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Does anybody know where can I find information on the timeline for the Lakota and Ft Rucker? Everything I've found just says some time in FY15 Lakotas will become the Army's primary trainer aircraft. You'd think there would be something more solid since we're in FY15. Thanks in advance.

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I have ~500 hours in the Lakota, real nice aircraft, but you'd be a better pilot if you learn in the TH-67 and actually get to autorotate to the ground. Flying the 72 is all about button pushing (GNS430 management), flying the 67 is about wiggling the sticks. If you're not going to do autos to the ground in primary in a Bell, why not just go straight to the AH-64 (or other advanced aircraft)?

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As far as timelines...I haven't heard a concrete date. If it's like anything else, it'll keep getting pushed back for awhile. But, I've heard sometime in 2015 as well.

 

 

F that. TH-67 for the motha effin win.

 

I completely agree, but I guess it depends on your point of view. I think that flight training in the TH-67 provides much better training. There are a lot of maneuvers that will be cut out of the Flight Training Guide when the switch to UH-72s happens. For example, there will be no more touchdown autos which you pretty much do every day in Primary. That is a major life saving skill that needs to be honed. And if it's anything like the advanced aircraft, autos will terminate no lower than 30' AGL. AR95-1 even prohibits touchdown emergency procedure training in multi engine helicopters. So, even though autos will be practiced, the student will NEVER get the sight picture and feel needed to correctly terminate an auto to the ground should he ever need to in an actual emergency. And I think most people would agree that decel to touchdown is the hardest part of the auto to accomplish.

 

In addition, I think that you should learn on a helicopter that's more "basic" especially when you're learning basic maneuvers. You will develop a much better control touch by flying a more simple helicopter. I've flown the R22, TH67, and UH60 and I can tell you that flying the R22 was much more difficult than flying the TH67, which was more difficult than flying the UH60. The UH72 has Hydraulics, AFCS, Full Autopilot, Garmin430 GPS, a Glass Cockpit, FADEC, etc., all of which reduce pilot workload. That's great for missions, but for training I don't think it gives you the full "experience" of learning to fly.

 

Now, on the flip side, the Army is only training us to be Army pilots. All of the Army advanced airframes have all of those characteristics mentioned above. They are all dual engine, and the possiblity of having a dual engine failure is very, very, very small. Training in the UH72 would make the transition to advanced airframe a little bit easier. Everybody would have experience with AFCS, Hydraulics, MFD and autopilot operation, etc. There's really no reason to teach you to fly a single engine, uncoupled helicopter as an Army Aviator now that the OH58 is gone. And from what I hear (I don't know if it's true) Bell isn't supporting the B06B3 anymore so parts are harder to come by. There's some sort of contract for the Lakota that makes parts and maintenance much easier.

 

I guess only time will tell.

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...I keep telling myself this is the only thing good about so many delays in getting my packet in. Just got my flight physical back so hopefully January will be the last board I miss. I'd really like to learn in a Lakota If I had my choice.

Rumor has it that Bell came along and offered to replace our whole fleet with brand new helicopters for half the cost of the Lakota contract. I have no idea what model they offered though. Again, just rumors

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"there will be no more touchdown autos which you pretty much do every day in Primary. That is a major life saving skill that needs to be honed."

 

I'm a guy who flew and taught in R-22s before joining the Army and teaching in the 60s. So from a guy who understands the learning and experience that takes place in full-down autorotations, justify the above statement.

 

There are way too many plaques with the names of military students and instructors that have been killed while performing "practice" autorotations in single engine aircraft. How many have been killed due to an inability to perform an autorotation in a twin engine aircraft? It's hard to argue that it is a "major life saving skill that needs to be honed" if more people are killed practicing it than there are instances of it actually being required in the aircraft they ultimately fly.

 

At least that is the argument that you have to make to the brass. I see value in the skill myself.

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Here's the bottom line. The decision has already been made and touchdown autos and the 67 is on the chopping block.

 

More importantly, more and more civilian operators are going to multi engine helicopters. This is due to the risk involved with SE ops. Now the Army has followed suit, with the exception of the loach (MH / AH-6) USASOAC is gonna do thier own thing when it comes to that.

 

We could argue the whole R22 and touchdown auto thing all day but the bottom line is We still have a requirement in the Army to perform autorotations, it's up to you, the aviator to maintain that skill and realize that your decel will be much lower then in training.

 

Did touchdown autos help me? Mabye 7 years ago. But now, my muscle memory different from flying a 60 for so long, I can honestly say there is no need for me to do touchdown autos. I feel perfectly confident that based off my training I can perform a autorotation in a 60 and walk away from the CRASH site.

 

I would however, like to see a requirement to execute more autorotations durring the year to maintain aviator proficiency.

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It CAN do it, but why risk an expensive airframe to practice bleeding?

 

That's what simulators are for, to learn the high-risk sequences. The everyday stuff, like being able to program the flight director and operate the autopilot are what will help stop you bumping into hills.

 

Having said that, there have been cases where a B412 or 212 have had 2 serviceable engines, but the single driveshaft from the combining gearbox to the transmission has failed, resulting in an auto.

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I think its an idiotic mistake to learn to fly a helicopter, in a UH72.

As for Autos, well, they are dying off with the TH67 and us Scout guys.

 

Manual Throttle?

Full Down Autos?

180 Autos?

 

....Like sand passing through the hourglass.....

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Personally, I lament the loss of training but, but as a longtime mechanic I'd rather have dual engines. Plus looking further down the road, I think time in the UH72 would be more valuable in my career as well as in the civilian market. Most of the pilots ive known are retired Vietnam era pilots who have flown more after their military careers than while they were in.

 

The thought of learning an entire aircraft to never fly it again since the 58's are gone doesn't seem do me any good. Im sure the same things about learning to fly with a more 'manual' machine were said when they took away the H-13 sioux's as well.

 

FWIW I volunteer at a museum that regularly fly's vintage aircraft, so I definitely have a love for the older machines, the museum has a battle scared UH-1E that flies multiple times a month, and I won't miss a chance to get on it, but when it comes down to it it is a museum piece that is babied with many low time or new parts. I consider a single engine helicopter an unnecessary risk with the available alternatives. Hopefully they will be able to pickup an OH-58 for the museum to round out the 2 hueys and cobra currently flying here in Houston.

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I haven't been an Army aviator since 1971, a very different Army. And I generally an old far... I mean old "guy".

Autorotations are part of a lot of emergency procedures in multi-engine helicopters, not just engine failures. If there is an element of the power system or airframe shared by both engines, it's possible that an auto will be the answer when that component has an issue. Short-shaft failures, for instance, if the airframe has a combining gear box, or contaminated fuel, or some anti-torque failures need a power off landing. Emergencies come in a huge variety, very few look like training scenarios, so the flight crew needs to be evaluating and adapting skills. A twin complicates that process in that there are more systems to consider. Y'all will be flying 2-pilot crews which offset somewhat the systems issue but introduce a second complication, two pilots.

Real world touchdowns practiced frequently are the best training. However, the feel and parameters of an auto vary between machines, think about an R22 and a UH1 in an autorotation, so auto training in one is only generally transferable to another airframe. Nobody, except test pilots, routinely does full on autos in twins, and in any airframe, you're trying to repeat the test pilots' recommendations.

But there is a limitation in that you're not going to train them in the same scenarios you're going to actually do the emergency - high D/A heavy zero/slow airspeed high hover over a hover down; or fast NOE; or without a T/R gearbox, or whatever cards you're dealt (every shuffle of the cards produces a unique arrangement of the 52 pasteboards). Kinda makes a strong case for doing the procedure in a simulator. Which hurts, because I HATE simulators...

Edited by Wally
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That's a question for Eurocopter, not the military. It's the RFM, not -10

Huh... seems weird. So when you're practicing the autos are you just supposed to pull out if it before touchdown? Sorry if the questions are annoying, I'm trying to absorb as much information as I can.

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Huh... seems weird. So when you're practicing the autos are you just supposed to pull out if it before touchdown? Sorry if the questions are annoying, I'm trying to absorb as much information as I can.

Yes. Power recovery, or termination with power. You either fly out of it, or turn it into a hover at the bottom. It's what you'll do in advanced airframe.

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As a retired Army IP here's my two cents. I am not for or against the Lakota as an initial trainer. From the stand point of training new Army aviators I think the Lakota will be ok as an initial trainer from the student's perspective. As others have indicated the glass cockpit, advanced flight control systems, dual engines, etc., will prepare them well for any of the Army's current airframes. I do think that the Army is going to discover that their maintenance costs are going to go up significantly. I work with a number of folks who have significant amounts of time flying the EC-145 (the Lakota's civilian nomenclature) and they all tell me that it's a great aircraft, but will not hold up well to the abuse student aviators will put it through. And trust me, having been a student aviator and an IP, I know these aircraft will be abused.

 

Having said that, if you have any thought of flying helicopters as a civilian after the Army, then having never flown a small single engine helicopter with limited power and no advanced flight control systems might put you at a disadvantage. I know that may sound counter-intuitive, but as an example, at the company I work for you will start in a Bell 206 (had you flown a TH-67 you would have some experience in this aircraft) or a Bell 407 regardless of how many hours you have or regardless of what aircraft you flew in the Army. You will not start out flying a multi-engine, glass cockpit helicopter. Will not having flown the TH-67 make you less likely to get hired? I don't think so, but it will make for a steep learning curve and definitely a step back from anything you will fly in the Army.

 

If for no other reasons, I think the TH-67 is a great aircraft to begin in to help develop control touch without any flight control system aiding, and to be able to put on a resume that you have some experience flying smaller aircraft.

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