made of a my landing at Big Bear Airport (L35) in the R44 yesterday. My son took the video. I can tell you that the turbulence was amazing but good practice. I just kept slowing down until I was comfortable with the way the 44 was responding.

 

Big Bear Airport sits at roughly 7,000' MSL, so I did a few landings to get the feel of the 44 at those altitudes. I had about 3/4 fuel, my son and the neighbor boy. It took 20" of MP to hover. The temperature was 46 degrees.

 

I do have to say that once we cleared the mountain on our departure and started down from 9000' MSL, the turbulence was a bit more disconcerting that far above the ground and I could not wait to get back down to sea level! :rolleyes:

 

All in all it was a great experience!

 

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My two cents at Big Bear- do it on a calm day!!, Never even think of taking an R22 up there, usually the DA will just kill you, and always calculate the DA when in a 44. In this case, its a nice cool day, but its not unusual to get to 90F, and you have to climb much higher than 7,000 to get over the mountains safely. Lightning Point nearby (just South) of the airport sits at 9500 feet.

 

Anyway, glad all went well. I bet the lil extra power in the Raven II made a bit of difference. Great shot of the telescope, its a beautiful place this time of year...oh yeah....better you than me ! I bet there was some 60 knot flying speeds that day !

 

Goldy

Edited by Goldy
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Hey Richard,

 

What were the wind conditions? U can definitely see the bumpy ride via cam.

 

I see that you upgraded to the 696. Love mine too...

 

Alberto and I talked about taking the Astro from EMT up to that airport.

 

Derek

 

Deerock -

 

I was indicating 90 KIAS and doing 55 knots across the ground, so the wind was very strong. I came up from KCRQ and when I crossed the Banning Pass it started really getting bumpy. Once over the ridge, it stayed very bumpy, but I just kept slowing down until I was happy with the ride.

 

The trip home was much smoother !!

 

As a side note, I am getting rid of the MX20 and going to the 696 as my primary display with the 496 as the backup. I absolutely LOVE the 696!!

 

:lol:

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My two cents at Big Bear- do it on a calm day!!, Never even think of taking an R22 up there, usually the DA will just kill you, and always calculate the DA when in a 44. In this case, its a nice cool day, but its not unusual to get to 90F, and you have to climb much higher than 7,000 to get over the mountains safely. Lightning Point nearby (just South) of the airport sits at 9500 feet.

 

Anyway, glad all went well. I bet the lil extra power in the Raven II made a bit of difference. Great shot of the telescope, its a beautiful place this time of year...oh yeah....better you than me ! I bet there was some 60 knot flying speeds that day !

 

Goldy

 

Hey Goldy -

 

Yea, I calculated it before going and actually left one of the boys that wanted to go home and only took my son and his friend. Calculated the fuel burn and figured out the DA from the weather...all was well...took about 20 to 21" of MP to hover and was down to 19" on the climb out to 9500'

All in all, lots of fun, but I think I would only take two in the summer time!!

 

B)

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Hey Richard how are things?

 

Just had to mention some winds I had to deal with coming back from the Canyon a few weeks ago. The dust storm gave us IMC (not that I left VFR) and when I was on final for our fuel farm, I was indicating 110kts IAS and 60kts GS! Whew, that was a little nuts. The EC-130 handles turbulence pretty well if ya slow down. The difference between 140kts and 80kts in the bumps is night and day!

 

Looks like you handled it well, you're getting pretty good with that fow-d-fow :) When you gonna fly out to Vegas so we can grab some dinner?

 

Sebastian

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Hey Goldy -

 

Yea, I calculated it before going and actually left one of the boys that wanted to go home and only took my son and his friend. Calculated the fuel burn and figured out the DA from the weather...all was well...took about 20 to 21" of MP to hover and was down to 19" on the climb out to 9500'

All in all, lots of fun, but I think I would only take two in the summer time!!

 

B)

 

 

Thats awesome performance !! I know more than one R44 that came in a bit too fast, or too steep and lost a tail trying to flare and slow the descent rate up there..there's always a bit of a breeze, but it was pretty darn windy down here all weekend....blowing 45-50. Hey, you never lost ETL coming in !!

 

I stayed on the ground !

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Hey Richard how are things?

 

Just had to mention some winds I had to deal with coming back from the Canyon a few weeks ago. The dust storm gave us IMC (not that I left VFR) and when I was on final for our fuel farm, I was indicating 110kts IAS and 60kts GS! Whew, that was a little nuts. The EC-130 handles turbulence pretty well if ya slow down. The difference between 140kts and 80kts in the bumps is night and day!

 

Looks like you handled it well, you're getting pretty good with that fow-d-fow :) When you gonna fly out to Vegas so we can grab some dinner?

 

Sebastian

 

Hey Sebastian -

 

Good to hear from you! Yea, I have never really been a big fan of turbulence in my plane and its a lot less comfortable in the helicopter when I am getting beat around and there are no "wings" to look out at and comfort me! :o So I look for times when it is windy so I can practice my hovering, landings, and just become more comfortable with the 44 and realize that its not going to fall out of the air.

 

I figured out real fast that slowing down is one big key in the 44. It really does make the flight smother and a little bit makes a huge difference. So I have had several flights with a lot of turbulence (mostly over the desert heading to and from PHX) and I find that a combination of altitude and lower speed can really smooth out an otherwise wild ride! Of course, I am not renting my bird so I love to set 19" to 20" and enjoy the flight.

 

How are things in Vegas and when to you go back to Alaska..?

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Thats awesome performance !! I know more than one R44 that came in a bit too fast, or too steep and lost a tail trying to flare and slow the descent rate up there..there's always a bit of a breeze, but it was pretty darn windy down here all weekend....blowing 45-50. Hey, you never lost ETL coming in !!

 

I stayed on the ground !

 

Hey Goldy -

 

Yea, its interesting the video seems to show that I was really moving but in reality I was doing less than 20 knots when I crossed the threshold. I did more of an airplane approach as opposed to a steep approach. Even though I did all the calculations, someone with thousands of hours in helicopters once told me that the best way to approach a high altitude airport was not vertically! :lol:

 

Since I do not have a lot of high altitude experience (but have read about a lot of other folk's mistakes at high altitude) I opted for what I considered a conservative approach profile as opposed to what I normally do at sea level everyday. While some may scoff at my "airplane like approach" (as one person put it), I didn't dent or scratch my bird, and my son and his friend didn't think twice before climbing back in after lunch. :)

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Yeah, it's been windy all around the Southwest the last few days. Slowing down is important no matter what aircraft you are flying. That goes for helicopters and airplanes. Turbulance will increase stress on the aircraft and more so if you are going faster. Many fixed wing aircraft have a turbulane penetration speed.

 

I agree with Goldy about taking the R-22 out there. Remember, R-22 or R-44 or any underslung system, if you feel the low G's bring the cyclic back a little and slow down some. In the R-22 POH it lists that flight into moderate turbulance isn't recommended. Actualy, I can't remember now if it's a limitation or not. Goldy may be able to help me out with that. Been awhile since I flew those bad boys.

 

Nice video! It's great to see you took the time to plan out your flight and even more so the performance. Being conservative is a very good thing. Not just for lower time pilots but even higher time pilots who run the risk of getting complacent.

 

Sebastain,

 

Hope all is well! I had my worst encounter with both winds and turbulance while flying in Las Vegas. 50 gusting 60knots will do that to you.

 

JD

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I've quite a lot of R44 time, most of it flying in Southern California and the rest in Alaska. And I've experienced my fair share of Santa Ana wind flying. That being said:

 

Quite often, the limiting factor of the R44 in severe turbulence is underspeed/overspeed of the rotorsystem caused by downdrafts/updrafts. Look at the rotor RPM next time you're getting the big updrafts and downdrafts. I can almost guarantee you that the rotor RPM will be scaring 108%. In fact, in the turbulence you described, I would bet a fair sum of money that your rotor RPM exceeded 108% at some point. The problem is very few pilots take a look at the tach when flying in turbulence because their attention is outside. I've been through the Cajon pass in winds so strong, it was everything I could do to keep the rotor RPM between 90% and 108%. This and other high wind experiences in the 44 are experiences I care not to repeat.

 

That's not to say the R44 can't handle overspeeds. It takes a pretty big one to damage the spindles. But, as the safety notices say, exceeding limitations can be fatal.

 

Cheers!

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I agree with Goldy about taking the R-22 out there. Remember, R-22 or R-44 or any underslung system, if you feel the low G's bring the cyclic back a little and slow down some. In the R-22 POH it lists that flight into moderate turbulance isn't recommended. Actualy, I can't remember now if it's a limitation or not. Goldy may be able to help me out with that.

 

 

I only mentioned the R22 because of the number of students that read these posts that fly the 22....the 44 is an entirely different ship, with much higher capabilities.

 

Frank says this about winds and turbulence:

 

http://www.robinsonheli.com/srvclib/rhcsn37.pdf

 

http://www.robinsonheli.com/srvclib/rchsn32.pdf

 

I thought there was a SN that mentioned a gust differential of 15 knots being a limit, but I couldnt find it....maybe its in the POH, or the R22 Flight Training Manual? Too lazy to look for those right now !

 

Fly Safe, Goldy

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...I thought there was a SN that mentioned a gust differential of 15 knots being a limit, but I couldnt find it....maybe its in the POH, or the R22 Flight Training Manual?...

From FAA AD 95-26-04 (which added the page following 2-14 of the Limitations section in the POH)

95-26-04 ROBINSON HELICOPTER COMPANY: Amendment 39-9462. Docket No. 95-SW-29-AD. Supersedes AD 95-04-14, Amendment 39-9166.

 

Applicability: Model R22 helicopters, certificated in any category.

 

NOTE 1: This AD applies to each helicopter identified in the preceding applicability provision, regardless of whether it has been modified, altered, or repaired in the area subject to the requirements of this AD. For helicopters that have been modified, altered, or repaired so that the performance of the requirements of this AD is affected, the owner/operator must use the authority provided in paragraph (
B)
to request approval from the FAA. This approval may address either no action, if the current configuration eliminates the unsafe condition, or different actions necessary to address the unsafe condition described in this AD. Such a request should include an assessment of the effect of the changed configuration on the unsafe condition addressed by this AD. In no case does the presence of any modification, alteration, or repair remove any helicopter from the applicability of this AD.

 

Compliance: Required before further flight, unless accomplished previously.

 

NOTE 2: Regardless of the experience level of the pilot manipulating the controls or the amount or quality of the awareness training received by the pilot manipulating the controls, these changes to the flight manual are in no way intended to authorize flight in any condition(s) or under any circumstance(s) that are otherwise contrary to other Federal Aviation Regulations.

 

To prevent main rotor (M/R) stall or mast bumping, which could result in the M/R blades contacting the fuselage causing failure of the M/R system, and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter, accomplish the following:

 

(a) Insert the following information into the Model R22 Rotorcraft Flight Manual. Compliance with the Limitations section is mandatory. The Normal Procedures and Emergency Procedures sections are informational.

 

LIMITATIONS SECTION

 

The following limitations (1-3) are to be observed unless the pilot manipulating the controls has logged 200 or more flight hours in helicopters, at least 50 of which must be in the RHC Model R22 helicopter, and has completed the awareness training specified in Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) No. 73, issued February 27, 1995.

(1) Flight when surface winds exceed 25 knots, including gusts, is prohibited.

(2) Flight when surface wind gust spreads exceed 15 knots is prohibited.

(3) Continued flight in moderate, severe, or extreme turbulence is prohibited.

 

Adjust forward airspeed to between 60 knots indicated airspeed (KIAS) and 0.7 Vne, but no lower than 57 KIAS, upon inadvertently encountering moderate, severe, or extreme turbulence.

 

Note: Moderate turbulence is turbulence that causes: (1) changes in altitude or attitude; (2) variations in indicated airspeed; and (3) aircraft occupants to feel definite strains against seat belts.

 

NORMAL PROCEDURES SECTION NOTE

 

Until the FAA completes its research into the conditions and aircraft characteristics that lead to main rotor blade/fuselage contact accidents, and corrective type design changes and operating limitations are identified, Model R22 pilots are strongly urged to become familiar with the following information and comply with these recommended procedures.

 

Main Rotor Stall: Many factors may contribute to main rotor stall and pilots should be familiar with them. Any flight condition that creates excessive angle of attack on the main rotor blades can produce a stall. Low main rotor RPM, aggressive maneuvering, high collective angle (often the result of high-density altitude, over-pitching [exceeding power available] during climb, or high forward airspeed) and slow response to the low main rotor RPM warning horn and light may result in main rotor stall. The effect of these conditions can be amplified in turbulence. Main rotor stall can ultimately result in contact between the main rotor and airframe. Additional information on main rotor stall is provided in the Robinson Helicopter Company Safety Notices SN-10, SN-15, SN-20, SN-24, SN-27, and SN-29.

 

Mast Bumping: Mast bumping may occur with a teetering rotor system when excessive main rotor flapping results from low "G" (load factor below 1.0) or abrupt control input. A low "G" flight condition can result from an abrupt cyclic pushover in forward flight. High forward airspeed, turbulence, and excessive sideslip can accentuate the adverse effects of these control movements. The excessive flapping results in the main rotor hub assembly striking the main rotor mast with subsequent main rotor system separation from the helicopter.

 

To avoid these conditions, pilots are strongly urged to follow these recommendations:

(1) Maintain cruise airspeeds between 60 KIAS and less than 0.9 Vne, but no lower than 57 KIAS.

(2) Use maximum "power-on" RPM at all times during powered flight.

(3) Avoid sideslip during flight. Maintain in-trim flight at all times.

(4) Avoid large, rapid forward cyclic inputs in forward flight, and abrupt control inputs in turbulence.

 

EMERGENCY PROCEDURES SECTION

 

(1) RIGHT ROLL IN LOW "G" CONDITION

Gradually apply aft cyclic to restore positive "G" forces and main rotor thrust. Do not apply lateral cyclic until positive "G" forces have been established.

 

(2) UNCOMMANDED PITCH, ROLL, OR YAW RESULTING FROM FLIGHT IN TURBULENCE.

Gradually apply controls to maintain rotor RPM, positive "G" forces, and to eliminate sideslip. Minimize cyclic control inputs in turbulence; do not overcontrol.

 

(3) INADVERTENT ENCOUNTER WITH MODERATE, SEVERE, OR EXTREME TURBULENCE.

If the area of turbulence is isolated, depart the area; otherwise, land the helicopter as soon as practical.

 

(
B)
An alternative method of compliance or adjustment of the compliance time that provides an acceptable level of safety may be used when approved by the Manager, Rotorcraft Standards Staff, Rotorcraft Directorate, FAA. Operators shall submit their requests through an FAA Principal Maintenance Inspector, who may concur or comment and then send it to the Manager, Rotorcraft Standards Staff.

 

NOTE 3: Information concerning the existence of approved alternative methods of compliance with this AD, if any, may be obtained from the Rotorcraft Standards Staff.

 

(c ) Special flight permits, pursuant to sections 21.197 and 21.199 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR 21.197 and 21.199), will not be issued.

 

(d) This amendment becomes effective on January 26, 1996
.

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It's important to note the paragraph before the gust spread limitation, that reads:

 

The following limitations (1-3) are to be observed unless the pilot manipulating the controls has logged 200 or more flight hours in helicopters, at least 50 of which must be in the RHC Model R22 helicopter, and has completed the awareness training specified in Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) No. 73, issued February 27, 1995.

 

I think it's important to note that this is a pilot limitation, not an aircraft limitation, per se.

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I've quite a lot of R44 time, most of it flying in Southern California and the rest in Alaska. And I've experienced my fair share of Santa Ana wind flying. That being said:

 

Quite often, the limiting factor of the R44 in severe turbulence is underspeed/overspeed of the rotorsystem caused by downdrafts/updrafts. Look at the rotor RPM next time you're getting the big updrafts and downdrafts. I can almost guarantee you that the rotor RPM will be scaring 108%. In fact, in the turbulence you described, I would bet a fair sum of money that your rotor RPM exceeded 108% at some point. The problem is very few pilots take a look at the tach when flying in turbulence because their attention is outside. I've been through the Cajon pass in winds so strong, it was everything I could do to keep the rotor RPM between 90% and 108%. This and other high wind experiences in the 44 are experiences I care not to repeat.

 

That's not to say the R44 can't handle overspeeds. It takes a pretty big one to damage the spindles. But, as the safety notices say, exceeding limitations can be fatal.

 

Cheers!

 

FullDownAuto -

 

While I was getting checked out in the R44 I stayed away from gusty days. I liked flying in nice calm days. Eventually I got over my issue with the wind and spent a lot of time flying and hovering every time the wind blows. I started doing cross countries and I was not too worried about turbulence down low, but wow, its a little different story with the ship at 9000' and a whole lot of distance between me and the ground climbing up the side of Big Bear Mountain.

 

 

Now, that does not mean that I don't sweat a little bit :huh: and my heart rate wasn't at 108%. But I did spend a lot of time watching the gauges and yes, they were up and down. Not sure if I oversped the rotor system, but I can say that I spent a lot of time on the collective and throttle, but for the most part, just watched my speed, keeping it (at times) as low as 50 to deal with the turbulence. SOmetimes it felt as if I were going backwards!!

 

Hopefully if I did overspeed the rotor system, it was not for very long or very often!

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Hopefully if I did overspeed the rotor system, it was not for very long or very often!

 

 

Red line on the rotor for a 44 is 110 % right ?? Probably don't have anything to worry about !

 

Can you imagine taking a 22 up there ? One of our VR members here did once, and he still remembers it as his worst flight ever....

 

I'll stick to the shoreline!

 

Goldy

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Goldy,

 

Yeah, lots of numbers to memorize. I try to crack open the POH every few months to keep them fresh in the old brain, definately do when something might have nudged tward the red.

 

Problem with the engine tach is that the scale seems so compressed near the green and red arc's. When it's out the top on the red, it's an overspeed with at the least a magneto inspection. It would be nice if the scale were expanded in that area or, even better digital with a re-settable max hold if a limit is exceeded :o .

 

Mike

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  • 2 weeks later...
Goldy,

 

Yeah, lots of numbers to memorize. I try to crack open the POH every few months to keep them fresh in the old brain, definately do when something might have nudged tward the red.

 

Problem with the engine tach is that the scale seems so compressed near the green and red arc's. When it's out the top on the red, it's an overspeed with at the least a magneto inspection. It would be nice if the scale were expanded in that area or, even better digital with a re-settable max hold if a limit is exceeded :o .

 

Mike

 

 

MLH -

 

Great idea. I agree. The tachs are very compressed near the top and when your getting bounced all over the place, not the easiest to read! A digital with a re-settable max would be a great idea!

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