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No more fulldown autos?


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Picked this up at one of the other forum-sites out there....thought i'd let you guys know!

Anyone have any more information about this, or any comments??

 

The FAA has finally decided that full down autorotations are to be removed from the flight syllabus. It is now no longer a requirement at any level.

Date: April 10, 2006

To: All Regional Flight Standards Division Managers

Manager, Regulatory Support Division, AFS-600

Manager, Civil Aviation Registry, AFS-700

Manager, General Aviation and Commercial Division, AFS-800

From: James J. Ballough, Director, Flight Standards Service, (original signed by John M. Allen)

Prepared by: John D. Lynch

Subject: Elimination of the Simulated Power-off Autorotation to a Touchdown Task on the Flight Instructor - Rotorcraft Helicopter and Gyroplane Practical Test

I have decided to eliminate the simulated power-off autorotation to a touchdown task from the Flight Instructor Practical Test Standards for Rotorcraft Helicopter, and Gyroplane, FAA-S-808 1 -7A. Effective the date of this memorandum, the requirement for performing a touchdown autorotation on the Flight Instructor-Rotorcraft (Helicopter and Gyroplane) practical test is no longer required.

Furthermore, this memorandum eliminates the need for the National Resource Inspector Program designation for aviation safety inspectors who conduct proficiency checks and practical tests in helicopters that require applicants to perform the simulated power-off autorotation to a touchdown task. This National Resource Inspector Program designation was established when FAA Notice 8700.39, Requirements for Simulated Power-Off Autorotation to a Touchdown, was issued. FAA Notice 8700.39 expired on March 21,2006.

As a result of eliminating the simulated power-off autorotation to a touchdown task from the practical test, there are no other requirements for performing touchdown autorotation in helicopters on proficiency checks or practical tests. Therefore, aviation safety inspectors and designated pilot examiners are no longer authorized to require applicants to perform the simulated power-off autorotation to a touchdown task on the Flight Instructor-Rotorcraft (Helicopter and Gyroplane) practical test.

I am requesting that this memorandum be distributed to all Flight Standards District Offices and the Airmen Certification Branch, AFS-760, for dissemination to aviation safety inspectors, designated pilot examiners, part 141 pilot schools, and the other helicopter training providers in areas of jurisdiction.

Until the Flight Instructor Practical Test Standards for Rotorcraft, Helicopter, and Gyroplane, FAA-S-808 1 -7A, is revised, please comply with the policy contained in this memorandum. If you should have further questions, please contact Inspector John D. Lynch, Certification and General Aviation Operations Branch, AFS-810, at (202) 267-8212

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Yeah, I think its a bad call, I understand that a lot of accidents have occurred practicing full touchdown autos, but I think you will have a higher rate of fatal full-downs after this change. Power recoveries are good practice for the proper sight picture, angles, time to flare, etc, but they do not take the place of practicing full touchdown autos. Now you're going to have CFIs who can't safely do one teaching students, and I'm not sure thats a good thing (though it is going to help insurance costs for flight schools).

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I completely disagree, there are simply too many accidents involving DPE's performing full-down autos in other people's helicopters. While I've never heard of a fatality, most do end up in destroyed machines. To be fully proficient at a full down auto, you've got to practice to stay sharp, the FAA is in no position to keep every DPE sharp.

I've also heard from a few freinds that their schools plan on continuing training CFI's to do them. A CFI doing them day in day out is going to be better at them than a DPE, regardless of overall experience. A full down auto is an extreme emergency procedure and contains so many variables that they are extremely risky even in a 'controlled' enviroment. A power recovery auto will teach a pilot to save his and and his passengers' lives, saving the machine every time is secondary and thats in line with most FAA standards.

This has happened because the FAA cant spend their time and money being proficient, not because they arent good to know how to perform.

 

I've also heard that Robinson lobbied hard for this...anyone else?

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I've also heard that Robinson lobbied hard for this...anyone else?

 

Thats probably because they auto like bricks. I understand that DPEs have problems with them as they aren't continually doing full touchdowns; hopefully as you said schools will continue to teach them. I've seen lots of sloppy power recovery autos that work when you have an engine, but would probably end in tragedy if you didn't.

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The probability of alot of small schools using this as an excuse not to do fulldowns is in my eyes high. There are a lot of risks involved in doing fulldowns, and for a lot of small operators out there, an auto gone bad can have a devastating effect on the daily operation (i.e operators that only have the one ship)!!

That being said i totally agree that fulldowns should still be part of the training at cfi level, maybe even earlier on....there is nothing that says you can't have an engine failure as a commercial pilot as far as i know! (just like they have started doing 180's for the private ride - downwind engine failures can happen to anyone!!)

The best reason i can see for doing this, is what people have already mentioned in here - the DPEs are not practicing enough and the cost of getting all DPEs up to standards on all the different models is way too high.

 

When it comes to the insurance costs being lowered, i wouldn't get my hopes up (it is insurance companies we are talking about)! And even if it benefits the operators i strongly doubt that they will decrease their rates so that it'll benefit the customers. The market is already willing to pay todays high rates so why make less money tomorrow, right??

 

Just my 2 cents....

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I wouldn't be suprised if you see a "full down endorsement" for CFI applicants just like the "spin endorsement" for fixed wing applicants.

 

Many will agree with the new rule and many will disagree, however, I'll be curious to see if the insurance companies recognize this and exactly how it will affect their customers. Lower rates?

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people, people, people. read it again

 

the full down auto is for the practial part of the testing NOT the student training.

 

"I have decided to eliminate the simulated power-off autorotation to a touchdown task from the Flight Instructor Practical Test Standards for Rotorcraft Helicopter, and Gyroplane"

 

quit the panic, full down autos will still need to be part of the student training it just won't be a required part of the CFI practial flight test.

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We have fulldown training as part of our Commercial syllabus, and at the CFI's discretion, such training can be given at the Private level (a fulldown demo is always given before soloing a new student).

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quit the panic, full down autos will still need to be part of the student training it just won't be a required part of the CFI practial flight test.

 

That's not entirley true. If it's part of a 141 program, then it will, but most CFI's are not trained under 141. I don't believe there is any requirement under part 61, but I hope I'm proved wrong (I don't have a FAR handy). If it's not a PTS requirement, it's not too big of a stretch to see where insurance companies won't cover the manuvere.

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let me add a few thoughts on this subject.

 

as an owner of a flight school and the equipment being used, i don't have a problem with this PTS requirement being dropped.

 

years ago, the FAA required multi-engine airplane applicants to demonstrate single engine stalls on the checkride. the same logic was applied, "but what if the applicant is single engine and stalls?". well, after killing several people, the FAA finally realized that this needed to be dropped.

 

using the same logic, why doesn't the FAA require fixed wing pilots to idle the engine, pick out a landing area and put the plane down (on or off airport) to prove they can do it?

 

i've been in the airline business for 20 years now, and we use simulators for virtually all our training. many different scenarios can be flown with various failures, and taught to proficency. in the helicopter flight program, we are using a simulator, the "Flyit" helicopter sim. actually engine failures can be taught with a landing all the way down. sometimes they work out, sometimes they don't, but if it doesn't work out, a simple reboot is all that's required, rather than a costly loss of a machine.

 

just my opinion.

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Interesting discussion, but no need to panic. As previously posted, this will just remove the requirement for your CFI ticket. This debate is older than the crust on my grandmother's underwear, but let's look at some very basic statistics...

 

I'll assume most training centers are using the R22, so let's use that aircraft as a basis for discussion. That helicopter has had one (1) engine failure from January 1999 - December 2003 (a five year period). In contrast, they have had 140 accidents due to pilot error (as the NTSB reports indicate - let's not debate how those category decisions were made, let's just assume they are accurate for the sake of arguement). Approximately 1/3 of those 140 non-fatal pilot error accidents were caused by PRACTICE autorotations.

 

Furthermore, the majority of those practice autorations that went bad were NOT full-down autorotations! In fact, most of those were caused by practicing 180's where the instructor allowed the ROD to increase beyond 1500 FPM and typically failed to arrest the situation prior to 100 FT AGL (usually caused by too high bank angle, high airspeed, high RRPM, or an out of trim condition). So, a lot of autorotation accidents aren't really caused by the full-down attempt at all.

 

Nevertheless, I feel that a full-down autoration is an essential part of becoming a professional pilot. Most pilot have never even seen a full-down from inside the cockpit, and they need to have an idea of what to expect. That said, I don't believe that you need to be proficient in performing a full-down to walk away from an actual engine failure. It's possible that the "power-recovery only" student MIGHT ball it up if he actually has to do one to the ground, but I think it would be survivable. So, that begs the question... why even practice full-downs?

 

Personally, I feel that practicing full-down autorotations mean the pilot is less likely to ball it up if he actually has to do one... it's that simple. I think they SHOULD be taught, but only after a pilot has mastered the power-recovery autoration... and there is the biggest problem we have today. Most instructors don't know how to properly perform an autorotation, let alone the average pilot. Everybody seems to have their own "technique" and "method" on the way it should be done. Bah!

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For what it's worth.... power recoveries are the hugest waste in any school's regiment, peroid. It teaches you nothing except to drop the pole when the stove quits, and then how to get within 10 feet of the ground. No one's ever crashed into the sky, which is why this method is so loved. But it does the student no real justice. The last few feet are so crucial, but sadly seem to be highly ignored unless you're going to be a CFI and are then trained to proficently land without power. So it boils down to better training for those who can afford it in my mind. If you can't afford your CFI and have to make do with the minimal full down training you get, find a school that does as many of em as you can find.

 

 

I vote the power recovery be re-named for what it really is. "Close but not Quite"

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Does anyone know if they demo the full down auto at the Robinson Factory course and what they say about the practice?

 

I recently attented the course and the instructor I had did not do them to the ground. I did one where I brought the power in a 0kts airspeed, <6in off the ground. His comment was, "That would have been a beautiful full-down!"

 

The instructor for the class-room sessions kept emphasizing to bleed off as much airspeed as possible, land flat on the skids and "you'll walk away"

 

BTW, Anyone who has been to the course should have seen the video where the FAA test pilot screwed up a full-down and crunched the AC. Those arguing for continued practice of the maneuver will point to the video as proof as to why it is still a necessary element in training. Those on the other side could logically say that since he landed in a level attitude and walked away, he achieved his goal. Furthermore, the video stands a proof of the dangers of doing full-downs in practice.

 

Notice that I'm not taking sides on this issue as I don't believe I'm qualified to do so. :D

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Hmmm... I agree with West Coaster to a point, but I also disagree. Power recoveries, if performed properly, are so close to performing an auto with ground contact that there shouldn't be that much difference... THAT is the point. In my experience, the current problem is that autos are not trained to the right standard; a full-down should be an easy and natural extension for those who are TRULY proficient with the power-recovery. Perhaps we are ignoring the recovery phase of the practice autorotation too much... believing that if we get the ship down that far, it's all golden.

 

Nevertheless, you can't ignore the importance of getting it right on the way down. As I mentioned in my statistics above, most practice autoration accidents are NOT caused by full-downs... most are practice 180's that should have been terminated with a go around. In almost every case, the instructor allowed an excessive ROD to develop, which becomes difficult to recover below 100 FT AGL. The instructor waits, jumps on the controls too late, and balls it up.

 

The autorotation is probably one of the most mis-understood aerodynamic phenomenons. I'm not saying that only performing power-recoveries will adequately prepare you, because I think everyone needs experience doing EOL's. I simply don't believe that power-recoveries are taught or practiced correctly, and all of us have our own mindset on the "right way," which makes it difficult to consider that we might need to change our mind set on this topic.

 

My two cents... and I could be wrong.

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I'll admit too that my view is probably pretty biased due to where I fly and trained. In Canada a student must be able to demonstrate a full down auto before doing his/her first solo. This usually takes place around the 15 to 20 hour mark with at least 5 hours having been dedicated to doing full-ons. By the time a student starts soloing he/she can land a full auto with no control inputs from the instructor about 1/2 of the time. Not too shabby.

 

And looking back I do think I overstated what I meant. Power recoveries are good at teaching the all too critical first seconds of an auto. Get the pole down, get the ship into wind any way possible while steering for your landing site. Screw this up and, well.... you know. :(

 

For me though it's vital a pilot has the whole sequence from start to finish drilled into their heads to the point it becomes instinctive. True an perfectly executed power recovery is very similar to a full down, but similar doesn't quite cut it for me when lives are on the line. We all know just how different they are in that last second or two. A power recovery is merely a simulation, a full down is as real as it gets without actually killing the engine. Personally I'm glad I was very well versed in doing over 200 full downs during my commercial training.

 

Like you said RDRickster, it's all about standards and mind sets. I don't think you're wrong or right, same goes for myself. We're all pilots and since we're all still alive to be reading this thread we can't all be complete idiots... so we're all doing something right. :D

 

The worst thing we can do is close off our ears and close our eyes and know that we know it all.

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using the same logic, why doesn't the FAA require fixed wing pilots to idle the engine, pick out a landing area and put the plane down (on or off airport) to prove they can do it?

 

It's called a power-off 180 degree accuracy approach and landing and it's a requirement for an airplane commercial rating.

 

Bob

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to an off airport landing? don't think so.

 

Your post mentioned on or off airport. The airplane task mentions a runway, so that implies and on airport landing (though it could be a dirt or grass strip). The point of the task is to safely and accurately land the airplane power off.

 

The helicopter task does not mention the location or type of surface. I haven't come across a CFI who did them to anything but a hard surface (asphalt, concrete, etc) at an airport for a practical. Again, the point of the task is to safely and accurately land the helicopter power off.

 

Bob

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Your post mentioned on or off airport. The airplane task mentions a runway, so that implies and on airport landing (though it could be a dirt or grass strip). The point of the task is to safely and accurately land the airplane power off.

 

The helicopter task does not mention the location or type of surface. I haven't come across a CFI who did them to anything but a hard surface (asphalt, concrete, etc) at an airport for a practical. Again, the point of the task is to safely and accurately land the helicopter power off.

 

Bob

 

ok, so one of the arguments here is since the FAA is removing the full down from the CFI PTS, now pilots will not be able to perform a full down in a real situation, ie engine loss. lots of engine failures don't happen above a runway, much less a hard level surface. my point being what does the demonstration during a checkride actually prove?

 

i have been a CFI since 1981, been flying since 1974. i have watched over the years as the FAA has tried to impliment questionable "demonstrations" during training and checkrides. after several bent machines, and a few loss of life, they decide maybe this wasn't such a good idea.

 

the FAA has been very slow in the world of simulation when it comes to light GA aircraft. the airline world has proven over and over the real value of simulation. we use the Flyit helicopter sim in our business, and have found it to be a valueable training aid. i've had the FAA in my facility and have shown them the capability of the Flyit, and they have been impressed.

 

the other point i'm trying to make in addition is most people who are all for doing full downs are not aircraft owners. full downs literally beat the crap out of the helicopter, accelerate wear and tear, increase insurance cost and most importantly, you flip a coin everytime the manuever is executed if your machine will survive.

 

as far as i'm concerned, we'll do the training via simulation. if there are those who feel this is so important to teach in the real aircraft, go out and purchase a helicopter, insure it and maintain it and specialize in this training. you'd be surprised how few takers will do this.

 

just my opinion.

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How realistic is the Flyit simulator to the real thing? I was just practicing autos in a R22 on Sunday, and doing power recoveries I was wondering what would I be changing if I was dropping it to the ground "for real".

 

Also, does anyone know of a school that teaches full autos in R22 in So. Cal? I thought there was a school in Riverside somewhere that did them regularly.

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I attended the Robinson School in 92 and enjoyed a full down in an R-22. At that time every new ship was used for the training classes and put through the paces, including full downs. When you pick up your new ship it has already survived at least one full down. (at that time) don't know if they changed anything since

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Touchdown Autorotations. Why are they important?

 

We all (as professionals) are likely to have an in flight emergency requiring us to conduct an autorotation to the ground within the course of our careers. I for one have had four such emergencies (so far) in my 21 year career. I am thankful that my first engine failure was not my first exposure to a touchdown autorotation.

 

Practice touchdown autorotations enhance our understanding of the machines we drive. I have always said that on a scale of one to ten, an 8 or better auto will go to the ground nicely with minimal amount of competent training and a considerable amount of practice. I have taught touchdown auto's in many machines but the most difficult is possibly the R22, so when necessary lets talk on this aircraft specifically.

 

A "touchdown auto" requires a pilot to execute sound autorotation in order to complete the touchdown segment without a significant amount of trouble. You pilots with experience must admit, a successful autorotation conducted in accordance with the commercial PTS will not necessarily go to the ground smoothly in fact many "to commercial standard" will lead to seriously damaging the aircraft and/or serious injury to it's occupants if there is no engine to execute the recovery.

 

There are many key components that are excercized (repeated) in training for this critical maneuver. 1.) Set up, including crew coordination. 2.) Sight selection, with experience you will have a better understanding of an acceptable surface for a touch down. 3.) Entry, as it is critical to hit the LZ. 4.) Glide, we must maintain the proper peramiters or it's assholes and elbows in the flair. 5.) Practice and Conditioning; i.e.-Throttle into detent. Try to put a helicopter (R22) on the ground in a legitimate tail rotor failure and forget to detent the throttle. Damn expensive little omission. 6.) Level the aircraft prior to touchdown. If you neglect this little item your little helicopter (R22) will be severed in two with pices scattered about. 7.) Lower the collective to rapidly while bouncing down the runway and you will smack your tailboom and possibly remove it. (hopefully you get the point)

 

All of these little lessons can be applied to other emergencies. A student goes the wrong way with the throttle in a power recovery. You need the instinct to level the machine prior to ground contact. The tail rotor becomes damaged with ground contact in a flair, you will need to instinctively close the throttle into detent (R22) or suffer th consequences.

 

We all learn better from real experiences (ref. FOI's). You can't do a touchdown in a flyit "simulator" or any other FTD and expect to be successful in an aircraft as a result of that FTD experience. I own a Flyit "sim". It's a great FTD for instrument training and has some merits for VFR training too, but realism in autorotations in the Flyit, the Frasca, or any other FTD is far from acceptable as a substitute for touchdown autorotations in a real aircraft. The fact that you can reset the FTD is not an advantage, it is part of the problem.

 

Real autos can't be "reset" or paused. This is a crutial element that must be adressed in competent touchdown training. The student should not have the option to recover with power, or go-around. In the real world there are no "do-overs" especially when it comes to emergencies. Good training does not make consessions or allow you the luxury of a "do-over". This makes for a bad mindset.

 

We all have inherited the fear of the unknown. Exposure through professional training and practice (in an aircraft) eliminates much of the fear and builds confidence.

 

This touchdown thing is not just an isssue of the CFI practical test. If it is not a required maneuver, the insurance underwriters will likely expressly prohibit Touchdown autorotatios in our aircraft policies. (more on this when it occures) Then adios t.d. auto training completely in the USA.

 

I am currently a school owner. I teach autorotations to touchdown. I teach instuctors to teach autorotations to touchdown. I train both DPE's and FAA safety inspectors to evaluate and occasionally recover from bad touchdown autos. I (used to) test initial applicants for Helicopter Flight Instructor Ratings in the required task of autorotation to touchdown and I have taught touch down auto's at a factory school.

 

There are many angles to this debate but I for one will insure every graduate from my school's CFI program is competent at performing autorotations to the ground before the leave. It is in our 141 syllibus. All flight schools have a responsibility to do this for there career track pilots.

 

Perhaps a touchdown autorotation endorsement will work, like that for spins. Who will qualify those who provide the T.D. auto training? Will this be defined as enhanced autorotations per SFAR 73 for the R22/R44? What about other make & models? This might be our only hope if the FAA is remains committed to this new ruling.

 

By the way, I have not ever damaged an aircraft in a real emergency requiring an autorotation as a result of a bad touchdown. I contribute this "good luck" (see below) directly to good touchdown training, practice and indirectly to the touchdown requirement in the PTS which previoulsly set the standard. Without the touchdown requirement, I am absolutely certain I would have not recieved the training. The cost to the insurers and the operators could have been in the 100's of thousands, maybe millions of dollars.

 

"Luck is where preparation meets opportunity".

 

Cheers,

 

Guido

 

 

 

P.S. I was half asleep as I wrote this attachment so please forgive the grammer, typo's, etc.

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Touchdown Autorotations. Why are they important?

 

>>>>>>I own a Flyit "sim". It's a great FTD for instrument training and has some merits for VFR training too, but realism in autorotations in the Flyit, the Frasca, or any other FTD is far from acceptable as a substitute for touchdown autorotations in a real aircraft. The fact that you can reset the FTD is not an advantage, it is part of the problem.

 

I disagree. I also own a Flyit, and correctly utilized can be a great tool. The problem is too many try to discount it's ability and simply won't except what it can truly be used for. But I've also seen the same thing happen in the fixed wing world concerning sims and FTD's. This arises from people that simply won't try to use the devices to their full potential.

 

As far as the machinery, it still takes it's toll on the mechanical end by advanced wear and tear. As an A&P/IA this becomes very evident during routine inspections.

 

Is the glass half empty or half full?

 

As you can see this debate has many facets. Thanks for your input.

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