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Didn't know they could do that,...did you?


r22butters
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Just read this on their website:

 

 

Current pricing for the Genesys Aerosystems' HeliSAS retrofit STC for the Robinson R66 is: HeliSAS Stability Augmentation System only: $62,530. HeliSAS Stability Augmentation System with two-axis Autopilot: $71,509. Pricing includes all equipment required including the installation kit.
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Do all R66s 'wallow' like that? The "very stable" flight with autopilot engaged seemed to oscillate in the yaw with some minimal roll coupling... is that usual, or is the meat servo (pilot) on the pedals behind the aircraft?

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Seriously, how soon before they just don't need us anymore?!

 

I used to argue about how med crew or passengers would never consider riding without a pilot, but I'm not so sure anymore. Even if it's not full autopilot the possibility of the pilot flying remotely from the base seems to be a growing possibility since the technology is already there and could significantly increase available weight for fuel or extra passengers.

Honestly I'm surprised that it hasn't already been implemented for ENG and utility

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I fly topped off and usually have an available patient weight of 500+ pounds but I don't fly a 206. No reason not to have a pilot on board.

 

An autopilot in a personal helicopter would just be a big waste of money, IMO. If I can stay out of the clouds for 6,000 hours, a pilot just flying for pleasure and convenience sure as hell can, too. It's not that difficult, especially in a helicopter. LAND. Anybody that says the weather changes or changed "in an instant," is lying. Even at night. Plenty of warning but you do have to pay attention.

 

If you have such poor judgement you find yourself in IMC in a helicopter and survive, chances are you will eventually figure out a way to kill yourself in it.

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I am no hypocrite and I have been caught without adequate visual reference. I will confess to a couple times that were NOT forecast or visible in normal flight in time for a precautionary landing:

 

Once Gulf O'Mexico, spring fog formed from horizon to horizon and faster than I could get to a VFR airport. Fortunately, 'wakes' formed by vegetation and an easy onshore breeze opened up an approach to a customer helipad just as I crossed it. They took a company car home, I got to base a half an hour before sunset, 8 hours later.

 

O-dark thirty scene call to a culturally developed area, no adverse forecast. Pick up the scene 10 miles out, on a statehighway through a pulpwood forest. High recon, cell tower 1/4 mile upwind, landing normal. Well, okay, the potential patient is a hunter hours away, so I wait. 3 hours later, above the trees, accelerate, where's that tower? Geez, it's black, I'm steering away from the tower, road on my left... No, nothing there but blackness. I'm inadvertent but under control, cussin' to beat a sailor, continue the climb... just about to call it, confess, comply, and I pop out the top. Fortunately, it's an expansive broken undercast, and I see the destination city, so I follow the 'openings' in the undercast keeping landing areas visible. A half hour after landing, it's obscured, 1/4 mile vis for a day and a half...

 

Just luck, some skill and the certain knowledge that down is effin' serious, easily fatal, unless you're flying the approach. Any of those, and more could have killed me had I been having a bad day, fatigued, or whatever. I hate 'George', he makes pilots lazy, but is sure nice to have the option.

 

Here's another pro to testify:

 

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Do all R66s 'wallow' like that? The "very stable" flight with autopilot engaged seemed to oscillate in the yaw with some minimal roll coupling... is that usual, or is the meat servo (pilot) on the pedals behind the aircraft?

 

It's a pedal thing. The 44's have it as well. It's mentioned somewhere in the POH that if you have yaw oscillations like that to apply a little more left pedal (if memory serves)

Edited by ridethisbike
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Right pedal. Same thing but more pronounced in the new 505. Slight right pedal helps. Although POH does mention left pedal when loaded in an aft CG configuration. Right pedal however has been found to be a slight improvement vs left at higher elevations. I have tried both and it seems to work either way when needed.

 

Butters, you think that AP is cool, you should see what the 429 can do. The return to point feature is pretty slick.

Edited by WolftalonID
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Ha, I've seen the A/P do waaaay too many weird and/or uncommanded things to ever sit in a pilot-less rig.

 

Just two days ago the Captain gave me controls because his autopilot wouldn't couple to the ILS in fact.

 

I wouldn't be worried about not having a job anytime soon.

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I also have flown a few light helicopters with autopilots and have had them do scary things. Like be cruising along and have it throw you into a hard right climbing turn kind of scary.

 

That usually happens when you go from ATT hold or Heading hold to NAV suddenly...its like..oh you want to turn to that last NAV waypoint inputted 27589 hrs ago..sure, bam! So far if the pilots set the AP up correctly it flies fine. Most of the whoops, sorry bout that moments come from no checklist being used to set up the AP correct, so trying to push all the program buttons by memory fails miserably.
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