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Well, I have signed up for an introductory lesson. Always wanted to learn but now the bug has bitten a little harder. Its only a half hour and I have never even been in a helicopter before. What should I expect? Anything I should keep in mind when the date comes up? I am planning to continue with more lessons (assuming I like it, which I assume I will) and want to pick up more information about it while I am there. I've been following the forums for the last few days since I registered so I am slowly picking up info. Thanks for everything I have learned so far.

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A few things I have picked up. I'm sure someone will post here and tell you that I'm full of crap but here's what's worked for me.

 

Just relax, pay attention and do what the instructor tells you. Ask lots of questions.

 

If you're flying doors-off in shorts, don't forget sunscreen for your right leg and arm. Wash it off your hands before you touch the controls and don't get it in your eyes.

 

Little things can make big differences. I once bought a new pair of shoes and the lug sole caught on the pedals making my footwork jerky. I now wear shoes with little tread.

 

Don't make any sudden/large control movements and don't grip the controls too hard. You can't make it fly by squeezing harder. Watch the instructor's hands during lift-off, hover, take-off and turn. This will give you an idea of how much finesse is required.

 

Listen to his/her reccomendations about study materials, books, log-books, plotters, E6B's etc. My instructors liked to see someone taking their advice, even if it was only in their choice of logbook.

 

If you are totally new to aviation, you may want to buy the student kit offered by the flight school. You might save some money (or not) but mostly the instructors will be used to using and referring to those materials.

 

Ask if you really need something before you buy it. For example, I read on-line that students should buy their own headset. I did. The flight school I went to always left theirs in the helicopter so I didn't need mine afterall. (I bought an adapter and now I'm using it in fixed-wings though.)

 

If you do need to buy something like a headset, plotter, E6B, etc. don't try to save a penny by buying the cheapest one you can find. Buy good quality and you'll never regret it.

 

Be patient with yourself. No one was born with a cyclic in their hand. You will have days where it feels like you were born to do this. You'll also have days where you can't manage one flight control, much less three. This is natural and we've all gone through it.

 

There is also a thread here about books or reccomended reading. Search for it.

 

If I think of anything else, I'll let you know. -John

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Guest pokey

sounds like good advice to mee cj, w/ the exeption of 1 thing,,,,, dont "watch" the instructor, watch outside-maybe about 20 ft. ahead during liftoff----but? "pay attention" to the instructors input on the controls ( by feel)? ( you probably wont "feel" it at first)--but keep looking outside--------THAT's where the "action" is

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sounds like good advice to mee cj, w/ the exeption of 1 thing,,,,, dont "watch" the instructor, watch outside-maybe about 20 ft. ahead during liftoff----but? "pay attention" to the instructors input on the controls ( by feel)? ( you probably wont "feel" it at first)--but keep looking outside--------THAT's where the "action" is

 

I should have clarified. Watch his or her hands when they hover, takeoff, etc. once. Then look outside and see what effect those subtle inputs have on attitude, heading, etc. When you try to lift off, you should be looking at least 20ft in front of the helicopter and some instructors will want you to look much further out. You obviously shouldn't be looking inside the cockpit while you are trying to fly except to glance at the gauges once in a while. :o

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Guest pokey

point well taken cj :) i could tell by the 1st line in your post, that you are on the "offensive". I see alot of that here. AND? "its always easier to clarify" later,,, & hopefully people understand. You made valid points, and please dont take offence at my input. :)

 

and great "clarification" (but "feel", dont look)( the inputs)-that is

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You have both given me good information I think. And I'll keep it in mind. My flight isn't until the 2nd so there is plenty of time to clarify things. And it is just the introductory lesson. I want to try to get off on the right foot but I guess I can't expect to be really ready.

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You have both given me good information I think. And I'll keep it in mind. My flight isn't until the 2nd so there is plenty of time to clarify things. And it is just the introductory lesson. I want to try to get off on the right foot but I guess I can't expect to be really ready.

 

 

Brian- Just my opinion here....you won't learn crap in half an hour in the air...yes, you will take the controls, yes, you will be all over the air and yes, you will have no clue why. I don't dismiss reading up on how stuff works, just that its like drinking from a fire hydrant, just too much info in too short of time. I would suggest you sit back, relax and enjoy the ride...there will be plenty of hours ahead to learn the basics, and then maybe the details !

 

One thing you could learn...its always nice when a passenger knows how to change radio frequencies..and really nice when they look for traffic out the window...you can never have too many eyes..

 

Have a great time,

 

Goldy

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Brian- Just my opinion here....you won't learn crap in half an hour in the air...yes, you will take the controls, yes, you will be all over the air and yes, you will have no clue why. I don't dismiss reading up on how stuff works, just that its like drinking from a fire hydrant, just too much info in too short of time. I would suggest you sit back, relax and enjoy the ride...there will be plenty of hours ahead to learn the basics, and then maybe the details !

 

One thing you could learn...its always nice when a passenger knows how to change radio frequencies..and really nice when they look for traffic out the window...you can never have too many eyes..

 

Have a great time,

 

Goldy

I was thinking much the same Goldy. cj's otherwise excellent post really applies to the second and subsequent flights. That first flight I would suggest you heed Goldy's advice and "...sit back, relax and enjoy the ride...". If you don't place unrealistic/unreasonable expectations on it you should enjoy the flight!

 

Have fun!

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That's mainly what I am thinking. This flight is just to see if I like it and want to continue with lessons. I just thought I would throw it out there and see what I might expect from a first flight. I would prefer an instructor assumed I had less knowledge than I do (which he probably will and I probably do) but I still like to ask the questions. I've always liked helicopters and I am just a little excited that I am finally doing something about it. I foresee that I will decide to continue and hopefully it will lead to a new career path for me. But its just the introductory flight so I can't let it go to my head here. :-) Thanks guys and keep it coming.

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I agree with Goldy! Just relax, and try not to think about what you don't know. I'm the type of person who wants to know everything NOW, so I get where you are coming from, but I had to check myself because it was getting in the way of learning. Justfly is right, don't set unrealistic expectations for yourself.

 

You are going to love it by the way!!!

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By the way- I hope you don't have aspirations of becoming a fixed wing pilot ever. One flight at the controls of a helo, and you will never want to fly fixed wing again !!

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By the way- I hope you don't have aspirations of becoming a fixed wing pilot ever. One flight at the controls of a helo, and you will never want to fly fixed wing again !!

I beg to differ, oh Goldy'n One! :D As engaging as our rotorcraft are, and useful for the s l o w e r regimes of flight and confined areas, they're not terribly efficient for long vaults cross-country. Care to join me for a 200+ knot jaunt in the clouds to a locale some 1000 nm's distant? B)

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There is no doubt helicopters are BETTER!!!! So complex and appealing! But, I'll admit... I am dying to get my aerobatics license!

 

P.S I watched a documentry last night on National Geographic about the EH101 and it just confirmed my love for the helicopter! Brilliant documentry! That thing is a BEAST!

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One thing at a time, guys! :D I have always thought about flying but there has definitely been a "heartbeat increase" factor for the helicopter that isn't there for an airplane. I think fixed wing is a heck of a lot cheaper to learn so I must have something for the whirlybirds. I'll stay on my course for now.

 

There is no doubt helicopters are BETTER!!!! So complex and appealing! But, I'll admit... I am dying to get my aerobatics license!

 

P.S I watched a documentry last night on National Geographic about the EH101 and it just confirmed my love for the helicopter! Brilliant documentry! That thing is a BEAST!

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Actually... you know what Brian... one of the better pieces of advice I've gotten in my short interlude with aviation has been to get your fixed wing license (PPL) first!

 

I know there are going to be a ton of people lashing back about this but, for someone who is as painfully shy as I am, talking on a radio in a tight knit community like ours is here, made me so nervous, and in a little Cessna 152, its so much easier to concentrate on getting your radio skills down than in a helicopter because admittedly, there's a wholelot less to do!

 

I have three uncles who fly for our national airline, one from Barbados who flies in here all the time with LIAT and countless friends who fly, my next door neighbor included, who all hear me on the radio and I was really mortified everytime I messed up in the helicopter! I even went out to one of our companies here and flew to a rig with one of the Captains and the next day as I was doing a hover taxi out to the active I hear on the radio after a particularly bad call up "Hey girl! Is that you? How you doing? You liked your flight yesterday?" I was horrified! All I could muster was a "Hey! Yes thanks! It was great!" Needless to say my instructor was hysterical but he looked at me and said "Try to keep your sociallising over the radios to a minimum!"

 

Flying now is much easier for me with my radio skills being improved... But radios aside, you get a feel for what its like to control something in a totally new element! I think my fixed wing PPL will certainly make me a better helicopter pilot! Anyway, time in the sky, for me at least, is precious to me, whether in a plane or a helicopter, and those moments are way to few!

 

Sorry for any feet I've stepped on!

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Hmm...interesting thought. I won't say I am shy on the radio though I sometimes have communication problems between my brain and mouth. I did a lot of volunteering on a tourist railroad for years and taught a lot of the new guys to use the radio. As a conductor/brakeman a lot of people want to tell a novel to the engineer about the next move. There are a lot more axes to deal with above a train's forward or backward but I have confidence I'll be able to pick that up. Doing it with three controls going on too.... :blink: :P

 

Actually... you know what Brian... one of the better pieces of advice I've gotten in my short interlude with aviation has been to get your fixed wing license (PPL) first!

 

I know there are going to be a ton of people lashing back about this but, for someone who is as painfully shy as I am, talking on a radio in a tight knit community like ours is here, made me so nervous, and in a little Cessna 152, its so much easier to concentrate on getting your radio skills down than in a helicopter because admittedly, there's a wholelot less to do!

 

I have three uncles who fly for our national airline, one from Barbados who flies in here all the time with LIAT and countless friends who fly, my next door neighbor included, who all hear me on the radio and I was really mortified everytime I messed up in the helicopter! I even went out to one of our companies here and flew to a rig with one of the Captains and the next day as I was doing a hover taxi out to the active I hear on the radio after a particularly bad call up "Hey girl! Is that you? How you doing? You liked your flight yesterday?" I was horrified! All I could muster was a "Hey! Yes thanks! It was great!" Needless to say my instructor was hysterical but he looked at me and said "Try to keep your sociallising over the radios to a minimum!"

 

Flying now is much easier for me with my radio skills being improved... But radios aside, you get a feel for what its like to control something in a totally new element! I think my fixed wing PPL will certainly make me a better helicopter pilot! Anyway, time in the sky, for me at least, is precious to me, whether in a plane or a helicopter, and those moments are way to few!

 

Sorry for any feet I've stepped on!

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Guest rookie101
Actually... you know what Brian... one of the better pieces of advice I've gotten in my short interlude with aviation has been to get your fixed wing license (PPL) first!

 

I know there are going to be a ton of people lashing back about this but, for someone who is as painfully shy as I am, talking on a radio in a tight knit community like ours is here, made me so nervous, and in a little Cessna 152, its so much easier to concentrate on getting your radio skills down than in a helicopter because admittedly, there's a wholelot less to do!

 

I have always heard of getting your IFR in a fixed wing rather than a helo, saves you $$$$. I haven't heard of getting your PPL through fixed wing though, did you mean IFR or am I missing something??

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What is IFR and PPL? And the difference in getting them in a helicopter or fixed wing?

 

I have always heard of getting your IFR in a fixed wing rather than a helo, saves you $$$$. I haven't heard of getting your PPL through fixed wing though, did you mean IFR or am I missing something??
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Guest rookie101
What is IFR and PPL? And the difference in getting them in a helicopter or fixed wing?

 

PPL- Private Pilot's License

 

IFR- Instrument Flight Rating

 

The difference in getting an IFR in a fixed and rotor wing is money (and maybe some other differences when it comes to gauges, someone else can say something about that). Renting a R-22 here in Oregon will run $205.00 an hour, comapre that with $110.00 for an hour in a cessna and you can see the obvious differences in cost and how much one will save you.

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I beg to differ, oh Goldy'n One! :D As engaging as our rotorcraft are, and useful for the s l o w e r regimes of flight and confined areas, they're not terribly efficient for long vaults cross-country. Care to join me for a 200+ knot jaunt in the clouds to a locale some 1000 nm's distant? B)

 

 

Justfly- I knew my rude fixed wing comments would generate some interest !! Yes, I agree...200 Knots is better than 80 on a long flight..its just so much more fun at 500 AGL. And yes, anytime you need some ballast in a fixed wing, just give me a call....I'll gladly go along.

 

Goldy

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Hey Rookie... no I did mean PPL... I would say that at least 80%of our helicopter pilots here are PPL rated fixed wing before they get their rotor license. Some of them have their CPL fixed wing as well and its not unheard of for a helicopter pilot here to work on standby with one of the helo companies and work full time for one of the airlines.

 

Actually, getting you IFR fixed wing is a HELL of a lot cheaper than doing it rotor. I believe the guages are a little different but once you've done it theres only a matter of transitioning to rotor IFR.

 

What about getting your PPL (rotor) and then doing your IFR simaltaneously (bad spelling!) with your CPL. I've heard thats cheaper too because you can log the hours seperately as both instrument and commercial time building? True or not? Don't you have to have a minimum amount of hours, U.S I believe its 150hrs, before you are granted your CPL? Provided you pass all exams of course.

 

Brian, I think you're time on a train radio or time infront of crowds of tourists is going to be very helpful for you! I have a hard time just talking to people one on one, hence my radio shyness when I got on to our air traffic control! But I'm cool now! My fixed wing school organises trips to the tower to get to know the controllers and their procedures and one actually teaches radio telephony to us so it helps knowing them.

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I believe the guages are a little different but once you've done it theres only a matter of transitioning to rotor IFR.
IFR training is where you find out how well you actually know how to fly a helicopter. There's no question that you will go through the helicopter IFR more easily if you already have an airplane IFR rating, but it will be your skill as a helicopter pilot which will determine how much money you save by doing it that way.

 

By the way - them's "instruments", not "gauges", 'else it would be a "GFR" rating!

What about getting your PPL (rotor) and then doing your IFR simaltaneously (bad spelling!) with your CPL?
Unless you do your IFR under Part 141, you are going to have to do a lot of XC flying to satisfy the IFR aeronautical experience requirements. The nice thing about the Part 61 IFR/CPL training is that you can start the IFR, and if you don't yet fly the helicopter well enough to operate it under IFR, switch to Commercial training after the required 10 hours of IFR training - no loss to you. By the time you finish your Commercial, you will have built up both your skills and your XC PIC hours.
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No sh*t! They're instruments???? Who'd have thought!?! :lol:

 

Thanks for the clarification on the IFR/CPL training though! Good to know! I still know very little about FAA standards and Parts 141 and 61. Still just trying to get my TTPPL

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