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Starting in Spring to add Rotary Rating--advice?


Tom Morrison
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Once the snow melts here in Princeton, and there is about 2 feet! I am starting to add my rotary rating---have 1300 fixed wing, instrument rated and current in Bonanza and Cirrus SR22. My Cirrus SR22 is great for getting us to Cape Cod and Florida---but I caught R44 fever when a friend of mine bought a R44. What a ball to fly--and what a unique challenge!

In California I was a Deputy and spotter FLIR/Spotlight for the Department and had a ball chasing bad guys--and got the bug to fly choppers back then. It was more practical 3 years ago to get the Cirrus due to our missions now in Jersey. But I can use my friends R44 and I can rent them at Princeton airport also.

Spoke with Frank Robinson at length at Heli Expo in Houston and got some great tips from him. Appreciate any insights you all may have!

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The additional rating is not that difficult. I do not have a PTS with me at the moment, but I believe that all you need to do is airspace, systems, and performance/limitations as far as the ground goes.

 

Flying is the easy part, there will be a few airplane habits to break, but that should not be that much of an issue.

 

While you wait for the snow to melt, I would suggest picking up a rotorcraft flying handbook, a R44 POH for whatever helicopter you are planning on training in, and a current FAR/AIM. Read the rotorcraft flying handbook. Get familiar with the POH and the specifics of the helicopter.

 

The more that you can study before you start flying, the quicker the process will go.

 

Good luck.

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In New Jersey.

Thanks for the input.

The main thing I am finding in differences in fixed vs rotary--is just about everything! From the long tail to watch out for to LTE and settling with power etc etc!

Also, I look forward to flying the R44 because it is just fun! I fly my Cirrus to from point A to B in a hurry. I fly the R44 for pure fun!

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Tom,

 

You can get the PTS and the Helicopter Pilots Handbook off the FAA's website for free. Depending on what level of certificate you currently hold and what level of rating you wish to obtain will control what will be required on your checkride. I would suggest that you do not limit yourself to a R44. There are several operators in your general area that operate other types of training helicopters.

 

Helicopter Flight Services operates the H300 in Medford, NJ. Spitfire Aerospace in Pedricktown, NJ operates Enstroms and Lancaster,PA based Lancaster Helicopters operates Bell 47's.

 

Good luck.

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One thing that really helped me was reading the entire Robinson manual. Then memorize the check list and limit manifold pressure table. Spend some time in the hangar just getting to know the controls. Move them and think about the effects. All of the controls interact in goofy ways. You will be much more busy flying a helicopter. The helicopter really needs you, airplanes fly themselves.

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I highly recommend the book Helicopter Oral Exam Guide by Ryan Dale, printed by ASA, #ASA-OEG-H, 184 pages and $13. That book along with the free FAA Rotorcraft Flying Handbook (downloadable) and Robinson POH are all you really need for the rating.

 

Another good book is Cyclic and Collective: More Art and Science of Flying Helicopters by Shawn Coyle.

 

Plan to take the Robinson factory 4 day Safety Course soon after you get your rating. Very important for both training and insurance reasons.

 

LR22

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