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"Mythical Toolbox & Bag of Tricks"


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In the post on "Running T/O's" and other posts, many members mentioned pilot toolboxes/bag of tricks. I feel that many pilots/CFIs do not understand what these labeled items really are! The PTS that CFIs use to prepare pilots for check rides for various Certificates are not Training Standards. They are Testing Standards and are not meant to limit Learning and deny advancing to the Correlation level.

 

As pilots fly/work in Helo operations beyond the training environment, other skills are developed and needed. Experienced pilots/CP and Company Instructors should mentor the up and coming to provide a safe path for operations and skills development. Pilot Technique and Knowledge at the Correlation Level is your so called bag of tricks. The problem is that it is not taught at the Certificate level by many schools for economy of training and lack of CFIs that have the said skills.

 

One of my goals is to help the Helo Industry change from Maneuvers Based Training to Scenario Based Training and Testing(PTS). Many of my peers and entities such as FAASTeam, FAA, IHST, HAI and Insurance Companies are of this mindset to improve training and reduce the accident rate.

 

Some members attack me in their posts about my having mentioned common identified deficiencies in their knowledge and skills. Here again, I state that my mission (C & E Seminars) is to get up and coming pilots through the Understanding and Application levels of learning to that Correlation Level where they can go forth into the "Real World" and be Safe and Productive.

 

So please note that there are no "Tricks" but there is "Pilot Techniques, Knowledge & Judgement" to operate efficiently and safely.

 

Best to all, sincerely, MikeMV

Edited by Mikemv
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Mike, you are correct that these are not really 'tricks', but are experiences and knowledge that a pilot has collected over the 'years'. From what I have seen, the training environment has become quite sterile with everything being treated as black and white. When I was learning to fly many, many years ago, we landed on grass strips, farm roads and frozen lakes as a matter of course. Now a days, if you even suggest it, the schools get all upset and think you are some kind of nut. I flew all kinds of junk when I was a low time pilot. And I learned a lot from it.

 

One of the techniques I learned from a utility pilot was how to get out of a confined area if you run out of power. I know, I know. You are suppose to have the flight properly planned so that wouldn't be an issue. But in the real world, as soon as you start the engine, your plan has been overcome by events (or obsolete). Things like you got there with more fuel than you planned, or the temperature is a little hotter than you planned, or the hunter you are picking up got an elk rather than a deer. It really doesn't matter, your planning is out the window. It's the real world, live with it. Depending on which way the rotor turns, you put the helicopter a quarter turn or half turn from the prevailing winds. Since you are in a confined area, the winds on the surface are going to be almost calm. After you lift off and just as the helicopter starts to run out of steam, you ease up on the pedal you are holding to keep it straight and allow the helicopter to turn into the wind. Since more power is now going to the main rotor, the helicopter will raise above the obstacle and you ease cyclic forward and go into ETL.

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Pilot Technique and Knowledge at the Correlation Level is your so called bag of tricks. The problem is that it is not taught at the Certificate level by many schools for economy of training and lack of CFIs that have the said skills.

 

This has been my take-away lesson from the Running T/Os and many other topics (..."Power Checks," "Advanced Autorotations"...). Oftentimes we're taught a maneuver during primary training (rote/understanding level), but don't fully understand what's happening aerodynamically/mechanically, when to apply the maneuver, or what the risks are (application/correlation level). As a result, we end up with a big bag of tools that are misunderstood and/or misused. When I see the "teach to the PTS vs teach beyond the PTS" discussion come up, sometimes I wonder if it's worse for students to just not learn things that CFIs themselves don't fully understand, or whether it's better to have the tools even if they're not fully understood...

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I agree, there are no tricks to this trade.

 

Good points Mike and well said. In my opinion, the proverbial toolbox is based on experience and judgment. The experience and judgment I speak of is constantly evolving and never ending so trying to explain the various detailed aspects of a particular technique is difficult. At least its difficult for me. Maybe its because I believe flying helicopters is more of an art form rather than a skill set. I realized this statement will make some people roll their eyes or at least laugh but in my experience, its a reasonable belief.

 

The shame of it all is the industries current method of teaching new pilots. While Ive heard various reasons behind the current decline of the quality of the instruction given, these reasons dont mitigate the overall problem. That is, flight instruction is seen as a stepping stone position rather than a well paid career path. However, this doesnt mean I completely disagree with this method of operation. I do believe new CFIs should teach ab-initio students as teaching is highly beneficial for new pilots. However, beyond that, it would make since to have seasoned commercial pilots impart their real world experience and knowledge to the advance commercial students and/or CFI applicants. This would produce a new, low-time pilot with a greater number of tools in the box and create a solid foundation for his/her future. Or better said, more colors on the pallet to paint a masterpiece........

Edited by Spike
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My best training flights were all with the older, "experienced", career pilots. With them I got to learn a lot of cool techniques/tips, that the low-time Cfi's couldn't teach me (since they hadn't been in the "real" world yet).

 

I suppose for some, teaching with no experience is a good "learning experience", but it doesn't help the students much, and I too wish teaching were a career position, instead of the "time-building" job that it is, but that's not how our industry wants it. :(

 

I also learned some good techniques at the Robinson course, especially with regards to autos. I definitly recommend that every civilian pilot attend such a course. B)

 

My biggest gripe about training is actually autos. We never did full-downs! In fact no school I have flown/rented with, would do full downs with anyone accept Cfi students. <_<

 

I sure wish that at the Private level I had had full-down autos in my "bag of tricks". Instead I had to hope that, "if the sh*t hit the fan", I would be able to combine a power-recovery auto with a hover auto? :huh:

 

Since we're on the subject of improving our skills, beyond the PTS, does anyone know of such a place for advanced learning (in a piston)? :unsure:

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My biggest gripe about training is actually autos. We never did full-downs! In fact no school I have flown/rented with, would do full downs with anyone accept Cfi students.

 

I sure wish that at the Private level I had had full-down autos in my "bag of tricks". Instead I had to hope that, "if the sh*t hit the fan", I would be able to combine a power-recovery auto with a hover auto?

 

Since we're on the subject of improving our skills, beyond the PTS, does anyone know of such a place for advanced learning (in a piston)?

 

 

I initially trained on the JAA integrated course at Bristow Academy. One of the main elements of the course is advanced autos. Range, max range, normal, constant attitude and low speed are all taught to a very high level. You also have to do touchdowns for the Commercial license. I found that the JAA training certainly outdid the FAA flight training at commercial level but the theory side was a bit excessive.

 

I'd love to go out with you for an hour or two on advanced maneuvers. Just name the time and place!! :)

 

I agree Butters, a ppl pilot should have gone through at least one lesson on touchdowns before their checkride. Or even after it. You should be able to go to any school and ask to do a lesson on touchdowns. Bristow was a great school for this. There were particular instructors that were "qualified" to do touchdown lessons and were usually willing to do them whenever!

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I'll at least demo a touchdown auto to my students. I have taught them to some of my better students who were interested (private & commercial students). I also think you should have to do one for your commercial rating. Not everyone goes for CFI and how scary is it that someone could get commercial, buy a helicopter & open a business. They could be flying customers around for years without ever taking one to the ground. Doesn't seem right to me.

Edited by ChprPlt
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My biggest gripe about training is actually autos. We never did full-downs! In fact no school I have flown/rented with, would do full downs with anyone accept Cfi students. <_<

 

 

As a private pilot I did full downs in the R22, R44R1 and the Bell 47 with a CFI on board. Me thinks you need to ask around and find a school that will teach you.

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My best training flights were all with the older, "experienced", career pilots. With them I got to learn a lot of cool techniques/tips, that the low-time Cfi's couldn't teach me (since they hadn't been in the "real" world yet).

 

I suppose for some, teaching with no experience is a good "learning experience", but it doesn't help the students much, and I too wish teaching were a career position, instead of the "time-building" job that it is, but that's not how our industry wants it. :(

 

I also learned some good techniques at the Robinson course, especially with regards to autos. I definitly recommend that every civilian pilot attend such a course. B)

 

My biggest gripe about training is actually autos. We never did full-downs! In fact no school I have flown/rented with, would do full downs with anyone accept Cfi students. <_<

 

I sure wish that at the Private level I had had full-down autos in my "bag of tricks". Instead I had to hope that, "if the sh*t hit the fan", I would be able to combine a power-recovery auto with a hover auto? :huh:

 

Since we're on the subject of improving our skills, beyond the PTS, does anyone know of such a place for advanced learning (in a piston)? :unsure:

 

specialized helicopters in Watsonville ca will teach 200 foot hover autos

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specialized helicopters in Watsonville ca will teach 200 foot hover autos

 

I don't think I've ever needed to hover that low :o , so I'll stick to 500' for hover autos.

 

I've been considering Jerry Trimble Helicopters. They have a touchdown auto class for us R22 guys ;) (and they're only about a day away). Anyone flown with them? :huh:

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There are some jobs in this industry where you may find yourself in a 200' hover. As with Mike, I want to see more SBT as well.

 

if I find that maneuver in my job description, then I might seek additional training in that matter

until then....

 

The pts does encourage inspectors/examinersto use as many scenereos as possible for the checkride

 

prerhaps a similar statement under the instructor responsibilities for checkride preperation would do some good

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SBT is required because it’s published as an examiner evaluation element in the PTS. If instructors are not incorporating scenarios during training flights, then this could lead to an unsatisfactory performance during check-rides. This PTS evaluation element requires instructors to use their imagination during routine training flights and teach what isn’t written in any lesson plan, syllabus or PTS.

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There are some jobs in this industry where you may find yourself in a 200' hover. As with Mike, I want to see more SBT as well.

 

I'm guessing you're referring to long-line work? Or perhaps, fire service? :huh: Which is fine, considering what they fly. :D

 

I, however, am stuck in a low-inertia, piston, R22 <_< , and although I don't mind "passing through" the H/V Diagram, I have no desire to "sit" in it. :o

 

I did actually see a 500 do a hover auto from about that height, and it was pretty cool! B)

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To all, my mention of SBT in the initial posts as one of my goals meant to totally switch from maneuvers based training to ab initio SBT thru CFII! The FAA thru FITS has determined this produces pilots that make better decisions, have more piloting skills and all in less hours which means less cost of training! Goggle search for "FITS" and do some reading of the published research papers to enlighten yourselves if interested.

 

Pohi, do you think that PIC/Pilots have job descriptions with maneuvers published in them? Having said that, I agree with you and do not think everyone needs to train on autos from 200' hover, especially by newer CFIs. This post was never aimed at discussing various autos.

 

Also, Examiners/Inspectors are NOT required to use the most possible scenarios during testing but rather incorporate the MOST tasks in a given scenario. Flight training needs an overhaul and is progressing behind the scenes. It will change for the better and be can produce safer more proficient, ready to work pilots accepted by both insurance companies and employers.

 

Aeronautical Decision Making and Risk Management from Private PTS

 

The examiner shall evaluate the applicant’s ability throughout the practical

test to use good aeronautical decision-making procedures in order to

evaluate risks. The examiner shall accomplish this requirement by

developing scenarios that incorporate as many TASKs as possible to

evaluate the applicants risk management in making safe aeronautical

decisions. For example, the examiner may develop a scenario that

incorporates weather decisions and performance planning. This is a normal flight for most of us outside of the training pattern environment! The applicant’s ability to utilize all the assets available in making a risk

analysis to determine the safest course of action is essential for satisfactory performance. This calls for maximum training of ADM elements! The scenarios should be realistic and within the capabilities of the aircraft used for the practical test.

 

The "Pop Up" scenario section/discussions in my Seminars covers a lot of different, real life sceanarios that teach & required the use of ADM methods. I will have a fun ADM session in the pre-Heli Success FAASTeam presentation in LV on Oct. 30th for those of you attending!

 

Best to all, Mike

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Sorry to push off topic with the auto's point. :rolleyes: I do think that Senario Based Traning is a good idea once you've learned the basic maneuvers.

 

However, I'm embarassed to admit I'm not quite familiar with that particular Latin phrase, "ab initio"? :unsure:

 

I have also noticed some improvement in training over the years (since 180's and pinnacle/confined areas weren't in the PTS when I got my Private). :( That always seemed rather lame. <_<

 

Perhaps if some Commercial Operators would initiate journyman/apprentice programs, we could improve the quality of low-level pilots? :huh:

 

I did actually have to use a bit of ADM on my Commercial checkride, as there was a thunderstorm moving in. :o

Edited by r22butters
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R22butters, respectfully, ab initio=from the beginning and SBT should be a method of training from the first and all lessons. Having not trained that way it may be difficult to imagine it but believe me it will happen and has happened in the airplane training world.

 

Best to All, Mike

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There are some jobs in this industry where you may find yourself in a 200' hover. As with Mike, I want to see more SBT as well.

 

I got a few words of good advice from a fire pilot. First of all the HV curve is properly titled the 'Money Curve'. The deeper you are in it, the more money you should be making. Second, every year during the 6 hours of long line training the USFS requires prior to starting the season, he who do several zero airspeed autos from 200'. According to Jim, if you are going to have an engine failure, that is where you will have it as it is the worst possible case. What Jim said, was that he has done that since he started doing fire work and hasn't had an engine failure yet. If it works, don't f**k with it.

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I don't think I've ever needed to hover that low :o , so I'll stick to 500' for hover autos.

 

I've been considering Jerry Trimble Helicopters. They have a touchdown auto class for us R22 guys ;) (and they're only about a day away). Anyone flown with them? :huh:

 

 

I currently work for Jerry, and his FD course is AWESOME!!!!

I have referred several people to his course (seasoned CFI's!), and they all enjoyed it and Jerry.

 

Come on down!

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every year during the 6 hours of long line training the USFS requires prior to starting the season, he who do several zero airspeed autos from 200'. According to Jim, if you are going to have an engine failure, that is where you will have it as it is the worst possible case.

 

You wouldn't use an R22 for that though..

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