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Touchdown Autorotation


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Earlier this week a post mentioned the touchdown autorotation was back...it is true. I received an e-mail last night from the FAA Designee Branch with a .pdf letter attached. It was written by James Ballaugh in Washington D.C.

 

It essentially states that effective immediately, the touchdown autorotation maneuver would be required for the CFI practical exam. In addition, the National Resource Inspector Program (NRI) for FAA inspectors to conduct this maneuver was re-instated. Any ASI not designated as an NRI would NOT be able to conduct this manuever, they would be able to view the maneuver from the ground.

 

The letter did give direction for each FSDO to appoint more examiners to conduct these exams with the NRI to check those examiners. It almost sounds like we are back to where we were before but the letter did address the delay in obtaining examiners for these rides.

 

Contact your FSDO for a copy because I couldn't get the .pdf to attach itself on the Forum.

 

Take care,

 

Randy Rowles

Bell Helicopter Training Academy

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It essentially states that effective immediately, the touchdown autorotation maneuver would be required for the CFI practical exam.

 

Let me be the first to say... good! (If it is in fact true) Any idea what made the FAA see the light?

 

Now excuse me while I slip into my flame suit. :ph34r:

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That's too bad. Of course, the ones that want to see the touchdowns still being required aren't business or aircraft owners, and aren't the ones paying the bills on the machines.

 

It's my opinion the demonstration of the full down autorotation on the checkride still proves nothing, and puts the pilots along with the machine into a dangerous situation. If the FAA was so confident, then why do most FAA inspectors refuse to ride along, opting for the get out and watch technique?

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Sorry for the stupid question but does this mean you have to autorotate all the way to the ground and attempt to bring it in soft and not crush the equipment. My Dad was a fighter pilot and he used to say "any landing is a good landing", something tells me this does not apply here.

 

Nick

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Guest rookie101
Sorry for the stupid question but does this mean you have to autorotate all the way to the ground and attempt to bring it in soft and not crush the equipment. My Dad was a fighter pilot and he used to say "any landing is a good landing", something tells me this does not apply here.

 

Nick

 

I took this video off of Pokey's tool website (look for touchdown autorotation) and about your father's saying, it may apply to the pilot's, but it sure doesn't apply to the guy who owns the helicopter :blink:

 

http://www.laitlatool.com/indexmain.html

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Sorry for the stupid question but does this mean you have to autorotate all the way to the ground and attempt to bring it in soft and not crush the equipment. My Dad was a fighter pilot and he used to say "any landing is a good landing", something tells me this does not apply here.

 

Nick

 

 

Nick- your answer is yes. All the way to the ground, full stop, no power, just like the real thing.

 

And just FYI, the military doesnt carry insurance, we do. However I feel pretty strongly that we should be much more proficient in autos than we are as a group. I wouldn't want a CFI who doesnt feel that he cant safely auto to the ground. I remember one of my first lessons ( 1986), we did an auto down to full stop on the ground. After that, I was more comfortable flying, knowing that this technique could be learned and I did actually stand half a chance of walking away....Of course every bird is different, personally I would prefer to be in a Bell 47 if I had to have an engine failure!!

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Just when I could wax poetic, "Back when I got my CFI you had to go all the way to the ground." I guess its not going to mean anything now.

 

The bean counters are going to quiver again, but it will probably save lives in the future. I am glad to see it back.

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I appreciate the necessity to learn this maneuver. But since its something that should only be necessary in the event of an engine failure emergency (which God willing will never even happen to most pilots) wouldnt it be sufficient to require CFI students to perform it to say, within 6' of the ground instead of all the way down? I mean a free fall from 6' isnt likely to kill anyone is it? I imagine the full touch down is likely to damage more than a few skids/air frames. Im not even a student yet, so Im honestly just asking....

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When I trained we mostly did power recovery autorotations where you autorotate all the way to a hover, which was great. But I think its definately good to practice full downs too so you can get used to keeping it straight when it skids 10 feet forward after touchdown.

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Interesting, thanks for the feedback Heli...

 

I just watched that video (about 10 times) too. Wicked! It looks like the rotor balde actually STOPS rotating at some point in the maneuver?! How the hell does that happen without causing it to fall to the ground? Are the rotor blades simply providing lift like fixed wings (if you will) for the moment theyre not spinning?

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Interesting, thanks for the feedback Heli...

 

I just watched that video (about 10 times) too. Wicked! It looks like the rotor balde actually STOPS rotating at some point in the maneuver?! How the hell does that happen without causing it to fall to the ground? Are the rotor blades simply providing lift like fixed wings (if you will) for the moment theyre not spinning?

 

the camera can't keep up with the blades so it looks like they're not spinning, but they are.

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I took this video off of Pokey's tool website (look for touchdown autorotation) and about your father's saying, it may apply to the pilot's, but it sure doesn't apply to the guy who owns the helicopter :blink:

 

http://www.laitlatool.com/indexmain.html

 

 

look out kid now yer gonna give pokey more work to do :lol: :lol: :lol:

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Guest rookie101
look out kid now yer gonna give pokey more work to do :lol: :lol: :lol:

 

:lol: He has enough to do when it comes to updating the rest of his movies. I can only see three of them, might be my connection <_<.

 

If you wanna see a fixed-wing heli this video got posted sometime back

 

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-7...mp;q=helicopter

 

and then there is this video I took off of rotor-head.com, it's an R/C helicopter but it still looks pretty cool.

 

http://rotor-head.com/movies/smallheli.html

 

Enjoy

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That's too bad. Of course, the ones that want to see the touchdowns still being required aren't business or aircraft owners, and aren't the ones paying the bills on the machines.
Machines are replaceable, people aren't. What do you think those same business and aircraft owners will feel when they have to face the deceased's grieving next of kin (and their lawyer)? How big do you think those bills will be?

 

Having had to perform a FTDA following an engine stoppage in a type I'd never taken to the ground before, I'm damned thankful I knew how. I did so without a scratch to my student, myself, the helicopter, or anything else. My employer (the bill paying business owner) is pleased I was able to rise to the occasion. I am too.

 

It's my opinion the demonstration of the full down autorotation on the checkride still proves nothing, and puts the pilots along with the machine into a dangerous situation.
Gee whiz. By the same logic, performing any flight maneuver on a checkride proves nothing. Flying is dangerous. If one can't accept the risks inherent in the activity, don't fly.

 

If the FAA was so confident, then why do most FAA inspectors refuse to ride along, opting for the get out and watch technique?
Any inspector or DPE who refuses to be on-board during the FTDA task has no business performing a practical test where that task is required.

 

Bob

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Thanks for the links to the videos rookie. The maneuvers done by the pilot at the air show are absolutely sick!! :lol:

 

Im assuming the still motion appearance of the main rotor is an illusion based on the fact that its on film, as 67 previously explained???

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Guest rookie101
Thanks rookie!! The maneuvers done by the pilot at the air show are abosolutly sick!! :lol:

 

Im assuming the still motion appearance of the main rotor is an illusion based on the fact that its on film, as 67 previously explained???

 

yep.

 

esh, sorry about getting everyone so off topic, my bad :(

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Machines are replaceable, people aren't. What do you think those same business and aircraft owners will feel when they have to face the deceast's grieving next of kin (and their lawyer)? How big do you think those bills will be?

 

Having had to perform a FTDA following an engine stoppage in a type I'd never taken to the ground before, I'm damned thankful I knew how. I did so without a scratch to my student, myself, the helicopter, or anything else. My employer (the bill paying business owner) is pleased I was able to rise to the occasion. I am too.

 

Gee whiz. By the same logic, performing any flight maneuver on a checkride proves nothing. Flying is dangerous. If one can't accept the risks inherent in the activity, don't fly.

 

Any inspector or DPE who refuses to be on-board during the FTDA task has no business performing a practical test where that task is required.

 

Bob

 

I always enjoy how you like to twist and contort a post to try to make your point, however I'm not buying it. Let's start with your first retort:

 

>>>>>Machines are replaceable, people aren't. What do you think those same business and aircraft owners will feel when they have to face the deceast's grieving next of kin (and their lawyer)? How big do you think those bills will be?

 

So what you are trying to imply that unless an individual is trained to a full down autorotation, then they will automatically crash? Before I obtained my helo CFI, I had to perform a full down auto without ever actually doing one, we had only trained power recovery. I sat the helicopter down without any damage, no problem. In training by doing power recovery autos, hovering autos and run on landings, the concept is very clear. But by your observation I should have automatically crashed and killed myself. Sorry, didn't happen.

 

>>>>>Having had to perform a FTDA following an engine stoppage in a type I'd never taken to the ground before, I'm damned thankful I knew how. I did so without a scratch to my student, myself, the helicopter, or anything else. My employer (the bill paying business owner) is pleased I was able to rise to the occasion. I am too.

 

Sorry, that doesn't hold water either. If you are trained in the proper maneuvers, then it's really no issue. As far as your engine failure and landing, it was simple luck you didn't damage the helicopter. There are way too many variables in any emergency situation for you to make such an assertian that training in one maneuver made a difference in the outcome.

 

 

>>>>>>>Gee whiz. By the same logic, performing any flight maneuver on a checkride proves nothing.

 

Some maneuvers on a checkride prove nothing other than satisfying an FAA requirement, some do. We could enter into a whole discussion of why the FAA places such emphasis on various maneuvers. Just because the FAA requires it doesn't mean it has to make sense. Years ago, the FAA required single engine stalls in twin engine planes on the checkride. The FAA made a very convincing argument why, and several people died in training as well as checkrides. Eventually this requirement was dropped. Also, it was once required to do VMC demonstrations at 1000 feet, once again dropped after several planes crashed.

 

 

>>>>>>>>> Flying is dangerous. If one can't accept the risks inherent in the activity, don't fly.

 

Well, after 33 years and 16,000+ hours of flying, I think I can accept the risk. I have just learned how to effectively manage the risk by not putting myself or the aircraft in unnessessary situations. This applies to my other job as an Airline Captain, my helicopter business and my involvement in General Aviation as both fixed wing and rotor wing, as well as a A&P/IA.

 

>>>>>>>>Any inspector or DPE who refuses to be on-board during the FTDA task has no business performing a practical test where that task is required.

 

Happens everyday. We have several FAA Inspectors here that will not ride in the helicopter during full down autos because of the risk involved. And by the Inspectors Handbook, they are allowed to do this.

 

I own a flightschool, own several helicopters as well as fixed wing. I pay all the bills and maintain the equipment. It's my hard earned money that I have invested, and I really don't care to watch my investment go rolling up into a ball to satisfy some questionable maneuver to make the feds happy.

 

How many helicopters do you own Bob? How much of your money is tied up in the equipment that you use to make your living? When was the last time you made an insurance payment on a helicopter? Or paid to replace parts worn out prematurely? Since you are not on this end of the business, you obviously can't begin to understand the situation fully.

 

Bravado will eventual kill you.

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Jet,

 

I always enjoy how you like to twist and contort a post to try to make your point, however I'm not buying it. ...

 

... Since you are not on this end of the business, you obviously can't begin to understand the situation fully.

It's not my intention to twist or contort anything. I have my thoughts on the subject and you have yours. I appreciate your opinion even though I differ with it.

 

However,

 

Bravado will eventual kill you.
I take offense to this. You don't know me, because if you did, you'd realize how very far off base you are with this statement.

 

Bob

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Hmm,

 

I sense an interesting debate brewing here...

 

Jet Trash, are you saying that Fulldowns have no place in Helicopter Training whatsoever, or are you simply saying that you don't think they should be required in the CFI checkride?

 

The latter part of your post focuses on two issues in particular. One is the 'risk vs reward' aspect of performing this maneuver, the other is the 'risk vs cost' aspect of this maneuver. Although closely related, I do think that they need to be considered separately.

 

I am not on at your 'end of the business' and do not profess to understand the 'cost' side of things fully. However, I do think I understand the 'risk' side and the 'reward' side enough to comment.

 

I am troubled by two issues which you raise.

 

First, I am not sure the risk of this maneuver is as high as you believe. Secondly, I wholeheartedly believe the reward is greater than you believe.

 

In brief, I would say that:

 

1. With good training, the risks of a fulldown autorotation can be made pretty minimal. In fact as you mentioned, the full down is a combination of a number of discrete skills; the autorotation, the quickstop, a hover auto. So by this arguement how is it that you find there is so much a greater risk in the fulldown autorotation when compared to the risks involved with each of these skills? (In fact I think the fulldown is more than the sum of its parts!)

 

2. What about the rewards?

 

a) I agree, the fulldown is not a maneuver that many pilots will need to perform in their normal helicopter career. Nor is the 'straight-in auto' or the quickstop. So why bother training them? These are the performance maneuvers listed in the PTS. Just like the straight-in auto (private) and the 180 auto (commercial) and the quick stop and all the other performance maneuvers, the fulldown autorotation is a demonstration of competency; of flair and finesse. The fulldown is the combination of all these discrete skills; the apex of the progression. I certainly would want my instructors to have a level of competence greater than is required for the course they are teaching.

 

B) So what of the actual skills? During the day, an instructor exposes himself to many situations which could easily require any one of the many fulldown skills either discretely or as a complete set. Repeated hover autos, a late flare from a student during a 'straight-in', an engine that just can't take the daily swings from Max Power to idle and simply gives up in flight, running landings..etc..etc.. Almost all of the airwork during a private or commercial course, could result in the instructor being faced with setting the aircraft down. There is undoubtedly an added occupation risk exposure in flight training compared with day to day heli operations.

 

For one offs, based on statistics of frequency of engine failures in the wide world, it might be permissible to chance that adreanalin steps in and the pilot is able to set the aircraft down using instinct alone. However, on a daily basis in the flight training world I would rather my instructor be so absolutely familiar with that maneuver that nothing is left to chance. I would expect my instructor to know with certainty that he could terminate safely when the engine stalls during a forced ldg practice just at the point of power recovery. Only the complete fulldown expertise will give this level of certainty.

 

The problem is when the instructors are not being trained to 'expertise' levels at this. Unfortunately, this is what happens at many flight schools. Each instructor only performs 1 or 2 in their training and that's it. Either you should train them properly or don't do them at all. As they are required, then it is the school owners responsiblity to ensure that his CFIs are 'experts' at this skill. If not, that's when things get dangerous.

 

As the fulldown get's reinstated, let's not lose sight of what is being asked. It is not being required of private pilots, nor commercial pilots. I will agree that for joe-heli-public, this is not a worthy skill to be learning, from the risk, cost or reward point of view. However, it is only requiring a CFI candidate to be competent in that skill. And quite rightly so.

 

So my conclusion is that the FAA require it at this level for similar reasons that I have stated, rather than because (as some might suggest) they believe that it is a great 'emergency procedure' that will save joe-public, and greatly reduce the number of accidents in the wide world. We all agree that its not.

 

OK, onto one other issue that has been brought up. That is the one of the Inspector who chooses not to sit in during fulldown demonstration.

 

Any inspector or DPE who refuses to be on-board during the FTDA task has no business performing a practical test where that task is required.

Happens everyday. We have several FAA Inspectors here that will not ride in the helicopter during full down autos because of the risk involved. And by the Inspectors Handbook, they are allowed to do this.

On this matter, I tend to agree with JetTrash. But only because the risk is heightened by their lack of currency in the maneuver. An examiner doesn't get to do these everyday. If I was not current, I wouldn't like someone else who had not been 'certfied' as current to perform that maneuver with me in the helicopter.

 

In summary then;

 

I am saying that I do see a valid place for the fulldown in CFI training;

I don't think that every examiner should have to be competent...this is an impossible requirement due to the fact that most examiners do other things. I think this is addressed in the memo though.

I don't think the risk is as large as some make out, if the training is sufficient.

 

Notice, I haven't mentioned cost here. Of course this is a real issue for operators. However, I don't wholly buy this arguement. If there is that much extra cost, I would have thought that natural forces of economy would simply see a rise in consumer prices. i.e. the cost of training goes up. When is an operator going to let his 'hard earned investment and living' go before they put prices up? Incidentally, I am sure that absolutely 0% of operators cut their prices when the fulldown was initially dropped! But then, I am not an operator, and so admit that my views are not fully knowledgeable here.

 

Well, that's my twenty (edited!) cents!

 

Joker

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Guest pokey
Well, that's my two cents!

 

Joker

 

 

Ya know Joker ? We always seem to be gettin more than our TWO cents worth from your posts, :) what is the exchange rate? ( & where do we sent the refunds?) :unsure:

 

here is MY 2 cents: I like full on's,,, like to do them, like to see people that can do them, and like watching them,,, BTW----we do them on grass B)

 

BTW ( well written post Joker--just in case ya got wrong impression from mine)

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