Jump to content

Starting training questions

Recommended Posts

Last fall I completed my training for PP-ASEL, and now I'm thinking about the next step and after debating whether or not to get my instrument rating for airplanes or to try my hand at helicopters, I've decided to go ahead and start training in helicopters while I work up my cross country time on airplanes. That said, I have a few questions (since I was suggested this website by my future instructor) for the community to weigh in on.


The school I'm planning on using uses R-22s for training. I've read on a couple of forums things that make me think the R-22 is only preferable if you have a death wish. Of course, after watching another student in person, I just don't know who to believe. (I've heard statements about the Diamond DA-20 being a death trap because it's going to shatter on an emergency landing since it's composite, but haven't seen any data to back it up and I love flying them, so...) Anyone care to shed light on this, I would greatly appreciate it.


The second question continues on the R-22 front... I've read the SFAR 73, but don't really understand why it only concerns Robinson helicopters. This also makes me feel a little uneasy about training in them. Once again, if anyone has some information I'd appreciate it :)


Third question basically asks if anyone has transitioned from airplane to helicopter and could give me their time for the add-on (MG Aviation says 30 hrs required, avg is 40-45 for add-on).


Fourth, does 250$/hr wet for an R-22 sound on par? (Whew. DA-20 = 80$/hr wet)


And finally, my largest obstacle would be my girlfriend. It's already a task to try to convince her that it's not dangerous to fly (her uncle was in an ultralight accident and has been staying with them until he has use of his legs again), and the mention that I might train for a helicopter rating makes her say things like "Oh, well I guess I should start looking around for another boyfriend since my current one will be dead soon." and "Do you realize how dangerous those things are? You'll never survive a crash!" etc etc. If anyone has any statistics or any information that could help me show her that, as with anything else, when operated properly there is very little danger.


Thanks to everyone for their help, and hopefully I will be a welcome addition to the site!

Link to comment
Share on other sites



I´m a student flying R 22´s.

There are a lot of discussions anout SFAR 73 and safety in the Robbie´s.

I don´t have any statistics but I truely believe that it mostly depends on you(and your flight school / instructor). If the heli is well maintained and if you are following the rules and fly it inside the envelope flying a helicopter is save. No matter which one - maybe except experimentals.


An average of 40-45 h for the for the add on is believable. Your fixed wing time doesn´t help much.

Operating a helicopter is much more expensiv then an airplane. 250 $ wet is OK if this includes the instructor. When you do your school research make sure that they don´t charge you the same price when you are flying solo. For the private it´s not a big difference but for the commercial.


The concerns of your girlfriend are the biggest problem. If you look into the accident reports, you will see that there are much more nonfatal then fatal. Of course you can autorotate a heli safely to the ground like you can glide a fixed wing.

Again, If you are flying safely your chance to walk way in case of an accident are pretty good.


Hope this helps a little.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

You can throw numbers and stats at your g/f all day long, will never work. You're using logic, she is using emotion.


Have a CFI take her flying, or find other ways to get her into aviation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Let's be frank - flying helicopters is one of the more dangerous professions you can have. It's not as bad as being a logger, and in fact is slightly less dangerous than being an ag. farmer (tractors and implements are hazardous to life and limb), but the statistics put it in the top ten. Now this doesn't mean you're likely to crash every time you get in, no more than you are likely to have an auto accident every time you drive.


However, if your GF is equating helicopters with ultralights, then she may not be willing to be convinced. I won't begin to tell you how to decide your future on that score - only you can decide what will keep your soul alive. Helicopter flying isn't romantic much after the first date, but if it's what you got to do...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

the aviation industy tend to breed it's own desease called AIDS, (aviation induced divorced symdrome) if your passion for the industy is what drive you then follow your passion, if your GF decides that it what she's willing to except then she'll except it, if not don't get out to please her. it's your passion not hers. :blink:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On SFAR73... Yes it certainly gives one pause that it's only applicable to Robinson aircraft, and I have done quite a bit of research to try to understand why. There are a number of reasons why it exists - these come to mind:


1. It wasn't Frank Robinson's wish to have the R22 become heavily used as a trainer - his goal was to create an affordable personal helicopter. But, the (relative) affordability is ironically why it is used so much for training.


2. Airplane pilots are used to "pushing over" to descend. Doing a pushover *at speed* in a Robinson will probably induce mast bumping and then, much worse and fatal things after that (rotor separation, chopping off the tailboom, and/or main rotor entering the cockpit). Put a high-time plank driver into an R22 (or any other teetering rotor system helicopter, such as a JetRanger or Huey) and he's going to have to do some serious unlearning of what is probably an instinctual response - and I think this is quite hard. The US Army lost some few Hueys in the 70s due to airplane guys flying them like airplanes in Nap Of the Earth flying (a portion of the resultant Army training film can be seen in the Robinson safety video).


3. The R22, compared to any other certificated helicopter, has a very low inertia rotor system. As such, it is unforgiving - primarily, how quickly the pilot needs to react to a loss of power (to prevent rotor stall, which is unrecoverable), and to a lesser degree how he needs to manage rotor RPM assuming he's successfully entered an autorotation to prevent under/overspeed.


Those are the primary reasons for SFAR73's existence. I personally think that the program is a good one, and every single pilot will learn some things in the course of fulfilling its requirements. The hassle part of it (for me anyway) is that I have to do it every year for both the 22 and 44 if I want to fly both, and that gets expensive. The repitition is not really required IMO past a certain point...


I like the R22, although I'm really too big for it (6'4" and heavier than I'd like). I *love* the R44 and if one is rolling in the dough, it would be *the* ship to learn in and in fact Frank is starting to make noises that he wants people to learn in it rather than the R22.


But until the hourly costs of the 44 come down, and I don't know how that could be made to happen, I personally believe the Schweizer S300C/CB/CBi is a better platform to learn in. HOWEVER if you plan to make a career out of flying helicopters, you will probably need to take the CFI route, and (again ironically) that means that many of the available CFI slots will be with outfits with R22s, which means that you need a bunch of R22 time to teach in them. See SFAR73 for the FAA requirements, but note that insurance requirements (e.g. Pathfinder) are probably higher than that - I think it's something like 300 hours.


BTW all of this has been said before in various places on the web; I just tried to summarize what I've learned and what I believe to be true about th the Robinsons.


Dave Blevins

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I appreciate all of the help and advice. I think my gf will come around, she doesn't want me to give it up... she's just concerned. I'm thinking as long as I have a good instructor (and I think Brandon at MG has shown himself to be quite competent) I'll be able to keep myself from making horrible mistakes :)


Thanks again!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...