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New Student looking for giudance and advice

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I've just started a course for a private ULM license in Italy where I live, with the director of a flight school as my instructor. I have no reason to doubt him, his skills or reputation, but just to be on the safe side I am looking for cross reference with what is done elsewhere.


After a very bad but totally unrelated experience doing an Accelerated Free Fall Course skydiving in Italy I am a little leery of the standards here. On that course my instructors both lost me on my first jump, leaving me on my own after spinning out of control, they failed to give me instructions on how to get out of a spin, which happened on my third jump where, again they were unable to reach me to stop me spinning and I got out of it by instinctively pulling in my arms and legs after 3000ft of uncontrolled freefall, then I had two chute malfunctions…I mean it was bad. I finished the course, got my skydiving license and haven’t jumped since.


I have had this pilot come out to my property to do surveying and animal counts so we have maybe 3 or 4 hours of flying time together and I have been on the twin commands for 2.5 hours now.

He tells me I am an exceptional student because I was able to control the machine on my own from the first flight, at least once we were off the ground and we have done quite a few landings and take offs where he told me I was in sole control but in all honesty it is hard for me to tell exactly how much input he is giving the controls and the smoothness of those maneuvers makes me doubt it.


On my second flight he showed me a ‘mild’ autorotation, which he tells me scares some students away from helicopters, but after seeing quite a few on youtube I knew what to expect and followed him on the commands.

On that lesson we also experienced some turbulence and I also started to get the gist of the pedals for control close to the ground. I am learning fast and a lot of it feels quite intuitive.


I am at the very beginning and don’t have any flying background aside from a fair bit of time in light aircrafts and choppers for travel into remote areas, but I lack in background knowledge.


There is only one book he suggested I buy in Italian but of my own volition I have ordered:


Helicopter Pilot's Manual: Principles of Flight, Basic Handling and Advanced Techniques v. 1 - Norman Bailey

Helicopter Pilot's Manual: Powerplants, Instruments and Hydraulics v. 2 - Norman Bailey

Helicopter Pilot's Manual: Mountain Flying and Advanced Techniques v. 3 (Helicopter Pilots Manual Vol 3) - Norman Bailey

Principles of Helicopter Flight - W. J. Wagtendonk

Fatal Traps for Helicopter Pilots - Greg Whyte

R22 Robinson Helicopter Pilot Operating Handbook

Robinson R22 A Pilot's Guide Book - John Swann

As well as a poster of the R22 cockpit to study.


As a side note, together with a friend who is an electronics genius we are building a laser altimeter to give your altitude from the ground, because the legal ceiling for an ultralight helicopter (and the R22 can be registered as both ultralight or what they call certified) in Italy is 1000ft AGL and no one here has such an instrument. The unit will be able to give very accurate measurement in feet and inches up to 26' with a precision of 1" and from there on up to 2600ft with no more than 3' of error.

So you will be able to watch your hover in feet and inches (or meters and centimeters)!


Is such an instrument of any interest to the rest of the aviation comunity?

I’m looking forward to learning so much more, also because of where I live and what I do the helicopter is a machine that will open up a whole new range of possibilities.


So, please bear with me, I will ask a lot of questions hopefully you all won’t find them to be too boring or outrageous!





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laser altimeters are out there, I see them used on several non certified UAV type aircraft. What part of Italy are you in? I have several pilot friends over there.

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The unit will be laser and ultrasound. The ultrasound is very accurate buy only has an effective range of 25 feet.

At the moment we are planning the unit out, looking at components, thinking about potential problems, and thinking about extra features like accelerometer, g-force meter and a few alarms.


I should be flying on Tuesday, let's hope the weather clears up here..

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  • 1 year later...

So I just got around to digging up this old post, my first...

I should have been more participative but I got sidetracked and thankfully concentrated on my flying.

Since then I have finished my training for "ultralight" helicopter and now own an R22 with just 80 hours to my credit now, there are many things I'm glad I learned the way I did, and just as many I wish I had been taught differently.

I hope to become a more active member here as I can see there truly is a wealth of information available here, and now I can make muck more sense of it all.

So see you found the traps...

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