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Helicopter pilot weight and seat rating


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Ok my problem is as follows and would love to know if any of the pilots here have an answer.

I weigh unfortunately 400 pounds and recently found out that I need to be around 300 pounds to pilot an R44 because of the pilot seat weight restrictions. Alright I am 63 and not a lot of time left to fly so my question is: Because it will take me a while to lose the 100 pounds are there any helicopters that would allow me to train and fly in one with an approved license of course.

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When I took a demo flight in an Enstrom many years ago, I was told that it could hold three 200 lbs people and still take a full tank of gas! I don't know if there is an individual seat weight in them, but you could google for schools that use them and ask?

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When I took a demo flight in an Enstrom many years ago, I was told that it could hold three 200 lbs people and still take a full tank of gas! I don't know if there is an individual seat weight in them, but you could google for schools that use them and ask?

 

Thanks for the reply. I know the Robinson has a seat rating, but I am beginning to believe that seems to be Robinson specific. I will try asking around some more I spoke to one sales and service place for another brand and they replied they did not know where to even begin finding out that info or where to look.

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Ok my problem is as follows and would love to know if any of the pilots here have an answer.

I weigh unfortunately 400 pounds and recently found out that I need to be around 300 pounds to pilot an R44 because of the pilot seat weight restrictions. Alright I am 63 and not a lot of time left to fly so my question is: Because it will take me a while to lose the 100 pounds are there any helicopters that would allow me to train and fly in one with an approved license of course.

Sdenard,

 

One of the main challenges I foresee is the flight controls being blocked, specifically the cyclic. When I was a flight instructor in the Schweizer 300, there were a few students I had to turn down. Although there wasn't a seat weight limit and the total weight and center-of-gravity (CG) were within limits, I wasn't able to move the cyclic far enough back to hover in place or flare. While most helicopter pilots have at least one story of their passenger having to "sit back and suck in their gut" to land with the duals in, it is a serious concern and a situation that very few CFIs would put themselves in willingly.

 

It is also worth noting that as fuel burns off through the flight, the CG will shift further and further forward (as the fuel tank is aft of the rotor mast). As such the cyclic will need to be positioned even further back then what was needed to hover prior to takeoff.

 

In summary, it is critical that you sit in the helicopter and evaluate control movement before committing any money. To be completely honest I foresee it being an issue, but nonetheless wish you the best.

Edited by Hand_Grenade_Pilot
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Sdenard,

 

One of the main challenges I foresee is the flight controls being blocked, specifically the cyclic. When I was a flight instructor in the Schweizer 300, there were a few students I had to turn down. Although there wasn't a seat weight limit and the total weight and center-of-gravity (CG) were within limits, I wasn't able to move the cyclic far enough back to hover in place or flare. While most helicopter pilots have at least one story of their passenger having to "sit back and suck in their gut" to land with the duals in, it is a serious concern and a situation that very few CFIs would put themselves in willingly.

 

It is also worth noting that as fuel burns off through the flight, the CG will shift further and further forward (as the fuel tank is aft of the rotor mast). As such the cyclic will need to be positioned even further back then what was needed to hover prior to takeoff.

 

In summary, it is critical that you sit in the helicopter and evaluate control movement before committing any money. To be completely honest I foresee it being an issue, but nonetheless wish you the best.

 

Thanks for that information that was a concern that I was going to address next. It was also a concern, but I might have to wait till I lose the 100 pounds if there is cyclic movement problem that would limit it's movement.. I appreciate you taking the time to respond.

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I had a 400-pounder in the front seat of a B206, and it was a serious problem, a very nose-low hover and little cyclic movement available to stop any forward movement. People standing outside said they had never seen a 206 landing on its toes before - always heels first.

 

Yes you do have a problem. It may stop you from flying. Such is life.

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I've had 'heavy' (I'd guess less than 400) front seat pax on a 206 which resulted in reduced aft cyclic... Excuse- company used 'loading chart' specifying pax loading , sequence, control range check on pick up didn't reveal issues, although left toe last to lift was unusual. Decelerating on approach hit the aft stop, not the gentleman's abdomen- built like an NFL player. Doable that time, but I would not repeat it intentionally and never as an instructional aircraft without aft ballast.

 

 

My recip time is limited to the little Hughes/Scheizer/Sikorskis and Bell 47.

I had a student 6'5", 305 lbs, in a Hughes 300 who required, "uh" careful selection of seat material to allow full cyclic movement. The Hughes is pretty good W&B as I recall, but compact seating with controls.

 

The Robinsons I've seen all look narrower than the 300 which cubed (volume) out with my big passenger. The Bell 47 would probably work, but good luck finding somebody flying much less instructing in it.

 

I don't think any of the 206s will do in instructional config without ballasting the cargo compartment,. I think they are going to restrict you control movement. Full pedal and cyclic on my leg at 5'8" and 170 lbs wasn't unusual...

 

If you really, really want to fly helos, I think the Astar is your best fit. Expensive but roomy.

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I took a 400 pounder in a 206B one time. I put him in the back center seat. Two seat belt extenders? I can't remember. I couldn't have gotten him the front seat even if I wanted to. I don't think the door would close or I would be able to raise the collective. You would have trouble even reaching it.

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Hey I have to say thank you for all your opinions and especially the shall we say gentle approach to a FAT GUY. I know it but appreciate the tact you all have used. I found out the Enstrom 480B with the help of Enstrom might be the answer of course I would need to work with Enstrom which they are willing to do to reconfigure seating to a wider seat and most likely a farther back seat.

O ne question I have is on a COG calculation are you looking to keep the COG close to the MR shaft or to the actual COG of the distance? I figured out COG empty with reserve at 12.86ftn a 30.1 ft total span and 12.93 with full fuel all within the useful load limit of 1190 lbs using a 50 lb weight at 26ft from front of the span according to the specs on a 480B this appears to be dang close to the position of the MR shaft. Is this where it should be?

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The allowable CG ranges will be in the rotorcraft flight manual along with the 'stations' you will use in calculating the CG.

 

There are 3 CGs that have to be kept in range: longitudianal, lateral and vertical.

 

The longitudanal being the most common issue encountered, helicopters are generally loaded with more range fore and aft than side to side. The '0' datum is usually measured FROM a specified point that actually exists in the airframe, and all stations will be indexed from that, aft, so all your CG numbers will be positive. Example- an Astar pilot seat is at 61.02", no matter where it is on the seat track.

 

From time to time you may have to calculate a lateral CG at which point, positive and negative numbers are used for 'buttock lines' (one mustn't confuse lateral stations, buttock lines with STATIONS, you can't just call them lateral stations, no-o-o-o.). I've only had to do that a couple times in 48 years. One appreciates the imaginary reference point used for the longitudanal STATIONS.

 

There is also a vertical cg range, never had to calculate that. Oh, and the proper term is waterlines for those calculations.

Edited by Wally
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The CG has to fall inside a cone which extends down from the rotor hub, at a fairly narrow angle. This angle is determined by how much cyclic movement is available, less a safety margin.

 

The cone extends further fore-and-aft than it does side-to-side, and it then depends on how high the CG is, as to how long the line is between the front of the arc and the back. High CG, small longitudinal range. Low CG, longer CG range.

 

Incidentally, this is why Frank Robinson made the mast of the 44 so high - to extend the CG range because the cabin now had front seats and back seats.

 

Regarding the datum for the measurements, it would be possible to have the centre of the mast as the datum, and then have positives and negatives measured from there, but it is far simpler to put it where they did with the B206 - a couple of inches in front of the nose, so that everything has a positive arm. Less room for mistakes. Lateral, though, is always measure + and - from the centreline.

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The allowable CG ranges will be in the rotorcraft flight manual along with the 'stations' you will use in calculating the CG.

 

There are 3 CGs that have to be kept in range: longitudianal, lateral and vertical.

 

The longitudanal being the most common issue encountered, helicopters are generally loaded with more range fore and aft than side to side. The '0' datum is usually measured FROM a specified point that actually exists in the airframe, and all stations will be indexed from that, aft, so all your CG numbers will be positive. Example- an Astar pilot seat is at 61.02", no matter where it is on the seat track.

 

From time to time you may have to calculate a lateral CG at which point, positive and negative numbers are used for 'buttock lines' (one mustn't confuse lateral stations, buttock lines with STATIONS, you can't just call them lateral stations, no-o-o-o.). I've only had to do that a couple times in 48 years. One appreciates the imaginary reference point used for the longitudanal STATIONS.

 

There is also a vertical cg range, never had to calculate that. Oh, and the proper term is waterlines for those calculations.

 

 

The CG has to fall inside a cone which extends down from the rotor hub, at a fairly narrow angle. This angle is determined by how much cyclic movement is available, less a safety margin.

 

The cone extends further fore-and-aft than it does side-to-side, and it then depends on how high the CG is, as to how long the line is between the front of the arc and the back. High CG, small longitudinal range. Low CG, longer CG range.

 

Incidentally, this is why Frank Robinson made the mast of the 44 so high - to extend the CG range because the cabin now had front seats and back seats.

 

Regarding the datum for the measurements, it would be possible to have the centre of the mast as the datum, and then have positives and negatives measured from there, but it is far simpler to put it where they did with the B206 - a couple of inches in front of the nose, so that everything has a positive arm. Less room for mistakes. Lateral, though, is always measure + and - from the centreline.

 

Thank both of you so much for the info I took the specifics on total length guestimated the seat with 650 pounds and guessed the distance of fuel tank to 3 ft behind MR mast then added 50 more pounds counter weight 3 feet from Tail Rotor and did a COG equation for general COG for any object, just to see where I might expect it to fall and evidently it is close, but both of you gave me some very valuable information and I thank you for it. Hopefully if I do get the ground school training and get a medical ready for flight I will be around 350 then. if things go right. Right now I am going to buy an on-line ground school so I can be more prepared to actually go to the ground training. Thank you all so much again.

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"Fat guy"? I would never jump that way.

My last job included an NFL training camp in our HEMS area. We did an training/liaison/public relations with them so if they needed us to care for their valuable property, er-'players', it would be mutually beneficial. We could handle the 'weight'- mostly, there are some BIG BOYS on the team- but physically difficult to fit the player into the aircraft, tall, wide and geared up, no way. Only the smaller players could be shoe-horned into the aircraft.

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Tail booms are not made to hold 50# within 3 feet of the T/R.

 

Did you figure CG movement during fuel burn to near zero fuel?

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