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Who is going to fly the AW609?


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Ok guys I have a couple of questions on the AW609. First, I know that the 609 will be under a the power lift category. So my question is; are R/W pilots, F/W pilots or duel rated pilots going to better suited for this aircraft? My guess is the dual rated guys might have an edge but it will depend on the mission. The other question is if the dual rated guy is the better choice would more time in a fixed wing or helicopter be better?

 

The reason I am asking is I want to fly the 609. I am dual rated but helicopter is my weak hand. With that being said I am currently flying a King Air so I have F/W turbine time operating in the flight levels where not to many helicopter guys go.

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Well, the military cant figure out where to get Osprey pilots from, so I can imagine the civilian world would be in the same boat.

That being said, it clearly needs to be a helicopter based pipeline. All your money is made taking off and landing. Flying coupled to a flight director on a cross country doesn't require much thinking.

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The 609 will generally operate IFR at flight levels. The experience needed will be planning and operating in a 250kt air route environment, which a helicopter pilot hasn't seen. The landing at the end might be vertical, it might be a run-on, but for VIP ops all they want is a smooth ride.

 

For SAR ops, a hell driver would have the edge, but for plain transport, 5% of the flight is below wing speed, the rest is for the plank drivers.

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The 609 was designed with a collective(up adds power) and the V-22 has a throttle (forward adds power). This should favor the helo guys. The ones that will have a lot of negative transfer will be the V-22 pilots!

 

Bell did simulator studies during the design phase of the V-22 and with the throttle helo pilots would go the wrong way with the power lever when flying nap of the earth and presented with a head on collision situation. Bell human factors originally had the V-22 designed with a collective but the U.S.M.C. Class Desk Officer, who was a F-18 driver, mandated a throttle.

 

Bell had a design that had a thrust vector controller that mirrored the stick motion with the aircraft thrust vector. In a hover up was more power. In cruise flight forward was more power. This feature was not implemented on the V-22 or 609.

 

 

 

 

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The 609 was designed with a collective(up adds power) and the V-22 has a throttle (forward adds power). This should favor the helo guys. The ones that will have a lot of negative transfer will be the V-22 pilots!

 

Bell did simulator studies during the design phase of the V-22 and with the throttle helo pilots would go the wrong way with the power lever when flying nap of the earth and presented with a head on collision situation. Bell human factors originally had the V-22 designed with a collective but the U.S.M.C. Class Desk Officer, who was a F-18 driver, mandated a throttle.

 

Bell had a design that had a thrust vector controller that mirrored the stick motion with the aircraft thrust vector. In a hover up was more power. In cruise flight forward was more power. This feature was not implemented on the V-22 or 609.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I've flown FW and RW and the habit transfer between the two were basically gone after about 10-15 hours. It's a training issue and not something that difficult to overcome. I think the big benefits for Osprey pilots will be the similar systems (If there are any being they're both Bell Products) and aerodynamic similarities to the Osprey and not so much cockpit set up and ergonomics.

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It will be very interesting to see where pilots come from to fly the civilian 609. In the first place, we know that insurance companies "drive the bus" when it comes to who can be PIC in any aircraft. And we're talking not just a new type of already existing airplane or helicopter, but a whole new type of aircraft! One with some very peculiar flying characteristics.

 

My bet is that the insurance companies are going to be very, VERY conservative, especially considering the jobs the 609 may be asked to do. In other words, insurance companies aren't going to let just any schmoe with a fresh type rating fly Mr. Big Fortune 100 CEO around. Oil companies can even be more conservative when it comes to who can be PIC (and SIC for that matter!). Will standards be relaxed for the 609? Don't bet on it! If anything they'll be more strict.

 

Obviously, PIC's for the 609 are going to have to have some serious make/model time. But where are they going to get it? Will insurance companies allow Sim time to be applicable? Let's hope so. But even if they do, that sim at the Bell plant is going to be f'ing BUSY, what with new checkouts/transitions and guys wanting to build PIC time. Holy cow! Let's hope they have more than one! (Oh, and where are those sim instructors going to come from?)

 

Okay, so who would be the desireable candidate for a 609 PIC slot? Do we want someone with a lot of V-22 time already? They're really two completely different animals. But if V-22 pilots are available in sufficient quantities, they'd probably be the prime candidates. Trouble is, with as few Ospreys as are in service, the military isn't going to let V-22 pilots leave without a fight to keep them in.

 

Or do we want guys with high fixed-wing time in corporate jets?

 

On the other hand, do we want dual-rated but primarily rotorcraft guys with heavy S-61/H-3, Puma or S-92 time? Those helicopters possess the necessary sophistication and the pilots will undoubtedly be IFR-current. But can slow-talking, slow-walking, slow-thinking helo pilots adapt to the high-altitude, high-speed mission of the 609? You might say, "Yes, of course! Absolutely! Why not!" But let's be honest: *Not* all helicopter pilots will be able to successfully transition to the 609 - that's just a fact. You probably know one or two who have trouble keeping up with the SST-like pace of the S-92. I sure do.

 

Me personally? Honestly, I don't know who I'd want flying the 609. But whoever gets the slots, rest assured that they're not going to just go through Flight Safety (or whatever), get a checkout and then hop in and fly the boss around.

 

Building the necessary make/model time is going to be tough.

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Well I am dual rated, and at age 60 I don't expect to land a job flying one! I really don't care, all I want is a quite Cessna 206 pilot job in Alaska or the Pacific Northwest with enough time off to go fish some and hunt in season! As for the aircraft, I don't know if they are even going to sell that many for it to even matter. There are a lot of aircraft around that had real low production numbers, the Beech Starship comes to mind, Beech bought all the ones the made with the exception of one, that owner would not sell it back! I recall Bell never made that many 214 ST's either! Thou the ATP rotorcraft helicopter written was based on that one, or at least when I took the test it was!

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Nobody has a better training facility then Bell. I would assume/guess that the bulk of the 609 training will contracted to Bell and done in Texas. But who knows.

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Many years ago I flew with another pilot who was also in the Marine Corp Reserve. Initially he was a Marine Helo pilot, then transitioned in the AV8 Harrier. What he told me was that the Marines had initially put fighter pilots into the AV8, but after studying the accident reports, they started moving AH1 Cobra pilots into the Harrier with a lower accident rate the result. The takeoff and landing dynamics are different enough that pilots with solid amounts of helicopter time will be the most likely prime candidates.

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I believe it will be just like any other aircraft up-grade…… That is, I don’t think it would be in the manufacturer’s best interest to market a particular machine where operators (pilots) would be hard to come by… To me, that would be bad business….. Besides, you flew it……..(the Blue Thunder clip is too long but ya get my drift).....

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Spike, but it's not an "upgrade" or anything like that. It's a whole new rating: Powered-Lift. So from an insurance company's standpoint it will be akin to a high-time fixed-wing driver getting his R/W rating and wanting to be PIC of the new and largely theoretical, exists only on paper S-76D that the company is buying. The underwriter is gonna go, "Now hooooooooold on there, pardner!"

 

The FAA requires 50 hours in powered-lift aircraft. That's going to be tricky since there are NO civilian powered-lift aircraft in which to train.

 

And not only that, the 609 blows right past the 12,500 pound line of demarcation, meaning that you not only have to have the Powered Lift rating, but also a Type Rating.

 

SIC's will be required for all commercial passenger-carrying ops, obviously - no sandbags. And SIC's will have to be rated and therefore have to have the same 50 hours of training to get the rating as the PIC.

 

And so even if the insurance companies go with the FAA minimum only require 50 hours make/model for a PIC (which I personally think is doubtful), them's still a lot of hours to build, either in a sim or the actual aircraft. Aye caramba, muy expensivo! as Senor Gufbol de la Avgnat might say. How are newbies going to be able to build time in the dang thing? Maybe the surviving XV-15 could be pulled out of the Smithsonian and pressed into service as a trainer?

 

But why...WHY would a manufacturer build an aircraft for which it would be hard to obtain pilots? A good question! I'm sure that Bell figured (before they dumped it on the Italians and ran like thieves in the night) that if you're crazy/dumb and rich enough to buy a 609, then you're also rich enough to afford to train pilots up in it.

 

And, well, it's been done before, like when Larry Bell invented the helicopter and then went down to Connecticut and showed that Russian guy that you only needed *one* anti-torque tail rotor back there to make it work. ("Not THREE, Igor, just one.") Back then nobody knew anything about helicopters, and the CAA's attitude was, "Teach yourselves how to fly them crazy things and come to us for a sign-off." It was like getting a seaplane or multi-engine rating on your existing cert. I know a guy who basically taught himself how to fly a Hiller 12 back in the 1950's as there were no CFI's in Puerto Rico at the time and the Hiller pilot scrammed back to the U.S. right after dropping the thing off. ("Good luck! Call us if you need parts!") For the checkride the FAA guy wouldn't even go up with him; he stood by the hangar and watched.

 

Things have changed. A little.

 

I mean, holy cow look at all the hoops you have to jump through just to fly a friggin' Robbie! Damn! And if you think Robbies are dangerous, just think of all the 609 crashes that are going to happen. Don't believe me? Heh. Go to the NTSB website and do a simple search of all the S-76's or SA-330's out there. It will open up yer lyin' eyes.

 

Or let's put it in airline terms. Airlines: Safest mode of travel ever invented, right? Who would ever have thought...WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT that two supposedly competent airline pilots could stall a Boeing 777 on short-final on a beautiful VFR day and crash the thing onto the runway (Asiana, San Francisco, Capt. Wi Tu Lo). I mean...huh?

 

And who ever would have thought...WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT that the pilots of an Airbus could stall the thing up at altitude and mush it right down to the ocean without realizing that holding the stick all the way back while the plane was descending at umpteen-thousand feet per minute was probably a bad thing? Really?

 

One-offs, I know. Aberrations. Flukes. But it will be interesting to see what new ways pilots will come up with of crashing the 609. I'm sure the FAA and the insurance companies are curious too.

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Guest pokey

i don't think the whole tilt rotor hype will ever catch on. Seems to me like a 3 wheeler, who was that motorcycle company that decided to put the 2 wheels out front?---i don't see any of them on the road either. But? i'm dual rated too & i'd give it a go if i had the opportunity, but then again? i haven't been flyin' since i was 14. ( i never flew a heavy jet either) (nor all over the world)

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i don't think the whole tilt rotor hype will ever catch on. Seems to me like a 3 wheeler, who was that motorcycle company that decided to put the 2 wheels out front?---i don't see any of them on the road either.

Sadly, you are most likely correct with this statement. But not because the technology isn't sound, because the ground based support and landing facilities aren't available. Count the number of verti-ports available today in the US that will support an aircraft large enough to carry, say 19 passengers, to make a commute profitable. There are not very many are there? The tilt rotor has the capability of revolutionizing commuter air travel. Think of the traffic congestion that would be reduced at major airports if we could remove the majority of aircraft flying within a 350 mile radius. Take the DFW area as an example. If there were verti-ports in Allen, Dallas, Arlington, Fort Worth, Plano, Mesquite, Granbury, and Weatherford, to name a few cities, the commute time from your office to say Houston, San Antonio, Oklahoma City, and any other city within that 350 mile radius would be considerably faster than it is today. Think of the time you waste today driving to DFW or Love, finding a parking place, waiting on TSA clearance, waiting to board, 30 minute taxi times to your runway, plus all the associated hassles and time wasted on arrival. If there were verti-ports available at smaller locations all these time wasting procedures would be reduced considerably.

The technology can not be utilized if the infrastructure to support it is not available!

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The technology can not be utilized if the infrastructure to support it is not available!

 

You would always need a load of pax who's (combined) time is more valuable than tilt rotor time (keep in mind that the AW609 will accommodate only 6-8 pax).

And they would need to be having the same commuting route. On a regular basis.

I think IF you find that combination, erecting suitable heliports on both ends of the trip should be well within feasibility for said blessed commuters...

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I think IF you find that combination, erecting suitable heliports on both ends of the trip should be well within feasibility for said blessed commuters...

 

This is probably geographically dependent. That is, round these parts, getting the feds to approve a simple helipad is darn near impossible. Can’t fathom how they’d even consider a vertiport for a tilt machine…… Although around here, no need for a tilt aircraft as airports are abundant and airplanes are far cheaper to operate……….. Let alone the whole “A” model thing, X2……..

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