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Hughes 500C


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Hi , I'm new to 500s. I was catching deer awhile back with a C model. At one point , I turned down wind and nosed it over a sudden gust made my tail feel like it was going to flip over my head. Full aft cyclic fixed it but wasn't a quick fix and I'm thinking I should use more pedal to recover next time but want some expert advice regarding this. I would appreciate any information very much , as I'd like to stay right side up. Thanks in advance.

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sounds like you are going into a scary place, where you shouldn't be. I don't think you completely understand the aerodynamics of what's going on? That's okay, that's why we ask questions. What especially alarms me is what you say about the use of pedal. You must understand you can run hopelessly out of pedal in certain circumstances. I.e. you will be overpowering the ability of the tail rotor to keep you pointing in the direction you wish. Just being more brutal on the controls, as you seem to imply, is NOT going to fix nothing. Only get you into more trouble, I'm thinking. Occasionally.

I flew 500's for 5 years off tuna boats, which makes me barely qualified to even begin to address the finer points of flying the wonderful Hughes 500, but for what it's worth, I did produce a long scribble about flying/landing/playing with a Hughes 500 going downwind.

It has caused a lot of accidents in the Tuna Fields, (tailwind and 500's, I mean, not my scribbles - I hope) and I actually saw one unfolding slow motion in front of my eyes. I describe it on my blog. Very surreal to watch.

Two choices for you: you can kiss goodbye to $5.95 (which helps me run my site) and buy my dastardly E-book scribble (Smashwords: google Francis Meyrick - 3 books up so far) It ranks up there with "Molly goes to town", and is frowned upon by polite society, but here is the link:

Moggy's Tuna Manual

or you can cheat, and go to www.chopperstories.com

if you scroll down the page, you'll find "Moggy's Tuna Manual" and there are a few sections you might like to browse.

here's one that jumps to mind:

Chapter 3-A "Different techniques for landing"

here's the link "Molly goes to town"

The 500 is wonderful to fly, absolutely superb, but it's a short coupled T/R beastie, and will surprise you when you start dribbling off airspeed. A downwind, hovering turn with a strong quartering tailwind..... caution, caution. (shivers)

have fun



Edited by Francis Meyrick
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"flashed", eh? That explains. I knew there was something obscene about it. Reminds me of that hooker in Guam. :rolleyes:


I'm happy you enjoyed it. Reward in itself. Fly safe.


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I have exactly ZERO 500 time, but here's my own observation from a ride-along flight I took..


Couple of years ago I rode with a friend in a 500E (might've been a F, I don't remember). He did powerline stringing with it. The purpose of the flight was to "inspect the towers" he'd be stringing between later on. Basically he just wanted to show me what he did and how he did it. So we hover up to this huge, naked powerline tower and he starts doing hovering pirouettes around it. Mind you, the wind was *BLOWING* that day. And when we get into a very OGE, very downwind hover my 206 brain is thinking we're going to weathervane our asses off or at least fall into LTE, VRS, SWP and all sorts of other alphabet problems.. But no, that little 500 apparently has less weathervaning tendency than a 206. At least, my friend was having no problem with it, and he's surely no...well...me. I mean, look at it - there's just not much tailboom sticking out back there and very little vertical fin area to catch the wind (at least on the T-tail models). Unlike a 206, the 500 seems to do pretty well when the wind is coming from other quadrants than straight ahead or off the left.


I was impressed - after I calmed down and got my heart out of my throat. I guess I'd have to actually fly one to say anything authoritative about it. So...ahhh...gee, disregard all previous, I suppose.

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the Hughes 500 is short coupled. I love the Bell 206, and the 407, but you got that great big long tail to help. The 206 is a very different animal.

On the nippy-nippy pirouette 500's what happens is that new pilots don't realize how sensitive the pedals are. You gotta work 'em. Any downwind/crosswind work, (especially when that airspeed is going DOWN, and you are pulling even MORE power) (argh!) you'll get perfect response, perfect response, BANG, you just hit the pedal stop... oops, now what?


Typical scenario: downwind/crosswind approach to tunaboat helideck, (from starboard side) coming in too low, too flat, pulling way too much power. If the boat is sailing into wind (-ish), you have a nasty crosswind from the right, and maybe right rear. Guys sink a little too low (they think) (in fact, they are way too low), and pull in more power. More power.


Poor little helicopter is only going straight because you're putting in more, and more, and MORE, LEFT PEDAL. (power pedal) But she wants to weather vane RIGHT into the wind.

The slower you're going, the more power you are pulling.... the less effective that vertical fin...

you are just going to over power the ability of your faithful little Hughes to keep pointing at the deck.


I've watched it happen, from another boat. (see my blog). Poor Korean pilot kept going slower, and lower, sank some more pulled in power, hit the left pedal stop, didn't know what the hell was happening..... nose yawed right....just as he was crossing the edge of the deck.....tail rotor swung left, straight into assembled aerials..... and he crashed....! My heart still has teeth marks in it.


He survived. Funny thing was, he blamed it on a tail rotor failure. Adamantly. It wasn't. It was 'pilot failure'. Years later, he came to me looking for a job, STILL adamant it was a "tail-rotah-failyuh".


If you are new to 500's... it's a SUPER helicopter... she's well designed, and in the hands of an experienced pilot, she works wonders. But SUPER CAUTION is required getting used to her handling when the airspeed is bleeding off (for whatever reason) and the wind is coming from anywhere other than on the nose. Build up to it softly. Don't start yanking in power.


It's a bit like matrimony. Practice makes.... um.... perfect.



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I meant the couple defined by the distance from the main rotor drive shaft to the tail rotor drive shaft. And I implied it was much shorter than that of a Bell 206. And I therefore implied the Hughes 500 was much more sensitive to heavy footed pedal work.

Hold it... hold it. Okay, Kevlar jacket on. Check. Helmet on. Check. Survival rations... check.


Okay, I'm ready. INCOMING+++++



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