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Getting Out With The Blades Turning


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I have did it a lot,mainly because of the type of work I usually do. Most of the work I have been doing is Ag, Seismic, and Heli-Skiing. In all of these fields you are doing a lot of sorties a day, and are pushed for time,so usually when fueling or taking a nature break I would friction the controls,or turn off the hydraulics and stay relatively close to the helo. Most of the time this is in remote locations,where you do not have the general public around,just your ground crew. The Lama was nice because you could shut down the rotor and leave the engine running, this was done about every 3 hours with the Lama so the mech could lube the long shaft and grease the tail-rotor. Also pretty much all hot-fueling during these operations.  Jesse

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I think that if youy are walking away from the helo the blades should be stopped. However having said that all my current flights are get in, fly getout, go home. So I can see the advantage in leaving them turning if it is only for a short time. The problem is that even if you are close by and something happens there is little you can do. I always use the rotor brake on the r22.

Just my thoughts.

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As an ex mustering pilot, we used to leave the helicopter running behind often to open a gate, throw some "mickey" deliver a water bottle...any number of things.  We have all heard the stories of what can happen but I reckon if you take your time and think about what you are doing, chances are your helicopter will be as you left it when you return.  I heard about a weaner steer one time that turned back and ran under the tailboom missing the tail-rotor by "enough"  ;)

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The company I currently work for prohibits getting out with the rotors turning (even after shutdown until the rotors stop) but at my other jobs, getting out while it was running was a common practice.

 

Either you use another cycle everytime you fuel or you fuel and return to the job quicker and with less cycles. Friction, and hyd. off are also my methods to keep the controls from moving. We used to get out of our helicopters to use the 'facilities' but now I've seen some operators have control holders (trained personnel to hold the controls while the pilot gets lighter).

 

Similar story: I almost walked under the boom of a 500D while it was running. My brain kicked in at about the clam shell doors of the engine. A dumb almost mistake but with the helmet on, complacency of being around the tail of a helicopter a lot, and concentrating on how to get over to the load quicker it was a near fatal mistake. Also, I nearly fell out of a helicopter slinging after connecting a longline to my own running helicopter and lifting without replacing the seatbelt (Have another friend who did this too). Yeah, it sounds stupid but these are some of the things that you need to be more careful about.

 

I'd check with your company and see what their policy is on it. If in doubt shutdown. Some contracts (and State Airports in Alaska) require you shutdown for fueling.

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  • 3 months later...

Turning the hydraulics off, and getting out sounds like a dubious practice to me.  The rotor doesn't care if the hyd is on or off, and the wind will affect the rotor without regard to where the hyd switch is.  It only makes it harder for you to move the controls.  If you have to get out while the a/c is running, stay close, and make sure you're on flat, hard, close to level ground.  Whenever I've had to get out because natures call just couldn't be held anymore, I used full friction (restricts control movement, hyd off still allows controls to move freely), throttle to ground idle, and I stood on the skid with the door open.  I also didn't land on top of a windy hill, or go wandering off to see what's for dinner in the cookshack.  :D  

 

Cheers

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I don't routinely, and that's the keyword in this sentence, exit the aircraft with the rotors turning. I would do so if my employer allowed and have done so in the past. The aircraft must be-

1) On a dead level and firm surface.

2) No wind.

3) NO, repeat, NO people under the disk.

4) Controls firmly frictioned or locked as designed-no impromptu mechanism.

5) Pilot monitoring the helo at all times.

 

50-plus thousand landings, never had the aircraft or rotor move under the above situation. All I'm doing with this checklist is minimising the probability of a bad outcome, the potential is still there.

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During the 60's and 70's when the Army was training thousands of new pilots for Vietnam, there was on a daily basis hundreds of Hillers, Bells and Hughes trainers flying around Texas with student pilots who landed in confined areas, and on hill tops, and were instructed to get out, leave it running, and do a ground recon before lifting off again.

 

I heard a story or two about a helicopter lifting off and leaving the student due to improper friction settings.  

 

Heard about a pilot in Africa this past week that landed on a hill top to "answer the call of nature" and his helicopter lifted off and crashed.

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