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IS IT POSSIBLE?


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I had an interesting conversation with a fixed-wing pilot flying with me the other day. Could he land and save his bacon if I became incapacitated?

 

We decided the one possibility would be for him to fly it in over the run way, bleed off speed and do a run-on landing -- instead of trying to approach to a hover-landing.

 

Is it possible? The R44 is stable all the way down with forward airspeed. Could he bring it in?

 

Has this ever been done by a fixed-wing pilot?

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I know of one helicopter flight school that does hold a 'co-pilot' course, much like the pinch hitter course that AOPA holds. I discussing this with other experienced helicopter instructors, we all basically came up with doing a run on landing as the easiest and safest way to go. So I would say it is possible, but the non-helicopter pilot would need some instruction to do it.

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A local radio DJ and starch-wing pilot made a bet with his co-hosts that he could fly a helicopter without any real instruction. They brought a crew out to our flight school and recorded what happened. A CFI gave him the SFAR, got in an R22 with him, and handed the controls over (mostly) in a stabilized cruise, and talked him through a few jerky maneuvers. He only had to really take the controls once when they were descending too low over trees, and the CFI took over again on short final, but otherwise it wasn't the worst flying the CFI had ever seen. That being said, the DJ never wanted to get in a helicopter again.

 

I wouldn't imagine a rated pilot would want to go up in an unfamiliar aircraft without at least a pre-flight briefing on emergency procedures and/or basic flight controls, but worse decisions have certainly been made.

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Is it possible? Could he bring it in?

 

 

NO WAY !

 

Ok, maybe if he flew in a sim for a couple hours just to get the hang of the controls, and did a run on, keeping it above ETL and into the wind, and keeping the approach shallow.

 

But, like another poster said, good luck getting the pilot off the controls, regardless what ship it is.

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My daughter is a glider pilot and does not play on flight sims. She was able to get off the ground, do a pattern and then do run on landings a couple of times in a row in the flight training device.

Doubt she would be able to in the heli, if I ever get some extra cash I'll find out when I can get her in it.

 

Jerry

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I had an interesting conversation with a fixed-wing pilot flying with me the other day. Could he land and save his bacon if I became incapacitated?

 

We decided the one possibility would be for him to fly it in over the run way, bleed off speed and do a run-on landing -- instead of trying to approach to a hover-landing.

 

Is it possible? The R44 is stable all the way down with forward airspeed. Could he bring it in?

 

Has this ever been done by a fixed-wing pilot?

 

Yes, it's possible- but extremely unlikely. Not 'Power Ball' unlikely, more 'russian roulette with an automatic' improbable. It beats not taking a shot...

A story- years back, a Gulf or Mexico pilot in an outbound 206 started feeling poorly, so he turned around intending to return to base. His condition was going downhill so rapidly that he initiated a landing in the marsh. Before that could happen, he lost consciousness.

One of the passengers in the back pulled the pilot off the controls and held him while the front seat attempted to land the 206. My recollection is that both of those passengers died in the crash, but the pilot and at least one other passenger survived. That's the only occurrence I know of where a passenger(s) landed a helicopter.

I think the Vietnam era Army did a study to see if crew chiefs or other non-aviators could land a helo if necessary. They all 'crashed'. I don't know how many were 'survivable', but they all crashed. There's just too much going on in landing a helo, even a running landing- yaw trim, power and pitch all interact to diverge from control at the critical moments.

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I think the Vietnam era Army did a study to see if crew chiefs or other non-aviators could land a helo if necessary. They all 'crashed'. I don't know how many were 'survivable', but they all crashed. There's just too much going on in landing a helo, even a running landing- yaw trim, power and pitch all interact to diverge from control at the critical moments.

 

I know two crew chiefs from the Nam days. Both have told me they had no formal pilot training, but both were given just enough instruction and stick time that in a pinch they could put it on the ground and survive....even if the ship did not.

Edited by Goldy
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I know two crew chiefs from the Nam days. Both have told me they had no formal pilot training, but both were given just enough instruction and stick time that in a pinch they could put it on the ground and survive....even if the ship did not.

 

My Uncle who was a Nam pilot, spent the time to train his crew chief and made him a proficient enough non-pilot to keep them alive and keep the ship intact, those two then spent many years working together in Canada. so yes there were execptions for the "trained" crew chiefs and I beleive it was more the norm than most beleive.

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This was the reason I started to learn, was sat there one day at 1000Ft & thought what if !!

The straight & level seemed to be easy, the approach was ok then it all turned to Rat s**t

Would have saved a fortune if I hadn't had that thought.:(

I definitely would have bailed it up for the first 5 hours.

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My Uncle who was a Nam pilot, spent the time to train his crew chief and made him a proficient enough non-pilot to keep them alive and keep the ship intact, those two then spent many years working together in Canada. so yes there were execptions for the "trained" crew chiefs and I beleive it was more the norm than most beleive.

 

Yeah, I put my crew chief in a pilot seat, too. I wasn't an instructor at that point, so it was pretty much the blind leading the blind. I did hear stories of crew who could fly. My opinion is that those guys KNEW the aircraft, were accustomed to flying in it, and were not easily rattled, so any success that came from that was due to the character of the crew, not the usual inept instruction.

 

To the original post question, I've heard instructors complain of negative habit transfer when training airplane guys to fly helos. Most fixed-wing pilots catch on in a few hours, but I still think a surprise promotion/checkride would end badly. There's very little margin for error when the skids first touch the ground. The aircraft has to be under control, or trending towards controllable in spite of the sudden drastic change in flight characteristics.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I can definitely agree with that. After flying only airplanes and switching to helicopters I have been struggling to break a few habits.

 

It's hard to level the helicopter for a run on autorotation or even a run on landing, I want to flare.

 

Approaches were difficult to fly because I was so used to approaches at 65kts all the way to the threshold.

 

My instincts work against me, but I'm getting over them.

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